SAS X-ray suite dedicated to retired K-9 Ziva

Dr. Jennifer Bennett, SAS medical director, discusses the positive impacts the X-ray equipment will make on animal care.
Photo: Flore Yuan

Each year, the Seattle Animal Shelter cares for thousands of animals who come to us in need for everything from spay and neuter surgery to prevent unplanned litters to those who are most in need of help, compassion, hope and a new forever family. Thanks to the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation and its generous donors, we have a new tool in our belt to more quickly diagnose and treat animals that come under our care.

Retired K-9 Ziva with her partner, Officer Mark Wong, and SPD Chief Carmen Best.
Photo: Flore Yuan

In 2017, through generous donations at its annual fundraising gala, SASF granted over $76,000 for new X-ray equipment to be installed and used at SAS. For the first time in our 46-year history, we are able to X-ray animals that are sick, injured and victims of animal cruelty – on-site and with less stress on them. As a result, we can more quickly diagnose issues and provide treatment.

On July 16, 2018, SASF hosted an event to unveil the new equipment, which is dedicated to retired Seattle Police Department K-9 Ziva for her outstanding service to SAS, SASF and our community. In addition to her years of service to our community, Ziva and her partner officer Mark Wong have raised tens of thousands of dollars in support of SASF and our work at SAS. It is with sincere gratitude that this equipment that will help so many animals is dedicated to Seattle’s own amazing K-9 Ziva. Among our honored guests at the unveiling event were many of our generous donors, volunteers, staff from SPD and its K-9 unit and, to our delight, SPD Chief Carmen Best.

K-9 Ziva
Photo: Flore Yuan

In 2011, the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation was formed to further support the mission and work of SAS. Since then, SASF has been raising money and providing grants for everything from building improvements to equipment and supplies for animals in our shelter and in our community and so much more.

The Seattle Animal Shelter has a history of being a progressive municipal agency thanks to the dedication of our staff, volunteers and the support of our community. With the additional support of and in partnership with SASF, we are able to continue to strive for the very best of care for our animals.

For more information about the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation, visit

For more information about the SPD K-9 unit and Ziva, visit

For more information about Seattle retired K-9s, visit

And always remember your purchase of a Seattle pet license is how you can protect your pet while supporting SAS’ lifesaving work. Learn more at

Every day is “Spay Day” at the Seattle Animal Shelter

Feb. 27, 2018 was officially World Spay Day, but every day is Spay Day at the Seattle Animal Shelter. The Seattle Animal Shelter has been working since 1982 to ensure that all dogs, cats and rabbits are spayed and neutered, regardless of access to services or an owner’s ability to pay for fees. To celebrate the work of the shelter’s Spay and Neuter Clinic, the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation has underwritten all spay and neuter packages during the week of World Spay Day.

“Spaying and neutering allows your pet to have a longer, healthier, happier life,” said Dr. Jennifer Bennett, Seattle Animal Shelter’s medical director. “Spaying can reduce the risk of serious health issues such as pyometra, uterine cancer and mammary cancer. Neutering eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and may lower the risk of prostate cancer and hyperplasia. Spaying and neutering also reduce the desire to roam.”

Appointments for this week are already booked, but if your pet needs a spay or neuter, you can schedule an appointment for a later date by emailing Surgeries cost between $144-$186 for dogs, $102-$108 for cats and $90 for rabbits. While there is no residency requirement, pets of Seattle residents must be currently licensed. You may purchase a license on the day of the appointment. For altered animals, a one-year license is $24 for cats and $35 for dogs; a license is not required for rabbits.

The Seattle Animal Shelter also recommends having your pet – dog, cat or rabbit – microchipped while it is at the clinic for surgery. Microchips are invaluable in ensuring a successful reunion if your pet gets lost or stolen.

There are several ways you can celebrate Spay Day throughout the year:

  • Donate to the “Pet Population Control Fund” at the Seattle Animal Shelter. This fund provides financial assistance year-round to pet owners who cannot afford the cost of spaying and neutering. It needs to be replenished constantly to maintain the clinic’s ability to provide resources to those in need. Please consider making a donation to the Pet Population Control Fund to help the clinic continue to save lives.
  • Talk to your friends, neighbors and family about getting their pets spayed or neutered. Year-round the Seattle Animal Shelter’s Spay and Neuter Clinic can help those in need with discounted or free spay/neuter surgeries.

“Spay Day” is an international campaign of The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. Each February, animal shelters and animal welfare agencies worldwide join forces to promote spaying and neutering of pets as the most effective and humane ways to decrease the euthanasia of homeless animals in shelters throughout the world.

To learn more about the Seattle Animal Shelter’s services or to donate to the Pet Population Control Fund, visit or call 206-386-4260.

The Pet Loss Support Group is here to help

Our pets are part of our families. If you experience the loss of a pet, you may have feel a range of emotions from shock to sadness to anger, but you don’t have to go through those feelings alone. Seattle Animal Shelter offers the free, weekly Pet Loss Support Group to help you through this uniquely difficult time.

Pet Loss Support Group leader Connie Starr reflected on the value of the group.

“When one is grieving, support is essential to healing. Pet loss falls into a category of grief called ‘disenfranchised grief,’ meaning society doesn’t recognize or support the loss,” she said. “The group attendees can share the pain of their loss and support each other. The facilitators also provide ideas for healing interventions – journaling, meditating, reading, exercising – and other resources.”

Six volunteers facilitate the group, rotating shifts so that you can usually expect two facilitators at every group. Most facilitators have personally experienced a loss of a pet, and all are animal lovers. As volunteers of the shelter, the facilitators are limited to discussing pet loss only. If other issues arise, visitors will be referred to another professional or group for support.

“Many [people] are also still in shock, so it’s incumbent on the facilitators to make them feel welcome, normalize their loss and then listen,” Starr said.

Still wondering what to expect at the group? There’s no need to sign up and you may attend as often as you like. At a Pet Loss Support Group meeting, you’ll be welcomed into a safe space of other animal lovers. There may be anywhere from one to 10 guests, and each will have an opportunity to share his or her story. Starr assures that whether you feel more like talking or listening, “people are amazingly kind and supportive.”

The Pet Loss Support Group has been supporting the Seattle community for 11 eleven years. The group meets every Thursday from 5:30-6:45 p.m. in the shelter conference room at 2061 15th Ave. W. Please enter through the door on 15th Avenue West. You can learn more about the group and other pet loss support resources on the Seattle Animal Shelter website.

Seattle Animal Shelter hours changing

Seattle Animal Shelter is fortunate to have tremendous support from our community for the lifesaving work we do every day. As the only open-admission animal shelter in the city of Seattle, many of the animals who come to us are sick, injured, neglected and in need of medical care and training while we work to prepare them for adoption into new, forever homes. Thanks to the Help the Animals Fund and grants from the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation, we are able to do much more for these animals today than ever before.

Much of the work done by our animal care team takes place away from the front counter as they clean, feed, exercise and provide for the medical and behavioral needs and health of all the animals in our care. Working with our wonderful volunteers and foster parents, this dedicated team is working hard to provide care for the animals while also providing excellent customer service to our community and customers.

To continue to provide a high level of customer service and best care for our animals, we are making some changes to our public hours. Effective Nov. 15, we will be open from 1-6 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday. For owners who are claiming lost pets, we also will be open from 2-4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Also effective Nov. 15, our phone hours will shift to 9 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days a week.

As we care for the animals who come to us with so many needs, there are many ways you can help us save one life at a time.

  • #TagToSaveLives. Remember to purchase a pet license for your dogs, cats, miniature goats and potbellied pigs, and spread the word about licensing. Pet license purchases directly support the lifesaving work we are doing every day.
  • Adopt, don’t shop. When considering adding a furry, scaly or feathered companion to your family, adopt one of our amazing animals! In addition to dogs and cats, we have rabbits, guinea pigs, turtles and many other critters who are in need of new homes.
  • Become a foster parent. We are always in need of lifesaving volunteers who are able to care for animals in their homes while they are on the road to recovery and waiting to be adopted.
  • Donate. Your tax-deductible donations to the Help the Animals Fund and Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation enable us to help the animals most in need of love, compassion, care. You will help give them another chance at life.

The Seattle Animal Shelter is located at 2061 15th Ave. W. For more information, call 206-386-PETS (7387) or visit

Seattle Animal Shelter’s Furry 5K supports vet care, helps save lives

The Furry 5K is so much more than just a fun run/walk.

Hero with his forever human, So.

The Furry 5K supports vet care for animals at the Seattle Animal Shelter that face severe health conditions or have been subject to neglect or abuse. Take Hero, for example. Our humane law enforcement officers picked up Hero, a thin but happy stray dog found near Beacon Hill, and during an examination our vet noticed he had a heart murmur. Hero was going to require multiple vet appointments moving forward, but rather than keep him in the shelter environment for the duration, the SAS foster program connected him with volunteer Christy Avery. With Christy’s help, Hero had a comfortable home to return to after his vet appointments – a home where he could relax and thrive. Hero has since found a permanent home with So, who had this to say about his best friend:

He’s absolutely fantastic – the best dog I’ve ever met. Hero’s the therapy dog at the office, with people from other floors coming to meet him (and he greets right back with a smile!). He’s even won over several folks who were apprehensive about pit bulls.

We checked in with Hero’s former foster mom and asked Christy about her experience fostering Hero and what the Furry 5K means to her.

  1. Why did you want to foster Hero?
    SAS wanted to follow up on his heart murmur and put Hero on the foster list so that a volunteer would be able to take him to vet appointments. He would have a comfortable place to stay while SAS awaited test results and decided on further treatment, if that were necessary. Our 14-year-old Chow Chow mix, Kobe, who had been our first foster dog from SAS and also a “foster failure” when we adopted him, had died, but we weren’t ready to get another dog of our own. So, fostering was a good fit for us at that time.
  1. How was your time fostering Hero?
    Hero was an exceptional dog. He was the kind of dog everybody wants, sweet, snuggly and friendly to all people and dogs. He was also what we call “bomb proof.” Nothing made him nervous or scared. Everything and everybody made him happy. So he was a very easy foster dog. It was a pleasure to take him to his vet appointments because he charmed the pants off every vet and vet tech he met.
  1. Have you fostered from the SAS before?
    Yes, five dogs. Our Chow Chow mix, Kobe, was our first foster. We fostered another very happy Pittie named Manny, and very sweet and neglected Chow Chow called Jazzy, who had been seized in a cruelty case. Then Hero, then a little puppy SAS received in a transfer through Georgia Peaches Puppy Rescue called Ueli. We have also sat for a number of foster dogs when their foster parents went out of town.
  1. Master snuggler at work!

    What was your favorite moment with Hero?
    Sleeping in and snuggling with him. We both enjoy sleeping in, and he was a champion snuggler.

  1. How can the Seattle community help dogs like Hero?
    Walk or run the Furry 5K, or donate online to the Help the Animals Fund, which pays for vet care. Hero may not have been adopted so quickly if SAS hadn’t been able to pay for the echocardiogram that let us know that his heart murmur was very low grade and should not give him trouble.
  1. What does the Furry 5K mean to you?
    It’s about the animal-loving community in Seattle coming together to help our city’s orphaned animals. I volunteer at the event every year, and it’s always a blast! If you can’t walk or run the course or donate to the HTAF, consider volunteering.

The Furry 5K is coming up on Sunday, June 11, at Seward Park in Seattle. Visit to register or donate or for more information. Race-day registration begins at 10 a.m., and the run/walk begins at 11:30 a.m. We look forward to seeing you there!

Story by Erin Berge, SAS volunteer