Palo Alto Ronald McDonald House (520 Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304) is a "home away from home" for families with critically ill children, who are being treated at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. RMH welcomes 123 families of sick children every night, and many of these families have had to leave their beloved pets behind at home; this makes our visits particularly important. Although it is difficult to predict how many children and/or adults will be there at any given time, the ones who show up are very appreciative of our visits. We meet outside in a courtyard behind the house and there are picnic tables and a grassy area. We do not visit during the winter months due to the unpredictability of the weather.
San Jose Behavioral Health
San Jose Behavioral Health is an 80-bed inpatient hospital that provides comprehensive treatment services for adults and adolescents who have been struggling with a variety of behavioral issues and mental health disorders. The hospital is conveniently located in the heart of San Jose near the intersection of Highways 85 and 101. The location amid gently rolling hills promotes quiet reflection by providing patients with the opportunity to enjoy serene views of our beautiful natural surroundings. Visits are with approved patients and mental health staff in a group setting. Volunteers must be 18 years old, have a background check, drug screen & TB tests. San Jose Behavioral will pay for these tests. There is plenty of free parking in the lot out front. Outdoor courtyards can be used for visits during good weather. All animals, any size, are welcome. Staff is welcoming and friendly.
San Jose Family Shelter
This facility is a temporary home in San Jose for families who are currently unable to afford housing in the area. The parents are working and/or going to school and live with their children at the shelter until they can save enough money for their own place. If you enjoy working with kids, this is the site for you!
This is an outdoor visit with a small team of multi-generational human volunteers and both small and large dogs. We don't currently have any cats or bunnies at the site, but they would be very welcome. This is an Off-Leash team and pets must have passed the off-leash evaluation class to be allowed off-leash. Dogs may be allowed off leash to play fetch, etc. Dogs on this team must love children and get along well with other dogs.
San Tomas Convalescent Hospital
San Tomas Convalescent Hospital is a 130-bed skilled nursing home located on Payne Avenue and San Tomas Expressway in San Jose. Furry Friends has been visiting this site for many years. The residents are between the ages of 67 and 101. The facility encourages visits since the residents need socialization due to their long-term care needs. The facility welcomes any type and size animal. A few of the residents are in wheelchairs in the lobby or hallways when we arrive. A majority of the residents are in their beds; therefore the team splits up and goes to individual rooms to visit as many people as possible. The facility is very clean, and the floors are always being polished when we arrive.
Santa Teresa Library - Reading Buddies
Reading Buddies is a program where children read books aloud to pets, to help increase their confidence and reading ability. Dogs of all sizes are encouraged, although we do already have a cat on the team. Dogs must be able to be calm for relatively long periods of time, maintaining a sit/stay or down/stay, while the child is reading to them and petting them. All pets must pass our Reading Buddies evaluation class and be able to tolerate both cats and dogs. The visit takes place in a children's area in the library. This visit usually runs an hour in length. This program is a lot of fun for both the pets and the children involved, and very rewarding for the volunteers. Consider taking a Reading Buddies Evaluation Class, and sign up for one of these exciting Reading Buddies sites!
Saratoga Adult Day Care Center
This site has approximately 20 people and has an upbeat atmosphere. Everyone is in one large room, many in wheelchairs. The patients have daily projects. Everyone is happy to see the pets when we visit.
Saratoga Elementary School
Scotts Valley Library - Reading Buddies
This is a Reading Buddies team and all pets must have passed the Reading Buddies evaluation class.
Sequoias Retirement Community
The Sequoias is a beautiful, sprawling retirement community in the Portola Valley foothills. Windy Hill Park soars up in the background and the trail behind the facility is a great place to walk the doggies after our visit. The older facility is in keeping with the surrounding countryside and blends in well. Furry Friends first visits the Health Center where some residents reside and others are in rehab. We then visit the Gardens, which is secured for dementia patients. After our main visit, we wander up near the dining room and residents walking to lunch get so excited! We can always hear someone calling out "The dogs are here!" It's a happy day when Furry Friends comes to visit.
Services for Brain Injury
Services For Brain Injury (SBI) is the only organization of its kind in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. SBI provides comprehensive rehabilitation all under one roof for people with traumatic brain injuries or acquired brain injuries. SBI's services range from post-acute programs to personal and social readjustment, to vocational immersion and job placement. SBI's programming emphasizes comprehensive cognitive rehabilitation provided through a unique continuum of services: occupational, speech and physical therapy, attaining personal and behavioral goals, reinforcing social skills, gaining readiness for a vocation from certified and licensed staff. The SBI staff encourages and supports monthly Furry Friends visits that are conducted in the main activity room with clients and staff who are interactive with the volunteers and pets. There is plenty of parking for our visits that are anticipated and very much appreciated. Furry Friends volunteers welcome new members with pets that are large and small. Pets’ simple tricks and gentle play are much admired.
Skyline Health Care Center
Soquel Elementary School - Reading Buddies
Reading Buddies is a program where children read books aloud to pets, to help increase their confidence and reading ability. Dogs of all sizes are encouraged. All dogs must pass our Reading Buddies evaluation class. Soquel Elementary School is excited to have a Reading Buddies Program at their site. This is a dog-only site. Visits take place on the second Wednesday of each month. The students, teachers, and administrators are all thrilled with adding Reading Buddies to the school's strong literacy program. The focus will be on emergent readers in the first grade, as well as with upper grade struggling students.
Stonebrook Health and Rehabilitation
Stonebrook Health and Rehab is a premier skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility located in a pristine Los Gatos neighborhood. They have 73 beds and 61 full-time residents. We meet in the main gathering area where most of the residents are doing various activities. They really enjoy our visit and would like more dogs/animals to visit them. The staff is very welcoming and helpful with anything we need.
Sunny View Retirement Community
Sunny View is a lovely retirement community in Cupertino. No special medical tests are required for Furry Friends, so you only need to sign basic forms. Sunny View is conveniently located off Highway 85 and Stevens Creek, and the seniors and staff there welcome us with open arms. The facility is charming and freshly renovated, with lovely gardens and a fountain courtyard. Our Furry Friends visit two areas at Sunny View. Our first 45 minutes are spent in a large common area of the assisted living section, visiting with typically 10-20 residents who look forward to our visits so much that they thank us with poems and cards. This is a fun time with our dogs performing tricks and even taking turns retrieving a ball indoors (to keep elderly arms in shape!), and of course, talking with these active seniors while they enjoy petting the animals. The last 15 minutes are in the skilled nursing/Alzheimer's unit visiting residents in a common room and then private rooms as time allows. Most of the seniors in this area have serious medical challenges, so Furry Friends visits really brighten their days!
Sunshine Villa visits are in the common areas and in the Alzheimer's unit downstairs. We see 15 - 20 residents in the Villa, and approx. between 6 - 10 patients in the Alzheimer's wing. We could use some smaller animals on the team.