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Community and corporations come together to assist animals

Humane Society Silicon Valley
Corporate volunteers like these Microsoft employees are welcomed to help the animals at Humane Society Silicon Valley. Photo Credit: Beth McMullen

It’s not unusual for a Microsoft employee crossing the office campus to see tables of nonprofit information set out and representatives standing by. That’s because Microsoft’s Civic Engagement Team regularly hosts volunteer fairs on site to inform employees about opportunities to contribute time and expertise in the community. But what was unusual on one day is that two of the nonprofit representatives weren’t asking to talkbut were instead seeking pats and scratches. They were dogs being cared for by Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV).

Not long after enjoying their encounter with the adoptable dogs, 10 members of Microsoft’s Developer Experience and Evangelism team decided to spend a morning helping out at HSSV’s Animal Community Center in Milpitas. After a tour of the facility, the Microsoft employees were put to work assembling some equipment, cleaning the cat area, making cat toys, and walking dogs. Before leaving, they enjoyed some playtime with the shelter’s residents.

“It was fun interacting with the animals and just seeing how well they’re taken care of,” shares Vanessa Diaz, executive business and marketing administrator. “The work was manageable, so that anybody at any kind of level could participate and help out.” Microsoft’s policy of donating to nonprofits for every hour an employee volunteers meant that HSSV received $750 for the team’s time.

“Our vision is to have a community in Silicon Valley where every pet has a home.”

— Carol Novello, President Humane Society Silicon Valley
Microsoft employees volunteer at many nonprofits, including Humane Society Silicon Valley, and the company matches their time and donations. Photo Credit: Beth McMullen

An enduring organization on the leading edge
HSSV gives corporate volunteers insight into their operations through experiences like these. Yet that pleasant morning could only offer a glimpse into HSSV’s extensive organization and activities. “We have been connecting thousands of people with thousands of animals for over 85 years,” says Carol Novello, HSSV’s president. “Our programs focus on adopting homeless pets into loving homes, keeping pets with their families, treating and rehabilitating shelter animals, preventing unwanted births through low- and no-cost spay/neuter services, and educating the next generation of animal advocates. Our vision is to have a community in Silicon Valley where every pet has a home.”

HSSV takes in almost any species of pet, and does all it can to prepare them for a new home with caring humans. Adoptable animals range from dogs to doves, rabbits to rats. For those who already have a pet, HSSV’s excellent behavior training, veterinary and pet services are available.

HSSV takes in almost any species of pet, and does all it can to prepare them for a new home with caring humans. Photo Credit: Beth McMullen

HSSV’s Milpitas facility is on track to be the first Model Shelter in the nation, as defined by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians. There are also three Neighbor-hood Adoption Centers at the West San Jose Petco, Sunnyvale Petco, and Mountain View PetSmart locations. Though there’s nothing as powerful as interacting with an adoptable animal, HSSV’s award-winning social media program shares the latest news and generates support for its many programs.

Surprisingly, HSSV is a completely independent nonprofit and isn’t associated with or funded by The Humane Society of the United States or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Nor does it receive any government grants, meaning the organization depends on donations from local individuals, companies, and foundations, and on earned fees for services.

If you enjoy interacting with animals, consider adopting one or volunteering with HSSV. Donations are appreciated, even if you’re not an animal fan! There’s lots of good information, including cute photos and autobiographies of adoptable animals at