Today, August 17, through Sunday, August 19, Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) is participating in NBC Bay Area’s Clear the Shelters adoption promotion. The idea is to drive as many adopters into HSSV’s main location and 2 satellite adoption centers as possible, so the dogs, cats, rabbits, and “pocket pets” (hamsters, gerbils, etc.) there can find new, loving homes. Nationwide, NBC-owned TV stations and Telemundo are teaming to help shelters place animals with new owners.
During last year’s promotion, HSSV placed 173 animals in homes. This year, working with 3 days instead of 1, they hope to handily outdo that number.
Adoption isn’t the center’s only focus. A 501(c)(3) non-profit that’s been operating for over 80 years, they also offer vaccinations, microchipping services, spaying/neutering, pet care services, and even education programs geared toward deepening the bond between animals and humans.
To date, they’ve facilitated over half a million pet adoptions.
The other day, I got a private tour of the HSSV Animal Community Center, courtesy of Director of Marketing Sandy Mallalieu. It’s hard to overstate the center’s basic air of quality: It’s about as gorgeous and comfortable as a five-star hotel. The animals there live in such comfort and luxury that I wondered what I’d done wrong in life to not be living among them.
Dogs sit, blinking and panting, upon colorful mats and blankets. Cats take deep naps in lushly insulated, bed-like structures. Classical music gets piped in through speakers, set at just low enough a volume to make you half-think you’ve wandered into animal heaven.
Indeed, in September, 2017, HSSV was crowned as the world’s first model shelter, meaning it now honors every single one of the 543 guidelines set down by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.
As Mallalieu explained, “It’s aimed at helping animals get healthy, stay healthy in shelters, [and] set them up for great success in the world.
“We proved it can be done.”
Not only did they prove it can be done, but HSSV is now consulting with other shelters around the world to help them reach model status.
Notably, HSSV’s high performance level contributes to an unusually high save rate (meaning rate of animals that get placed in homes as opposed to being euthanized).
HSSV President Carol Novello with Tess.
As HSSV President Carol Novello (whose stunning German Shepherd Tess napped at her feet) explained, “We have an over 95% save rate. The animal welfare sector is made up of different kinds of organizations. So what our role in the community is, we actually go out to government-operated shelters and government-funded shelters. We pull animals out of those shelters, so it frees up their capacity. Fortunately, Silicon Valley is in really good shape as a community. Of the 6 shelters that operate in Silicon Valley, we have a community-wide save rate of 94%.”
To put that in perspective, across the State of California, the average save rate is only 72%.
Novello went on to say, “We now have started a coalition; we’re working with San Francisco SPCA and Marin Humane, and the three of us are serving as a destination shelter, where we’re going and we’re partnering with shelters in the Central Valley, where there’s still tons of euthanasia going on, and a lot of healthy animals are dying, and we’re bringing those animals in. So we’re able to do that because Silicon Valley’s in such good shape.”
Since Silicon Valley’s government-operated shelters are competent when it comes to handling animal capacity and not relying on euthanasia, the aforementioned coalition has an enhanced ability to extend beyond the boundaries of its own communities.
NBC Bay Area’s Clear the Shelters adoption promotion runs at HSSV Animal Community Center (901 Ames Ave., Milpitas, CA), West San Jose Neighborhood Adoption Center in Petco (500 El Paseo de Saratoga, San Jose, CA), and Sunnyvale Neighborhood Adoption Center in Petco (160 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA), today, 8/17, from 12PM to 6PM, and on Saturday and Sunday, 8/18-8/19, from 10AM to 6PM.
Judging from the animals that I met, a lot of homes are about to be very happy.