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Enewsletter - HSSV Tails

September 2010

Humane Society Silicon Valley President Christine Benninger to Retire After 17 Years of Service
Carol Novello Named New President

On September 19, 2010, Christine Benninger, HSSV's president will retire after 17 years of service to HSSV. Board member Carol Novello, a former vice president at Intuit, Inc., will take over the reins on September 20.

“The HSSV board of directors has worked closely with Christine to ensure a seamless transition in leadership,” said Melissa Dyrdahl, HSSV board chair. “Christine is leaving HSSV after accomplishing so many great things for the animals of Santa Clara County, and we will miss her. At the same time, we are thrilled that Carol Novello, with her business acumen, proven leadership skills and love of HSSV’s mission will guide the next historical steps of the organization.”

During her tenure, Christine made substantial changes to HSSV that have saved the lives of tens of thousands of animals and significantly reduced the pet overpopulation problem in Santa Clara County, such as:

  • Instituting a “spay/neuter at adoption policy”
  • Opening an affordable spay/neuter vaccination clinic
  • Encouraging local municipalities to offer discounted spay/neuter voucher programs; and,
  • Working with local municipalities to build two additional city-funded animal shelters in the South Bay to reduce euthanasia rates

Today, more than 60 percent of the animals entering our shelters in Santa Clara County find new homes compared to just 30 percent when Christine took office 17 years ago. At HSSV, 100 percent of the animals available for adoption are re-homed and the organization routinely embarks on regional rescue efforts, taking in animals from other shelters that are in danger of being euthanized due to lack of space, time or resources.

Most recently, Christine oversaw the planning, funding and building of HSSV’s new Animal Community Center. The Center, which opened in April 2009, is the nation’s first Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified Animal Community Center in the country and has quickly become an inspiring model of humane animal care, green building design and community involvement for shelters nationwide.

“With this new Center, we have truly raised the bar for animals everywhere,” Benninger remarked. “I feel confident retiring from the organization knowing that I am leaving HSSV in good hands with Carol Novello as president. As a board member, Carol has been dedicated to HSSV’s mission to save and enhance lives, understands our operations and will continue to expand on the foundation we have built.”

"HSSV is an organization of outstanding caliber, and it has been a privilege to serve on the HSSV board for the past year,” said Novello. “Our Animal Community Center saves the lives of thousands of animals each year and strengthens the foundation of human-animal relationships by teaching people about animals, their needs, and the important contributions they make to society. I look forward to continuing HSSV’s leadership position as the premier Animal Community Center in the country.”

For more information, please read our press release.


HSSV's Canine "Bionic Wonder-Dog" Dino Gets Surgery and New Lease on Life!

Dino, a cheerful, lovable four-year-old German Shepherd/Chow Chow mix nearly didn't make it to his "second chance". Members of our Regional Rescue Team found Dino wagging furiously at a nearby shelter, a shelter that could not afford to get him the help he needed to live a life without pain. He literally had bone-sitting-on-bone in his hips, with no cushion whatsoever. And still he was wagging. The shelter thought the only way they could end his suffering was to euthanize him, and that was just breaking their hearts.  So they asked HSSV to step in.

After we brought Dino to our Animal Community Center and had him examined by a specialist, we discovered that what he needed was hip replacement surgery, a very expensive procedure that could cost up to $7,000 and would require eight to 12 weeks of recovery time - no wagging, running or jumping allowed, a tall order for Dino. After meeting Dino, our adoptions, medical and behavioral teams couldn't say no - this golden brown boy was extremely special and deserved all the help we could give him.

Successful Surgery
Dr. Andrew Staatz at Veterinary Surgical Associates (VSA) in Campbell performed Dino's surgery. Dino recovered for several weeks in a foster home (because Dino is such a joyful dog, his foster dad had to practically sit on him to keep him still during his recovery time). Six weeks later, Dino, the bionic dog, was on his feet, visiting HSSV and greeting potential adopters. Now, nearly 2 1/2 months since his surgery, Dino is a regular on our campus, greeting visitors with a big smile and the softest brown eyes you've ever seen. "Dino just seems to always see the bright side of things and doesn't move like a dog who has had hip replacement surgery," notes his foster dad, Wayne (see photo above, left).

Adopt Dino
Dino loves to go for walks, is very people focused and loves everything that life has to offer. Foster dad Wayne says that Dino walks calmly on a leash, has excellent house manners, rides well in the car and knows many basic commands like sit, stay and down. Dino really enjoys meeting other dogs and rarely barks. Because Dino still suffers from arthritis in one hip, he will likely need to be on NSAID medication for life.If you or someone you know would be interested in adopting this special boy, please contact Casaundra Cruz at  (408) 262-2133 ext. 183 or Jeri Seiden at ext. 185.

Help Dino!
If you are not able to adopt Dino, please consider sponsoring him with a financial gift to help cover the cost of his life-saving surgery.
Share Dino's story with a friend.
Sign up to become a foster parent.

"My Buddy and Me" Two for One Adoption Fee for Celebrity Pets!

If you visit our Animal Community Center in Milpitas, don’t be surprised if you see Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen out for a walk, or Brad and Angelina playing with their tails. Hopping along, you might also encounter Taylor Swift, Adam Sandler or John Travolta!

We’re letting the cat out of the bag on these incognito celebrities at HSSV! From now until Sunday, September 12, HSSV’s Adoptions team will be running their “My Buddy & Me” promotion for pairs of cats, dog and rabbits. Adopt any two animals of the same species and pay only one adoption fee! HSSV’s satellite adoption center at PETCO Saratoga is also joining in the star-studded fun, offering cats and adorable pocket pets (hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats) for this special promotion too!

These companion buddies benefit three-fold when adopted in pairs: companionship, shared learning, and a playmate while you’re at work or away. Plus, two pets are double the fun and twice as much love! Bring a pair of celebrity pets home today! Preview "movie trailers and celebrity head shots" here.

Pet of the Week

Bruce and Lola - Pet of the Week

Hi, we’re Lola and Bruce: best friends forever!

Lola is the go-getter and Bruce is more laid back and sensible. Together we're unstoppable! We love to go for walks and Lola even has a pink stroller that she likes to ride in!

Our foster mom says we are the best pets because we’re loving and get along with kitties. Now we just need a family of our own!

Watch my video and read more about me!


Summer Music & Wine Festival Draws Thousands!

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An estimated crowd of more than 3,000 people enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with their friends, families and dogs at our second annual Summer Music & Wine Festival on August 1 at our Animal Community Center in Milpitas. 

Whether it was the people singing and dancing for two hours to free live music from The Joe Sharino Band, the kids and adults who posed for photos with Abbie the surfing dog, such as Brendan Loshin and his dog (pictured above), or the hundreds of people who chose to partake in the wine & beer tasting, there was something for everyone to enjoy! 

The public was treated to free dog agility and flyball demonstrations in the outdoor exercise yards, and enjoyed the opportunity to try out the “members only” dog parks for the day.  In addition to the multitude of dogs to pet and greet, kids of all ages took part in fun animal-themed arts 'n crafts activities in our Community Room. In addition to learning more about HSSV services, such as doggie daycare, grooming, boarding and training, the public also learned about the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car, thanks to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office. Rounding out the day was the outstanding news that 19 animals found their “forever homes!”

HSSV’s Summer Music and Wine Festival was sponsored by the PETCO Foundation and PETCO. Abbie the surfing dog’s appearance was sponsored by Heavenly Greens and Doubltree Hotel, San Jose. Wine and beer tasting was provided by the following: Big Dog Vineyards, Clo La Chance Wines, Canine Wines, Jason-Stephens Winery, Joseph George Fine Wines, Mutt Lynch Winery, Tied House Brewery, and Varner Wines.

View photos from the event.

The Bay Area's Top Pet Contest Winners Named!

The search is over! One lucky dog and one lucky cat have been chosen as the winners of The Bay Area's Top Pet online competition, brought to you by the CW 44/Cable 12 (KBCW TV) and sponsored by Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV).

Although thousands of great photos and videos were uploaded, with the help of your votes, the CW’s panel of judges, and HSSV honorary board member Steve Wozniak, narrowed the field down to one fabulous feline and one captivating canine.

Congratulations to Ricky, a nimble domestic shorthair cat, and Kobe, an adorable French Bulldog, who each won a $1,000 shopping spree at HSSV that’s good at our Medical Center, Whole Pet’s pet store, Doggie Daycare, Boarding and Grooming facilities and dog park, a year's supply of pet food, a professional photo-shoot from Pet Poses Photography, and the title of The Bay Area's Top Pet!

[object Object]Owner Courtney's favorite thing about Ricky (pictured far left) is his outgoing personality and the unconditional love he provides.  

Kobe, a mellow French Bulldog (pictured left), loves cuddling with his owners Mary and Dino. Named after the LA Lakers' superstar guard, it's fitting that Kobe's favorite toy happens to be a squeaky basketball!

To see video and photos of the winners, click here.


wnw2010_logoHSSV's 8th Annual Walk 'n Wag Animal Community Center
901 Ames Ave., Milpitas
Check-in begins at 8:00 AM

Walk starts at 10:00 AM

Dog agility and training demonstrations, dog costume contests, vendor booths and fun games for the entire family highlight our 8th Annual Walk ‘n Wag Walk-A-Thon. Hundreds of people and their canine companions are expected to participate in the event to help raise money for HSSV's homeless animals.  

Get your “wag on”, form a team and start fundraising early! Our easy-to-use website allows you to upload photos of your pet (s), post information about yourself and and send your webpage to friends and family asking them to support your efforts.

Walk ‘n Wag isn’t just for dog owners. All animal lovers are encouraged to walk the course in honor of their pets, or for the love of animals in general. The walk is also open to schools and corporations that want to form walk teams. There is no fee to register for the walk, but walkers are encouraged to obtain pledges to help raise money for the shelter animals.  

Remember, every step and every dollar raised will help save an animal’s life! Visit our Walk ‘n Wag website to start your team today!

Humane Society Silicon Valley’s 8th Annual Walk ‘n Wag is sponsored by the
wnw2010-Petco-logoPetco Foundation Logo
 Parktown Veterinary Clinic, Mix 106.5,  Maggiano’s Little Italy, California’s Great America and Gilroy Gardens.


Dog Agility Classes Offered at HSSV

Are you interested in continuing training with your dog, or just want to try something new and exciting? Try agility!

In the agility classes at HSSV's Animal Community Center, you will use positive reinforcement methods to teach your dog how to complete various obstacles, such as jumps, tunnels, weave poles, teeter-totters, and other contact items. In turn, you will learn the handling techniques to effectively run your dog through agility courses. The classes are taught at the sports field, adjacent to our dog park. Sessions are six weeks in length, meeting for one hour each week.   To sign up, visit A DOG'S LIFE at

Upcoming Beginning Agility sessions:

Mondays beginning September 27 at 5:30 PM

Thursdays beginning November 4 at 11:30 AM

HSSV Dog Park Member Price: $160

General Price: $185

And if your dog is not quite ready to participate in a high-energy sports class, you might try our Obedience for Dog Sports class to prepare for the rigors of an agility class. In this six-week course, designed for the dogs preparing for dog sports, your dog will learn to work and remain focused through high level distractions. See for additional details.

Two Paws Up!

Two Paws Up to all of the trainers and behavior professionals that help make the rehabilitation and adoption of so many of our guests possible!  For volunteering their expertise, training, and support, we would sincerely like to thank:
All of the trainers at A DOG'S LIFE including M. Cecelia Sternzon and Nancy Weller
Kelly Alves Hesling of Downtown Dogs
Stacy Braslau-Schneck of Stacy's Wag 'N' Train
Dawna Caldwell of Happy Tails to You Dog Training
Donna John's of DJ's Clever Canines
Marthina McClay of Marthina's Dog Training for People
Daphne Robert-Hamilton of K-9 Partnership
Cerena Zutis of CZ Dog Training
To learn more about the trainers and behavioral professionals we recommend, please visit our website and review our "General Training and Behavioral Counseling" list.


Two Paws Up to Henry Tien Shing Keys for collecting more than 50 blankets for our shelter animals! Henry and his mother Vivian wanted to do a fun summer project that would benefit the animals at our shelter. So, they set out to collect 40 blankets in 40 days! The two went to Freecyle and other locations to collect blankets, toys and other items. They also approached neighbors, family and friends for donations. They ended up surpassing their goal with 55 blankets and an assortment of toys and other items for our shelter animals.

"It's fun to help animals at the Humane Society because they need to be happy while they're waiting to be adopted," said Henry, who attends Fisher Middle School in Los Gatos. Mother Vivian says that collecting items for the animals was a great project because it challenged Henry, gave him a goal and kept him occupied during the last month of summer. Henry, who posed for a photo with Dino, one of our shelter guests who we highlighted in this enewsletter, said he enjoyed meeting the large dog. "Dino is a very sweet, adorable dog. I haven't really been around a large dog before," said Henry whose family has a 15-year-old pug at home. "I hope he finds a home."



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