Saving Lives


Every year, hundreds of thousands of animals enter animal shelters in California. Many shelters in California, especially those in the Central Valley, do not have the necessary resources to treat and care for animals with extensive medical or behavioral issues. These shelters rely on partnerships with organizations like HSSV in order to save the lives of animals in their care and provide them with a second chance to find a forever home.

Our Approach

Years ago we made an ambitious goal to ensure that every healthy animal in our community was saved. We partnered with local shelters in Santa Clara County to create the WeCARE Alliance and in 2011 reached our goal of achieving a 100% save rate for all healthy dogs and cats in the county. Together with our partners, we took that ambitious goal a step further and now save animals that require more extensive care. We’re proud to say that across our community, we are able to save more than 94% of all animals entering shelters in our county.

With the phenomenal success we’ve been able to achieve here at home, we are now able to extend our lifesaving work to reach animals outside of our local community. Through our Sue and John Diekman Regional Rescue Program, we are able to rescue and care for thousands of animals in under resourced shelters across the state. Over the years, we’ve increased our partnerships with more shelters in need throughout California in order to reach the animals that need our help the most. Now, more than 60% of the animals we take in every year now come from shelters all over the state. Once they reach our doors, we provide them with medical and behavioral care before we find them a new forever home.

Scaling our work to save lives


animals rescued in 2021

In five years, we have doubled the percent of animals rescued through our Diekman Regional Rescue Program.

40 %

required extended care in 2021

Our Medical team brings unique and expanding expertise to save animals with more complex issues.


animals adopted in 2021

From supporting our partner shelters to providing expert care, we are finding homes for more animals every year.

Saving Lives Across California

In shelters across California, tens of thousands of animals are euthanized every year. Our Diekman Regional Rescue Program helps partner shelters that are struggling with the animals coming into their shelters by rescuing them and providing them with the care they need.


Watch the video to see a day in the life of a rescue run and learn how we were able to help one of our Central Valley partner shelters increase their lifesaving capacity and save more animals.

Caring for our Community

We are committed to ensuring that our local community maintains its ability to save all healthy and treatable animals that enter shelters in Santa Clara County. So when a WeCARE partner shelter put out an SOS call for help with an overflow of kittens entering their shelter last summer, we immediately responded by taking in 45 kittens that were too young to be adopted, including two tiny kittens that had just been born days earlier.


Within a day, all the kittens received a medical exam and were placed with foster families through our Shannon Wass and Dan Kelmenson Foster Program. They stayed in their foster homes until they were old enough to be adopted, and then were able to find their forever homes. We are committed to continuing to be a safety net for shelters and homeless animals in our own backyard. 

"Quote from Dr. K or Kabcenells about their donation's impact "

– Dr K or Kabcenells

Personalize your impact to save lives

We’d love to talk to you about how your support can help us save the lives of more homeless animals, both within our community and beyond. Reach out to learn more about our work and the impact you can make.

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Keeping Families Together


The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a rise in pet owners needing affordable veterinary care for their pets and exposed the lack of adequate resources available to them. Many pet owners are facing financial difficulties due to rising inflation and effects of the pandemic, and are unable to provide for their pet’s basic needs.

Our Approach

In response to what we have seen as an emerging crisis for pet owners, we have increased the services we provide to pet owners in order to keep pets with their families. We believe that the human-animal bond is supports the mental and emotional well-being of both people and their pets, and that those who wish to have and keep a pet should have the opportunity to benefit from this important bond. Through free and affordable medical care, spay/neuter services, and free pet food and supplies through our Pet Pantry Program, we are closing the gap and ensuring pet owners have the ability to keep their pets healthy, happy, and at home.

29 million cats and dogs live with families that require public assistance.

27% of pet owners experience barriers to veterinary care.




Serving our Community

In partnership with Street Dog Coalition, we now provide monthly clinics for the pets of community members experiencing homeless. The clinics provide free spay/neuter services as well as other wellness services, including vaccinations and supplies. One client at a clinic, Caron, brought her three cats for medical services. Two of her cats received free spay services, while her cat Teddy was provided with updated vaccines.


“It’s such a good thing,” she said about the free clinic. “I didn’t know where to take them and can’t afford it. It’s a lifesaver.” She was incredibly grateful to be able to keep her cats healthy, and credits Teddy for helping her through hard times. “Teddy is the reason I wake up in the morning,” she said.

"I am so grateful for the assistance so I can keep my beloved pets. I am disabled and unemployed right now. It's been a lifesaver and everyone has been so kind."

– Pet Pantry Client

Providing Services to Keep Pets in Homes

We believe strongly that pets are a part of the family and can make such a huge difference in the lives of the people who love them. Through our Wellness Waggin’, a fully-equipped mobile surgical unit, we are able to provide free monthly spay/neuter and wellness clinics to the pets of people who face significant barriers that restrict their access to affordable veterinary care for their pets. NOTE: CAN WE ADD INFO ABOUT UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES HERE? DATA OR ZIP CODES?


Watch the video to hear HSSV Chief of Shelter Medicine Dr. Cristie Kamiya describe the services we provide on our Wellness Waggin’ and why these services are so important to keeping pets in homes and out of animal shelters.

Help keep families whole

Your support can keep pet owners and their beloved pets together, even through hard times.
Contact us to be a part of expanding accessible services for families in need.

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Changing the Game


The fragmentation of animal shelters across the country as well as the national shortage of veterinary staff are just two major challenges facing the animal welfare industry.

Not all animal shelters are alike, and there is very little oversight of sheltering organizations. Different models of shelters serve different purposes, handle different types of animals, and have different standards and processes for operation. From municipal shelters funded and run by local governments to privately funded and operated animal shelters, there are many different types of sheltering organizations, and they are not affiliated with each other. Contrary to public belief, organizations with names like “Humane Society” or “SPCA” have no association with national organizations with similar names. This means that sheltering organizations across the country do not have to follow any national standards of care, and are not governed by overarching laws or regulations.

Animal shelters, as well as the veterinary industry as a whole, are being heavily impacted by the national shortage of new veterinarians and other veterinary staff entering the field. According to studies by Banfield and Mars Veterinary Health, the scarcity of veterinary staff is becoming a national crisis, with pet owners and shelter animals facing an unprecedented lack of access to necessary veterinary care. Animal shelters are doubly impacted – not only are they too facing a shortage of appropriate medical staff to care for their animals, but lack of access to veterinary care is one of the top risk factors for animals to be surrendered to animal shelters, according to a Mars Veterinary Health study.


75 million

pets could lose access to veterinary care by 2030

-Mars Veterinary Health



Challenges we Anticipate in the Future

Challenge 1


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Challenge 2


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Challenge 3


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Becoming a Model Shelter


On an otherwise normal day in 2017, Dr. Kate Hurley of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis, and co-author of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, was at Humane Society Silicon Valley with a team of other veterinarians.

Being at HSSV brought back memories of being in a different shelter, for a very different reason, years before. The other shelter had requested a consult. It was a large, well-funded shelter that was focused on saving as many animals as they could. They were, Dr. Hurley remembered, good people doing the best they could, and convinced they were doing a great job. The animals were getting adopted. They weren’t being euthanized for lack of time or space or because people didn’t care. But still, animals in this shelter were dying. Overcrowding and poor sanitation meant diseases were running rampant.

In that other, past shelter was an exuberant brindle shepherd mix, ten months old and healthy. A whole future stretched before her and she was just waiting for space on the adoption floor. Days later, she would be gone. Stricken with pneumonia raging through the shelter, she passed away before she even had a chance to find a home.

Dr. Hurley made a promise that day. She promised that the dog’s death would not be in vain. It was her death that inspired Dr. Hurley to co-author the ASV’s Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, a voluntary set of guidelines designed to elevate the practices and protocols in animal shelters. The goal is to eliminate the suffering and needless death of homeless pets waiting for homes. It consists of over five hundred guidelines. Once authored, the guidelines needed a shelter willing to commit to fully implement and maintain them. Humane Society Silicon Valley would be the first.

The process of becoming a Model Shelter took almost two years of work across all departments. We wrote new protocols for cleaning, for behavior, for animal care. Being first meant such documents didn’t yet exist — so we created them. On the day Dr. Hurley came to visit HSSV, she and her team would certify that we had met all 543 guidelines. We would be the first shelter in the world to achieve Model Shelter status. The work we did will make it easier for other shelters to do the same. The work we did will improve the lives of shelter animals across the country. For Dr. Hurley, that day at HSSV was seeing a promise fulfilled. Not just to one dog, but to all the other animals that will come after.

Tulare Story

Content to come

Scaling our Impact

Through a process we’ve coined “JOPRO”, we are taking best practices and teachings we’ve learned from the technology and business world and applying them to our own work. By evaluating and improving efficiency of our resources, we’re able to increase our impact. Our goal is to share what we’ve learned through our own JOPRO process to help shape animal care practices in other sheltering organizations and help them to scale and have greater impact in their own communities.

“I can’t say enough great things about my experience as a veterinary student extern at Humane Society Silicon Valley. It was one of the highlights of my clinical year and I hope more students are afforded the same opportunity.

As someone who is very interested in shelter medicine, I felt right at home with like-minded individuals. From the beginning of my acceptance into the program to my last day, I was treated so kindly with support and genuine interest in helping me accomplish my goals. From honing my surgical skills to working up common (and not-so-common) cases seen in animal shelters, the staff encouraged my involvement and I always felt like I was already part of the team.

I am so incredibly grateful for being given the chance to perform surgeries, help with treatments and work on cases with such a supportive group of individuals. I only hope I can be an amazing doctor one day, just like all of the veterinarians at HSSV.”

-Veterinary Extern, funded by Maddie’s Fund

Programs we want to invest in

Program 1


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Program 2


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Shape the future of the sheltering community

Connect with us to find out how you can be a part of building the future.

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