I may not look it (ha!) but I just celebrated my 469th birthday (ok, in dog years) and, speaking plainly, it’s my time to retire. I am that lucky person who looks back on a career with joy and satisfaction, and writing this column has been part of that. But this is my last.
PHS/SPCA was a very different organization back when I joined in 2002, and I’m using this opportunity to reflect upon what we’ve accomplished. Snapshots. 2002, PHS/SPCA first guaranteed a home for every healthy, adoptable dog or cat in our care, a promise we will keep forever. 2003, PHS/SPCA committed to a never-ending expansion of the Hope Program which, today, means we make well and find homes for almost as many ill, injured and behaviorally-challenged pets as we do animals who arrive here in perfect health. 2005, PHS/SPCA built upon its decades’ long battle against overpopulation and purchased a mobile veterinary clinic which provides spay/neuter surgeries for animals in some of the most underserved, economically challenged areas in both San Mateo County and San Francisco. 2006, we bought an old Burlingame warehouse: millions of donated dollars and six years later, in 2011, we opened it as the Center For Compassion to house our charitably funded programs, setting a new bar for state-of-the-art animal care facilities. 2020, PHS/SPCA purchased 260 acres in San Mateo County which, over time, will be turned into the first Animal Sanctuary owned and operated by a humane society. Another way of looking at this, the percentage of animal lives saved by PHS/SPCA on an annual basis (sometimes referenced as a Live Release Rate) was 53% back in 2002. That has now grown to 89%.
I salute you, our friends and supporters who make possible all we do here at PHS/SPCA. Together, we’ve done a lot for the animals we all love, but there’s still a lot more to get done. And while leaving PHS/SPCA is hard for me, leaving it in the right hands is as important anything else we’ve accomplished over these years. It is indeed in the right hands with our new President, Anthony Tansimore, who comes to us with a stellar track-record of leading complex nonprofits to best fulfill their missions. I hope you will give him the same opportunities you gave me to further help the animals. Farewell!