Saturday, February 6, 2016, was beautiful and sunny--a great day to take a drive to the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)!
Our day began with a tour of the SPCA’s beautiful administrative area and medical hospital, lead by Mr. Matthew Pawlowski. The space has been newly remodeled, and features a network of offices, a Spay and Neuter Clinic, and the general hospital. Majority of the offices we passed featured doggy doors and beds, so your best friend could join you at your work desk!
We learned that although SPCA volunteers are not able to work in surgery, they can become part of the SPORE program. Due to the length/difficulty of treatment, ringworm is one reason why some shelters choose to euthanize animals. Thus, SPORE is focused on the detection, treatment, and elimination of this fungal disease.
We then headed over to the adoption center, to learn about adoptions, behavior, and enrichment from Ms. Frances Ho. She told us about some really neat ways that the SF SPCA finds homes for the animals in their care. Dogs who have a great nose, and might be a little too energetic for a household setting, can be sent to be trained to work with conservation biologists. For instance, there’s a dog who’s been trained to recognize the scent of whale feces, and barks from the boat whenever he detects it! Biologists are then able to collect samples for analysis. Training or working with these awesome sniffers might be something interesting to explore as an alternate career choice!
Ms. Ho expressed her concern that animals were not receiving enough daily stimulation. She wishes to address this problem through increased enrichment by means of novel toys, new recipes, auditory tapes, and more. On February 13th, VAC members will return to the SPCA to assist with this new enrichment program. They will be in charge of making pre-project observations of the animals, in hopes of answering questions like “Does Lemur the fat cat ever move?”. Members are invited to later participate in a post-project observation, to discover if enrichments made a positive impact on shelter animals’ lives.
There are many additional ways to become involved. During the summer, college students can apply for a paid position as a Summer Animal Camp counselor (this posting will be listed in a couple of week here: https://www.sfspca.org/who-we-are/careers/career-opportunities). To become a regular volunteer, please visit https://www.sfspca.org/get-involved/volunteer for more information.
Article and photos by Nicole Fernandez.