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East Bay SPCA Home
The East Bay SPCA saves 
     and improves the lives of cats and dogs and connects
     people and pets in our community.











What is No Kill 
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Welcome to Shelter Life at the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

We began as the Oakland SPCA in 1874. Today, the East Bay SPCA includes two animal shelters and three clinics in our community.

This is our day.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Rosie Is Still My Staff Pick

UPDATE: Rosie was adopted on 1/13/07...we wish you all the best fine girl!

Why is Rosie still here? When I took Rosie in to our shelter from Hayward way back at the beginning of June, L. said she would last a long time in adoptions. I didn't believe him. Rosie is a Dalmatian! So what if she is almost 8 years old? Rosie is beautiful and fit and playful and very devoted!

I should have listened.

Poor Rosie sat (and stood and whined and barked and sat some more) in adoptions for weeks in Oakland. Finally, she transferred to Tri-Valley where she found some doggie playmates, met lots of new people, and still continued to be overlooked for younger, smaller, or differently-colored dogs.

Then one day someone noticed a small lump. The small lump on Rosie's neck very quickly became a huge one, so big she couldn't wear a collar. She didn't want to play or walk or even eat any more, so I took her home. Initial tests indicated that she probably didn't have long, and that I should make her comfortable and wait. There was no sense in subjecting an older dog to extreme medical intervention when what she really needed as a home. So, I took her home and fed her amazing yummy food and prepared myself for a long, slow process, including having to carry her up the stairs.

The first night, she was quiet. I thought, so far, so good. The next morning I woke up to find Rosie in VERY bad shape and took her in to see the vets for what I thought would be the last time. I moped around all day, sad for the injustice in the world that a dog this wonderful would sit in a shelter for so long for no apparent reason, and then would die before her forever home came along…but what happened was a miracle. After doing some additional blood work, the vet noticed some inconsistencies in her results and operated for more information--instead of putting her down. To their surprise, instead of cancer as was expected, they found an incredibly deep, inbelievably bad abcess! Rosie never had cancer after all.

What this meant for me (and another wonderful volunteer who took over the third week) was almost a month of flushing drains and hydrating wounds and daily stretches to keep blood flowing and pills to keep up with.

Over the course of the time living with me I discovered that:

  1. Rosie does NOT like talking birds. The talking TV is fine, but the parrots are not.
  2. Rosie likes to be the center of attention and the only dog. Rosie despised my cute, young fluffy dogs and said so in so many barks. She has played well with dogs not in her space, but for a forever home, she would like to be the One and Only.
  3. Rosie likes FOOD. She will do anything for it, which makes her very easily trainable. Rosie can now sit, shake, wave, speak, lie down, and sit pretty. This also means that if I was not watching, Rosie will steal 3/4 of a pizza from the counter and eat it in two bites, making for some very interesting poo later on, like she did at my house. (Adopters should use tie downs like we suggest!)
  4. Rosie cannot live with cats. Period.
  5. Rosie is very well housebroken.
  6. Rosie is very recognizable. I had all sorts of people cross the street to meet the Dalmatian, and not one of them thought she was a pit mix. Even people who are normally afraid of dogs somehow thought that Rosie would want to be petted because she was spotty. Be prepared for this. You will either love it or hate it. I loved it, and I thank you, Walt Disney.
  7. Rosie pulls. We need to use an anti-pull harness when walking her. Before you take her out on a walk just on her collar, do one of two things: Either become a body builder, or picture me running down the street trying not to get my arm yanked off while Rosie keeps the cat in her sights, all the while clawing at the side walk and barking while people cross the street in the OTHER direction and shake their heads in pity.
  8. Rosie is absolutely, fabulously, wonderful. Rosie is all dog and all sweet Princess rolled up into one. She may try your patience, but she will also tug at your heart strings.
I truly hope that this special girl finds her forever home soon. She is a character and a half, and you will never be sorry that you knew her. Rosie became my staff pick as soon as she was made available for adoption, months and months ago, and yes, Rosie is still my staff pick.

Posted for Canine Associate, Chris Wilson

Hallo-WOOF-Ween in Tri-Valley

Here are some pictures from the Tri-Valley Hall-Woof-Ween. See the two posts below for Oakland. I had to sneak in some pictures while still doing my job as a Customer Care Associate, thus, I don't have all the names of the animals. I'll do the best to caption what I have.

Dogs lined up for the contest. This was for best matching costume between human and animal.

More matching costumes. Many of the dogs are alumni, too!

Darth Vader won a prize, when he had his mask on. He doesn't look like Dark Lord of the Sith without the mask (nerd joke, sorry!)


AD had already donned the costume of "Lucha Libre" with his dog, Maple, but put it back on so our dog Smiley could enter.

Carolyn McArdle awarding a prize.

Smiley and AD win a prize.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Let's hear it for the Alumni!

Remember Clementine? She was the (literally!) poster-child for what NOT to do when encountering foxtails.

She was a sad case, but a bit of medical magic later, and she was good as new.... and quickly adopted, as we also reported here.

Well, while the day's festivities were a blast, that didn't stop us from taking a minute to appreciate the success of some of our Alumni.

Here's Clementine today, now called Jessie:

Jessie found a home with a wacky Schnauzer (not from the EBSPCA), named Peanut:

Who would have thought that that young pup way back in July, so close to death, would now be fighting over squeaky toys with a 20 pound sibling?

Welcome back Clementine/Jessie. You and your siblings are welcome anytime!


(Sorry about the confuddled order of the text and posts in this entry.... I can't figure it out, but we'll make it a game! See if you can match the correct captions to the right dogs!)

To us (and most of you, apparently) dressing up your pet is the most natural thing in the world. One the best things about having a pet is being able to dress him with feathers and baggy clothes and not have him drag you into his therapist's office 20 years later....

We held a Halloween event at both shelters today, in Oakland and Dublin, to give a chance for pet owners and adopters to show off their finest costumes. Our Hallo-WOOF-een! costume contest was judged by Carolyn McArdle (from KKIQ) in the Tri-Valley and Sherry Brown (from KOIT) in Oakland.

We had a bunch of winners (not all of whom are shown below) and here are a few of our visitors:

A Tired Busy Bee...

A very NOT tired Busy Bee...

This is Princess, dressed like a Devil. You decided.

Poor OllieDog. Barely anyone wanted to take a pic of his face; they all wanted the cute jeans' butt with the tail sticking out.

We were privileged to receive the Famous Hugh Hefner, with the his bunny, Charlotte. Smashing, both of them. We were concerned that Charlotte was being exploited but she assured me she enjoyed her bunny ears.

You probably can't tell from the photo, but Nacho was dressed as Curious George. Easily one of my favorite costumes, but unfortunately, with the stiff little dog competition, Nacho went home empty handed except for all his Trick-or-Treating toys.

And now, a REAL Princess. Can you see the toenails?

Beanie ready for take off.

Brody was the ultimate cool-cat, even while dressed like a nerd. No lie: he LIKED wearing those sunglasses and kept them on all day.

And this is Jake. In case you can't tell, those are tiny yellow chickies on his t-shirt. Jake came as a chick magnet.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Is $225 too much for a dog?

Sometimes people complain to me about how $225 is too much for a dog. There even was a woman the other day who complained we "priced her out" by taking a dog from a nearby shelter, and taking him into our program. At the county shelter, their basic adoption fee is cheaper, but then you need to factor in the costs of spaying or neutering, which is, of course, mandatory before leaving a California shelter, current shots, and any other health care costs. Our adoption fee also includes an obedience training class, so the real end price ends up being a bargain.

Here's what any adoption of ours includes, at the least:

  • Animals are spayed and neutered before being put up for adoption
  • Animals are up to their current shots before being put up for adoption
  • A temprament assessment of dogs to ensure they are safe family pets
  • Cats are tested for Feline Leukemia and FIV; Kittens tested for Feline Leukemia
  • All animals are microchipped
  • A 20% off coupon for Pet Food Express, a pet store, to help get started on supplies
  • A "New Pet Health Check" that gets you a free visit to the vet at several participating vet offices
  • Obedience training class for dogs
  • Free one month supply of flea treatment
  • Lifetime advice on your new family member

I think $225 (or $100 for cats) is quite a bargain. Besides that, do people realize the costs of owning an animal? You are bringing in a new, living thing to the family, which costs money.

The example I like to use is -- hey -- I spent $300 on a nice vacuum cleaner after I adopted my dog to get all that hair off the couch! That was more than the adoption fee. Going to the vet can cost quite a bit of money, too. If you can't afford the $225, how can you cover vet costs? A lot of times people can get lucky and not have to go so often, but can you really count on that?

Of course, I try to explain this to people, what is included in the adoption price, and what care might be required in taking care of an animal, but still some think it's too high. Am I being too judgemental here?

Remember, though, that on the flip side, there are many people and our many great adopters who understand this and know what costs may be when taking care of an animal. Being human, though, the people who complain stay in my mind.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Tell them Rachel sent you.

As you all know, I'm on maternity leave. I spend my days and nights caring for two 4 week-old twin gals. Occassionally I get a break and get to hang out with my son while dad takes care of the gals. This morning was one of those times.

I went to run some errands and get some bagels and coffee. While in Noahs, I recognized a volunteer. I don't know all the volunteers these days, but I knew him. He and his daughter come weekly to the shelter to clean cat cages. They are there every single weekend, scooping litter, spraying out cages, feeding kitties, and scrubbing floors. Although we have had volunteers cleaning for years, I am still impressed with folks who choose to spend their Saturday morning doing this less than glamorous activity.

But back to Noahs. I'm with my son and I'm not a chit chatty person, so I don't say anything to him at Noahs. Then we head to Starbucks and minutes later, there he is again. My son has a little tantrum and the volunteer smiles. Unable to pretend I don't recognize him at this point, I say, "Heading over to clean the cats today?"

He looks surprised and says, "Oh! I didn't recognize you." He then goes on to say, very apologetically, that they were unable to go yesterday and can't go today. I said, "That's OK, I haven't been there in weeks. I'm on leave."

Then he says, "We are volunteering for the Winter Cat Campaign. It's great. It makes us feel so good about what we are doing and it only takes about 30 minutes. We love it!"

Although the Winter Cat Campaign was officially started after I left for leave, I helped set it up, so I knew what he was talking about. A collaborative effort with Fix our Ferals, the campaign focuses trapping, neutering and releasing feral cats in a certain neighborhood. Fix our Ferals supplies the trapping expertise and outreach while the East Bay SPCA supplies the location for the recovery as well as steeply discounted spay neuter surgeries. Both groups recruited volunteers to help trap and care for the cats after the surgery.

From what I hear, it is going very well. If you are interested in getting involved, email volunteer@eastbayspca.org. Tell them Rachel sent you.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Spa day for Duke.

You didn't misread that. It's SPA day, not SPAY day. And besides, Duke's a boy. Who would have thought that spending time in an animal shelter was like going up to the spas in Sonoma?

What a cutie, just out of the hot springs (our bathing tub), waiting for the next step in his beauty routine.

Duke the Pug was transferred into our facility from one on the animal control facilities with which we partner. Even though the homeless dog population in our community continues to decline, dogs still become homeless, even purebred ones. And while a lot of adopters seek out dogs like Duke -- cute, trendy, small -- he wasn't ready to go in a new home right away. He has a weight problem that needed to be evaluated, and also had a growth on his eye that needed to be checked.

But our biggest concern is that Duke did not like his feet touched. On closer examination, it was very clear why not:

That has got to hurt. The nails on the other three paws were equally as overgrown. Duke the Pug was in serious need of a serious manicure.

Duke got the full treatment this past week. Got scrubbed and buffed, got his nails trimmed, his eye looked at and a weight loss plan established. Duke is ready for adoption now.

Despite his gruff expression below (that's just a Pug for you!), he is looking forward to his new home. He wasn't adopted this weekend, so you can come see him on Wednesday in Tri-Valley.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Shayna Curse

There is an anomaly in the video game universe called "The Madden Curse." Every year a new John Madden football game (the most popular football series out there) is released to reflect team changes from season to season. Each year a well know, talented player is selected to be featured on the cover of the cases the games come in. Each year something horrible, often an injury, happens to whatever player graces that cover.

There is a portion of our website called 'Staff Picks.' We each select a cat or a dog we particularly like to be featured on the page with us. In the last several months I have had four or five staff picks. Every one of them, seemingly perfect dogs at the time, have been pulled out of adoptions or quickly adopted out and returned for a behavior problem. Some have been able to return to adoptions with some training and evaluations and have happy endings. Others have not.

My most recent staff pick was taken off of our website when she was adopted (only a week or so after we took our picture together), and was returned within a few days for growling at a member of the household. I never in a million years expected this to happen. We're working with her now, she may still have a happy ending, but I don't know for sure.

Today I need to choose a new staff pick. I want to do it because I love featuring animals that are special to me on our website, but I have to say I'm a little nervous. If I choose a great dog, even one who has consistently been a great dog for months, will something go wrong? How will I break the Shayna curse?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Trouble with Being Troubled

Smiley is one of the friendliest, well tempered dogs we have in the shelter right now. She does well with other dogs, and helps some of our young puppies learn how to play. She's great with kids. She's got a killer smile. She's a bit older, so she doesn't pull on leash or bounce off the walls, is done with her chewing stage, is housebroken - even lives in our 'real life habitat' complete with table, bookshelf & books, and a comfy wicker dog bed without making the room messy.

Smiley has been in our shelter for nearly six months.

The reason Smiley is still here: she doesn't want to be alone. Smiley is among the dogs we sometimes see in shelters who have developed serious anxiety problems, most likely as a result of being rehomed multiple times. Smiley's anxiety is almost entirely restricted to being on her own, a problem most commonly known as 'separation anxiety.' Many dogs bark or whine a bit when their owners leave, or chew things up because their families never properly trained them to be home alone. Dogs with separation anxiety however, have a much harder time. Many people who have heard of separation anxiety are aware that their stress can result in destruction of property or house soiling problems. This can be extremely hard on owners, but what is arguably worse is what these dogs can do to themselves. Their level of stress is visible in excess drool inability to eat even the tasties treats when no one is home. Many of them damage their teeth trying to chew out of crates or mutilate themselves when under stress.

Five months ago, this was Smiley. If crated, her chin, front legs and the floor of her crate would be soaked. If left alone in a new place she was excessively destructive. Due to her level of stress when she was alone in her kennel, Smiley, though the same friendly dog she'd always been, seemed anxious even when we were with her.

We put together a training plan for Smiley, based on one that had been successfully completed with another separation anxiety dog who was adopted by a staff member a year earlier. Smiley has an anti-anxietal drug which she may need to take for quite a while, at least while she adjusts to a new home. We have also used a dog pheromone to help keep her calm in her habitat. Through special feeding, exercise and crating time, she is able to stay alone in a room we've selected for her for extended periods of time, and has worked her way from 1-5 stress free minutes in her crate to 1-2 hours - sometimes longer.

The transition to a new home will be difficult for Smiley, but certainly not unmanageable. She'll need to live in a home which is not empty eight hours a day, and will likely need extra help in the beginning. On the other hand, she has a well established plan which we have seen be successful for her while at our facility. Our staff are available to assist her new family with the transition. Most importantly, Smiley's strengths, including the amount of love she will provide her new family far outweigh the challenges ahead. Smiley is just waiting for the person who is willing to take the time to discover that.

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