Ronald McDonald House
Palo Alto Ronald McDonald House 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 a psychiatric facility where volunteers interact with both adolescent and adult patients. Furry Friends volunteers meet patients in a large gymnasium for visits. Visits are 1 hour long, and we are looking for all kinds of animals for our team, including big dogs, smaller lap dogs, and other animals such as cats and rabbits.
San Jose Family Shelter
This is an Off Leash team and all pets must have passed the Off Leash evaluation class. This facility is a temporary home in San Jose for families who are currently unable to afford housing in the area. If you enjoy working with kids, this is the site for you! This is an outdoor visit located in an enclosed patio; both small and large dogs welcome. Dogs on this team must love children and get along well with other dogs.
Santa Clara Post Acute Care / Valley House
Formerly known as Valley House, this is a skilled nursing facility for both long and short-term care of patients of all ages. Many of the patients are elderly, however it's not uncommon to meet younger people as well. Our team meets in the lobby and begins by visiting the day rooms and exercise areas where we see patients who are active and mobile. The team then visits patients who are bedridden in their individual rooms. The larger pets will often sit on a chair bedside or visit at the nurses' station while the smaller pets can get on the bed with the patients. Patients miss their own pets at home and often tell us how much they look forward to the Furry Friends visits.
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. All pets must 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 or so 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 Retirement Community
Furry Friends visits with residents in the California Villa which houses residents in the Assisted Living Center and the Memory Unit. Residents and staff alike are warm and welcoming to all Furry Friends and their people. A current negative TB test, Covid vaccination card, and an Application Form are required for new volunteers. Visits last from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the residents available.
Scotts Valley Library - Reading Buddies
This is a Reading Buddies team and all pets must have passed the Reading Buddies evaluation class. We meet twice a month at our lovely Scotts Valley Library. The meeting room is bright and cheerful with bean bag chairs to sit in with our pups and the children. Currently we only have two participants on our Reading Buddies team and are looking for a few more.
Sequoias Retirement Community
The Sequoias is a beautiful retirement community surrounded by tall Redwood trees in the Portola Valley foothills with Windy Hill behind it. During our hour-long Furry Friends visits, we visit three community rooms to meet with senior residents. We start in the Activity Room to meet with assisted-living residents, then we meet with the residents in the Gardens, which is secured for memory-care patients. We end our visit in the Health Center with residents who reside there for rehab, including visiting rooms of residents who love animals but can't join us in the community room. We welcome all sizes and types of pets on the team. In response to the pandemic, the team is required to check in at an electronic kiosk and wear masks.
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 rehab facility in a pristine neighborhood in Los Gatos. It has a combination of full-time residents and patients recuperating and healing in the rehab program. A large Furry Friends team visits throughout the facility. We are welcomed into the activity room, the therapy gym, and room to room. Staff and residents are most welcoming and enjoy these visits very much. Pets of all sizes are loved on this team. It's easy to get attached to the residents at Stonebrook, making meaningful friendships through our Furry Friends visits.
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 is is a faclity composed of independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Our visits begin in the garden or community room with around 20 residents seated in a circle. Then we move to the Memory Care unit for the duration where we see 10-15 residents. Large/medium dogs work well here since residents are seated and can reach better.