UPDATE: Bosco was rescued and is living a wonderful life in San Francisco! Here is a recent photo of him taken by his talented mom. We wish you well Bosco - you deserve it!
I have always respected Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
. These special folks, led by Sherri Franklin, save senior dogs from shelters all over the Bay Area. They know how special these senior dogs are, and how they make the perfect companion for many folks who are looking for a more mellow friend.
Unfortunately, we don't have a local cat rescue group which focuses on senior cats. Senior cats present a particularly difficult problem especially during kitten season when adult cats are overlooked for kittens at our shelters. Ironically, cats typically live longer lives than dogs, yet few people want to give a senior cat a chance. Like senior dogs, senior cats provide gentle, low key companionship. Their active days are behind them, but they are wiser, and have so much love to give.
Meet Bosco. The shelter thinks this guy is about 15 years old, but he certainly doesn't look it. Bosco was turned in to the shelter after being found roaming the neighborhood. He had been someone's cat, but they had left the neighborhood and didn't bother taking him with them so Bosco had to fend for himself.
When I met Bosco yesterday at the shelter, he was calm and grateful to be petted. He immediately starting to make biscuits with his massive paws, and strangely seemed relieved to be in the shelter. Unfortunately, what he doesn't know is that he has very little time to stay there before he will be euthanized if he doesn't get rescued.The good news is that we do have a rescue group who is willing to pull this sweet old man, but we need a foster home or a permanent home for him.Did you know that cats can live into their 20s? By the looks of Bosco, he has a lot of living left. His one wish? A home that commits to him for life and won't leave without him again. He's ready for his new chapter, can you help him find his special person?Contact us if you can help Bosco!
This blog post is contributed by Michelle Williams, a San Jose Animal Advocates volunteer.
Every single day, things happen that affect the way we think, the way we behave, the way we feel… and most of the time, we are hardly aware. If you ask me when animal welfare became personal, I can tell you exactly when that happened.
The date was May 15, 2010 – this is the story of my “turning point”.
It was 10am on a Saturday morning and my husband came into the house muttering something about kittens in the backyard. This wasn’t your typical Saturday conversation over coffee. We have no pets, and there was certainly no reason why there should be newborn kittens behind our air conditioning unit.
I knew I had to do something and since the feral cat population is a sore subject for my husband, I also knew that would not include bringing them into our home. After placing an ad on Craigslist, I realized that I may be attracting the wrong kind of attention. So, I looked up information for a *local shelter, went and found a box and a soft fuzzy blanket. Let me just mention – for such little creatures, those little teeth were sharp!
Several days later, I called the shelter to enquire about trapping feral cats and asked how the kittens were doing. I was told they were euthanized… I was beyond heartbroken. The reality of the situation was that the kittens were unable to eat on their own and would have required around the clock care. At that weight, the kittens needed a foster “meowmie” to bottle feed and teach the kittens how to eliminate.
The weeks that followed continued to break my heart over and over as the momma cat repeatedly came into my back yard looking for her kittens. At one point, she brought another cat with her as if to say “I swear I left them here! Please help me ﬁnd them!”
Once I let myself off the hook, I decided to try and make a difference.
Every shout begins with a voice. This is mine.
Adopt. Foster. Spay. Neuter.
* prewean kittens that are brought to our area shelters are typically euthanized. If the mother is still around, the best thing you can do is leave the kittens with their mother until they are old enough to eat on their own. There are wonderful resources such as Itty Bitty Orphan Kitty (IBOK Rescue's)
Prewean packet (free at all Bay area shelters and Pet Food Express stores) and video
. These resources can help you care for the prewean kittens until they are old enough to eat on their own, and then able to be adopted into a permanent home. Monthly classes on how to care for prewean kittens will be given at Humane Society Silicon Valley
, and they are always looking for kitten foster parents. Read about their foster program
, and save a kitten, save the world!
With our society's preoccupation with reality television, perhaps the next new show should be "Kitten Season: San Jose"? Unfortunately most people would be shocked and horrified at the realities of how our area shelters, humane societies and cat rescue groups struggle to save these tiny lives during kitten season in the greater San Jose area.
Every year between April and October area stray, feral and domesticated cats give birth to many kittens. Statistic
: Did you know that left unaltered a cat and her offspring can produce over 420,000 kittens in 7 years?
Sadly six months into kitten season, pre-wean kittens (kittens under 8-weeks-old) are still pouring into our local shelter, San Jose Animal Care Center
. The shelter reaches out on a daily basis to area rescue groups with a list of cats and kittens who need rescue. Many of these are underweight kittens. If the *rescue groups can't take these kittens which are typically under 8-weeks-old and weighing less than 2 pounds, they are sadly euthanized because they are not "adoptable" until they are old enough--and big enough--to be spayed or neutered. Statistic: More than 3500 pre-wean kittens are euthanized in Santa Clara County shelters every year.*rescue groups rely on having foster homes to allow them to save more animals
So the logical question you might have is, what should you do if You find homeless kittens?
According to Laurie Melo, founder of Itty Bitty Orphan Kitty Rescue
"If people would only foster these kittens until they are big enough to be spayed or neutered, they could be placed for adoption through a shelter or rescue group and have a chance at life." This community involvement is critical due to lack of resources and staff at our local shelter to care for these kittens.
In an effort to educate the public on what is involved in fostering kittens, Itty Bitty Orphan Kitty Rescue created the Pre-Wean Kitten Project
. As part of the Pre-Wean Project, IBOK Rescue provides Starter Packs available to more than 20 Bay Area shelters and to all 40 Pet Food Express stores. In addition, IBOK produced a 30-minute instructional video on how to care for pre-weaned kittens. The video shows you everything you need to know to hand-raise the kittens until they are old enough to be adopted and is available on DVD and online (watch it here
). I personally have used the pre-wean packet and attended IBOK's class at HSSV
. As a result, my current foster kittens are thriving. Until you try bottle feeding these little ones, you have no idea how rewarding it is, not to mention life-saving for the kittens.What else can you do to help?
Spay/neuter ALL of your pet cats. This act alone helps save thousands of lives! In our area, the San Jose Animal Care Center
has low cost/spay neuter clinics for cats on a weekly basis. Make your appointments online
and for $20 females, $15 males you can do the responsible thing for your cat/s.Reality check:
As I was leaving HSSV with my foster kittens, someone had brought in a card board box full of kittens found in a dumpster. Again, please save a life and spay/neuter all of your pets. That's the least we all can do!
Our local shelters and rescue groups are overflowing with adoptable dogs looking for homes and most people don't realize there is a problem.
Why is this happening? Many believe that the over abundance of dogs is due to the slow economy. Dogs are being surrendered or abandoned because people can't afford to keep them. Ironically, at the same time, the pet food/supply industry continues to grow with people spending more on their pets than they ever have. I think the fundamental problem is that people don't realize this problem exists or how to help. What can we, the animal-loving community of the greater San Jose area do to make a difference in the lives of these dogs?
Maisy at the San Jose Animal Care Center
1 - Tell everyone who expresses an interest in adopting a dog to VISIT THEIR LOCAL SHELTER FIRST!!!
The dogs in our area shelters are in the most danger of being euthanized, especially when there are too many of them and not enough space. In the greater San Jose area we have *3 local shelters, all of which are pleasant places to visit. San Jose Animal Care Center
, Humane Society Silicon Valley
, and Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority
all have wonderful dogs looking for homes to call their own. Before visiting a shelter you can peruse the available dogs online. Each shelter maintains a website of available animals which is updated frequently. *Santa Clara County Shelter is not far, in San Martin.
Oso at Humane Society Silicon Valley
2 - Didn't find a perfect match at the shelters? Check out the MANY great rescue organizations in our area.
has a list of the local dog rescue organizations which are in the greater San Jose area. Please check out their websites to view their available dogs. If someone is interested in a specific breed, before they start looking for a breeder, remind them that there are numerous breed specific rescue groups. In California, there are MANY breed specific rescue organizations like Norcal Golden Retriever Rescue
or Golden Gate Basset Rescue
to name a few. There are even rescue groups that specialize in older dogs such as Muttville
. The majority of shelters and rescue organizations list their dogs on Petfinder.com
. Type in the breed you are looking for and your zip code and you'll get a list of shelter/rescue dogs meeting your criteria within seconds!
Izaka at Santa Clara County Shelter in San Martin
3 - Stay away from Craigslist!
On Craigslist you will often find many offers for free puppies (animals should never be free) or "pure bred" puppies at a high price from unreliable backyard breeders. Do not advocate supporting these sources for animals. Remember, close to 1 million adoptable companion animals are being euthanized in our shelters because people are looking to other sources to "buy" their pet. Looking for puppies? Shelters and rescue groups have puppies all of the time! Looking for purebred dogs, see #2 and go to the many rescue groups who work tirelessly to save dogs from overcrowded shelters. Advocate being part of the solution, not the problem! If everyone just told one person they know where to adopt their next pet, we would be making a HUGE difference!
Sheldon at San Jose Animal Care Center
4 - Volunteer at your local shelter.
Do you have a little spare time to give to animals? All shelters have a wide variety of volunteer tasks you can take on. From walking dogs, to helping with adoptions, there is no limit to the impact you can have on the shelter animals. Why not give a little love to a dog who is waiting for their permanent home? Of course, remember to give a hug to your dog at home too!
Lefty at Humane Society Silicon Valley
5 - Become a dog foster parent.
All shelters and rescue groups are constantly looking for foster homes for their animals. With more foster homes, they can save more dogs! Being a foster parent is extremely rewarding and bottom line, saves lives. Check out our foster section
and pick any organization, go to their website, and they will have a foster application and/or information on how to get involved as a potential foster parent! You will not regret it, I promise you.
6 - Advocate for spay/neuter.
If you know anyone who hasn't spayed or neutered their dog, PLEASE tell them that this is a must! Many local shelters and organizations in the greater San Jose area offer reduced cost spay/neuter services
. Much of the pet overpopulation problem stems from the many unwanted litters that easily can be prevented.
Jazzy from Muttville senior dog rescue
7 - Consider adopting a senior dog.
Many people overlook older dogs and opt for a puppy or very young dog. Are you sure you are ready for a puppy or a teenage dog? Younger dogs need A LOT of training and exercise. Older dogs are typically already trained and their personality is already formed. With a busy life style, an older dog may be a lot easier to bring into your household. Look at Jazzy, age 10, from Muttville
, a Bay Area rescue that specializes in older dogs. He was saved from an area shelter a day before he was going to be euthanized. Wouldn't you like to come home to him every night? Look at those beautiful brown eyes!Please, please, please SHARE this post with people you know!
We can make a difference in the lives of animals in our community one at a time. If you need help in your quest to adopt a shelter or rescue animal, feel free to contact us
. Do you have an adoption story to share, please feel free to contact us
too. In closing, the Shelter Pet Project
has made some very effective and charming videos to help raise awareness for shelter pets. Let's try to help more shelter/rescue dogs end up like the dog in the video.
Ishmail, photo by Nhat Meyer
In this season of giving thanks to people who help others (both humans and animals), I think it's appropriate to share a wonderful story about a man who helped out a local rescue group and became a foster parent for a kitten with not many options left. This story was contributed by Larry who lives on Morris Court of San Jose.
It’s important to note that I am not active in animal rescue, and I’m certainly not an expert on felines. I was only helping out a friend in need, and as a result saved a life. Ishmael, my foster kitten, is special and an amazing story.Ishmael was trapped at about 16 weeks old. He’d been fending for himself in a rough area where he was a target for the neighborhood kids and survival was a full time job. He was sick, weak and hungry and most likely would have not lasted much longer. At 16 weeks old Ish was at the point where he was considered feral and by rescue standards at the point where he was an extremely iffy prospect for successful socialization.
My good friend took him into her already crowded group of survivors and nursed him back to health.
Ishmael's medical care (complete blood panel, testing, neutering) was all very generously funded by Palo Alto Humane Society
. He quickly regained his strength and became one of 12 rescued kittens at various stages on their road to socialization. Ishmael abdicated. He sat on the sidelines and watched. He didn’t bond with any of the other furry residents, and to say he was shy would be an understatement. This is the time in Ish’s journey where he graced me by entering my world.
When I opened the carrier he hissed at me. He pressed himself into a back corner as tightly as he could manage and when I took him out he hissed, growled and dug his claws into the blanket lining the bottom of the carrier. He was frightened and angry, but never physically fought me. I isolated Ish in the bathroom for a few days then moved his carrier (his safe place) into the bedroom slightly expanding his world. For the first week or so when I took him from his safe place and held him, he just laid in my lap and growled then escaped to his carrier at the first opportunity. We repeated this process every morning and two or three times in the evening. As the days passed he moved closer to the carrier door each time I came to get him, but only left the carrier under his own power to eat and use the litter box when I wasn’t around.
As it turned out “Ish” is extremely curious, playful and loving. Ish is now my best friend and definitely has more personality than any of the five cats that have shared my home with over the years. He greets me at the door when I come home from work and lies on my lap or beside me when I watch television or read. On occasion he brings me one of his toys to share and always sits on the bathroom vanity while I prepare for the day. At night he sleeps at the foot of the bed wrapped around my feet.
The true victory is demonstrated in the way Ish greets visitors. When someone comes to visit he no longer retreats to the bedroom. He knows this is his home too and most times he goes to the door with me to greet our visitors. As soon as they sit down he moves close to inspect them and all that they carry and accepts attention as if he has known them forever.
The purpose of my humble efforts here is to give you a snapshot of a kitten that had not fate and very caring rescue folks intervened would have most certainly ended up dubbed unadoptable and slated for euthanasia at a local shelter. In my limited experience Ish could be the poster kitten for the rescue community’s efforts.
It will be extremely difficult to give Ish up when he finds the right family to adopt. As painful as it will be for us to part ways when that time comes, I know there are many more kittens that need a helping paw to find their permanent home. If my friend needs some assistance in the future I will be more than happy to lend a hand again in the future. Ish has returned more to me in love and affection than I could have ever imagined.
Ishmael, photo by Nhat V. Meyer
Are you ready to foster? Please refer to our website for a list of many local organizations who would love to introduce you to the joys of being a foster parent. Help us save more lives like Ishmail’s! http://sjanimaladvocates.org
Interested in adopting Ish? Find out more about this special kitty on IBOK’s website.
My first foster, Opie
I've always wanted to foster kittens, but something had been holding me back. I'm not proud of this fact since I have become sadly aware of the extreme shortage of foster parents for local animal rescues and shelters. How could I promote being a foster parent to others having not experienced it myself? What was I worried about? My resident pets:
My husband and I are the proud pet guardians of three lucky kitties (ages 17, 3 and 1). We have worked hard to achieve balance with our tribe, and they are all healthy. Bringing in a kitten could upset this balance and I was concerned about any health issues from the foster that could be passed on to my healthy kitties.Attachment to kitten:
I am a huge cat lover, so I knew I would fall in love with any foster kitten(s) we took in. I was worried I wouldn't be able to give them up, and at the same time I knew that our three-kitty tribe could not absorb another member.The foster experience:
It just happened. A friend contacted me for help: some neighborhood kids had dropped off a kitten who had been living in their back yard. My friend needed help and didn't know who to turn to. She had three kitties of her own and probably had the same concerns I did about fostering. Nevertheless, my compassionate friend took in this tiny orange tabby with the hope of getting him to someone who could find him a loving forever-home.
I sought out the expert guidance of Itty Bitty Orphan Kitty (IBOK)
volunteer Linda, and she walked me through the steps I needed to take to provide a safe loving environment to this homeless kitty. At 2 pounds and 12 ounces, this little orange tabby, now named "Opie" took up residence in our bathroom, separate and isolated from my resident tribe. Opie was thrilled with his food (especially canned kitten food), and the couple of toys I picked up at the store. His little face glowed with gratitude for being saved, and he immediately repaid me with pure, innocent kitten love. He played, he ate, he napped and he learned to snuggle. Time to say goodbye:
Before I knew it, it was time for Opie to attend his first adoption fair. He is a very lucky boy because he met a loving couple who were very taken by he and his new buddy, Camper (another 10 week old orange tabby). They were looking to bring some "orange" back into their household and found the right little pair.The aftermath:
How did my tribe do with this temporary visitor? The answer is just fine. Opie had his own small space and there was no need to integrate him with my other cats. We took certain safety precautions including washing our hands after handling Opie and vice versa. With his immature immune system, Opie really was the one that could be at risk, not our healthy adult tribe. My kitties knew there was a visitor in our bathroom, but I kept telling them that they could share a little space for a fellow rescue. My initial worries were unsubstantiated.Would I foster again?
Yes. Would I recommend fostering to others? ABSOLUTELY! I can't emphasize enough how many kittens are not given a chance at life because of overcrowding at local shelters. Animal rescue groups and their dedicated volunteers can only do so much. We need to all think about how we can make a little room for a kitten, cat, puppy, dog, bird or bunny and offer them a chance at life. I believe our community is very resourceful and compassionate and really wants to make a difference in the lives of animals!
Opie found a loving home due to the love and compassion of a few neighbors. It takes a village to save these animals. Won't you help? Read more about fostering here
, and contact ANY one of the organizations in our directory
and let them know you have space in your home and your heart to give a deserving companion animal a chance to beat the odds.
Please share your foster stories with us
so we can share with the community.
Opie's close up