Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Remember Me Thursday: Celebrating Adoption and Saving Lives


On September 28th, we join the global community in celebrating Remember Me Thursday, a day dedicated to the cause of adoption. Since early 2015, Silicon Valley Pet Project has rescued over 1,770 dogs and cats from local animal shelters, provided them with medical care and support and found them forever homes. We are deeply committed to this day and its significance to our mission.

The Power of Adoption

At SVPP, we witness the remarkable transformation that occurs when previously sick and homeless pets find their forever families. Adoption is not only about welcoming a pet into your life; it's about providing a second chance, a loving family, and a future filled with happiness. Remember Me Thursday reminds us of the profound impact that adoption has on the lives of animals and the joy it brings to their human companions.

Shining a Light on the Unseen

While we have had the privilege of saving the lives of 1,770 dogs and cats, there are countless more awaiting a second chance. Our local news is full of articles about the struggles of pets in shelters in Silicon Valley. Remember Me Thursday shines a light on this harsh reality. It urges us to remember those still waiting in shelters, often overlooked simply because they haven't had the opportunity to capture hearts. SVPP’s Shelter Dog Day Out program has allowed large breed dogs who are languishing at the San Jose Animal Care Center, an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors on hikes with experienced volunteers committed to giving them the opportunity to shine. These dogs greatly deserve to be adopted by loving families who understand how wonderful they are.

The Role of Community

Our organization thrives because of the unwavering support and dedication of our community. Remember Me Thursday is not just an event for animal welfare organizations; it's a day for everyone who believes in the power of adoption. We invite our community to join us in celebrating this day and making a meaningful difference by sharing with friends and family about the importance of #adoptdontshop.

Whether you adopt or foster a pet or support these efforts, your contribution matters. Together, we can raise awareness about the importance of adoption and help more animals find a happily ever after.. 

Senior pets like Sunny and Rascal who were rescued by SVPP from the San Jose shelter, make incredible pets and are waiting to provide unconditional love to a lucky family!

Creating a Brighter Future

Remember Me Thursday is about looking forward, not just back. We encourage potential pet parents to choose adoption as their first option, and we inspire others to support local shelters and rescue organizations.

On September 28th, let's remember them—the animals who are still waiting for their forever homes. Let's remember the power of adoption to transform lives. Let's remember that each of us has the ability to change a life, one adoption at a time. Join us in celebrating Remember Me Thursday and be a part of the movement that brightens the lives of animals in need. Together, we can make a difference that lasts a lifetime!

To find out more about adopting or fostering with SVPP, please visit our website.

Melissa Lisbon is the co-founder and CEO of Silicon Valley Pet Project.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Life Planning for Your Pet Can Reduce Shelter Overcrowding and Euthanasia

As we see, hear and stress about the overcrowding crisis at municipal shelters, one loud question looms: how do we make a difference?

Fostering and adopting make a big dent. Spay and neuter are mission critical to
reducing homelessness.  But there’s a personal step you can take now to make sure your cat or dog doesn’t end up in the shelter unintentionally:
create a life-time continuous care plan for your pet.

What happens if your pet outlives you – or your ability to care for it?

It’s estimated that more than 500,000 pets are surrendered each year due to the passing, illness or incapacitation of a pet’s owner.  With shelters at over capacity, these surrenders can end up badly — with healthy and adoptable pets euthanized.


A non-profit organization called 2nd Chance 4 Pets provides a variety of resources you can use to determine which path is best for you and your pet – or pets.  You can find details on creating pet trusts, keeping pets together, lifetime care facilities and sanctuaries, and even care instructions for pets you leave behind.

On a Personal Note

My husband and I recently completed our first will and trust. The estate planning questionnaire asked for details regarding the care of our pets after we pass.  We always have cats in our family but it somehow never dawned on us to formalize arrangements for them.  We contacted our nephew, Jake, who loves our cats.  He happily agreed to take care of them in any circumstance and we set aside money in our will for this.  It was important and heartfelt.  I know that at 19 years old, Jake understands his commitment and how much we value it.

Moving Forward

Need another reason to take these steps?  This is the perfect time to make life care plans for your pet.  August is National Make-A-Will month!

Karen Zamel is a long-time SVPP volunteer, foster and adopter.

Friday, June 23, 2023

June is Adopt a Cat Month! We May Have Your Purrfect Pet!

When we adopted our first cat, Mopps, she was the resident “leftover” at my mom’s vet, who had cared for and then adopted out a litter of strays.  At just four months old, no one wanted Mopps; she was considered too old for families seeking a kitten.  We are grateful every day we gave her a home.

In honor of homeless cats everywhere — and even in the midst of kitten
season — we are highlighting our more mature pets in foster, from 1-year-old Aida to 15-year-old Rascal and lots in between!

So, please read through.  See if one of these pets might be purrfect for you and click here for adoption information.

Aida is a 1-year old brown and white tabby who is friendly, easy going, attentive and affectionate.  She would happily be your lap cat, play on her own or tend to her kittens who are also in foster care.  She will meow for your attention and, oh, don’t forget that pet or belly rub!

Didi is a gray tabby with tons of energy and glee!  At 12, she is living her very
best life and can’t wait to play, scale cat trees or nap half on your lap!  With help of medication and prescription diet, this affectionate and cat-nip-loving feline is managing hyperthyroidism and IBD. 

Hemsworth is a beautiful male tabby, at about 2-years old. While it may take a moment to warm up to you, Hemsworth will be your very best friend, once acquainted.  He is always ready to play with crinkly toys and will chase anything on a string — and oh, mealtime is one of his favorite times!

Milo is a 1-year-old male tabby looking for his forever family, and maybe even a female feline companion in his new home — a friend he can play with, chase around and ultimately cuddle with after they exhaust each other from lots of play!

Rascal is the most senior member of our group!  This sweet, friendly Bombay was surrendered at the shelter after his owner passed away.  He is outgoing, sociable and will follow you around the house!  He gets injections twice a day to manage his diabetes and is on prescription food to help trim down his boyish figure.  Because of his condition, SVPP is planning to continue sponsoring his diabetes maintenance which includes related vet visits and insulin supplies.

Zoey is a sweet and special tuxedo who needs time, TLC and a quiet home.  This once outdoor girl was surrendered by a family who moved and was incredibly stressed in the shelter environment.  We need someone who is patient, and who will let this shy girl settle in, get used to her forever home and family, and live a good life!

Karen Zamel ( is a long-time SVPP volunteer, foster and blogger.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Fostering Can Be Surprising, Complicated and Joyful: Our Journey with Didi

I’ve always considered myself a rescue person.  Even in elementary and grade school, I would bring home stray cats and kittens to protect and love (only to have them given away by a mom with an allergy).

I’ve been more formally involved with rescue since 2012.  Our first foster failure was Frankie, a cat on the “at risk” list at the San Jose shelter.  We’ve fostered and adopted other rescues, but other than a small house crowded with two adults and up to four cats, rescue was pretty uncomplicated.


Then came Didi, a cat SVPP pulled from the San Jose shelter.  Didi’s paperwork said she was a young adult (six) and healthy, except for being hyperthyroid.  We could get the much-needed specialty thyroid treatment close to home, so SVPP asked us to foster Didi until she was treated and cleared for adoption.


And then came the surprises…


The first surprise was diarrhea, starting on our way home from Pup Plaza (via the San Jose shelter). We thought this was from the stress of the shelter (more than 10 weeks in a cage), but even after she was settled in our cozy and comfortable office, the messy problem continued.  We quickly worked with the VCA vet on diagnostics and diet to appease her obviously troubled digestive tract.

The second surprise?  Her age.  Data from her chip told us she is 12 years old, not 6.


Third surprise?  No teeth except canines.  But, she does remarkably well with dry food.


The best and last surprise?  Her resilience and how fast she started to improve once we got her the food and care she needed.  This cat is a survivor with extra love to give.


Every day, we experience her sweet nature, energy, smarts, big purrs, and affection.  At 12 years young, this cat plays with peacock feathers, cat nip toys and mice.  She jumps, runs around and climbs even the tallest cat trees in our house — and has learned on her own how to use the “doggie door” to our catio. She cuddles, snuggles and lays on any nearby human while she naps.  I can’t imagine why anyone would have surrendered her.  While her shelter paperwork didn’t mention this, I’m wondering if her digestive issues and hyperthyroidism didn’t prompt Didi's drop off at the shelter. 


Didi’s future is still being written...but, in the meantime we — and SVPP — are keeping her warm, safe and loved.  I doubt that her prospects as an older, special needs cat would have been that good at the shelter.  It has been a surprising journey, but saving Didi’s life has been worth it.

Our blogger, Karen Zamel, is a long-time SVPP volunteer and a member of the communications team.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

We ♥️ Our Fosters

I recently heard the “E” word for the first time in years, in a way that literally jolted me.  In a bay area newscast, a reporter interviewed employees of a local south bay shelter.  The news angle?  That the shelter was so overcrowded that it would have to start euthanizing homeless pets if the overcrowding wasn’t resolved.  Simply too many homeless pets for the amount of space available.

With a year in foster care, sweet April
would love to find her forever family.

I had two quick reactions.  One was a combination of dismay and heartbreak.  Many pets are being surrendered as employees return to the post-Covid office.  How could bay area residents take in pets during the pandemic without planning for after it?  

The other reaction was of gratitude. 

Because of our foster families, we are able to make a dent in this overcrowding and save lives.  We can rescue a pet from the shelter and get it into a safe home.  We can provide the pet with the love, support, medical and/or behavioral care it needs in order to heal, thrive and find its happily ever after.   We’ve always focused on rescuing the most vulnerable pets — seniors and those with medical or behavioral needs that the shelters can’t meet — but now it’s more important than ever.

Right now, we have 25 pets with foster families. The majority of dogs in our care are special needs, requiring six months to a year in foster care.  We have some special needs cats that need tremendous support.  These pets all require specialized care that the shelter can’t provide.

Our goals for 2023 include expanding our foster base and ramping funding efforts so that we can continue to rescue and rehome homeless pets…without the threat of the “E” word hanging over us, threatening to harm the very lives we work to save every day.

So, as we celebrate Valentines day this month, who gets the heart?  Our fosters do.  We ♥️ our fosters!

Want to learning about fostering a cat or dog?  We would ♥️ that!  Click here.

Karen Zamel is a long-time SVPP volunteer and a member of the communications team.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Joy of Gucci (the Cat)

I could have called her “Joy” and would have meant it.  But, after a month of getting to know her, we named her Gucci and it’s very fitting.  Gucci is fearless and happy and our cat sitter says she has “cattitude.”  She’s the newest member of our family and she’s given us great joy at the time we needed it most.

We lost a member of our feline family, Oreo, unexpectedly in July.  It was an untimely and devastating death caused by congestive heart failure.  We are still mourning the loss of this beautiful cat who we found starving in St. Helena many years ago.

In our grief, we were determined to make a difference…and maybe even find some respite by giving a home to a cat in need. We’ve adopted from SVPP three other times – and rescue has changed our lives.  We discovered that giving a home to a homeless pet is both life-affirming and soulful.

Misty (now Gucci) was in her fifth SVPP foster home through no fault of her own – changing or emergency circumstances encountered by families who were generous enough to take her in while SVPP worked to find her a permanent home.  Her fifth foster was getting ready to travel for more than three months.  We met her and couldn’t bear to think that she might be in transit again.  

We brought Misty into our home — where we’ve had Lefty since 2014.  It took a full month to acclimate the two, who we kept separate most of that time with a door or baby gate.  We desperately needed them to get along since our gentle, warm and loving tabby (Lefty) experienced a lot of friction with Oreo.  After many treats, slow introductions, patience and supervision, the cats became friends.  Although we hear an occasional yelp when they get too energetic, they hang out together, chase each other around the house, sunbathe in our catio, compete for treats, and play with the same toys.  

The joy we’re experiencing is profound…from being able to provide a loving home for Gucci and celebrating her friendship with Lefty, to seeing how happy she is here — and with us.  If you meet Gucci, you would never know she had been dropped off at the shelter, abandoned and homeless with kittens, unwanted and unloved.  She is not that cat now. 

We are grateful to SVPP for bringing Gucci and Lefty into our lives. We hope that in this season of giving, you will consider donating here so that SVPP can saving continue this life-saving work while bringing great joy to families like ours.

Karen Zamel is the proud owner of Gucci, a long-time SVPP volunteer and a member of the communications team.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Shelters are Full – and Individuals Need to Take a More Active Role in Rehoming Their Pets

On a recent Sunday, SVPP received this voicemail:  

“I have a dog that I am not able to keep. I don't want to give her to the shelter, so just got to see what if you guys had any options or if you guys had any resources that you could guide me towards  that would be awesome. She's a sweet dog. I just can't keep her.”

It’s commendable that this person doesn’t want to give her dog to the shelter. However, that might not have been an option. Shelters are full, as we indicated in our June blog, and they are looking to the community for support — not more homeless pets. Between people returning Covid-era adopted pets, changed minds, unforeseen circumstances, kitten season and strays in need, shelters are beyond capacity.

There is a much-needed shift in the thinking of our communities and pet owners. Shelters can no longer be considered the go-to solution for everything related to pet homelessness, pet rescue, lifesaving, and rehoming. Too many pets are at risk for one facility in each community (even each community even has this resource) to address everything at every level of pet homelessness. 

Here’s the good news. As someone who has been involved with rescue since 2012, I can say with certainty that the resources and options for rehoming your own pet now (vs. drop off at a shelter) are much better now than they were 10 years ago.

First and foremost, SVPP has a rehoming page that includes resources and tools that can help you find a new home for your pet. is one great option for reaching local families who might be looking for your type of pet. Another option is signing up on Get Your Pet…From one good home to another. This is an online pet adoption community where people who want to adopt a pet can connect with people who need to rehome a cat or dog.

In trying to keep on the forefront of this important issue, SVPP has become a HASS Rescue Partner (Human Animal Support Services). This project focuses on keeping animals in their homes and communities, building foster-centric organizations, and empowering animal lovers to find solutions for common challenges. 

We had a personal situation a few years ago when a neighbor in the midst of a health crises abandoned her indoor only cat  leaving it outside when she moved. We discovered this when we saw the litter box and cat tree in her dumpster. We rescued the cat and brought it home (after a vet visit), and kept it separate from our other pets while we worked our “work” networks. We found Peaches a happy home with a colleague of mine  and she drove off with her new owner in a white BMW. But, had the previous owner let us know in advance we would have done the same thing without the panic. Rescuing pets continues to be a personal and community-based effort.

When you encounter owners who need to surrender their pets, please offer them resources provided on the SVPP page, including the ideas for Nextdoor and Get Your Pet. The pet’s life could depend on it.

Karen Zamel is long-time SVPP volunteer and a member of the communications team.