A Day in the Life of Rescue

Josephine TempongkoCats, Dogs, News19 Comments

Most days, Matthew’s days start early. Veeeery early. As our Animal Transport Assistant, Matthew is a crucial part of our Rescue team. Two or three times weekly (and sometimes more!) he visits local shelters or makes the long trek to the Central Valley in one of our rescue vehicles to pick up large groups of animals from our partner shelters who need assistance with the animals in their care. “The driving isn’t ideal,” Matthew says. “But once you know the reason you’re doing it, it’s so worth it.”

Many of the animals Matthew brings in need the kind of specialized medical care that we are lucky enough to be able to provide, while some are shy or may need other behavioral support to help them reach their full potential. Others just need a change of scenery and a different audience of potential adopters in order to find their perfect match and leave the shelter faster. Their needs may be different, but they all have one thing in common – Matthew is there for them.

On a morning in late August, Matthew started the day as he usually does. He loaded up the Rescue Roadster, one of our transport vehicles, before the sun was up. He then began the long drive to the Central Valley.

But today wasn’t just any other day. Instead of his usual trip to a single shelter to bring in a few dozen animals, Matthew would be visiting four of our partner shelters who were dealing with overcrowding issues. He would be returning with nearly 60 animals — a record for a single trip.

Matthew began the 3.5 hour drive and arrived at the first shelter early that morning. He took 20 dogs and 9 kittens. Throughout the day, he continued his route to the next three destinations, taking in dozens of animals from the overcrowded shelters.

Along the way, Matthew meets with staff and volunteers at these shelters to assess their needs and take in as many animals as we have space for. Our partner shelters love working with Matthew. His kind, nonjudgmental demeanor endears him quickly to staff and volunteers at these shelters, and he’s able to create a space for trust and respect. Thanks to his incredible personality, Matthew is able to create relationships with our partners, which helps us work together to increase the lifesaving capacity of the Central Valley shelters.

By 10:30 a.m., Matthew had already finished visiting each of the four shelters. He drove back to our Milpitas Animal Community Center and arrived by 2 p.m., and then the next phase started. One by one, Matthew and a group of other volunteers and staff unloaded the animals from the van and took them through the “triage” process. This process takes dozens of staff and volunteers who create an assembly line to ensure each animal is examined, weighed, vaccinated, and placed in appropriate housing.

Some of the puppies and kittens were sent to loving foster homes until they were old enough for adoption. Others needed medical care, and were monitored closely and started on treatment. The rest were placed on our adoption floor within days and found homes quickly.

Transport staff and volunteers waiting in line for their puppies to be examined and vaccinated

The following day, Matthew was back at work early again. This time, he would be visiting local partner shelters to take in more than a dozen kittens, some of them sick and needing care. The work never stops.

We’re so grateful to have Matthew as an amazing part of our Rescue team. “It’s so rewarding,” he says. “It’s a dream job.”

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19 Comments on “A Day in the Life of Rescue”

  1. Hi Dear ,
    Could you please let me know how I can make an appointment for my dog Neutering?
    Shoko Bano

  2. This is very heartwarming. In 2017, I adopted my pitbull mix, Bootsie (now named Kona), from HSSV. She also came from the Central Valley.

    She is doing so well and is the sweetest, most loving girl. Don’t know what I would do without her.

    Thank you, Matthew and all of HSSV for rescuing all these animals and allowing them the opportunity to be part of loving families. ♥️

  3. Thanks Matthew and Rescue team for your love and commitment in rescuing animals. Our Buffy came from the Central Valley with a huge burn on her back. We fell in love with her and adopted Buffy and she is the most wonderful dog. We love her to pieces and even our cranky senior Puli loves her now.

  4. HSSV is full of fantastic employees who do amazing things for the animals Every Single Day! Thank you Matthew for being one of them.

  5. Thank thank you Matthew and everyone who helps these beautiful animals. Math hey you’re making such a difference and we are proud of your hard work, as well as thankful.

  6. Thank you Matthew, We also got Miko “formerly known as Raider” fr the Central Valley via HSSV in 2018.
    We love him dearly! We take him wherever we travel.

  7. Matthew is a true hero!!! The HSSV’s span of kindness and compassion extends beyond our local community, very grateful to all of the employees, volunteers and supporters!

  8. My girl Cayenne (now Eileen) is a tripaw from HSSV, rescued from the Central Valley because she had a broken leg that needed to be amputated. Thank you for bringing her into our lives. She is our sunshine.

  9. Mathew – YOU ROCK DUDE!
    Our Percy (LAMBO) was probably picked up by you in the central valley. He is the most goofy (Katie’s word) little doxie/spaniel mix. My husband loves him.
    It is your kind heart that helps, those of us who adopt, incredibly happy people.
    Thanks Man – YOU are amazing!

  10. Thank you for sharing this illuminating & inspiring tribute to Matthew, the Rescue team & all of the volunteers.

    HSSV’s amazing staff and volunteers strive to make a difference every single day.

  11. Thank you for sharing this behind the scenes story. Thanks to Mathew for his part in making animals lives better

  12. This is an amazing story. So inspiring ! Thank you Matthew and everyone at HSSV for all that you do to rescue these babies. We adopted our girl Frankie 3 years ago. She, her siblings and momma came from the Central Valley! Thank you for giving them a chance for a furever home! We love her with all our heart! ♥️

  13. Thank you for sharing this story. It warms my heart to know that there are people like Matthew and your staff in the world.

  14. Thank you, Matthew! My two black kitties (adopted a couple of months ago) came from (I was told) “a shelter in Madera”, so it’s very likely they were in your truck! Thank you for helping giving these sweet animals a chance – I can’t imagine my life without them anymore. You are making a real difference.

  15. OMG How impressed I am by your
    copywriter, MATTHEW & whole staff
    Loved living in Marin but now wish
    I were there! I’m older than Sin (80) and donated my MBZ or I’d try
    to sign on with you. I’m searching
    for small female dog, but only find
    Pit Bulls & other BIG males. Where do little girl dogs go? Any age but
    my apt in small so she must be too

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