Furry Good Neighbors at San Jose Airport Spread Cheer


Kyra Hubis and Henry James at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

“Henry is in the house!”

The shout out rises from jubilant TSA agents on many Monday mornings at Mineta San Jose International Airport, in San Jose, Calif., as regular visitor Henry James makes his way through security into Terminal B.

With a big smile—and a wagging tail—Henry signals his mutual excitement at seeing his fans. The 5-year-old golden retriever is on his way to his volunteer job as one of the airport’s 13 certified therapy dogs, greeting nervous, frazzled and even distraught passengers, and reducing employees’ stress levels. San Jose is reportedly the first airport to use therapy dogs, and inspired up to a dozen other U.S. airports to launch similar all-volunteer programs in the last two years. [Read more…]

‘Nix the Nuts’ Campaign Seeks to Increase Spaying, Neutering


Nix the Nuts HSSV Spay and Neuter CampaignUsing a very to-the-point message—”Nix the Nuts”—the Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV) is partnering with 20 local veterinary offices to provide reduced spay and neuter services throughout the month of February. Clients can receive up to 40% off the regular price of procedures in some cases.

“Increasing spay and neuter efforts at this time of year heads off hundreds of homeless litters in the spring and summer months,” says Dr. Cristie Kamiya, HSSV Chief of Shelter Medicine.

In addition, HSSV officials say there are a number of added benefits to spay or neuter your pets, like living a healthier and longer life. For example, it can completely eliminate the risk of testicular cancer in male animals and also reduce the risk of ovarian and other cancers in females. There is less desire for animals to roam, minimizing the interest to mate, spray or mark territory while also decreasing the chances of an accident with a vehicle and fights with neighboring animals.

The HSSV “Nix the Nuts” webpage, hssv.org/snmonth, lists where to find participating veterinary offices. Appointments can also be made with HSSV directly. Residents in several zip codes may even be eligible for free spaying and neutering services; see the webpage for more information. [Read more…]

Silicon Valley Shelters Want to Send a Dog or Cat Home With You This Holiday Season


Home for the Holidays Shelters FirstThere are some adorable pooches and kitties waiting for their forever homes right now, so six Silicon Valley shelters have dropped their adoption fees for adult dogs and cats to $12 in December, as part of a “Home for the Holidays” campaign.

“Our shelters are beautiful, but they’re not homes,” said Beth Ward, VP of Shelter Operations at Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV). “Our volunteers and staff are warm and wonderful, but they’re not the same as a permanent, loving family. We hope families will consider opening their homes and hearts this holiday season.” [Read more…]

Feathered Fundraising: Artist Creates Cruelty-Free Jewelry to Aid Birds


Tania Tengan and Kaiya.

Tania Tengan spends a lot of time cleaning out birdcages as an owner and foster parent of rescued companion birds. The feathers and poop were getting scooped up together and dumped into the trash, until one day she realized she could rescue the feathers and make something both beautiful and valuable to help even more birds.

“Many of us bird owners were throwing away the majority of our birds’ feathers every morning with cage paper…I made a pair of earrings with some feathers from my own 21-year-old bird,” she remembered. “They were beautiful.”

In addition to being a passionate supporter of different animal rescue groups, including Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue and Mickacoo Pigeon and Dove Rescue, Tengan is an artist. Noticing the popularity of feathered jewelry, she decided to create and sell her own, donating a portion to help more birds.

There was one more facet to Tengan’s new artistic and philanthropic endeavor, raising awareness about the dark side of most feathered accessories. [Read more…]

Dedicated Volunteers Help Rescued Birds Take Flight to New Homes


Pamela Lee engages Tango, a Meyer’s Parrot rescued by Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue.

They can be friendly, affectionate, chatty, noisy, curious, clownish, enchanting, playful, shy, and maybe even a little exasperating at times—they are companion birds, and thanks to the dedicated Bay Area volunteers at Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, thousands of parakeets, parrots, cockatiels, cockatoos, macaws, and others facing neglect or an early demise are finding new homes.

The volunteer-run Mickaboo (a combination of two birds named “Mick” and “Aboo” belonging to the group’s founders) rescues and places a few hundred birds every year, with estimates of helping a total of up to 1,000 birds with its programs. At any given time there are more than 300 birds in the “foster flock”, cared for in volunteers’ homes dotting the region, according to board member Pamela Lee.

The nonprofit is not as well known as dog and cat rescue groups, but for about 17 years it has consistently offered a safe place for San Francisco Bay Area residents to relinquish birds, adopt, and find much-needed advice and guidance. [Read more…]