B&T’s New Foster Program: CHAMP

One silver lining from the shelter restrictions has been a transition of SFACC volunteers from working with animals in the building to fostering adoptable animals in their homes, which is hugely beneficial for both the animals and shelter staff. To continue reaping the benefits of this shift, the Behavior & Training team at SFACC has developed a custom online program to train volunteers for a new foster program called CHAMP (Caregivers Helping Animals Make Progress).

First, volunteers review an Introductory module, “Caring for Shelter Animals in Your Home,” that covers basic shelter policies and procedures for fostering and will be required of all new CHAMP foster caregivers. Second, volunteers complete a species-specific module on either dog or cat fostering before they become an official CHAMP. The dog and cat modules give an in-depth look at species-specific behavior, SFACC-approved training approaches, and fostering expectations.

The Behavior & Training team has been hard at work developing these modules to prepare new foster families to be successful and kudos to SFACC staff Lauren (LT) Taylor and Ariana Luchsinger. Special thanks to Daniel Quagliozzi of Go Cat Go SF for offering invaluable insight on the behavior of our feline friends and contributing a great deal of the cat-specific knowledge for foster volunteers.

According to Lauren Taylor, Behavior & Training Supervisor, SFACC currently has between 64-70 individuals signed up for emergency/COVID fostering–some have fostered multiple times, some fostered once and fell in love/decided to adopt their foster (‘foster wins’), some are still waiting in the wings for the right match. These individuals have supported us through the most difficult months of COVID and sprang to action when we needed them most.

Right now, 80 individuals have expressed interest in training for the new CHAMP program, and are in the middle of varying levels of onboarding/training. Of those, 27 have completed the Intro. module and either need to retake the quiz before proceeding or have passed the quiz and are awaiting the species-specific modules. New foster applications are coming in almost daily.

You do not need to be a current SFACC volunteer to join CHAMP! You just fill out an application online and wait for us to get back to you about next steps. Response time might be anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks depending on shelter staffing.

Fosters working in the CHAMP program will have access to Maddie’s Pet Assistant app, which is available for free and is a great resource for shelters and rescue organizations. The app gives advice on care, reminders on vaccinations, weight-tracking, and other tools to share photos and stories to help animals get adopted.

SFACC’s CHAMP program is a proud recipient of funding from Maddie’s Fund, helping to achieve a no-kill nation. The grant was used to cover foster supplies such as bowls, crates, Kongs, food bins, and enrichment for cats.

October 2020

The happiest of happy tales! From homeless dog to member of the wedding in one week. Freddy-Loo (formerly String Bean) attended his parents’ wedding recently, just a week after they adopted him. Congratulations!

Max was adopted by his finder.

Canine FOMO: recently adopted bun girl Bobbie has become fast friends with her dog brother Ted and even convinced him to try parsley!  Teddy has never eaten greens until he saw Bobbie eating them so he quickly joined in. Check them out on Instagram.

A litter of foster kittens has gone home with their new families and all in pairs! Meet them below with their new parents. Congratulations!

Dick Van Dyke & Betty White

Serena & Brad

RBG & Queen Elizabeth II

Susie-Q we love you. And your new family does too! Congratulations!

Sweet fluffy Reicy has gone home.

“Here’s an update on Bertie (previously Chrissy) who I adopted from ACC in April. She was laid up for 5 weeks in a soft cast after an arthroscopy and osteotomy. She wasn’t too happy about that, but has healed well and is now living her best life! We love her so much! She is the best dog!”


James Bond

Louis Lafayette was adopted by SFACC B&T Supervisor, Lauren (LT) Taylor. Lucky dog!

Pooh Bear and Piglet

Skippy and Scooter are going home with a full house, including a dog sibling.

Matthew (B/W pittie), Jack Muffin, and Rex were all transferred by the awesome SFACC team to adoption partners in Oregon and Carson City, Nevada for their second chance at a forever home.
Good luck, boys!

Astrid was adopted in early October.

Whatagirl was adopted. (What a name!)

Teddy Meowsevelt sent us an update. He’s doing great and wants you to know he voted!

Libby sends us an update every year…
“It’s me, Libby again. My mom wasn’t going to post an update this year, but I told her it was national black dog day (Oct. 1st) and I’m a black dog, so we should post something. This year marks 6 years (Oct. 15th 2014) since I’ve been in my forever home. Thank you for finding me my perfect family. I’m doing great and living my best life with my dog brothers….Fort Funston and our backyard are still my favorite places to hang out. Mom says I’m still the same happy wiggly pup I was 6 years ago, except I’ve learned some manners since then.”

Sweet pup Ferdinand is on his way home with his new parents. Congratulations and happy trails!

Fabulous guinea pig gent Johnny Rose has found his forever family!

September 2020

“Thank you for matching our family with a wonderful kitten! We just adore Buttercup (formerly Petunia) and she is a treasured member of our family. Our daughter adores her and kitty settled in easily to her new home. The cat body language chart included in the adoption packet has been super helpful for our 4 year old–it’s hanging on the wall and we refer to it often.”

Sweet Herman and his new mom! He came to us as a stray; when no one came to claim him, his finder adopted him.

An update from Ripley’s family: “I just wanted to thank you for bringing Ripley into our lives. We liked his name so we kept it. He is such a brave little guy; he didn’t seem one bit scared or hesitant when we brought him home. He has settled right in as if he’s been here for years. We already love him so much! Here are some photos of his first days.”

A newly adopted senior cat and his canine sister! Baxter’s 92-year-old guardian could no longer care for him, so she called SFACC. The officer who picked him up was smitten with his bobcat face and mellow, friendly demeanor, and decided to foster, then adopt him. She and her husband are very happy to bring a cat into the mix, and want to remind everyone that senior cats and dogs make wonderful family members. SFACC grad Tati and her new feline brother, Baxter, love to hang out together. Baxter, a senior gent at 12 years old, has settled into his new home beautifully, playing with his cat toys, batting his paw at Tati when she wants to play and it’s his siesta time, and lounging around. Not pictured is other canine sister Darla, who at 18 years of age makes him the middle child. Darla has welcomed Baxter into his new home by eating his food, smelling him when he walks by, and taking over one of his cat beds.”

Boss is adopted and has three new human playmates.

Sweet Lucy was found running in traffic and brought in by a Good Samaritan. When no one came for her, Lucy’s finder adopted her.

Petree and Little Foot have been adopted together.

Our little guy Rocky has gone home with his new parents.

Cute sisters Schnuffy & Penny are now with our partner Ratical Rodent Rescue.

Some lovely chickens were abandoned when their person moved; kind neighbors helped round them up and now they’re safely at a rescue.

Love cat Otis would like to announce that he’s been adopted! He came to us as a stray. When no one came forward to claim him, his finder adopted him. Yay Otis!

Pretty Mina was adopted a few months ago and has proven to be a great cuddler and an excellent supervisor for working at home: “Here are some pictures from this past month with the sweetest girl.”

We love when kittens are adopted in pairs! We got this update about the kitten duo formerly known as Peach & Plum: “Momo (formerly Peach, Momo actually translates to peach in Japanese) and Louie (formerly Plum) are all settled in in their new home. They are a happy pair, cuddle and play all day. Louie was shy at the beginning but gradually warming up to his new family. Momo, the social butterfly, is helping to bring out the best in him. We’re glad to have them in our family. They sure bring warmth and joy.”

Kitten cuties Mimi & Missy have been adopted together!

We got a great update about Sammy (formerly foster kitten Tito). “Just wanted to let you know that we love Sammy so much, and he’s basically fully integrated into the apartment along with his brothers. He roams freely now! He’s very committed to getting his brothers to play. They don’t always want to, but Sammy has an endless optimism about it all.”

Kittens Carl, Clayton & Cole all adopted from their foster home! Happy tails to all these new families!
We’re so thankful to our foster families, not only for caring for our animals but also helping with adoptions.

“We adopted two kittens from SFACC a few months ago. They are now named Nova (the girl) and Rocket (the boy). They are much bigger but still very playful and loving…We love them so much….We are so happy to have them in our family!”

SFACC ACAs Kathryn Jones and James Purcell Help with Butte County Wildfire Rescue Efforts

By Kathryn Jones
Animal Care Attendant

Last week I was given the opportunity to provide emergency assistance to the people and animals of Butte County as they experience another devastating sweep of fires in their region (the North Complex Fire). Previously, James Purcell (another Animal Care Attendant at SFACC) and I had deployed to Butte in 2018 to help during the Camp Fire. I was excited and grateful to be able to help this community that I had come to so deeply appreciate and care for, and apprehensive because I was once again reporting to a fire zone, and didn’t know what work lay ahead of me.

James arrived in Butte a few days before me and got to work on dropping off much needed supplies for folks and animals sheltering in place. He drove injured and burnt animals all the way from Oroville and Chico to UC Davis, transported animals from emergency shelters back home to their owners, and seemed to be all over the county. I anticipated similar work but was in for a pleasant surprise; the emergency shelters were critically low on people with large animal experience.

When I arrived at the command center, I offered to go anywhere I was needed. When they realized I had ranch experience, I was swiftly deployed to the emergency large animal shelter—an equestrian park in Oroville known as Camelot. The owner of Camelot, Mike, had generously offered to host evacuated farm animals and exotics on his land.

I spent the majority of the week caring for a variety of animals on the ranch. There were mini donkeys, pigs, chickens, dwarf goats, draft horses, wild mustangs from BLM land, peacocks, ducks, pheasants, sheep, all manner of chickens and roosters, cows, llamas, and even a zebra!

Ranch work is physically exhausting, starts at dawn, and often goes until the sun has set. It was a grueling week, but one that was filled with rewarding experiences. I was able to assist a vet in giving subcutaneous fluids to a goat that had been plucked from a burning field, help load up a 300lb pig named Fred (he went back home to his family!), apprehended and safely confined a loose hog, figured out how to relocate two feral llamas (don’t get spit on!), made new friends, and saw old ones from the Camp Fire. Any time I am deployed, I am always grateful to be a part of a community that can come together so magnificently in support of each other and the animals we love.

August 2020

In August, the shelter found homes for 103 animals (80 cats, 10 dogs, and 13 small animals) through virtual adoptions (thank-you foster parents!). SFACC’s partner organizations took in another 299 animals (143 cats, 42 dogs, 114 small animals).
Here are some adoption stories and updates!

Sweet pup Raul has been adopted. Congratulations!

Handsome senior gent Little Fluff arrived at the shelter after his person died. After thoroughly charming our staff, he was adopted before we even posted him! His adopter sent in photos of him relaxing in his new home.

Beethoven was adopted about 2 years ago. His adopter reports “I wanted to send in some pictures to show how he’s doing. The first picture is a few days after I adopted him, and the other two are how he looks now! When I was told he was returned twice, I knew we had to keep him!
Hope you guys are well! And thanks again for letting me make him apart of my family!”

Bunsen (was Boo) came into the shelter as a teeny pup with his mom and siblings and was adopted last month. “Bunsen (formally Boo) is doing really well! He loves belly rubs, chasing balls, and is very cuddly. We are anxious to get his final shots in a couple of weeks so he can get out and explore the world. I’ve taken him to a couple of puppy play groups and he is super social. He is also very brave and confident with bigger dogs. He is really behaved and has already learned sit, shake, lay down, etc. We love him so much!”

Happy 5-year adopta-versary to Isabelle! Her adopter says “Here is my beloved and cherished girl Isabelle celebrating her 5-year adopta-versary from SF ACC in July. We love You guys and are very grateful for the wonderful care u gave her while she was in your care. Isabelle is enjoying her life, her healthy homemade diet, back massages, nearby park and a rather extensive wardrobe of shirts, sweaters, dresses and tutu skirts. She is the best girl, a kitty worshipper and a wonderful California Assistance Dog. So smart, kind and loving. I cannot imagine my life without her.
We are me looking forward to many many more happy years together”

Cutie pie Stumpy McGee was adopted last month and we already got an update! He’s settling into his new home, enjoying trips to the park, lounging on comfy dog beds and supervising work at home.

Matias was adopted recently and he and his new brother are already starting to be furriends!! His brother Grayson was adopted from a cat cafe in Portland.

Nemo adopted!

Scruffimuffin Lentil has been adopted. Her new name is Muffet; here she is on her “tuffet” in her new home!

Sushi was adopted as a puppy in 2018 and has grown up to be a big handsome adventure dog! He loves exploring, boating, and posing like a super model.

Clever SFACC alumna Claire has found an exciting way to experience nature: bird videos!

Gorgeous house panther Carmen was adopted earlier this month, and we already have an update: “We wanted to let you know that Kokoro (formerly Carmen) is adjusting well to family life. She has supervised visits with her canine sister and intros are going really well. She’s a wonderful little chatterbox and loves to sit in the window overlooking the yard.”

Pretty Plum has found her forever home!

Sylvester the parakeet was recently adopted and is doing great in his new home! His adopter made this great portrait of him and his beloved disco ball!

Former foster Libby is now named Bagheera, the little panther: “she is doing fantastic, an incredibly smart cat, super playful and always looking for our company wherever we are in the house.”

Dinnertime for five guinea pig cuties, all ACC alumni! Belle, Black Ears (now Bea), and Sandy (all three adopted together in July) with former ACC adoptions, Adilita (brown; adopted 2016) and Luna (crazy haired gray and white, adopted 2018) are one happy family now and enjoying each other’s company.

Bubbles was one of our early virtual adoptions. Her adopters share: “I just wanted to take a moment to thank you again for bringing miss Bubbles into our lives. Today marks two months since we picked her up from you! She has really settled it in well. I’m learning more about her every day. She is still nervous sometimes but trusts Alex and I and we are enjoying new routines and rituals. I’ve attached some photos of our girl. Thank you for bringing this love into our home. We love this little goon.”

A belated adopt-a-versary over here, but just dropping a note to send you pics of the former Bramble Pie – today known as Lorraine “Lolo” Hansberry – living her best life and bringing energy and big joie de vivre to our lives.  She’s a regular circus trick dog, with many awesome things in her repertoire. She loves to jump through hula hoops, sit in boxes, hunt for squeaky toys and climb all things, including the occasional window that she should really stay out of. She loves to learn new things and is a training maniac. 
Thank you so much for bringing her into our lives,
AJ, Christine and Lolo


Ferris and his new family.