Guest Blogger, Lori Calvery (Humane Society Silicon Valley)
From Hi-Tech to Non-Profit
For a number of years, I worked in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley, including ten years at Sun Microsystems. Good money, but something was missing – passion. It’s hard to get the warm fuzzies over software and hardware, but put me near a dog and I go all mushy.
During my employment at Sun Microsystems, I did a corporate volunteer day at Humane Society Silicon Valley’s old facility on Lafayette, but the place was seriously depressing. Animals in cages, all looking at you, begging with their eyes to take them home. Despite the fact that the animals were well cared for, it was not a place I wanted to visit again.
When they built this new facility nearby, I heard that it was like nothing I’d ever seen, so I was curious to see what it was like. Holy crap! This is not your grandma’s animal shelter! It’s called an Animal Community Center for good reasons. First, the place is beautiful. It’s bright, airy, full of positive energy. All of the animals are in condos, not cages, and they have relaxing music piped into their rooms. They all have nice beds, toys and blankets, which are all color coordinated by the Animal Care Technicians. Why? Because the staff care so much about the animals.
And the Humane Society of Silicon Valley is more than a shelter.
Summer camp and other education programs for kids, grooming, a spay/neuter and vaccine clinic and two dog parks are part of this center.
There are training programs for humans (although they call it puppy kindergarten), foster programs, and lots of volunteers snuggling with the animals in the building, walking them, playing with them. So what happened next, is that I signed up to be a volunteer. And that was the beginning of my path to find real passion in what I do.
After about a year of volunteering, I became an employee and eventually ended up in Marketing.
In high tech, I can’t hug the software, but I can hug our dogs, cats, and other critters.
But more than that, there is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing our animals go home to a good family, to a new life. Whenever one of our longer term guests go home, the staff cheers because they are so happy for that animal. Word spreads throughout the building, letting everyone know who just got adopted.
You can’t beat that.
Lori Calvery has been an animal lover for as long as she can remember, preferring stuffed animals to dolls. Her first dog, Snoopy, was a chihuahua poodle mix who looked more like Yoda than a dog. She spent many years in hi-tech before finding a path to animal welfare in the non-profit sector. During her career at Humane Society Silicon Valley, she successfully launched the Adopting Bad campaign for Eddie the Terrible, a rather challenging Chihuahua looking for a home. The campaign resulted in national attention and a Shorty Award.
Lori lives with her husband and her three foster failures: Elmo, a Chihuahua, Peach, a Chiweenie, and Bronnie, a Dachshund.