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!

 

    

Duma and Tandy’s Big Adventure

Duma and Tandy at their Los Angeles layover. They had a blast! 

By Kathryn Jones
SFACC Adoption Partner Transfer Coordinator

In my role as Adoption Partner Transfer Coordinator, it was a treat for me to provide input to the Friends of SFACC board during their annual process of inviting applicants to apply for a Rescue Partner Grant. Over the past few years, I have been able to see first-hand how very effective these grants are to our valued partners and how deeply they appreciate them. While partner rescue is more behind the scenes than an adoption or a brave wildlife rescue (hello, mountain lion in a tree!), I have found that these rescue placements and transport trips reveal a deeply passionate network of people who will go above and beyond for an animal at SFACC.

I cannot understate how valuable our rescue partners are to our shelter animals—they are a lifeline for dogs, cats, birds, rodents, wildlife, and beyond. With our extensive partner program and our wide reach, I have come to think of SFACC as a launching pad; oftentimes we are merely a pit stop on the journey to a bright future. It takes some creativity and persistence on my part, and at times some bribery (I’m not above sending a dog along to rescue with a few cases of beer and a cake), and a whole lot of folks willing to donate their time and resources, but it is incredible to be a part of such an effective chain of people.

Our master list has approximately 135 rescue partners that span from California to Idaho to Arizona and beyond. When providing feedback about which partners Friends should invite to apply this year, I considered a few things; like so much of the rescue world, this is a nuanced piece. The award decision-making process is not just about the number of animals the rescue takes from our shelter, but also takes into account the types of animals pulled and their specific needs. A rescue that specializes in high-risk dogs with extensive medical needs will often have a high cost of operation and the grants from Friends can be a lifeline these rescues.

One such story is of Duma and Tandy, a pair of adolescent Rottweilers. This brother-and-sister pair were surrendered to our shelter last month. These two dogs were inexperienced with much of the world, and deeply anxious in the shelter environment. Our fantastic behavior team saw their potential, worked with FETCH to increase Duma and Tandy’s comfort during their stay with us, and I got to work pounding the digital pavement in order to find them suitable placement. I found an excellent rescue that focused solely on Rottweilers and had experience with undersocialized dogs. They were the perfect fit for our twin Rotties—but they were located in Arizona.

With some luck and elbow grease, the rescue agreed to take Duma and Tandy. Our heroic LT, the supervisor of the Behavior & Training department, offered to drive the pair to a halfway point in Los Angeles. We loaded the pair up in crates and LT spent a day carpooling these two goobers down south. In LA, they spent a few nights at a layover with some friends of the rescue before being scooped up by a volunteer from rescue; he flew from Phoenix to LA, rented a car, and drove our Duma and Tandy back to Arizona with him. Both dogs are doing fantastically and already have potential adopters waiting in the wings.

These rescue stories happen every week. They involve volunteers, staff members, good Samaritans from the general public, and folks I’ve never even met on the receiving end of things. They take trust, persistence, an almost foolish level of hopefulness and faith, and they produce outstanding results. The grants from Friends help our partners continue to do the incredible work they do for our animals. It has been a privilege to spend the past few years growing this network and extending this chain on behalf of the dogs and other animals under our roof. I have met a lot of wonderful people who all have one thing in common: a love of animals.

A New Life for George

May 26, 2021

 

Dear Friends,

We hope this story finds you and your loved ones safe and happy. Friends of San Francisco Animal Care and Control (Friends) is so grateful that we have been able to continue to support SFACC during the pandemic. In March, SFACC moved into a brand new, state-of-the art facility that has already positively benefited the well-being of the animals in SFACC’s care. Thank you to all of our community who helped fund such an impactful project. Now that the animals and staff are settled into the new facility, Friends is working hard to assist SFACC with immediate needs for the animals in their care─animals like George.

George arrived at the shelter in December of 2020 in rough shape. The person who brought him in was using a belt as a leash and was unwilling to provide SFACC staff with any information about George’s history or condition. George was depressed, emaciated and blind, and unable to walk into the shelter; one of the staff members carried him inside. SFACC veterinary team was initially unsure of what was going on with George medically or how he had come to be in such a sad state.

Over the coming days the vet and animal care teams provided George with excellent TLC and he began to perk up! He was put on special feeding schedule to help him gain weight and he even began walking again. George had a terrible flea infection and his arthritis was so advanced that he wasn’t able to scratch himself (which was actually a good thing to save the health and condition of his skin). When a severe flea infestation is untreated, it often causes secondary bacterial infections and wounds.

Angie Yen, Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT), and SFACC Animal Health Technician shared the following the day after she met George: “I combed so many live fleas and so much crusted flea dirt off his rump and back that I created a dark brown ‘flea soup’. I often think about how flea preventatives can be unaffordable for pet owners, it’s often a monthly budget cost consideration that’s out of reach. As sad as George’s initial condition was for staff, I am very grateful that someone took the initiative to bring him in. It’s natural for us to judge others but I feel it’s important to push back against our inherent biases. The good news is that while senior dogs like George often have chronic illnesses that accompany age, his was in near perfect shape after a slow recovery from flea anemia.”

Because George required extra care as a senior dog, SFACC’s Rescue Coordinator reached out to a valued partner who specializes in dogs like him. Friends provides grants to SFACC Rescue Partners every year thanks to our donors. These grants honor their commitment to San Francisco’s animals and help to offset the cost of this type of advanced care. This year, Friends distributed a total of $50,000 between 25 rescue partners throughout the Bay Area.

While George awaited transfer, SFACC’s Behavior & Training Supervisor and one of the RVTs volunteered to take him home on foster and provide him with a comfy environment. George thrived and quickly established himself as a gentleman and a scholar. Though he was blind and had mild mobility issues, he was quickly able to navigate the home and get himself outside for relief breaks and sunbathing. George integrated into the foster home, living peacefully with the resident American Bully, tiny Chihuahua, and blind cat. His foster parents became quite attached to him and loved giving him all the treats, scratches and body massages he requested. His fosters were grateful to have his company over the holidays in 2020. “George gave us a bit of hope and resilience at the end of such a challenging year.”

Within a few weeks, George was ready to be transferred to the rescue partner and because he had such excellent notes, they were able to find his perfect placement. George is one of many similar examples of SFACC going above and beyond to help the animals who need us most. Please consider supporting this important work by making a one-time or recurring donation to Friends of SFACC. Let’s all do our part to make sure that our City’s animals are treated with the dignity and compassion that they deserve.

Warmest regards,

Lauren Weston
Chair, Board of Directors
Friends of San Francisco Animal Care and Control

 

 

Shaka’s Story – It Took a Village

By Lauren Taylor
Behavior & Training Dept., SFACC

Shaka came to the shelter on a custody hold after his loving owner was hospitalized in February of 2020. He was understandably anxious but friendly and enjoyed interacting with staff and volunteers. After nearly a month-long stay we learned that Shaka’s owner was still in the hospital and about to undergo a serious procedure. He would not be released for an extended but unpredictable amount of time as he received rehabilitative services, but desperately wanted to keep his dog. Staff at both the shelter and the hospital advocated for the pair and we devised a plan to keep them together.

Behavior staff noted that Shaka’s anxiety was escalating in the shelter and that it would be in his best interest to move to a foster home while his owner recovered. One of our incredible foster parents stepped forward and was willing to do everything needed to keep Shaka healthy and comfortable until his owner was released from the hospital.

Shaka’s story didn’t end there. After nearly a month and a half in foster care, his owner reluctantly decided he was no longer in a position to care for a dog due to his personal health and surrendered him to the shelter. Luckily, our Behavior team had worked closely with Shaka’s foster parents, gathered valuable information about his behavior, and determined he was a wonderful adoption candidate.

Shortly after becoming available for adoption in late April, Shaka hit the jackpot with a pair of great adopters who were excited to welcome him into their home. Shaka’s adopters happened to be friends with one of our dog volunteers and we recently received some adorable pictures of him on a camping trip. The expression “it takes a village” rang true for Shaka and we thank everyone involved in helping this sweet boy get to his happy place.

Fostering Aria

By Dawn Horrell

SFACC first came into my life when I had to surrender my grandpa’s cat, Pat, almost 15 years ago. It was a heart wrenching life event, but I had a senior cat at home with her own health problems and just couldn’t keep poor Pat. Luckily Pat was soon adopted and I was forever indebted to SFACC. Years later when it was time to get another cat, a friend and SFACC volunteer, accompanied me to the shelter where I found Marshmallow─quite possibly the best cat in the world (do we all think that about our cats?). Sadly, Marshmallow died just a few years later from cancer─she wasn’t even seven years old. It was heartbreaking and months later I still miss her more than I can express with words.

When I saw that SFACC needed foster volunteers during Shelter in Place, I knew I had to help. Although I’m still not quite ready for another full-time cat, I knew I’d be able to foster. How could I turn my back on the organization that so kindly took in Pat and helped me find Marshmallow! Through a Facebook post, I went to the site and signed up. I figured that I’d never get a call… there must be hundreds of people reaching out to help. I guess I was wrong because the shelter emailed me just a week or so later.

That’s when Aria came into my life. Her owner had to surrender her due to health issues. A situation that was very similar to how Pat and Marshmallow ended up at the same shelter─I knew it was fate. Aria is 11 and, I’m guessing, lived in her last home her entire life. She wasn’t doing well at the shelter and had a hard time acclimating. I was more than happy to bring her into my tiny apartment where I live alone; nice and quiet for a shy older lady. Although my apartment is so small that I don’t have any rooms that have doors that properly shut (yep, even the bathroom) I made sure I had plenty of hiding places for her in closets and under the bed where she could feel safe. Her favorite hiding place, however, was under my down blanket on my bed. I joked that it was her “job”─she’d climb up under the covers at around 9am and not leave until after 6pm; this happened Sunday through Saturday. She is a real workaholic! Every few hours I’d climb under the covers with her to give her some pets and receive some purrs for myself. She was warm and cozy and I loved cuddling with her under the fluffy blanket.

She stayed with me for just under a month. During that entire month she “worked” every day and would come out at night to hang out with me in the living room to watch some TV. She’d cuddle up right next to me and purr. I loved it. We’d also spend a little time playing. She was pretty lazy, but was really good at her version of the “Sit and Be Fit” workout where she’d lay on the floor and just bat at her feather toy ─not actually getting up or moving─just swinging her little arm and paw around trying to catch the feathers. The one game we would play that got her to move a little was Catch the Treat. I’d throw a treat and she’d sorta run/walk to catch it. It was a little counterproductive, but at least she got some steps in.

When the virtual adoptions opened up I was torn. “Do I adopt her?  Do I adopt her?” Every day, all day, it was all I thought about. However, a potential adopter surfaced after only a couple of days. We spoke on the phone and she told me about her love of cats and her need for a special little friend, and I immediately knew that Aria had a new home. I’m not going to lie and say it was easy, because it wasn’t. I was growing very fond of my little, senior cat, but I also knew that Aria’s new owner was ready for the love Aria could give her. I gave Aria lots of snuggles, hugs, and kisses during that last night and day. Knowing that she is safe in her forever home where she can live out a comfy retirement was all I needed to feel better. Let’s just hope she stops working so hard!