North Bay Pets THE PATH FORWARD p6
N O R T H B AY P E T S
from the Executive Director
C RYSTA L B A L LS A N D T H E P I T T E R PAT T E R O F PAWS
As I sit at my makeshift desk at home to pen this letter it is mid-May, the skies are spitting rain and it’s overcast much like the crystal ball I’ve been consulting throughout the Shelter in Place. None of us knows when this will end or what it will look like tomorrow let alone in mid-June, but when you do read this, my hope is that each of you is healthy, safe and weathering the emotional and financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis. In my heart though, I know we will still be navigating the wake left behind and the uncertain “new normal” ahead. For the Humane Society of Sonoma County these last few months have brought challenges we never could have predicted. Together but apart, the staff has created innovative new approaches that have transformed the way we shelter and adopt homeless pets. Shifting to virtual adoptions, online dog training options, planning for smaller summer camp sessions and re-tooling the flow of our safety
net programs has kept us busy throughout the tenuous weeks. What has become clear is that these shifts in the way we do business are making us better at what we do. The challenge has made us stronger: we’re identifying new and growing needs of both homed and owned animals in our community, and innovating new and better ways to address them. Over the past several months, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves, our co-workers, families, pets and, most importantly, our HSSC family. The common thread that holds us all together is the animals. The bond we have with pets is like no other; we look to them for comic relief, comforting snuggles, that all knowing look that says, “I get you!” and the soothing sound of the pitter patter of paws assuring us we are not alone. Throughout this experience, you’ve made it abundantly clear that HSSC isn’t alone and that you are here for the animals. Thank you. As we face the future’s uncertainties together, we are more grateful than ever to have you by our side. With heartfelt appreciation,
Happy Tails . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 4 The Path Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 6 Snuggle In Place . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 7 Together We Are Unstoppable . . . p 9 Q&A with Dr. Lisa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 9 Why Does My Human Do That? . . . p 10 2019 Annual Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 11 Thanks to Our Volunteers . . . . . . . . p 15 News from Healdsburg . . . . . . . . . . p 16 Veterinary Program Updates . . . . . p 19 Humane Education Programs . . . . p 22 Bequests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p 23
The Humane Society of Sonoma County — ensuring every animal receives protection, compassion, love and care. We are a locally-founded, locally-funded nonprofit organization supported through donations from our community. TAX I D # 9 4 - 6 0 01 3 1 5
North Bay Pets is a publication of the Humane Society of Sonoma County. Content Writer/Editor Signe Ross-Villemaire Contributors Julie Compton Sue McGuire Brenda Rynders
WENDY WELLING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Senior Designer Sarah Lenz Contributing Photographers Val Smith Ciara Pegg Cover photograph ©2020 The Labs & Co., www.thelabsand.co
Wend th ya om
a l u m n u s Ta n g o .
On the Cover We are so grateful for our pets and the companionship they provide. Cover model and HSSC alumna (class of 2012!) Willow is a nature girl at heart. She’s making sure her people are tapping into the healing power of the great outdoors during COVID-19. Read more about how Willow and other pets are helping their families Snuggle in Place on pg. 7.
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BART (NOW COOPER) Bart came to HSSC from a shelter in Butte County after being hit by a car. X-rays showed a fracture of both bones in his front leg and a dislocation of two vertebrae in his back. At first, we thought Bart’s fracture would either require a surgery that would cost thousands of dollars or an amputation. However, a third and better option presented itself! We’d recently heard about the Shelter Fracture Program at U.C. Davis, where surgeons in residency at the School of Veterinary Medicine perform pro-bono surgery on shelter animals with faculty oversight. Bart was accepted into the program and one of our volunteers drove him to Davis early the next day. On Valentine’s Day Bart had his surgery. It had been almost six weeks since the injury, which made surgery quite challenging but in the end it was a success! During Bart’s recovery the Allgower family came in, met with Bart and decided he was their new dog! Recently, we received the following update from the family: “Bart has done wonderful since coming home with us. As soon as 4
JESSIE we got in the house you could tell he felt at home and he hit it off great with our 6-year-old golden retriever, Daisy. We wanted to see his personality before changing his name and after day two we decided on Cooper. Cooper is a very smart dog, he knows how to sit, shake and even speak — and his puppy characteristics come out when there is a squeaky toy around! He’s been the perfect addition to our family and we love the sounds of additional paws walking around the house. P.S. Cooper is loving having us home all day every day. It will be interesting to see how things adjust when kids go back to school in August. We really lucked out getting him right before the Shelter in Place orders went into effect.”
Jessie is a friendly and playful cat who likes to be around humans. She’s the kind of cat who can entertain herself with toys but much prefers to play with people. This is why, when the Shelter in Place orders started, we knew she would benefit from going to live with a foster family. It didn’t take long for a friend of the foster family to fall in love with — and adopt! — Jessie. Her new family tells us, “Jessie has settled in nicely. In fact, it didn't take much longer than a day for her to feel right at home. She has already called dibs on spots where she likes to curl up and relax. She is also quite an explorer and likes to investigate closets and cabinets. She's very clever and uses her paws quite masterfully to pry doors open! In the evenings, she joins our family in the living room and carefully selects one of us to cuddle up with. She's been a delight thus far — thanks HSSC!
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M E LV I N
Like many of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, Alethea found herself working from home and feeling a little isolated. She decided it was the perfect time to adopt a dog! She visited our website and saw Melvin, a sweet, goofy bulldog with a few manageable medical issues who’d been with us several months. Alethea came all the way from the East Bay to meet the handsome hunk and thought he was perfect!
Hazel came to us from a crowded shelter in Lake County. Shortly after she arrived, she began having seizures. We monitored her closely while we tried to identify the cause. This meant spending a lot of time with sweet Hazel and she quickly became a staff favorite!
Andie, a sweet, blind senior kitty came to our Healdsburg shelter as a stray. She was already missing one eye and the other one, though sightless, was severely diseased and causing her a lot of pain. For her to live a comfortable life, our veterinarians would need to remove it. Andie was a wonderful patient and came through surgery very well. While she was healing, we found this cute cuddler to be the epitome of the saying “love is blind.” We couldn’t wait to find her a forever home where she’d be safe and loved.
Alethea sent us the following update: "Melvin has completely taken over my heart. He's 67 pounds of love and cuddles. He has no concept of social distancing but brings joy everywhere he goes. He's been the star of every virtual meeting I've had and my coworkers can't wait for me to bring him to the office once Shelter in Place is over. I'd never guess he was seven years old. He springs onto my bed like it's nothing and he's always up for a walk or a game of zoomies. In true ‘bully’ fashion, he has a mind of his own, an indomitable spirit, and a heart that is pure joy.”
Judy came to the shelter with her son who was looking for a dog of his own. As soon as she spotted Hazel, she knew she’d be adopting a dog too. As it turns out, Judy is a nurse practitioner with a soft spot for special needs dogs! Judy tells us, “We are so lucky to have found Hazel. She very quickly learned that this is a good place for her. And we very quickly learned she is just right for us. She is a goodnatured, gentle soul who kisses and leans lovingly into everyone she meets. She’s polite and learning to sit patiently for her dinner. She’s a dedicated sleeper, fully relaxed and comfortable. She loves being massaged, especially her back and hind legs. Hazel is a perfect companion and is dearly loved.”
As it turns out, Andie found the perfect home! She was adopted by Dr. Erin Bennett, a veterinarian who’d worked at HSSC for several years. Who better to adopt this marvelous gal than a veterinarian who loves cats?!!! Andie settled into her new digs nicely and Dr. Bennett sent us an update saying, “Andie is the best snuggle buddy, but also enjoys a nice walk about every so often. She is just so sweet. We love her so much.”
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It’s a sunny May morning and about a dozen of us are gathered for the weekly HSSC management meeting. None of us is actually in the same room together and only a couple of us are physically at the shelter. We’ve been meeting “virtually” for weeks now and, while it’s heartening to “see” each other, the agenda lately has been somber. There are still so many uncertainties — how will this crisis impact the animals, our organization and community, today and in the long run?
The Path Forward
This morning’s meeting, though, starts to take a different turn. Ashley Armstrong, HSSC Alternative Placement Manager reports, “we’re getting 11 kittens from a local rescue this afternoon…”. The whole GoToMeeting grid lights up with smiles and cheers! Then Lindsay McCall, our Director of Operations, announces, “and we’re bringing five dogs from County in this Saturday!” More cheers! THIS we know how to do! Helping animals is our reason for being, both collectively and individually. Giving them hope gives us hope. Each and every one of us, locally and globally, has been called upon to adapt to a new way of life as we bear the weight of this pandemic’s unpredictability, hardship and grief. As an organization, we had to envision how a massscale pandemic might impact the animals and community we love and care for so deeply. Early on, we made the difficult but necessary decision to suspend all onsite volunteer activities to keep our beloved friends safe and adhere to County directives. We reduced onsite staff to just a few highly skilled team members essential to direct animal care. We closed both our shelters to the public. Other regional and state shelters closed too, effectively bringing to a halt the lifesaving transfers of animals into our care. Spring fundraising and outreach events were cancelled, leaving us with a significant funding gap. Our Community Veterinary Clinic’s caseload skyrocketed, as more and more pets were brought in by newly unemployed clients.
photo © The Labs & Co.
Thankfully though, as with any challenge, there have been silver linings. Our faithful foster volunteers stepped up in compassionate droves to help care for shelter pets from the safety of their own homes. Our public dog training team got creative and started conducting classes online. 6
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Our adoptions team got creative and figured out how to safely adopt out animals, virtually and by appointment. With so much stay-at-home time on their hands, families were eager to bring home and bond with new pets! Giving pets hope gave them hope. And we’ve been thrilled to see so many pets leave the shelter and settle into loving homes. As restrictions begin to loosen slightly, we know the flow of animals will increase steadily. The 11 kittens that Ashley talked about in the meeting turned into 15 and they are adorable. Working together at a safe distance, Ashley and Anna, our Admissions Counselor, gave each kitten
a precursory exam, a microchip and a name — cooing sweetly over each tiny fluffball from behind cloth face masks. The animals will show us what they need and we will continue to adapt — with immense love and great care — meeting them where they are on this path we tread together, with the hope of a brighter future. For ongoing updates on available services and hours of operation at our Santa Rosa and Healdsburg shelters, please stay tuned to humanesocietysoco.org and facebook.com/SonomaHumane.
Snuggle In Place Some of us have been planting gardens. Some of us have been taking Zoom yoga classes. Some of us have mastered the perfect “quarantini.” And, during this time of isolation and uncertainty, all of us have been holding our pets close. Our pets provide us with comfort and companionship in the best of times. This is something we know intuitively and intellectually. Studies show that interacting with pets can decrease feelings of fear and anxiety, and increase oxytocin levels in the brain — for humans and animals both. So, is it any wonder our appreciation for our pets reaches a new level during a global pandemic? We asked a few friends to tell us how their pets were helping them Shelter in Place. Each of their comments is a beautiful tribute to the profound love we share for our special companions. Together in our collective vulnerability and compassion, we know we are not alone.
If I could do anything I'd be with my little dog Kona - funny how things work out. K A T I A H O COO & Director of Programs for the Earle Baum Center of the Blind, Vice President HSSC Board of Directors
I am still going to the office every day since we're an essential business, but all the stress of this crazy time is quickly replaced by smiles when I open up email or texts to find cute pet pics! And, going home to my own fur babies, Dave and Miss Mittens, sure helps relieve the stress, too! FRANK KULBERTIS
General Manager, Redwood Empire Stereocasters and HSSC Board Member
Our cats Artemis and Leeloo are masters of zen. Artie purrs so loudly, you feel you are in a massage chair. It's a lovely reminder of "hey, we are here now, and that's cool." Loo knows when we need her comfort long before we do. Much like an "alert" service dog, she follows you around and meows loudly to be picked up. She settles in the crook of your neck, and purrs. She's helped me weather countless migraines, anxiety attacks and bouts of homesickness for my family in Mexico. And our dog Willow the Wild is the perfect "pull" to get up and move, to get some fresh air. Our walks, regardless of a grand hike or, more likely these days, a humble neighborhood walk, she points out flowers or birds high on a tree. She won't take "no" for an answer, and I'll love her forever for that. N ATA L I A M A RT I N E Z
photographer/designer The Labs & Co., HSSC Volunteer
CO N T I N U E D N E XT PA G E
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Snuggle In Place cont.
I've been isolating with my cat Thomas. He gives me daily routines: gets me out of bed for his meds/food, rallies me for walks (with his harness), lounges on the grass (I bring a book), exercises (he gets underneath my planks and dodges my sit-ups). We have spring fever rather than cabin fever - enjoying the slow-down, the flowers, the sunshine. Here is Tom reminding me to stop to smell the roses! BARB RYBICKI
When the Shelter in Place order happened, I picked up my 90-yearold mom Viola to come stay with me. She leads a very active life so it was quite a sudden change for her to be home all the time. My Animal Assisted Therapy dogs - Katy Rose, Scamp the Champ, Bebe and therapy-dogin-training Elvis - quickly adopted Grandma and take turns sitting on her lap all day. Grandma is helping out with Elvis' training at home, teaching him to sit, wait and retrieve toys. And Scamp the Champ is practicing his kisses on Grandma so he'll be ready to go when the Kissing Booth is back in action! YVONNE MORONES
My husband and I fostered Esme for three weeks during the shutdown. It was so enjoyable and comforting to have a sweet pet as a companion. She found the best places to chill with us and was such a love bug! ANN THOMPSON
HSSC Foster Volunteer
During uncertain times of quarantine, my rescue girls have been above and beyond the best emotional support system. Although we are making curves of our own with snacks and cookies, more walks are being taken around our neighborhood for balance. My heeler still has no concept of social distancing and smothers us with play and kisses. It's truly the best medicine. STEPHANIE ANDERSON
Dog Grooming Salon, HSSC
Our adopted bunny Ellie and her friend Charlie provided a little Easter joy to our young nieces and nephews through a texted picture of their egg hunt. S H O N T Y E F L O R E S HSSC Volunteer
My neighborhood observes the 8pm howling in solidarity time each evening, which my family loves. My little 9 lb. all black Chihuahua Matilda, who I adopted from HSSC in 2018, was a little apprehensive the first night we threw open the windows to let our voices be heard. She looked to her big sister Rosie (a Coonhound/St. Bernard mix) and my daughters, who she adores, to gauge how she should feel about the situation. She has a very expressive under-bite and big worried eyes that we love. After a few nights of uncertainty, she is now right up there in the window with us enjoying the together time and being with our friends and neighbors from afar. BETH DES ROSIERS
HSSC Animal Care Manager
My five senior cats comfort me when they cuddle and entertain me when they run around after a toy. They make me feel needed when I give them food and medicine.
This beauty, Jenny-Jane, is my "foster fail." She asks for exercise, patience, care, and a sense of purpose, all of which we provide and gain by having adopted her into our family.
HSSC VETERINARY SERVICES
Together We Are Unstoppable HSSC’s Unified Approach to Veterinary Medicine While the world has changed over the past few months, HSSC’s commitment to the animals has not. Our Shelter Medical Program has always been at the heart of our lifesaving work, and there it remains. We are here not only for the animals who come to us as sick or injured strays, but for those who come to us from other rescue groups when their capacities or capabilities are stretched thin. Our veterinary teams are also here for owned pets. Our public low-cost Spay/Neuter Clinic and Community Veterinary Clinic (now in its second year!) have firmly established HSSC as a vital resource in both the animal sheltering world and in our community. In order to best meet these ever-expanding needs head on, we sought to integrate all our veterinary programs for maximum efficiency. Enter Dr. Lisa Labrecque, DVM — our new Director of Veterinary Services! Dr. Lisa comes to us from Maui Humane Society where she served as Director CVC RVT Melina Stambolis makes a very precious curbside delivery. of Community Spay/Neuter Programs. Prior to that, she’d worked in private practice for over ten years, including having a small animal practice of her own. We’re so honored Dr. Labrecque has returned to the mainland to join our team and are excited for the strides our medical programs will make with her compassionate leadership. Please join us in welcoming her to Sonoma County and get to know her here!
Q&A with Dr. Lisa Labrecque, DVM
Was there a special animal, person or event that inspired you to become a veterinarian?
I credit my mom with being my biggest inspiration to pursue this career. When I was growing up, she was very passionate about animals and I was exposed to a multitude of different animal species during my childhood. We had the usual pets — cats, dogs, fish and a rabbit. We also had birds, turtles, tortoises, lizards and various wildlife that she would rehabilitate and release. She was especially interested in turtles and she collaborated with veterinarians and herpetologists to learn as much as she could about their care. At one point we had more than 60 turtles and tortoises living in our house and in the back yard!
How did you make the leap from private practice to shelter medicine?
While living in Hawaii and working in private practice, I was asked to help out at a cat sanctuary on the island of Lana’i. I took a 45-minute ferry ride over from Maui twice a week to what can only be described as kitty heaven — a fully enclosed, tropical, outdoor sanctuary for 375+ feline residents. The sanctuary was created to protect endangered ground-nesting birds on the island, and for the cats, the sanctuary was life-saving, literally. It was my dream job. I loved the people and the cats and
Dr. Lisa Labrecque, DVM
for the first time in my career I felt like I was truly making a difference for animals. This work led to my job at Maui Humane Society — and now HSSC! CO N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 8
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Why Does My Human Do That? S U E M CG U I R E , C PDT KA TA K L C E RT I F I E D
Working in the field of canine behavior, I’m frequently asked, “Why does my dog do that?” My most common response is, “because he’s/she’s a dog!” In this feature, we turn the tables and let a couple of our dog friends ask their most pressing questions!
Dear Sue, Why do people think we dogs want to say hello to every dog out there? submitted by Sasha, HSSC alumna class of 2019
Dear Sasha, I think this stems from a deep-seated human belief that dogs need to be “socialized” with other dogs. It comes from a misunderstanding of the term socialization. Humans think that to have a nice dog means they should tolerate greeting, and perhaps playing, with every dog they greet. We well-meaning humans assume that because you are all the same species, you should all get along. Or, if you are the same breed type, then of course, you should want to play! As for humans who say, “But, my dog is friendly!”, they don’t realize it’s like saying to a child, “Let total strangers greet you!” Humans sometimes forget that dogs have individual personalities. Some dogs are tolerant of other dogs, some love to mix, mingle and play — and others would prefer to hang with their people. Maybe humans just need a gentle reminder that the most important relationship you will have is with them, not another dog. Fear not, doggos, humans can learn to respect your needs by taking the time to learn about your likes and dislikes and let that information guide interactions.
Dear Sue, Why do humans think all dogs understand English? submitted by Mr. Love Nugget, HSSC alumnus class of 2020
Dear Mr. Love Nugget, Humans, unlike you dogs, are a very verbal species. We often don’t realize that dogs express themselves mostly through body language. If we say something to a dog and the dog does not respond, we tend to repeat ourselves. If nothing happens, we say it louder and with greater intensity. We know none of this actually helps you understand what we want you to do. It might take us awhile to understand that you’re just confused about our request. The first step is for us humans to realize that — as amazingly intuitive as dogs are — you really do appreciate being taught. As trainers, we know that in order for a desired behavior to remain strong, it needs to be reinforced over and over again — and positive reinforcement is the best communication tool we have! It’s a good thing HSSC has plenty of classes that teach people how to teach dogs. Please note the emphasis on teaching people first. You’re welcome, dogs! Sue McGuire, CPDT KA TAKL Certified, is HSSC’s Canine Program Manager and an HSSC public dog training class instructor. In addition to helping dogs and their people in the classroom (humanesocietysoco.org/dog-training), Sue co-hosts and produces the hugely successful podcast, Learning About Dogs.
Canine Basic Training and Manners Class now offered in person and online. Photo by Daniel Frank from Pexels
Check out our training calendar for class descriptions, dates and times — including online classes! HumaneSocietySoCo.org/clever
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photo Â© The Labs & Co.
Compassion comes home.
S H E L T E R O P E R AT I O N S
Transfers from other rescues
(Sonoma County, Statewide & Mexico)
S H E LT E R
CAPA C I T Y
Homeless Animal Rescue & Support Services SHELTER MEDICINE PROGRAM
Shelter animals with medical needs
Value of medical services provided
FOSTER/FOSPICE CARE PROGRAM
Number of fostered kittens
Number of fostered puppies
Number of fospice animals (average age 11)
Number of program volunteers
Small companion animals
Senior animals (7+)
Animals with chronic illness
B E H AV I O R S U P P O R T & T R A I N I N G
Shelter dogs supported
Shelter cats supported
LIVE RELEASE RATE
Public & Community Programs H U M A N E E D U C AT I O N
Camp enrollment Summer & Winter
Animal assisted therapy visits School sites
Read to a Dog
Youth tours students
Total number of volunteers Total volunteer hours
Equivalent number of full time employees
Equivalent full time employee compensation $1,296,930
Total number of dogs trained
Dog training classes
Total number of puppies socialized
Puppy socialization classes
Donations, Events, Bequests, Endowments & Grants $3,402,355 | 73.4%
Hospital, Adoption, Training & Services Fees $890,071 | 19.2% City Contracts $235,000 | 5.4% Investments and Rental Income/Loss $85,256 | 1.7% Pet Supply Shop Sales $22,326 | 0.3%
total $4,635,008 | 100%
Homed Animal Support & Safety Net Services COMMUNITY VETERINARY CLINIC (CVC)
L O W C O S T S PAY / N E U T E R C L I N I C
Pets cared for
Total number of feline surgeries
Dental procedures performed
Total number of canine surgeries 643 A N I M A L B E H AV I O R S U P P O R T
Total cost of services provided
Cat private consultations
Total paid by CVC clients
Dog post adoption consultations
% of costs covered by HSSC
% of costs covered by clients
F R E E P E T F O O D & S U P P L Y PA N T R Y
Number of clients served
Adoptions and Animal Care Programs
$3,526,828 | 70.7% Donor Development and Fundraising $579,273 | 11.6% Education, Outreach and Abuse Prevention Programs $446,444 | 8.9% Management and General $438,105 | 8.8%
total $4,990,650 | 100%
85 CENTS OF EVERY DOLLAR Your donated dollars go directly to help homeless animals get the medical attention, behavior support and adoption services they need to go on to live full, happy lives with loving families. It also supports our efforts to prevent animal abuse and neglect through humane education.
GRANTS RECEIVED: 2018/2019 Fiscal Year Banfield Foundation | Bank of America Charitable Foundation | Clif Bar Family Foundation Community Foundation Sonoma County | Ernest L. & Ruth W. Finley Foundation | Gilleran Energy Management Inc Healdsburg Animal Shelter, Inc. Fund of Community Foundation Sonoma County | In-N-Out Burger Foundation KP Financial Services Ops | The Blatt Family Foundation | Maddie’s Fund | Shirley Ann Spencer Fund for the HSSC Sonoma County Vintners Foundation | The Community Foundation of Mendocino County Inc The Robert and Shirley Harris Family Foundation | Thornton S. Glide and Katrina D. Glide Foundation | Walmart #2468
Humane Society of Sonoma County Board of Directors 2018–2020
Shannon Tracey Kati Aho
Maren McCloud Darlene Brazil
S EC R E TA RY
Frank Kulbertis Grace Lucero Marty Olhiser Robert Quail
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Our Volunteers Rock!
Thank You Volunteers!
Current circumstances have given us all a chance to pause and reflect on what’s most important in our lives. At HSSC, not a day goes by when we are not profoundly grateful for our volunteers. Their compassionate dedication for the animals is crucial to our mission. Just how crucial? Last year HSSC volunteers contributed over 51,000 hours of service! That’s 140 hours a day of walking dogs, visiting cats, scooping litterboxes, prepping pet food, washing dishes and water bowls, doing laundry, mopping floors, spreading the word at community outreach events, answering phones, greeting shelter guests, providing admin support, fostering pets — in short, showing up for the animals when they need it most. So, to our truly amazing volunteers we say THANK YOU! We love you and we couldn’t do it without you. We look forward to the time when Shelter in Place orders are lifted and we can all be together again!
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NEWS F R O M O U R H E A L D S B U R G S H E LT E R KITTY CITY — A MEOWZING SUCCESS!
The cats are enjoying their posh communal cat room located within our Healdsburg Shelter! If you haven’t experienced this cool cat co-housing lounge yet, we invite you to come check it out once Shelter in Place orders are lifted! It’s a cozy space to interact and relax in the company of cats. As beautiful and inviting as Kitty City is, cats don’t tend to stick around long — they’re adopted almost as soon as they arrive! Since our soft launch of KC last November, 111 cats have been adopted from our Healdsburg Shelter! T H E PL AY ’ S T H E T H I N G
Got a social dog who plays well with others? Once public activities are allowed to safely resume, we will be excited to
open our new Puppy Playgrounds at the Healdsburg Shelter. We have two enclosed outdoor play yards — one for small dogs (under 30 lbs.) and one for large dogs! Please watch HSSC’s social media and monthly e-newsletter for more info! ’TIL WE MEET AGAIN
Zoom meetings are effective in a pinch, but nothing beats connecting in person! When the social distancing gap narrows, we will once again offer our Healdsburg Shelter Community Room as meeting space to local businesses and school, youth and community groups. Our Community Room is spacious, airy and perfect for meetings Clayton explores Kitty City. of all sizes. A small donation helps us cover staff and facility costs. For more information, please call the Healdsburg Shelter at (707) 431-3386.
Cowboy puts the Community Room to good use!
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Staff Spotlight CIARA PEGG H E A L D S B U R G A N I M A L CA R E CO O R D I N ATO R
HSSC’s Healdsburg Shelter is not only full of wonderful adoptable pets, it’s full of dedicated, knowledgeable people who care for them! This month, we shine a spotlight on Ciara Pegg, Healdsburg Animal Care Coordinator. If you’ve visited our Healdsburg Shelter in the last two years, chances are you’ve met this key member of our team! A lifelong animal lover whose childhood was filled with every type of pet — from reptiles and birds to a dog adopted from the Humane Society — Ciara also spent after school hours working on a farm with small and large animals. With a background in both human and animal health and behavior, Ciara tells us that after college, she “realized just how much I missed working with and simply being around animals.” We’re so pleased that Ciara sought a career with us! Healdsburg Shelter Manager Karrie Stewart says that Ciara’s versatility and willingness to help are so vital to the shelter’s small team. “She is warm and welcoming to the public, she makes people feel instantly comfortable. She’s able to answer any questions and is the first to jump in to help, clean or answer a call — and she has great judgement when issues come up.” Ciara is not only adored by humans and animals alike; she plays an important role in keeping the details of shelter work moving forward on a daily basis. “One aspect of my job I really enjoy is that I get to do a little bit of everything,” she tells us. Her responsibilities include general animal care, medical care (including treating cats with ringworm), facilitating adoptions, coordinating tasks for 50+ active Healdsburg volunteers and sending updates on the shelter’s adoptable pets to the Healdsburg Tribune. Being able to juggle so many different activities
Ciara with Logan, a Healdsburg shelter dog who was adopted by her parents!
throughout the day is one thing, but to do them so well is another. Karrie says that Ciara’s attention cannot be understated. “She is extremely conscientious, never missing a detail related to the animals — whether it be medication, a health concern or a behavior change. We are so fortunate to have her here!” When she’s not busy being a rock star team member, Ciara can be found hiking and backpacking or involved in artistic pursuits. She enjoys painting and is an extremely gifted photographer. Pets, naturally, are some of her favorite subjects. She took all of the beautiful photos in this layout! Thank you, Ciara, for all your hard work, valuable skillset and endless compassion!
Barrel appreciates Kitty City's upcycled decor!
HSSC VETERINARY SERVICES
Q&A with Dr. Lisa Labrecque, DVM cont.
What career achievements are you proudest of so far?
One of the biggest challenges we faced in Hawaii was the enormous feral cat population. When I started working at Maui Humane Society, nearly all feral cats that came to the shelter were euthanized. During my tenure, we developed and implemented a multi-faceted strategy to address the feral cat issue, including highvolume spay/neuter, TNR (trap-neuter-return), and RTF (return to field). Through these programs our live release rate for cats increased from 27% to 91% in just five years.
Neuter Clinic and the CVC. With few exceptions, these departments did not share staff, kept separate inventories of supplies and medications and had separate budgets. I was tasked with bringing these three departments together into one cohesive Veterinary Medical Department. To gain a better understanding of how things operated, I spent time working in all three areas, during which time I got to know each team and learned about the existing procedures and protocols. I met with each staff member to gain a better understanding of their skills and interests, and also to get their input into the process. We also started having Doctors’ meetings every two weeks to share information, go over protocols and discuss medical cases. Another goal is to do more cross-training of staff from the three sub-departments, so that they are better equipped to fill in for each other as needed. It’s still a work in progress, but I am pleased with the progress we have made so far.
Between hands-on veterinary work and overseeing all three medical departments, your workload is formidable. How are you able to effectively switch between the intense focus of surgeries and being able to drive big picture strategies for the greatest good?
Dr. Lisa takes a break between spay/neuter surgeries.
The other achievement I am most proud of is the creation of the community HQHVSN (high-quality, high-volume spay neuter) clinic at Maui Humane Society. Prior to setting up this clinic, we were doing 2,000 to 3,000 spay/neuter surgeries per year. Once the clinic was fully staffed and operational, we could perform 7,000 to 8,000 surgeries a year. This made a huge impact on the homeless animal population on the island.
What led you back to California and, ultimately, to HSSC?
Living in Hawaii was a unique and magical experience in many ways, but it was also hard being isolated from the mainland, and especially from friends and family. I lived in San Francisco for many years and went to vet school at U.C. Davis, so coming back to Northern California where we have family and friends made sense. When I was looking at job opportunities in the area, I was attracted to HSSC because of its programs and successes. Once I met the people behind the scenes, I was even more impressed with the organization. I am very happy to now be part of the HSSC family.
Talk about your strategy to better integrate HSSC’s medical programs. What are your goals and outcomes so far?
When I started as Director of Veterinary Services at HSSC, there were three distinct medical departments — Shelter Medicine, the Public Spay/ 18
I suppose it’s because I enjoy both of these aspects of my job very much. Surgery is relaxing to me; I love the calm and quiet environment of our surgery suite with soft music playing in the background. Each surgery technician has a specific role and we work together like a well-choreographed dance. There’s a tremendous feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of each shift, knowing that we were able to help so many animals. Outside of surgery I get to be more creative. I enjoy collaborating with the various members of my team to develop new protocols, find ways to work more efficiently and to come up with novel solutions to the challenges we face. It is truly a team effort.
Tell us about your own pets!
We currently have three dogs and six cats. As you can imagine it was quite an ordeal getting them all here from Hawaii! We also had two turtles there but we left them behind with the couple who bought our house because they really wanted them. They even wrote it into the purchase contract! All eleven animals were rescues, of course!
When you’re not practicing veterinary medicine, we can find you...
Before COVID-19, of course, you might find me taking the dogs to the dog park or the beach, exploring our new neighborhood and surroundings, trying new restaurants, hiking, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends. As a former figure skater, you might even find me on the ice someday now that I am living back where there is ice! But first I have to heal from a pesky knee injury!
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Updates from our Veterinary Programs S H E LT E R M E D I C I N E
Thanks to your contributions to our Angels Fund, we are able to offer second chances to animals with medical conditions who might not be considered adoptable at other shelters. We know these animals have so much life to live and so much love to give, and we’re so grateful to be part of a compassionate community who recognizes this too! Over 85% of the animals we take in require medical attention beyond routine exams on the path to adoption. While Sheltering in Place, it remains our priority to care for these animals. “Veterinary medicine is an essential service, so we are continuing to provide medical care to the animals in the shelter using limited staff,” explains Dr. Labrecque, HSSC’s Director of Veterinary Services. During this time, we have treated and managed conditions both chronic and acute, including special cases like Willow — a senior cat who arrived at HSSC earlier this year showing signs of diabetes. In addition to treating her condition with insulin therapy, our team started her on a low-carb diet. Happily, with this combination, her glucose levels reverted to normal and she has been able to remain in remission through diet alone! We are thrilled to report that Willow has found a loving home with someone who will continue to love and look after her as she deserves!
Shelter in Place they’ve been prioritizing the most serious cases. Senior dog Yogi’s teeth and gums were so severely decayed that he was having trouble eating. He also had an oronasal fistula — a hole in the tissue connecting his nasal cavity and the roof of his mouth. Adapting and adhering to social distancing protocols, our team RVT Anna Hill with shelter dental patient Yogi. performed this essential surgery for Yogi in April, which dramatically improved his quality of life. HSSC RVT Anna Hill emphasizes the care that goes into every procedure, “We are operating as a skeleton crew and practicing social distancing in the surgical suite. We also wear protective gear at all times.” Yogi recovered quickly and was soon eating and feeling much better — and is now ready to find his forever home! Calvin, a gorgeous husky mix, also needed lifesaving surgery during the pandemic. A couple weeks after he came into our care, it was discovered that Calvin liked eating rocks. He was very sly at picking up and swallowing them while acting like he was just sniffing the ground!
Ringworm is another condition that requires lengthy and extensive treatment. Infected animals need to be isolated from others to ensure that this highly contagious Radiographs revealed that Calvin condition doesn’t spread. Shelters had three rocks in his stomach, so Calvin in the post-surgery cone zone. are often faced with having to our veterinary team proceeded euthanize rather than treat. Thankfully, HSSC is equipped with surgery to remove them. He recovered well and with ringworm wards at both of our shelter locations and we trained him to wear a basket muzzle while out on walks can take infected animals from other shelters when they to keep him safe. His new family keeps close eye on him so need us! Our vet team he doesn’t eat anything he shouldn't! made sure Charlotte We are grateful for the many adopters who so lovingly Rae was isolated but and unconditionally bring home pets with special medical never lonely during her needs — taking over their health management with their six-week treatment own vets to give them the happiest, best lives possible. phase. Once she was This is what we want for every animal in our care and it has cleared medically, the been especially heartening to see our community open sweet two-year-old cat their hearts and homes to these very special beings in the found a home through face of the COVID-19 crisis. our safe adoption protocols.
Beautiful Willow received lots of medical TLC on her journey to her forever home!
Dental disease is a common condition that our team addresses year-round and during
Your donations to our Angels Fund go directly to providing veterinary care to homeless animals on their journey to forever homes! Please visit humanesocietysoco.org/donate and select Angels Fund from the drop down menu. CO N T I N U E D N E XT PA G E
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patient admissions and discharges. Just some of the lifesaving surgeries the CVC team has performed since Shelter in Place orders were issued include: urethrostomy to help a blocked cat, forelimb amputation for a Chihuahua who jumped off a bunk bed while playing with a child who was home due to school Dr. Ada with Lilly, a CVC surgery patient. cancellation, pyometra surgeries for several dogs, critical dental procedures for pets that would have otherwise needed to be euthanized due to disease and pain, and removal of several tumors that would have become metastatic if surgery had been prolonged. They’ve also treated pets with severe gastrointestinal disease, infected thyroid tumors, tooth root abscesses, anemia and progressive heart disease.
Dr. Lisa performing a spay surgery.
CO M M U N I TY VE T E R I N A RY C L I N I C U PDAT E S
This February, we celebrated the first anniversary of our Community Veterinary Clinic. Our first year was full of hundreds upon hundreds of success stories, all made possible thanks to generous donor support. It was also a year of pivoting and adapting as we learned how we could best meet our community’s overwhelming demand for services. We quickly discovered, that, due to financial hardship, many of our clients hadn’t been able to access veterinary care for their pets for many years, resulting in complex, advanced conditions. We quickly shifted from offering basic wellness care to focusing on our continual stream of urgent cases.
CVC patient Bunny received lifesaving pyrometra surgery.
From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our CVC team has continued to provide essential services while operating with a limited onsite crew, prioritizing the most critical cases. To reduce exposure for clients and staff, Dr. Ada and her tiny team of techs wear head-to-toe personal protection equipment and adhere to six-foot distancing exchanges for all
The team has adapted to safely perform other clinic duties as well. Working from home, CVC staff and volunteers have been fielding hundreds of calls — from triage situations to rescheduling less urgent appointments, to providing guidance and information to pet owners in need. They are delivering urgent medications and prescription foods curbside, as well as mailing many other prescription refills. Now more than ever, in the midst of this crisis and into the future as its impact continues to ripple throughout our community, we remain thankful for your support, which enables us to serve as an essential resource for those in need. Dr. Norris sums up our collective gratitude best: “We are so grateful to be here, tending to our precious community — providing care for the animals, relieving their pain and their families’ concern and worry.” Your support of HSSC’s Community Veterinary Clinic helps keep pets with the families who love them. Please visit: humanesocietysoco.org/cvc-donate L OW- CO S T S PAY/ N E U T E R C L I N I C U P D AT E S
Last year we evaluated new ways to most efficiently meet community demand for low-cost services with our two-day-a-week clinic. With expertise in high-volume spay/neuter surgeries, Dr. Labrecque, HSSC’s Director of Veterinary Services, helped us restructure the way our three medical wings work together so we could cross-train staff between programs. This would help us maximize our entire medical team’s expertise and increase the number of surgeries we could perform at each clinic. With these turbocharged goals in place, our public spay/neuter efforts got off to a strong start in 2020: surgeries in January and February were up 43% from the same time frame in 2019! The uptick was going along well when along came COVID-19 and stopped us in our tracks. In order to adhere to public
HSSC VETERINARY SERVICES
health guidelines and keep our staff and community safe, we needed to temporarily close our public spay/neuter clinic. This involved postponing three weeks of scheduled surgeries and starting a waitlist for future surgeries. While we know spay/neuter is the most important tool in reducing the number of homeless pets in our community, it is not considered an essential surgery in guidelines set forth by the U.S. Surgeon General during this pandemic. Essential surgeries are reserved for life-threatening emergencies — procedures that are urgently required to maintain the health of the patient.
“We are also finding that many of the supplies we need to perform surgery (sterile gloves, masks, caps, gowns, and anesthetic drugs) are on backorder, so we need to conserve,” Dr. Labrecque shares. “We are currently looking at changing our anesthetic protocols and switching exclusively to veterinary-only drugs so as to not compete with hospitals.” Lastly, Dr. Labrecque emphasizes the importance of doing all we can to keep everyone safe and shorten the crisis as best we can “so that we are able to come back strong and address our community’s spay/neuter needs, potentially at levels we’ve never seen before.”
Additionally, to protect our staff HSSC’s Low-Cost Spay/Neuter and clients we knew we’d have Clinic is subsidized through to take every precaution to support from Community limit contact between people. Foundation Sonoma County “Bringing in staff for elective and the Ted and Joyce Picco High volume spay/neuter + keeping our community safe = procedures such as spay/neuter Foundation, along with a number delicate balance. will increase exposure to everyone of generous individual donors. (staff, volunteers, clients) and has the potential to spread Please join them and help us be ready to tackle the virus,” Dr. Labrecque states. “We need to do our part to spay/neuter in the post-COVID-19 world by visiting flatten the curve. The longer the staff are at work during humanesocietysoco.org/donate and selecting this time, the more stress they will experience, and this also Spay/Neuter from the drop down menu. increases their risk.”
N O R T H B AY P E T S
Humane Education Program Updates The Humane Education program of The Humane Society of Sonoma County is centered around a model of compassion and community. We aim to teach youth about the importance of empathy, kindness, and respect for all beings through activities that foster growth, learning, critical thinking and community engagement. Check out some of our current offerings! Given current circumstances, we may be creating a virtual camps program online and postponing onsite community service and volunteering opportunities until it is considered safe to gather again. For current information, visit humanesocietysoco.org/ youth-programs/ humane-education.
HSSC campers make a new friend!
FURRY FRIENDS WINTER AND SUMMER CAMPS
CO M M U N I TY S E R VI C E DAYS
Our Furry Friends seasonal camps offer fun, interactive and educational experiences for children in grades 2–7. Engage in meet and greets with shelter animals, learn about how an animal shelter operates through staff presentations, participate in arts and crafts activities and become a youth ambassador for HSSC!
HSSC offers community service opportunities during select days every month. During these days, children between the ages of 10 and 17 are able to become Junior Animal Attendants for the day and assist shelter staff with animal socialization, cleaning and maintaining animal habitats and creating enrichment items for the shelter animals. Hours accrued by participating in community service days at HSSC can be used to fulfill academic community service requirements.
Humane Society of Sonoma County’s
G R O U P VO LU N T E E R DAYS
Is your child a part of a youth group or scout troop? If so, HSSC would love to have your child’s group at the shelter for a tour and a day of volunteer activities! Group volunteer days can be scheduled by contacting our Humane Educator, Brenda Rynders, at brynders@ humanesocietysoco.org.
Youth Animal Adventure & Education June, July, August dates Registration open online now! HumaneSocietySoCo.org/Camps
As we continue to expand our Humane Education program, our goal is to provide additional learning experiences through classroom visits, workshops, and after school activities. We are also excited to be hosting our very first Furry Friends Summer Camp at our Healdsburg shelter in June 2020, allowing us to reach youth from our Healdsburg, Windsor, Geyserville and Cloverdale communities! Without your unwavering support, our Humane Education program would not be possible. Thank you so much for your dedication and commitment to our organization!
N O R T H B AY P E T S
Bequests NOVEMBER 2019 â€“ APRIL 2020
E S TAT E O F M A R Y A B E L M A R G A R E T L . A D A M S FA M I LY T R U S T MASAKI AZUKA EVERETT H. GREGORY 1995 TRUST M A R G O T M . PAT R I C K T R U S T NANCY QUINLAN HILMA SCHAFFER VIRGINIA TERZIAN REVOCABLE TRUST W I L L I A M VA N H A A F T E N
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5345 Hwy 12 West | Santa Rosa, CA 95407 | 707.542.0882 555 Westside Road | Healdsburg, CA 95448 | 707.431.3386 www.HumaneSocietySoCo.org The Humane Society of Sonoma County does not receive funding from national organizations such as HSUS or ASPCA. We depend on donations from our local community. North Bay Pets is a publication of the Humane Society of Sonoma County. © 2020 | All rights reserved.
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