Dream Job

Man Kills Cat with Sledgehammer.  Raccoon Impaled with Pitchfork. Puppy Burned with Cigarette Lighter. Hawk Suffers Gunshot Wound.

These are the headlines that cross my desk.  I gave an interview once holding the 10-pound barbell plate someone tied to a cat’s collar, before tossing the cat into the three-foot deep lagoon fronting the Oracle towers in Redwood Shores; the length of rope was about two-feet long, cut that length, I guessed, to maximize the cat’s struggling and suffering.

People learn about these kinds of stories and ask “How can you do this work?”

Read more ...

On the SPCA’s “Wild” Side

There are close to 8,000 humane societies, SPCAs, animal shelters and rescue groups in the United States. I can count on two paws those that handle dogs, cats and other domestics and operate a full-scale wildlife rehabilitation program. Your SPCA…the SPCA for Monterey County is one of them.

Here’s a thumbnail sketch: we care for wildlife in facilities located near the top of our property, far from the adoption center and main parking lot, barking dogs and public foot traffic. We take in 2,500 or so wild animals annually and, at peak times, house up to 130.  These include mammals, hawks, owls, eagles, songbirds, and seabirds.

Read more ...

We haven’t been formally introduced…..

I wrote last week’s blog entry — my first — without any introduction. Since I’ll be writing in this “Telling Tails” space regularly, I thought I’d share a little background.

As a kid, I had guppies and puppies, maybe even at the same time. And, I was pretty good with both, even for a little kid and even by today’s standards; that is, after our first family pet, Clancy the Dalmatian, wouldn’t put up with my 3-year-old shenanigans and my parents rehomed her. A few years laters, I’d take our yellow lab mix, Ginger, on daily walks and earned an allowance, which was blown immediately on pinball machines or baseball cards.  

Ginger was my buddy, but my childhood love growing up in the ‘burbs 30 minutes south of San Francisco was baseball.  When I wasn’t playing, I was watching; Candlestick Park was my setting for countless warm memories and chilly games during the mid 1970s to late 1980s. The last stop for me and baseball was Stanford. I didn’t get a “free ride” athletic scholarship, but close enough.

Read more ...

Ruff Start, Smooth Finish

I’d make a lousy prison guard. I spent a few hours with the SPCA’s Ruff Start program which pairs shelter dogs with level-four inmates inside the Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad.  These are tatted, hard-looking men; central casting material for any movie with a prison yard scene. Upon meeting each one and seeing them interact with “their” dogs, I thought to myself, “He’s a really nice guy!”  

Fortunately, I run the SPCA, not a prison.

The dogs our Animal Behavior Department selects for the Ruff Start program need intensive, focused work before they can transition into

Read more ...

Speed, Safety, and Art Merge to Benefit the SPCA for Monterey County

When the SPCA For Monterey County teamed up with Mazda Motorsports in 2007, it led to many things. Donations large and small. Adoptions by racers and race fans. And many new friends in the extended motorsports family. Now, several of our new motorsports friends have teamed up to create unique works of art that will be auctioned off to benefit the SPCA for Monterey County.

When is a helmet not a helmet? When it is a work of art.

Sparco USA generously donated four brand new helmets to be used as blank canvases. The results are four unique works of art that will appeal to a wide variety of race fans, art lovers, and animal advocates.

Read more ...