Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Visit to the San Francisco SPCA

Volunteers Rachel (the other Rachel), Michelle and I recently took a trip to the San Francisco SPCA to check out their doggie play program.  A volunteer there named Steve had read about our trip to Oakland Animal Services and very kindly invited us to check out the SPCA's program too.  He runs the playgroups there.

As pictures below will attest, it is a beautiful facility.   It was quite busy on a Saturday with lots of visitors, volunteers and dogs moving about the Adoption Center.   There is also a veterinary hospital on the premises.   Outside, there are multiple dog runs which volunteers were making use of with some happy dogs.    The SF Animal Control is right next door and the SPCA does pull dogs from there into their program regularly.   However, a greater percentage of the dogs are rescued from large central valley shelters.   The SPCA may load up a dozen dogs at a time and bring them back to SF!

The doggie play sessions are held at the "Green Triangle" which is aptly named.  It is a very large fenced in triangular space with a green tarmac.   In addition to Steve, there were two other volunteers on hand to help out.  One of them mentioned he had adopted a dog, "Aldo",  from BACS a couple of years ago.  It was a nice connection.   We hung out and talked shop for a bit, comparing notes on play session setup and the different play style of dogs.   They had a kiddie pool which Steve filled up with water as we talked.   The dogs love to drink, play and pee in it.  What fun!
After touring the adoption center to see which dogs were available for some play we headed over to the run with two dogs Therese and Mikey.  The playgroups at SFSPCA are usually 2-4 dogs.  Often staff ask Steve and others to include a dog so they can further assess the dog.  He reports they have had very few incidents of note though the "interrupt tools" are always at the ready including:   heavy leather gloves to wear when pulling dogs off each other,  a water hose which is a big step up from our own water bottle device.  They also use squeaky toys to distract the dogs when they feel like play could escalate.  It seemed to work well with the dogs we saw.   There is a real art to watching dog body language and determining when it's time to intervene!

Walking up to the entrance.  The lovely red awning suggests an upscale bistro.

Such a lovely entry.  Adoption center is upstairs.

Yay for spay and neuter!
Adoption  Center frontdesk.
The dog "kennels" are quite large and often house two dog buddies.

The lovely Therese is the goto dog for doggie play.
Our host, Steve, commenting on a dog interaction (or lack thereof in this picture)

Steve wanted to assess Mikey so he introduced him to Therese who is happy to provide proper corrections for any obnoxious behavior

1 comment:

James Terrier said...

When you see someone really do their job perfectly, you will feel good for them. So I should be feeling good for the guys who work in the San Francisco Animal Hospitals or the veterinary hospital in here. Those dogs play happily and roaming around with full freedom which I really like so much. The dog name Therese is so adorable one, I wish I could play with him.