A Tale of Three Puppies

Josephine TempongkoDogs, News, Volunteers4 Comments

We all know puppies are adorable. Wiggly. Cuddly. The most fun. But puppies are also incredibly vulnerable in shelters. They require an immense amount of time, medical care, and socialization. They’re very susceptible to disease. Their lives are incredibly fragile, and it can be a huge undertaking for a shelter to care for them.

At HSSV, we are fortunate enough to have the resources, skills, and incredible foster families to care for these tiny beings. Every year, we take in thousands of puppies from shelters that don’t have the resources to provide the intensive care they need.

This holiday season, we’re reflecting on all the amazing people who make puppy-saving possible. So sit back and get ready to enjoy the puppy photos. We’re here to tell you about just three of the thousands of puppies that we cared for this year and the very special people who helped them thrive.



Gracie first arrived at one of our partner shelters in the Central Valley when she was just a few days old. We had already planned on visiting the shelter to bring in a number of their animals with medical concerns, and added Gracie on to the list as well.

When she arrived, our Medical team examined her. She was so young her eyes hadn’t opened yet, and had a wound on her neck that the team cleaned. Because she was so young, she would need to be fed every few hours. Our Foster team jumped in right away to look for a foster family to take her. Jerie, a foster mom and mentor who had just celebrated 20 years of volunteering with HSSV, raised her hand right away, and Gracie was picked up that same day.

The next few days with Gracie were rough. She was in pain from her neck wound, and woke up every hour crying or hungry. Jerie cared for her round the clock, and after a few days, Gracie was feeling better and sleeping for longer and longer stretches of time.

Over the next few weeks, Gracie grew and changed rapidly. Her eyes opened, she learned to eat solid food, and she grew up so much. By the time she was old enough to be adopted, Jerie and her family had made a decision. The puppy they had raised from four days old had become such a part of their family that they knew she needed to become a permanent member. Jerie and her family adopted Gracie, their 133rd foster, and she is so loved.


Despite Leo arriving as a very young puppy, he was absolutely massive. At just a few weeks old, he was already a whopping two pounds. We were concerned about his health, though, so our Chief of Shelter Medicine, Dr. Kamiya, took him home for a few days to stabilize him before he went home with another foster family.

He spent the next couple weeks being bottle-fed around the clock by his experienced foster family. Luckily, his health scare from his first few days with us was over and didn’t seem to be affecting him.

Leo continued to grow bigger and stronger over the next several weeks. He stunned his foster parents with his size, and they were thrilled to see him thriving and learning how to be a puppy.

Finally, after two months of care from his foster family and our Medical staff, Leo was ready to find his home. At 8 weeks old, he was already over 16 pounds and on track to be a huge cuddlebug. He was placed up for adoption and found the perfect home with his new family.


Nola was only two days old when she arrived at HSSV from a partner shelter. She had some wounds on her face and paws, and needed around-the-clock feeding and care because of her young age.

Luckily, we had the ability to give her just that. She was immediately placed in an experienced foster home that could provide her with the constant care she needed at her delicate age.

Once she was a little older, she moved into a foster home with our Senior Director of Marketing, Sandy. At a little over two weeks, her eyes opened and she began to slowly crawl around and gain interest in the world.

She was introduced to Sandy’s resident pets, and hit it off immediately with Olive, her 10-month-old puppy. As Nola grew, so did her personality. She started to show her playful, feisty side and delighted in awkwardly playing with Olive whenever she could.

Finally, after two months of loving care, Nola was ready to find her permanent home. She found a family who had lost their dog that looked just like Nola a few years earlier, and they were finally ready to add a new member to their family.

Stories about animals like Gracie, Leo, and Nola are only possible thanks to our wonderful staff, volunteers, foster families, and the many people who support our work in so many ways. This holiday season, we’re taking some time to reflect on just how grateful we are for friends like you who make miracles happen. Thank you for being a part of the HSSV family!

Want to support us this holiday season? Make a gift to the animals! And if you haven’t already, sign up for our eNewsletter to get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox!

4 Comments on “A Tale of Three Puppies”

  1. Thank you for all you have done for our furry friends. Wish you a happy and safe holiday season.

  2. The world is so blessed to have special people who are able to rescue and care for these animals. I am so impressed with the work you do and the contribution you make to give these animals the best chance at a new fulfilled life! I will continue to contribute whatever I can!

  3. Tears flowed! Our family adopted Nola, now known as Maggie! We love her! Three weeks and she feels right at home. Thank you for giving her a chance at life.

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