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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Humane Society of Sonoma County

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: We ensure every animal receives protection, compassion, love and care.

Target demographics: Animals of all kinds - dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, reptiles, guinea pigs, rats, etc.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 2,094 animals

Geographic areas served: Sebastopol and Healdsburg, CA

Programs: Serving our community since 1931, the Humane Society of Sonoma County is a donor-supported safe haven for animals. We’re dedicated to bringing people and companion animals together for a lifetime of love. The animals in our care receive medical treatment (including spay/neuter surgery), training services, and adoption assistance. We believe that no effort is too great when a life is at stake. With your help, we give hope to every adoptable animal. The Humane Society of Sonoma County is a no-kill shelter with two locations in Sonoma County; our primary Center for Animals is located at 5345 Hwy 12 West in Santa Rosa. Our Healdsburg shelter is located at 555 Westside Road in Healdsburg.

Community Stories

35 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer I have witnessed the compassion and caring every member of HSSC has for all the animals in their care.

Kristen Westphal T.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Such a wonderful foster program! Also the Community Vet Clinic support animals who would probably not get the care they need due to financial issues with their owners. I just can't say enough good things about this very well organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at this shelter for almost 2 years. It has so many wonderful qualities... probably most important is that everyone there is on the same page with using the latest science to guide them in providing a safe, enriching environment for all of the animals, always learning and asking what else is new in animal care and training that the pets at the shelter could benefit from, and treating each animal as an individual, with needs that might be different from the usual care. There is a very supportive foster program for the animals that might need that to help them while they wait for their new home. The animal habitats are large, indoors, quiet, and clean - the best I've seen at any shelter. HSSC has medical staff on site every day, has the capability of taking in and treating animals that would not otherwise be cared for, has a spay and neuter clinic as well as a community clinic for treatment of pets in low-income families. Support for the volunteers is phenomenal. There is always up-to-date information about each and every animal that we will interact with, staff available to obtain assistance from if needed, and ongoing educational opportunities for learning about the species of animals that we have at the shelter. The staff are kind, helpful, grateful and a pleasure to be around. Finally, in my experience and compared to other places that I've volunteered, HSSC is very well run and organized. Information is provided regarding any issue that ever comes up - they've already thought of it and have procedures in place. I love volunteering at Humane Society of Sonoma County!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Professionally managed, well run programs, and outstanding outcomes for all: animals, new owners and volunteers alike!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer at this shelter I have seen the dedication of staff to ensure the highest level of care and compassion for the animals. They support all of the employees and volunteers to provide a positive working environment through the emotional labor sometimes experienced, and provide high quality service to the community.

Marie W.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found my best friend there. My poor pup came with separation anxiety, but the caring and knowledgeable Behavior and Training staff worked with us to help him overcome his anxiety. At first we couldn't leave him alone at home at all but now its no problem. Thank you HSSC!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As I walked home at twilight in June 2014, a small black cat ran toward me out of an empty lot. I checked: no collar. Hoping she lived nearby, I resumed walking, but when she followed me for two blocks, around a corner, and across the street to my house, I figured she needed help. I knew my own cat wouldn’t welcome her so I led her into my garage, brought her food and water, and made a bed for her with a towel folded into a small desk drawer. I named her Stella. In the morning I took photos of her for flyers before taking her to the Healdsburg branch of Humane Society of Sonoma County. Before I flew to England to visit friends a week or so later, I called to ask if she’d been claimed. She hadn’t.

Months later, as I leafed through the Winter edition of North Bay Pets, I was startled to see a photo of the cat I’d called “Stella” in an article about cat behavior. Now named “Oopsie” and properly identified as a male, he had exhibited negative behavior in the shelter, grabbing onto staff’s arms and trying to bite. The Cat Program Manager decided to “think outside the cage.” She made Oopsie her office foster and spent time redirecting his behavior from biting to playing with toys. Over time he became a well-behaved cat and was adopted by a wonderful couple “who fell in love with him despite his quirks.”

This is what I love about HSSC, where I’m now a volunteer. They never give up on animals, instead treating each one as an individual and working for solutions that will see every animal placed in a loving home. It’s an unbeatable combination of imagination, compassion, and sheer cussed will-power. My darling Stella—I mean Oopsie—is proof that it works.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working at the Humane Society of Sonoma County is a daily reminder of what love can do, not only for the animals that are saved put for the people that adopt them. HSSC treats every animal with dignity and care and pairs them with the best person/people to love them and be loved by them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Humane Society of Sonoma County... they're a no-kill shelter!

A very knowledgeable, helpful, compassionate staff are employed at their highway 12 location in Santa Rosa. If you don't know an answer to a question, everyone here is always willing to help you.

I volunteer here, also.

Can't wait for Covid-19 to be better contained, so that I can get in some dog cuddles & dog walks!

If you want to adopt a dog, cat, rabbit, or hamster, please adopt from Humane Society of Sonoma County.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Everyone is so helpful, we all have the same goal. Making it better for all the lost and abused
animals. The Sonoma county humane society go's beyond, specially the staff they do a lot more than what there job is. specially during the last 4 month. But it is a difficult with never
enough money for what they nee to do

Rob S.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I foster kittens. which happens because it is a priority for HSSC.
personally this allows me to have kittens and not more cats! and I get to prepare the kittens for their forever homes. I know that each one of them will bring great joy to the people in their lives.

Ann Deome N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered fostering Bottle Fed underage kittens for this nonprofit since 2013, and love the support of quality food, excellent medical care for the animals, and most important the care taken to adopt the kittens out to good homes. Fostering kittens is the best volunteer job ever.
I have also adopted both dogs & cats from them over the years. I recommend them to volunteer, adopt pets & make donations!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's cliché but true: Everybody is so friendly and upbeat and go out of their way to help the animals.
They've never failed to answer my questions as a volunteer and provide great tips about caring for the cats and dogs. (I personally don't work with the rabbits or rarer animals.)

BubblesGurley

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began my experience of the HSSC as an outsider. A very close friend of mine volunteered as a dog walker for years, and his constant compliments were my introduction. When I met my dog, Bubbles, my friend suggested Bubbles & I join the Animal Assisted Therapy Program, and the required training classes prior to the AAT Exam. Our experience with the trainer, the support staff and the facility was consistently reinforcing and supportive. In July 2016, we certified as an Canine Good Citizen Team, and joined the ranks of the outreach AAT dog teams in our community. Invariably, everyone - from the Executive Director throughout the organization - has treated us each (admittedly, mostly Bubbles) like a Rock Star! The Society staff and volunteers work tirelessly to support the outreach teams, who - while working to serve the young readers and housebound elders - support both the awareness and depth & breadth of Community support for the Humane Society of Sonoma County. And - of course - the animals furtunate enough to pass through their care! Never before have I known or been a part of *such* a win-win-win organization.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As volunteers with the Animal Assisted Therapy Program at the Humane Society of Sonoma County, my dog and I have engaged each month for the past four years with young readers at our local libraries. It's been a WONderful experience, both for us and for the young people with whom we've had the honor to read. The students' wonder even inspired my dog and I to write a children's book, to challenge them while reading about a subject that almost every young person loves.... The HSSC has continually embraced our efforts and supported us as volunteers - *such* a FAB organization!

Ellen P.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer kitten-raiser for the Sonoma County Humane Society. There are animal shelters which do not take kittens and euthanize them instead. I've been to one in Illinois. Sonoma County Humane trains people to raise motherless kittens from the time they are "bottle babies" only three days old. Very demanding work but devoted people are making a difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love the Humane Society of Sonoma County!! I started as a volunteer. I walked dogs, foster kittens and helped in our spay/neuter clinic. I literally felt joy every single time I drove into the parking lot. I eventually applied for a job. I have now been working here for about 3 months. I do still volunteer on a weekly basis. I still feel the joy when I am here. The staff at HSSC is outstanding! I have never felt as a part of a team as I do here. The most beautiful part, is seeing the compassion everyone has for the animals. There is a passion for helping animals that we all share. I am so grateful to he a part of this amazing organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a senior citizen who loves to garden, and then needs to rest up for the next day’s gardening! However, I have always loved dogs. About a year and a half ago, I lost a wonderful companion Pomeranian of 13 years. I thought I wouldn’t have another dog. However, I got to missing canine company, so I began going to the Healdsburg HSSC., just to sit, play, and love whoever happened to be there that week, and, you guessed it, there was a little terrier-poodle mix, and I lost my heart.. We are very happy together, and as soon as I’ve recovered from a fairly minor back surgery, I will be back there, I think the shelter and it’s parent shelter in Sebastolpol do a wonderful service. The people there are always kind and loving to the animals, they keep everything clean and healthy, and THEY SAVE ANIMALS. This is an organization with true heart and love for all animals.

1 Leah E.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had 2 adopted dogs, a Terrier-x and a Malamute, both from about a year old, that were my only kids ....when they died, at 18 & 17 years old respectively, I started my frequent visits to HSSC (back then, known as SHS)...after a few months of almost daily visits, waiting for someone to 'Choose' me, I became discouraged...so the adoption manager and a counselor sat me down, and asked me for details about my previous family members.... immediately, excitedly and simultaneously, they blurted out the same name...I was perplexed!..I had visited with, and knew, every dog in the bldg, but this name was unfamiliar.... apparently, this Akita had been with them for quite some time, and was being fostered by the B&T manager, due to many issues from his past...he wasn't really available for adoption, except for possibly that special experienced someone....when we met, it was an instant connection, and it was clear we both scored!...it would be several years, til I discovered why he came into my life, but ultimately, he was to become my sole companion, emotional support, and protection from a developing toxic relationship...
Since he was microchipped, I extensively researched his history, and discovered that he was 12 years old, which seemed impossible due to his youthfulness....also, that he had an extremely storied past....even though his own health was failing (he'd been with me for 8 years) he faithfully continued with his 'duties', and refused to leave me... until ultimately, I sadly and lovingly had to say goodbye...he continues to watch over me and protect me, and I will forever be indebted to SHS for helping us find each other....
I needed time to heal, and felt compelled to pay it forward, so I became an active volunteer for the next 6 years, until I was forced to move 100 miles away....I have a permanent pawprint on my heart.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with HSSC.
The staff, everyone from volunteers, ACTs, Behavior and Training staff, shelter med folks, all have the animal’s best interests while doing their jobs. The LOVE for animals is very evident. HSSC rocks!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love Sonoma County Humane. I’ve volunteered and/or worked for many non profits throughout the years and Sonoma Humane is organized, nice facilities, not to many emails, fun events, good connections with the community, great facilities, wonderful staff, and they use donations very effectively. I hope to be a volunteer there for a long time.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love volunteering with my dog Hershey for the Humane Society of Sonoma County! We are involved in the Animal Assisted Therapy program. Hershey and I have been going to a school and library for 5 years and children read to him. I love seeing all the happy student faces as they light up and yell out "Hershey is here!" as we walk down the school hallways. The teacher tells me it is a highlight of their week and actually decreases absentees. When we go to the library we also have children waiting to read to Hershey while the little toddlers enjoy petting him. The Humane Society of Sonoma County brings a lot of joy in multiple ways to our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The HSSC is such an amazing organization in so many ways. The staff and volunteers are passionately committed to ensuring that each animal in our care has, not only the best physical care, but the best emotional care to recover from their past traumas and go on to be treasured members of loving families. Being part of this process has been an honor and a joy.

Christopher K.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering about a month ago to get my dog fix in. It’s one of the few bright spots to my week lately and I’m so thankful I get to help out.

Everyone is incredibly friendly, nice, and usually greet you with kisses, with their tails wagging when you enter. The amazing thing about the Sonoma County humane society is you don’t know if the previous sentence was about the employees and volunteers, or the animals they take care of.

It’s a non kill, so that’s extra special.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A fantastic organization that cares about mammals and mankind alike. They are compassionate, knowledgeable, tireless in their efforts to help the animals find a forever home. That may include rehabilitation but the animals best interest is always front and center.
They train us volunteers extremely well. Providing us with great resources, helpful, kind, and educated humans who care about us too!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Humane Society of Sonoma County has helped countless children through the animal assisted therapy program. Dogs and other animals give a calming atmosphere. My dog visits classrooms for special needs students and also assisted living facilities for seniors.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I do fostering for the humane society and it has been a very rewarding experience. I have had a mother and her puppies, puppies waiting for neutering, and other puppies not quit ready for adoption. I have been supplied with everything I need for the time I have the dogs. I have dogs of my own so am told everything I need to know so all get along. I have never had a dog that was not in perfect health. It has been an exciting adventure.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization- my dog and I volunteer as an Animal Assisted Therapy team. We read with 1st and 3rd grade students - and they love it!! It really helps them learn to read out loud! The kids look forward to our visits and it is a fun way to volunteer and give back to the community. Thank you to The Humane Society of Sonoma County for sponsoring this program!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A couple years ago I was looking for a way to be of service, and my lifelong love of animals motivated me to look into Humane Society of Sonoma County. They made it easy to get involved through their excellent orientation and training. It didn’t take long to understand that HSSC is made up of some of the most professional, dedicated and compassionate people I’ve known. When I show up to my weekly volunteer dog walking job, I know I’m a part of something that truly makes a difference in many lives: those of my fellow volunteers as well as the staff, adopters, and of course, the lives of countless animals. In short, I consider it a great privilege to be a part of HSSC and look forward to continuing to do so in the years to come.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Amazing staff, amazing volunteers, amazing facility, and amazing animals!

Mary M.14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at the Humane Society of Sonoma County for about two years and have never had a better volunteering experience. The organization is both very modern and techno-supported yet very human-oriented and adaptable. There is always a smile at the front desk, endless appreciation and unbelievable love and care for the many animals that pass through there.
I was fostering two dogs last spring who managed to escape from my fenced yard. A call to the shelter got animal control out there right away and very clear instructions on what I should do. Staff there had come out previously to help me capture a stray with cages and they put out APB's in a very extensive network to get folks looking for missing animals.
They are very flexible and eager to make things work for volunteers. When I first was getting started, it seemed becoming a foster mom was going to be a slow process. But one bop into the foster office at the right time saw me getting immediate training and I was home in a matter of days with a dog that needed to get out of the shelter for awhile.
The Behavior and Training staff is sooooo experienced and passionate about their work, there's not a question they haven't been able to answer, and they are firm and insistent when a situation calls for that as well.
It's a no-kill shelter that brings in animals from all over CA and Mexico to save them from being killed and invests so much time, energy, love and money into saving even the sickest or most difficult of "client!" ; - )
It's awesome for me as a volunteer too, not all one-sided; with proper training, I got to take foster dogs on road trips and this pic is of a pup that got adopted by the son of a friend shortly thereafter.
Training is thorough, instructions are clear, they work with foster kids and have a great mentoring program, and it's just a win-win-wonderful all around!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been an employee and a volunteer of Humane Society of Sonoma County, as well as brought my dogs to training/enrichment classes here and had family members/friends adopt their pets from them. I can't say enough good things about Humane Society of Sonoma County. Working for them was one of my favorite jobs I've ever had and I miss it regularly. From the staff to the animals, it was a joy to see, and be apart of, how much love went into every aspect of this shelter. Thank you Humane Society of Sonoma County staff for everything you do.

Charisse H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great people with great can do attitude! They go above and beyond for the animals in their care!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have seen the incredible compassion of HSSC staff and volunteers first hand - going above and beyond for the animals every day, doing whatever it takes to make sure every animal receives the healing, love, comfort, nurturing and safety they all so richly deserve. Every animal is treated with such dignity, no matter the circumstances. And their new Community Vet Clinic keeps people in need from having to give up their beloved pets simply because they can't afford regular vet care - how amazing its that?!!?! I LOVE HSSC!!!!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at the Humane Society of Sonoma County for several years. It has been a wonderful experience working with the dedicated, well trained, and loving staff. I have seen them do wonders with sick, injured or fearful homeless animals bringing them back to emotional and physical health. They participate with other non profits for free or low cost spay neuter clinics for cats, and help to educate the community on the importance of controlling animal overpopulation. They also have a wonderful small farm where children come to learn about kindness to animals. It is a wonderful community resource and I am proud to be one of their volunteers.