Pet Tales

Max, the unintended pet

Max is special because he is so curious, and sweet, and flexible, and he is very good about letting me know what he likes and what he does not like. I never thought that I would want a dog in my life, but he has found his place in our home, and in our hearts.
Here is a fun quote from a poem by Mary Oliver:
“Be prepared. A dog is adorable and noble. A dog is a true and loving friend. A dog is also a hedonist.”
From Heather Gevertz,  Major Gift Officer in Development and Alumni Relations

Geena the Labrador

I would like to announce the newest arrival in the Bish-Thomas household, Geena.
Geena, or Gi-Gi, is a 9 week old Labrador who is learning quickly about house training, the exciting but confusing child, and the geriatric cat, while managing to stay generally adorable.
When tired, a rare event but it does happen, she will take a toy and shelve herself on the lowest shelf of the magazine table as pictured. She may be a fun maniac, but she knows her limits.


-Edwin Bish

Rio, the smartest dog in the world

Labradors don’t have the reputation of being the smartest dogs, but our eight-year-old chocolate lab, Rio, is out to prove ’em wrong. Not only did he figure out how to be rejected by TWO different families as a puppy (for being too energetic) just so he could be found on Craigslist and adopted by us, but he arrived just as our youngest was finishing high school so that he could become the main focus of our attention. Here’s how he demonstrates his intelligence:

  1. He mimics my intonation when I say “Good morning” to people on the running path and does a sort of Scooby Doo “Good morning” of his own.
  2. If we aren’t throwing his ball/frisbee/stick far enough or if we try to do something else when we’re at the beach/park with him, he finds someone else to play with him.
  3. If we aren’t picking up on his body language about whether he needs to eat, go outside, or whatever, he makes us go through a series of questions and will sit down or stand up to show his answer.
  4. If we don’t take the correct exit off the freeway when he thinks he is going to Pt. Isabel, he complains.
  5. When he doesn’t feel like running, he’ll stop to do his business and then turn around and try to trick me into heading home again.

But mostly, he endears himself to us so firmly that we don’t even notice that we plan our weekends and vacations with him in mind.


Lucy Rachwald adopted her family at the Oakland SPCA five years ago, and she has won the best family member award by unanimous vote ever since.  Every day, she enjoys sunbathing on the balcony, celebrating everyone’s return home, and barking at anyone who comes close to the house, making the doorbell no longer necessary.


Teddy is a nine month old Australian Shepherd who revels in being an affectionate, playful, and naughty puppy. He loves running, fruits and vegetables, and obedience class. His favorite game to play is one he invented called “Chase Me.” It entails him stealing a pair of socks to goad his humans into chasing him around the house in hot pursuit.

Submitted by: Rachel Shuen

Good Girl Lady Pearl

My name is Lady Pearl. I am the master of a grand 1 BR apartment in North Berkeley, where I generously allow my humans to reside among my copious puppy fur balls. I love swimming and have dipped my paws in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as the mighty Mississippi, Lake Tahoe, and every river and stream in the Bay Area. I’m a very lucky pup because my mommy and daddy love camping and going for hikes in the woods and I get to run free and explore and sniff stuff and roll around in the tall grass. I like snuggles and tushy rubs and cheese and no one can resist my soulful brown eyes. My mommy says I’m the sweetest schmoodle and the puppiest pupperoni that ever lived. I wish she would talk to me like a grown pup, I am 13 years old after all. You’re embarrassing me mom!

Submitted by Rachel DeLetto

Meet Chai

This is Chai (though his name tag says Chia- oops!). He is a handsome, sweet, social 5 year old boy. We adopted him from Milo Foundation when he was around 2. He is the Mayor of Josephine Street and has made friends with all the neighbors. You may find him lounging on any front porch when you come home from work. Nicknames include: Bop, Snooky and Waddles McQuack. Chai wants to go to Cal when he graduates high school. Go Bears!

Submitted by Jennifer Griego

Meet Hannah … aka “Trouble”

Meet Hannah. She’s a 14-year old wire hair dachshund, and those are not eyebrows on her head. They are little devil horns. Hannah is the matriarch of the household and reminds her family — moms, Marty Grenhart and Linda Savinelli; and siblings, Cinnamon, Rico, and Petey — of that fact every day. She is stubborn, but very loving, and is adept at sniffing out treats of all kinds. In this shot, she managed to get into the pantry while we were gone and binged on whatever she happened to find there, including a large bag of pine nuts. We now have childproof latches on the pantry door.

Submitted by Marty Grenhart

Meet Mabel


Meet Mabel. A 4-ish year old Shepherd mix. Her mom, Farrah Fanara, rescued her from the San Francisco SPCA almost 2 1/2 years a go. She loves to lay on the bathroom floor while her mom gets ready for work and pretty much follows her mom everywhere. Mabel can also jump very high when playing ball. She makes very funny noises and likes to howl. Her full name is Mabel Emmet Fanaynay, but she goes by Mabes (the Babe), Marbles, Mabeline, and Mumbles.

Meet Corgi-licious

I’m Sydney, and I’m a 3-year old corgi-mix who owns Susan Whitman and Mark Gergen. I took over their house two years ago after Susan and Mark saw this glamor shot on the SF SPCA website and couldn’t resist adopting me. I excel in being cute, fetching balls (I’ll drop them at your feet and bark until you throw them, and I’ll do it over, and over, and over….), and in snuggling. And I’m a well-known Cal fan. Two years ago, I starred (with Mark) in Susan’s low-budget video encouraging donations to the Big Give. I was a minor media sensation and received an extra ration of dog biscuits for my part. For all further media inquiries, contact Susan, my agent.