Reports From This Organization

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society: P.L.A.Y. Pet Beds Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society accepted 77 dogs and cats from Ventura County Animal Services, Santa Barbara County Animal Services and Rancho Cucamonga Animal Services so that those agencies had the capacity for immediate front-line fire-evacuation needs. The animals accepted at our shelter were already available for adoption or had completed their stray-hold period before the fire emergency, so no evacuated animals were separated from their human families who may have been looking for them.

The catnip toys and lush, wonderful beds were used in our enrichment program to help the cats and dogs transferred to our organization become comfortable in their temporary environment, so those animals could eventually find homes. We were able to post super-cute photos and stories to Facebook showing the newly arrived dogs and cats playing with their toys and snuggling on their beds.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The Santa Maria Valley Humane Society is a vibrant and exciting organization that exists to rescue, shelter, heal, place, and train dogs and cats while engaging our Central California Coastal communities through education and advocacy to end animal homelessness. Through our state-of-the art Edwin & Jeanne Woods Animal Care Complex, the professional staff and volunteers of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society have placed 13,370 homeless dogs and cats into new and loving homes and our highly-skilled veterinarians have helped and healed an additional 36,712 dogs and cats.

Our signature Open Paw manners and skills training for shelter pets is a model program that helps to prepare shelter pets for their new homes. Every pet has interactions with 20 people per day, we use toys and food puzzles for mental stimulation, and every cat and dog has a den or warm, cozy bed. We have demonstrated that, by familiarizing pets with people and creating a model environment, our adoptable animals are calm, present in a positive light to shelter visitors, and are adopted more quickly.

The bed grant from P.L.A.Y. enabled us to meet our enrichment goals and provide the very best care for the evacuated animals. The selection of items was perfect and every item has been used. In fact, most of the beds are now being used by new canine residents!

How many pets did this grant help?

77

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

When Santa Maria Valley Humane Society accepted dozens of animals from shelters in the Woolsey Fire-affected area, our partners at the Petfinder Foundation and P.L.A.Y. stepped up to help with emergency grant funds and lots of cozy dog and cat beds. The Humane Society received a total of 77 dogs and cats who had been at Ventura County Animal Services, Santa Barbara County Animal Services and other area animal-rescue organizations. Those pets were transported to Santa Maria to free up space for pets who were in need of evacuation from the fire. Here you can see several transferred dogs and cats enjoying their comfy new beds. From top to bottom: Ronan, Sachi and Harry. All of them have since been adopted.

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society: Disaster Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The Disaster Grant from the Petfinder Foundation was used to provide food, shelter, and veterinary care for dogs and cats who were evacuated as a result of the Woolsey Fire in November 2018. Because of the grant funds, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society was able to accept 77 animals from our partner shelters, making room for animals on the front lines of the disaster.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The Woolsey Fire was a destructive wildfire that burned in California’s Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The fire ignited on Nov. 8, 2018, and burned 96,949 acres of land. The fire destroyed 1,643 structures, killed three people, and prompted the evacuation of more than 295,000 people.

When Central Coast communities of California are facing a disaster, animal shelters network to provide swift response to the demand to care for evacuated pets. Because of the grant funds, we were able to accept 77 dogs and cats who were already in-care at partner shelters to allow those shelters to accept evacuated pets. In turn, we were able to spay or neuter, vaccinate, and provide medical care to the transferred pets and find those animals homes.

How many pets did this grant help?

77

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Awesome follow-up stories from the Woolsey Fire evacuations (Nov. 13-30, 2018):
1. Say hello to Bella, formerly Luna (first photo)! Bella was transferred to Santa Maria Valley Humane Society in mid-November from Ventura County Animal Services so they could make room for animals being evacuated due to the Woolsey Fire. Bella had a short three-day stay with us before she found her new family. Now, a few months after being in her new home, this is what her family has to say:

“Bella has been settling in wonderfully! We’ve been on many adventures together, including enjoying the ocean at Avila Dog Beach, hiking on the Bob Jones Trail, socializing at Woof Pac Park, and many more. We even entered her in Santa’s Doggie Parade in Avila before Christmas! Bella didn’t win, but she looked beautiful in her festive collar. She loves waking up and giving us morning kisses every day. We can’t imagine our life without Bella!”

2. Harley, formerly Harvey Dent (second photo), a 3-year-old pit bull, was an owner-surrender to Santa Barbara County Animal Services. After not being able to find a home for three months, Harley was transferred to Santa Maria Valley Humane Society due to the Woolsey Fire evacuations. Within two weeks, Harley found his match! Now, a month later, this is what his new family has to say:

“I’ve been having the time of my life with Harley. He’s been the best pup; he’s sweet, affectionate, athletic, mellow, polite, loving of all people and other dogs, and a ton of fun. I live alone and work from home so I wanted a buddy I could hang out with all the time and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in crime. Previously, I was living with and taking care of my mother, who was sick and passed away eight months ago, so it has been a very hard season of life for me, but having Harley has brought me so much joy and comfort. I’m so thankful I found Harley when I did, and I may have needed him even more than he needed me. He’s such a light in my life.

“We go for tons of walks, hikes, doggie playdates, runs, dog beach outings, and he’s becoming a local celebrity in downtown San Luis Obispo because he’s so sweet and handsome. I’m extremely thankful to SMVHS for all you do to give pups good homes, and I hope my story brings you joy. Very grateful for your team and for my boy, Harley!”

3. Meet Dexter, formerly Deputy (third photo)! Dexter was an owner-surrender to Santa Barbara County Animal Services and he was later transferred to Santa Maria Valley Humane Society to make room for evacuated animals. Combined, he spent nearly six months searching for his perfect match, but they finally came for him! Now, several months later, this is what his family has to say: “It’s as if Deputy was in our family for years after a day in our house. He sits in the recliner with us every time we get in it.

“We renamed him Dexter, as my wife had a dream we named a pound dog Dexter the night before I picked him up. Funny part was, it was a surprise to my wife that I was adopting him. Bottom line: He is a great addition to our family and a great companion for our other dog.”

The LAST animal in our shelter relocated from the Woolsey Fire evacuations is a a cat named Esperanza (fourth photo). From her Petfinder profile: “Esperanza, our diva cat, is sweet and sour. She is very independent and does not require much attention. For the most part, Esperanza just likes to do her own thing. Some of the things she enjoys are long naps, big fluffy bedding, catnip, and wet food and feather toys. Boy does she like her wet food. Esperanza is one of the chubbiest kitties that we have. When she plays, she will waddle across her room and stand on her hind legs to catch the toy. It is definitely a sight to see. Come out and meet this big sassy kitty. Maybe she can have some catnip so you can really see how funny she can get.” You can meet her here.

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society: One Picture Saves a Life Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

This is used to further our adoption program for cats and dogs.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Sending my Program Assistant to the workshop has given her added skills in photograing shelter animals in a positive and favorable manner.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant helps the 25 dogs and 12 cats we currently have in residency, and the knowledge gained will help many more animals to come.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Patsy was an adorable, 2 1/2 year old black Chihuahua that entered our shelter in March of 2013. It’s difficult being a black Chihuahua, there are so many Chihuahuas in shelters these days. Patsy was quiet and shy and was repeatedly overlooked. We knew what a sweet little dog she was, but we weren’t sure just how to promote her so our clients could see what we saw. After being in our residence for two months we showcased her as Pet of the Week, but the photograph we used made her look sad and pitiful. With our new Canon EOS camera and the newly acquired photographic skills obtained at a recent workshop, our Program Assistant, Sandi, made it her mission to photograph Patsy in a new light. She set about snapping good quality pictures showcasing Patsy at her playful best. We discovered that Patsy loved to chase soap bubbles, but didn’t like them to touch her. It was quite fun to watch. We updated her profile photo on our website, in Petfinder, and on her kennel card. Finally, Patsy’s day came. A woman came in to look at the adoptable dogs and fell in love with little Patsy. After 5 months in our shelter, Patsy was adopted into a loving forever home.

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society: One Picture Saves a Life Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Taking better photos of our adoptable animals.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We have received increased interest in our adoptable animals since posting better-looking pictures on Facebook, Petfinder.com, Instagram and our website.

How many pets did this grant help?

It’s difficult to determine an exact number of animals helped but interest has definately increased. We have received many compliments from our Facebook followers about the more appealing photos.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Two-year-old Poodle mix Frannie (first two photos) was at our shelter since June 22. Her photo was not particularly flattering. Since retaking her picture with the One Picture methods and reposting, Frannie received interest from a family in Wisconsin and a family in Northern California, and was adopted on Sept. 4 by family who live an hour’s drive from our shelter. There is no question that the increased interest was a direct result of Frannie’s new pictures on Petfinder.com.

Brandy (fourth photo) was actually a transfer in from a rescue organization we occasionally work with in the Central Valley. She had kennel cough and some pretty bad skin issues when she first arrived, but after medical treatment she healed and perked up quite a bit. She was a resident in our kennels for less than a month before finding her perfect match, a family of four (last photo). You can see what a difference a good photo makes!