Fellow Animal Advocates – Peninsula Humane Society (PHS) Dogs Need Your Voice

German Shepherd with the sunset in the background

Hello!

I was a volunteer at PHS for the last four years and the described below happened with two of my shelter friends.
After 4 years volunteering was, still is, painful to me to see that PHS has a lot more flaws than I believed it had. No entity is perfect, but I always jumped in its defense when I heard people talking bad things about it, and I think we can always improve, get better, as human beings or as an organization.

I’m no ingenuous person, of course I know that PHS euthanizes dogs and I agree that in some cases it’s the best option, for the dog or for the community, since the dog could be a treat to someone’s life.

In the light of what happened, I just didn’t feel like I could still be a volunteer at PHS. I’m not the kind of person that will take lightly *do not question* our decisions or that like the *because I said so* kind of answer. I really respect all their work and knowledge, but questioning is normal and healthy, and learning from it makes us better people and better professionals. I couldn’t be in a place where I’d fear asking questions, because they could kick me out.

I understand that it’s a privilege being a volunteer and I could just keep going, for the dogs sake, as I know many people do: head down, mouth shut, broken heart, but If I did that, I’d just be doing more harm than good. Being a volunteer comes with responsibility, and I believe the responsible thing to do when we see wrong is to do something about, if we don’t, we’re merely accomplices.

So I “terminated myself”, and gave them my badge and keys at the end of our meeting with PHS staff and the San Mateo’s county representative.

So, this is our story:

We are a group of long-term PHS volunteers in need of your advice and help. We are writing because I was recently fired from volunteering at PHS when staff came to pull a dog, for immediate euthanasia (due to a medical condition), from a play group a fellow volunteer and I were running. I asked for time to discuss options for this beautiful dog because I volunteer for another organization I was sure would rescue her, despite her medical condition. That request, interpreted as insubordination, got me fired. Sadly, Lola was removed from the yard and led to her death. DESPITE THERE BEING A RESCUE OPTION FOR HER.

I was summarily fired, after 15 years of service, without even so much as a conversation. PHS management didn’t bother to speak to me or my fellow volunteer about our experience. When I elevated this to Ken White, PHS’s president, Ken unequivocally condoned his staff’s mishandling of the situation.

This matters because Lola did not need to die in the shelter and PHS dogs rely on volunteers as their primary respite from the highly stressful environment. Despite PHS’s claim to have 1400 volunteers, there are at best 20-25 dog volunteers at the Coyote Point shelter showing up off and on throughout the week, which houses roughly 100-120 dogs at any given time. Dogs are regularly euthanized at Coyote Point for shelter/stress induced behavior. Getting them out of the kennels to play isn’t only the humane thing to do, it is the best mechanism for ensuring they make it out of PHS alive.

PHS has punitively retaliated against other Coyote Point volunteers who had nothing to do with this incident – suddenly holding them to tight schedules, limiting the number of days they can be at the shelter, limiting the dogs they can now work with, and requiring *new* weekly reports on their activities with the dogs. The timing of these “policy changes” is lost on NO ONE.

We filed a complaint with the county (the county holds PHS’s contract, which expires in 2020) and were heartened that the county took our complaint seriously, and, agreeing we should at least be heard, convened a meeting between all parties. That meeting revealed several misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication, in spite of which, Ken White and his staff remain adamant they did everything right, even though they failed to follow their own investigative protocol.

If any of the above concerns you, we both welcome your advice and your voice.

Please consider any/all of the following actions, or other ideas you may have:
* Forward this post via your social media outlets to alert the community to Lola’s fate and PHS’s mishandling of the situation
* Email the county (mcallagy@smcgov.org) thanking them for reassurance that in 2020 the Animal Care & Control contract will be opened to competition ensuring PHS is no longer entitled to this role and will have to compete
* Email Ken White (KWhite@phs-spca.org) asking these or other questions you may have:
– Why didn’t PHS have the courtesy and respect to at least talk to the volunteers before firing one, and completely disregarding the other?
– What rule did the volunteer break by asking for time to discuss options for Lola now that she was on the euthanasia list? Isn’t there a law that requires shelters to release dogs if a rescue is willing to take them?
– If PHS has 1400 volunteers, why are there so few at Coyote Point where the majority of dogs are?
– Why is PHS still euthanizing dogs for shelter induced behaviors when volunteers report those behaviors don’t manifest outside of the shelter?
– Why is PHS retaliating against volunteers who were in no way involved in this incident making a bad situation worse for the dogs?

To be clear fostering and/or adopting from PHS is still the greatest thing you can do for the dogs! But we know many of you are already at your dog-capacity. You can still use your voice to hold PHS accountable for Lola’s death, the poor treatment of its volunteers and most importantly, the quality of care for the dogs at Coyote Point.

Thank you for any support you are willing to provide.

Contacts: Kit O’Doherty, (650) 274-5236 c, kitodoherty@gmail.com; Beth Kabala, chuckkabala@gmail.com; Ana Carolina Comandulli, (650) 739-9804 c, carolcomandulli@gmail.com; Pam Manuel, (650) 455-3103 c, kennet015@aol.com

Saúde, Vó!

A toast with beer, ice cream and empadão.

Hoje foi um dia especial. Seria o aniversário de 93 anos da minha avó. Ela faleceu em Novembro do ano passado. Eu queria uma forma de lembrar dela, mas de um jeito não triste, sem lágrimas, sem flores.

Ela dizia que para ela o mundo podia acabar em empadão, cerveja e sorvete. Então, eu decidi que cozinhar seria a melhor maneira de celebrar hoje.

Eu fiz um empadão e enquanto cozinhava, tomei uma cerveja e depois tomei outra enquanto comia o empadão. Viva! O sorvete será comido daqui a pouco, não se preocupe.

Ela foi muito importante para mim, não queria que hoje fosse um dia triste. A vida dela não foi fácil e os últimos anos ainda mais difíceis. Mas ela era gentil, educada e nossa, eu amava vê-la sorrir com aqueles olhos “cor de burro quando foge” segundo ela mesma. Eram de um azul clarinho lindo.

Ela vive na minha memória. Prost, Vó!

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Cheers, Grandma!

A toast with beer, ice cream and empadão.

Today was a special day. It’d be my grandma’s 93th birthday. She passed away last November. I was thinking about a way to remember her, but in a happier way, no crying, no flowers.  She always said that the world could end in pot pie (Empadão, a Brazilian kind of pot pie with chicken or palm heart stuffing), ice cream and beer. So I decided cooking would be the best way to celebrate her.  I was drinking beer while cooking and had another one when we’re eating. Woo-ha! The ice cream will be eaten later today, no worries. She’s too important to me to make this a sad day. Her life wasn’t easy and her last years were rough. But she’s kind, polite and geez, I loved seeing her smiling with her bluish loving eyes.  She lives in my memory. Cheers, Grandma!

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WordPress and i18n

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Olá, quarenta!

Acho aniversário uma coisa bem sem graça. Nada comparado a quando eu era criança, que eu achava o máximo! Tinha festa, família, amigos, presentes e bolo garantido para a semana toda. Mas fazer quarenta anos é algo como um marco histórico, né?!

Não por causa daquele velho blablabla de que a vida começa aos quarenta, mas sim porque é mais uma década completa que estou aqui, alegre e saltitante, pela Terra.

MEMÓRIAS DURAM PARA SEMPRE

Em 2006 perdi um grande amigo que conhecia desde pequena. Estudamos juntos e depois meio crescemos juntos. Moramos na mesma rua, compartilhamos experiências, risadas e amigos. A família dele era normal comparada com a minha, e de bônus eu tinha três irmãos e um cachorro. Ele era o mais velho dos três e também completaria 40 anos nesse ano, só tinhamos 6 meses de diferença. Ele foi morto em um assalto em Janeiro de 2006.

Cada ano que passa, eu sempre penso que é um ano a mais sem ele e fico imaginando o que ele estaria fazendo, qual seria a aparência dele e hoje até imagino que estaria super ansioso para ver no cinema a nova versão do Power Rangers!

E naqueles dias cinzas, quando a nuvenzinha desce, pensar que pelo menos eu estou aqui vivendo, sinto que é meio que meu dever viver minha vida e aproveitar cada raio de sol, cada ventinho batendo, cada paisagem nova que eu tenho o privilégio de ver, porque ele não está aqui para fazer essas coisas.

Esse ano também teve um nó na garganta extra: primeira vez que faço aniversário sem minha avó por perto. A sensação é bem estranha, como um pedacinho do quebra-cabeça que se perdeu e não volta mais.

me and my grandma

PARA RESUMIR

Até pensei: ugh! 40 anos já! Mas daí lembrei que nem todos chegaram até aqui, então engoli o mimimi, botei minha roupa de Mulher Maravilha e fiquei pronta para mais um ano.

“Negar sua idade é negar que você tenha sobrevivido.”  – Nikki Giovani

p.s.: o cartão foi presente da minha amiga Carol, e claro, eu amei! 😀

Hello forty!

my birthday card

I think that birthdays are kind of meh. Nothing compared to when I was a kid, that they’re amazing! Party, family, friends, gifts and cake guaranteed for the entire week. But turning forty is something like a milestone, right?!

Not because of that old saying that life begins at forty, but because it’s another decade that I’m here, joyful and lively, on Earth.

memories are forever

In 2006 I lost a close friend I had known since I was a kid. We studied together and then we grew up together. We lived on the same street, we shared experiences, laughter and friends. His family was normal compared to mine, and as a bonus I had three brothers and a dog. He was the oldest of the three boys and would also turn 40 this year. He was killed in a robbery in January 2006.

Every year that passes, I think it’s one more year without him and I wonder what he would be doing if he was still here, what would be his appearance and I even imagine that he would be very anxious to see in the cinema the new version of Power Rangers!

And in those dark days that eventually happen,  I think that at least I’m living here and I feel it’s kinda my duty to live my life and enjoy every ray of sunshine, every wind blowing, every new landscape that I have the privilege to see, because he is not here to do these things.

This year also had a lump in the throat extra: first time I have a birthday without my grandma around. The feeling is very strange, like a little piece of the puzzle that has been lost and never will be back back.

me and my grandma
me and my grandma

So

I even thought: ugh! 40 years already! But then I remembered that not everyone I loved came so far, so I swallowed the mimimi, put on my Wonder Woman clothes and got ready for another year.

Me and my sister
me and my little sister

“To deny your age is to deny you’ve survived.”  – Nikki Giovani

p.s.: The card was gift from my friend Carol, and of course, I loved it! 😀

me

I needed to write a short bio about myself. I wrote this. Can’t use this, but I liked anyway. It’s good update from the original.

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My name is Ana Carolina, but I prefer just Caroll. I was born in 77. I’m a feminist. I’m a single mother (I was 17 when my son was born). I have asthma. I’m an Atheist. I love the sea, but I’m learning to love the mountains too. I love tattoos, I have nine, but a lot more to go. I was born in Curitiba, irony, I don’t like to feel cold. I love coffee and chocolate. I love dogs. I volunteer in an animal shelter. I procrastinate. I read a lot. I’m still a big Harry Potter fan. I love cinema. I like kettlecorn. I collect penguins. I miss my grandma a lot. I love wine and beer. I enjoy cooking once in awhile. I love to drive. I’m an introvert and a high empath, somedays are harder than others. I prefer fiction. I have blue hair, but it was purple before. I’m a PMJ fan. I love bacon. I miss my friends. I hate makeup. My patronus is a white mare. I like comfy clothes. I hate writing about myself.

WordCamp US 2016

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I’m super excited to be attending my first WordCamp US in a couple of weeks. Besides all the cool stuff to watch and people to meet, they accepted me as a volunteer! So I’ll be working and helping the organization for a few hours everyday. I bought my tickets about 3 months ago and will have time to be participate in all the volunteer training and sessions. Yay!

The good part is that the conference will be live streaming! So if you can’t make to Philly, watch it on the web, from your couch. 🙂

I hope there are many Wapuus in there!

I’ll send updates and take pictures, and of course, try some Philly food! \o/

 

 

 

Puppy vitamin

me and Rain, the pitbull puppy
me and Rain, the pitbull puppy

Some days are just harder than others.

Most of the days I go to the animal shelter because I want to help the dogs. Some other days I need them to help me, like today. I just needed some puppy love, cuddles, pit smiles and some company. Thank you.