July 2021

In July, SFACC completed 143 adoptions: 12 dogs, 120 cats, and 11 other species (guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, etc.). In addition, the shelter staff transferred 46 dogs, 77 cats, and 113 other species to partner organizations. Thank you to our fosters, adopters, and partner organizations!

A potential adopter, Amy, and her daughters drove from Santa Rosa to visit a hamster who turned out to be in foster. Luckily we had 3 other hamsters for them to visit.
As they visited with the hamsters, another mom and daughter were talking to shelter representative Martha about adopting a hamster named Taro. The mom and daughters from Santa Rosa then came to the desk interested in adopting the same hamster! The mom and her daughter who were at the desk first said “They can adopt her instead. Since they drove from Santa Rosa, they deserve it.” That made Martha’s (and everyone else’s) day! And they adopted equally adorable hamster, Lightning. They all became besties and two adorable hamsters got adopted. Thanks to Martha for sharing this story!

Tommy Pickles has been adopted and is happy at home with his new family.

Macx’s awesome Dads celebrated his 5th birthday recently. This is him floating down the Russian River). No cake but we heard he ate a whole rotisserie chicken for dinner. We miss you, Macx and we love that you are living your best life!

Our largest scale update yet! “I adopted Nell (shelter name Sugar) in Jan 2020 and she’s been the absolute best kitty & companion for every life milestone. Today she was by my side for my company’s IPO—and Nasdaq posted our picture on a 120′ tall neon sign in Times Square! She’s expecting calls from talent agents any time now.”

An update AND a beautiful portrait: “I adopted Chip and Oreo, two guinea pig pals, very happy, they’re getting settled.”

Bernie’s Grooming – Pampering Shelter Pooches

By Lisa Stanziano
Editor, The SFACC Newsletter

Pulling into the driveway of the new SFACC building at 1419 Bryant, the first door you see on the right is Bernie’s Grooming. Bernadette (Bernie) Machado operates two shops in San Francisco (the other is City Dogs at 177 Brannon Street). For over a decade, the groomers who work at the shelter location have served shelter dog clients as well as private clients, and Bernie was invited to move from Harrison to Bryant Street with the rest of the SFACC crew.

The partnership began in 2006 when then SFACC director, Carl Friedman, imagined offering grooming services for pets as a way to draw people into the shelter and change negative perceptions that some folks have about animal shelters. “His idea was that if people brought their own dogs to be groomed and saw the staff at work, and how well the animals were cared for, they might come away with new insights about the shelter and see that SFACC is a haven for animals who need help, not a scary place. They might also learn about available services and might happen to see a dog or a guinea pig to consider adopting. And my team would groom some shelter dogs to make them look and feel their best, making them more comfortable and adoptable. It was a brilliant outreach idea. This was Carl’s visionary idea, to open awareness of the care given to SFACC animals.”

Working on this theory, Bernie and her team groomed shelter dogs as needed, in addition to private appointments. “In some cases, I would say four out of five of the dogs who come in to SFACC are being bathed for the first time. Some are very shy. My approach has always been to work with a dog’s pace and not to add to their stress. If a bath and a nail trim seems too stressful, I’d wait on the nail trim.” Responding to each dog’s level of anxiety, Bernie works slowly to gain their trust. Her philosophy is that if an animal feels good, it will be more self-confident and happier. She developed this outlook at a young age. Growing up, she noticed that whenever her family dog went to the groomer, they came back with injuries—cuts or knicks. At the tender age of 11, she decided she would become a groomer herself—a caring and careful groomer who would not hurt the dogs. She has fulfilled her pledge and then some. Bernie opened her first grooming salon  on Valencia street in 1996 and moved to SFACC in 2006; then open City Dogs on Brannan Street in 2011. Bernie’s goal for each dog is to “make them feel as special as a person does when a dog greets them with a smile and a wagging tail.” Dog lovers understand what this means.

What’s evident to me the more we talk is that Bernie is also a community-minded person, who is nice. She values niceness highly. “Every person I hire, whether they’re experienced groomers or interns, must be a niceness is a quality Bernie admires and requires. I can teach them how to groom but I can’t teach them to be nice. That’s a requirement for anyone I work with.” And teach them she does. Since 2012, Bernie and her staff have volunteered to teach grooming skills and mentor students at the Life Learning Academy, a SFUSD charter high school founded in 1998 by the Delancey Street Foundation. The school is committed to creating a nonviolent community to serve the highest-need students in SF who have not been successful in traditional school settings.

Bernie and her staff at City Dogs have also volunteered to work with the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP) students since 2015 (except during the pandemic). MYEEP is a collaborative of non-profit organizations that provide job readiness training, work experience, academic support, and personal development to SF youth challenged in their attempt to access employment. “The hands-on training starts in the bathing room and progresses to the job of a groomer’s assistant. Here again, my staff and I spend countless hours mentoring these students.” Bernie loves working with teens and sharing her expertise, giving them skills they can transfer to a job that they love. She recalls one intern who “was so delighted in how well one particular dog’s grooming came out. He was very proud. If I can help students find their passion and bring them that joy, then I’ve done my job. It’s wonderful to see.”

Bernie was thrilled when she was asked to bring Bernie’s Grooming to the new SFACC shelter to continue the partnership. She has a “shingle” outside and has brightened the shop with colorful portraits of dogs. One thing for certain is that every shelter dog groomed by Bernie’s team will look good and feel good. They’ll be ready for their new home.

Note: Bernie has adopted senior dogs for many years. She currently has a young fox terrier named Nelly.  


June 2021

In June, SFACC completed 143 adoptions: 12 dogs, 120 cats, and 11 other species (guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, etc.). In addition, the shelter staff transferred 46 dogs, 77 cats, and 113 other species to partner organizations. Thank you to our fosters, adopters, and partner organizations!

Handsome Keesa was adopted and one week later we received an update! “We just rescued Keesa (now Ernest Hemingway, or “Ernie”) and he’s acclimating well and is a brave, sweet boy!…(And getting cuddlier each day!)”

Sweet kitten Purry is heading home with her new family!

Yay! Pretty girl Noodle has gone home!

Yay! Cutie pie Tyga went home with his new family!

Adoption Success Story – Welcoming Enzo

woman and cat kissing

By Judi Basolo
SFACC Adopter

My beloved cat Guido the Italian Kitty was born at SFACC and I adopted him at the SFSPCA. He passed two months shy of his 15th birthday, and within two days, Grappa (my 7-1/2 year old calico) and I moved 48 hours later to a new home here in SF. It was CAT-Oh-Strophic for sure (I’d never wish this stress on anybody). Grappa had always lived with Guido in that home and here she and I were without him, and in a place filled with 69 cardboard moving boxes.

I felt my life had imploded yet I knew my cat-momma job was to get the boxes out of the house for Grappa and for us girls to have a new life. But she missed Guido so much. I started searching for a kitten because as a calico with her own mindset and I realized Grappa needed a youngster so she could train them. In my search I found no kittens for adoption in S.F., on the Peninsula, in Marin County or even in Yolo County (I’d adopted two kitties previously from the Yolo SPCA). In March, it seemed that kitten season was delayed.

I reached out to my long-time friend Virginia Donohue who happens to be the director of SFACC, and she said “Hey I told you a week ago about Toni’s Kitty Rescue!”  It’s true she had, but in my moving stress I’d not paid attention, so I called Toni who said “We have one tux kitten that’s in foster care now,” and she connected me with Ginny Chin (an experienced foster kitten volunteer for TKR and the shelter).

Phew. Now it’s Friday April 16th. I phoned Ginny who FaceTimed me with her one and only kitten. He was precious and wild, racing around in the video, and she said “Well do you want him?” The answer was YES, and I immediately told her “ENZO Furrari is coming to our home!”  DON’T ask me how I came up with his name–although all my kitties have had Italian names: Baci, Guido, Grazie, and Grappa.

The following Wednesday, Ginny met me in the parking lot of SFACC and I cried tears of joy meeting my new inky, dinky little man cat! His story it turns out is that Enzo was found at 7-10 days of age in a metal works site in an industrial neighborhood of SF. A good Samaritan found him and brought him into the shelter. Thank GOD is all I can say. He weighed only 10 ounces, his papers show.

Losing Guido after almost 15 years broke my heart and Grappa’s heart was broken too but now, Grappa and I are back on track thanks to SFACC putting me in touch with Toni’s Kitty Rescue.

Enzo is a bundle of joyous smitten kitten and we are a family again. My advice? Don’t give up on your search—the kittens are out there and are ready to love you!



2020 Annual Friends of SFACC Rescue Partner Grant Awards

SNAP Cats, located in Santa Rosa, CA, is dedicated to the rescue and care of Special Needs cats, including FeLV+, FIV+ and seniors. SNAP Cats is one of 25 SFACC partner rescue organizations that received a Friends of SFACC grant last month. 

Each year, Friends gives local animal rescue organizations microgrants to help them rescue all species of animals from the shelter. In May, 25 applications were received and 25 grants were awarded to partners for their work in 2020. The grant amounts ranged from $500-$3,000. Here’s a quick run-down of the process this year:
1. The SFACC team provided the Friends grant committee (one Friends employee, two SFACC employees, and five Friends board members) with a master list of partners from the past year with the number of animals taken in by each partner.
2. Sixty-five groups were invited to apply via email and all partners were given one month to return a simple application for funds.
3. Committee members reviewed each application, then had a two-hour virtual meeting to discuss each organization and agree on an award amount for each.

The grants can make a real difference in helping with medical or supply needs, especially for smaller organizations. Darryl Roberts, the Found/Executive Director of SNAP Cats: “We enjoy our relationship with SFACC and will continue to rescue as many special needs/senior cats from them as possible. Out of the 22 cats that we’ve rescued from SFACC to date, only one has not been adopted. We’re hoping to find a home for her soon. Thank you again for your generous grant!”

Here are the recipients of the 2020 Rescue Grant Awards:

Copper’s Dream
Dog Zone
Every Pet’s Dream Rescue
Give Me Shelter
Grateful Dogs
JNW Reptiles
Mickaboo Birds
NorCal Bully Breed
Ohlone Humane Society
One Living Sanctuary Rescue
Pure Breds Plus
Ratical Rodent
Save a Bunny
Saving Grace Rescue
Snap Cats
Sonoma Reptile
Sweet Farm
The Heart of Rescue (THOR)
Town Cats Rescue
Toy Dog
Underdog Animal Rescue
Wildcare Solutions

Bravo and thanks to all the organizations who work with SFACC all year. A special shout-out to Kathryn Jones, SFACC Adoption Partner Transfer Coordinator; McKenzie Joseph, Director of Development & Communications for Friends of SFACC; and Remy Savin, Friends of SFACC Board Member, who collectively guided and implemented the award process.