Berkeley Humane works with more than a dozen local municipal shelters in seven Bay Area and Central Valley counties to identify dogs and cats that need immediate medical attention.
When our volunteers and staff make weekly visits to our partner shelters, we look into each kennel and may see an older dog or younger kitten with an eye infection, broken tooth, abscess, or skin condition. Sometimes these health concerns are due to neglect, abuse, a birth defect, or something unknown. The reason for the health condition is often less important than whether our surgery team can relieve the suffering and prepare the animal to find a home with a new loving family.
At Berkeley Humane, we are fortunate to have an in-house veterinary team of volunteers and staff that don’t shy away from any medical challenge. In addition to treating many of the highly contagious conditions such as panleukopenia (also known as feline distempter), ringworm, and parvovirus, and the never-ending need for dental interventions, we have recently experienced a significant influx of animals with severe and sometimes complicated eye conditions.
Just in the last 10 weeks, Berkeley Humane’s medical team has had to perform eight enucleation surgeries, or eye removal operations, on two dogs, two adult cats, and four kittens. Both dogs and most of the kittens required one eye to be removed as the result of either genetics or previously untreated or inadequately treated infections that resulted in scarring so severe that their vision was no longer viable. All eight animals are now able to enjoy a high quality of life thanks to this pain-relieving surgery.
One of these cats is Helen, a female Abyssinian mix brought to us in September from the Solano County shelter. She’s 5 years old and had what was suspected to be a congenitally caused bilateral microophthalmia (both eyes were shrunken into the eye sockets), and there was an infection present as well. This did not hinder her sweetness on any level. She was instantly rubbing her face on toys and eagerly exploring her cat condo once she arrived at Berkeley Humane. Our veterinary team gave her a thorough exam and immediately scheduled her enucleation surgery. She healed well and was able to be adopted into a loving home now that her condition had been surgically addressed.
Even though pets who have gone through this procedure are permanently sightless, like Helen, they are now able to live without pain. And of course, these pets require a special home to provide them with patient guidance as they adapt to a new environment and, most importantly, a safe space. Our volunteer and staff adoption counselors work hard to ensure a perfect fit with new families.
Berkeley Humane has a reputation for finding loving homes for older animals, animals with medical conditions, difficult-to-place breeds, or kittens that have to be bottle fed to survive. Adopters who visit Berkeley Humane are looking for love and are eager to give these animals a new life. And that love enables us to continue our mission. After all, love itself is blind.
Kristen Loomer is the director of operations for the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society where she is responsible for the adoption, training, volunteer, and medical programs. She has worked in the animal welfare field, in both the public and private sectors, for over 16 years. Learn more about Berkeley Humane at BerkeleyHumane.org.
Shelter Zone Features a different shelter or rescue group each month. To contribute, contact Editor@BayWoof.c.om
Doggie in the Window: Adopt Me From Berkeley Humane
I’m Shadow, a sweet older fellow at 11 years old. I’m looking for a home where I can take it nice and easy. Naps, treats, and cuddles? Yes, please! Lots of noise and kids? No thanks. Think I could be your little Shadow?
I may be a country boy, but I am ready to take on the city. I have a happy disposition and playful manner, and I can’t wait to find my match. I’ve come all the way from Shasta County to meet you, so come by and say hi.
I will keep you smiling ear to ear with all my charm! I am a sweet-natured girl that would be a great companion, always ready to curl up on the couch and watch your favorite movies with you! I’ve come all the way from Shasta County to meet you!
I am looking for a home that will give me a little time to show my playful side. Some experienced caregivers could really help boost my confidence and give me all the tools to come out of my shell. I will be really friendly and cuddly in the right home.
Main article photo by: Photos of Helen and dogs courtesy Berkeley Humane