At The SPCA we continually strive to provide exceptional, cost-effective programs for the animals and people we are honored to serve. Through inspirational collaborations with other area non-profit organizations we have been able to expand our services without increasing costs. These partnerships all serve to strengthen the human-animal bond, increase reverence for life and make Monterey a more humane place to live.
In 2008, The SPCA began a collaboration with Washington Middle School in Salinas, pairing at-risk kids with untrained shelter dogs with the goal of improving both their lives. Since then, the program has expanded to work with El Sausal Middle School, Salinas Community School, Peacock Acres Foster Services, Monterey Children’s Behavioral Health, Monterey Youth Center, and Monterey County Juvenile Hall.
Each session, five students are selected to act as trainers for five shelter dogs who have great temperaments but lack training and manners. For five weeks, the children are tasked with teaching their dogs basic skills such as sit, stay, and come, and providing one-on-one interaction.
“The benefit to the dogs is clear,” says Gary Tiscornia, Executive Director with The SPCA. “The dogs are learning skills that will help them stay in their new homes. But Take the Lead is equally essential for the children. They learn important life, leadership, and communication skills as they work to teach unsocialized dogs how to be great canine citizens through positive reinforcement.”
While the dogs learn new skills that will motivate adopters, the kids develop a sense of pride when they teach their dogs something new. The children also form deep bonds with their dogs, learning empathy, compassion, and patience as they spent quality time with their assigned trainee and see their efforts rewarded in a well mannered, affectionate dog.
“It’s inspiring to see how working with the dogs transfers into all aspects of the kids’ lives,” says Amanda Mouisset, SPCA Pet Behavior Specialist. “The kids are learning that they don’t always have to be tough. You can definitely see the difference these dogs are making in their lives.”
“It has been an inspiration to see these students’ sparkle with enthusiasm when they work with their dogs,” says Judith Peterson, Washington Middle School Principal. “These students need to have this positive force in school–not all kids are engaged in learning the same way.”
“The dogs offer love and unconditional acceptance, something a lot of them have never had in their lives,” says Alex Carillo, Event Coordinator for the Monterey County Probation Department Youth Center. “I’ve seen their demeanor change. You don’t see the hard face as much. It’s ok to be sensitive sometimes.”
To learn how you can support this important program, please call The SPCA 831-373-2631 x221
Ruff Start provides a second chance for shelter dogs that may need extra training, socialization or care before being placed for adoption. This new training and foster program pairs shelter dogs with inmates at Salinas Valley State Prison. During their stay, the dogs receive behavior training and loving, compassionate care.
In the 8-week foster program, shelter dogs live at the prison with selected inmates who are model prisoners. The dogs undergo training while receiving love, attention and socialization. Dogs in the program may have behavioral issues, be undergoing long-term medical treatment, or be in protective custody as they are part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation. Skilled SPCA staff and volunteers visit the prison three days a week to provide guidance while the inmates continue training the dogs throughout their daily routine.
After completing the program, the dogs will have mastered basic commands and received their Canine Good Citizen certification and are then placed for adoption.
A beloved pet is often the primary source of comfort for people with medical or age-related challenges. Yet for those who are physically impaired or on fixed incomes, it can be a constant struggle to obtain proper nutrition for themselves and their pets.
The SPCA, in collaboration with local Meals On Wheels organizations, is lifting this burden. In addition to the usual delivered meals, Meals On Wheels volunteers now deliver pet food provided by The SPCA and our generous supporters. This program ensures that people receiving delivered meals no longer feel the need to share their food with their pets. BestPet Care & Supplies in Pacific Grove and The Feed Trough in Salinas also help to support this program.
Volunteers are needed on a weekly basis to help label and prepare the pet food for delivery. Donations to help purchase the pet diets as specified by the meal recipients may be sent to The SPCA’s “Pet Meals Delivery Fund.”
When flooding in Monterey County left people and their pets homeless in 1995, The SPCA was asked by emergency American Red Cross shelters to help with the hundreds of evacuating pets. The SPCA has always provided housing, rescue, and medical services for displaced and stranded animals. In this instance we were able to set-up temporary animal shelters as well as care for evacuating pets just outside of the emergency shelters so people could safely evacuate, with their pets, without worry.
This was the first time a collaboration of this kind had been attempted in the United States and it has now become the model for many other animal protection organizations.
Every holiday season, The SPCA gathers pet food, supplies, and toys for individuals and families in need who have pets. The donations are then distributed by the Salvation Army. Many needy families in our community are pet owners who love their pets but are having a difficult time providing food for their families. This partnership assures food for the whole family this holiday season and reduces the risk of families being forced to give up their beloved pets because they can’t afford to feed them. Individuals experiencing economic difficulties, especially those with no close family, are particularly in need of their pet’s unconditional love and companionship.
Working to reintroduce the California Condor to the wild, the Ventana Wildlife Society (VWS) approached The SPCA with an interesting dilemma: condors needing medical treatment had to endure a four-hour round trip between the mountains of Big Sur and the Avian & Exotic Clinic in Monterey.
Since The SPCA is privileged to reside on over 200 pristine acres of beautiful Monterey County habitat, we are pleased to provide a small and very secluded area for recovering condors and VWS staff. This area, complete with temporary housing provided by VWS, is only a ten minute trip from needed veterinary medical services.
Health Department regulations prevent human service agencies from allowing pets in homeless shelters. Unfortunately this prohibition can prevent people in need of services, who also happen to own pets, from receiving needed temporary shelter. In response to this need, The SPCA provided dog houses and material to construct dog runs to Shelter Outreach Plus so their homeless clients can comfortably utilize their services without worry about their pets.