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July 20, 2005

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Publication Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scott and Cooper: Man and dog make friends in the animal and media worlds Scott and Cooper: Man and dog make friends in the animal and media worlds (July 20, 2005)

By Katie Bearman

Special to the Almanac

Many pets, stray, and wild animals in San Mateo County owe thanks to Scott Delucchi, a Stanford jock-turned-animal humane society worker who lives in Menlo Park.

Since joining the Peninsula Humane Society in 1998, Mr. Delucchi, who is now vice president, has spearheaded a number of initiatives, including a campaign to supply canine and feline oxygen masks to local fire departments.

He and his dog, Cooper, have even risen to television stardom, appearing on the Sharon Osbourne Show in 2003 to talk about the oxygen mask program.

More recently, he's helped start up pit bull sterilization services, partially in response to concerns about pit bull attacks.

And he's been instrumental in boosting the animal adoption rate about 20 percent.

"Scott has a real passion for the humane society's mission," says Debbie Fischer, vice chair of the organization's board of directors. "You can see his influence on the people who report to him -- they're enthusiastic and energetic."
More than a pound

When Mr. Delucchi began working at the Humane Society, he realized many people thought it was nothing more than a stray animal shelter.

One of his goals has been to broaden community awareness of the scope of the society's services, from wildlife protection to public education about pets, animal behavior and animal treatment.

The oxygen mask issue arose because the masks at fire stations worked well for people, but not for dogs and cats suffering from smoke inhalation, for example. Since 2003, the humane society has collected donations to buy canine and feline oxygen masks -- about $200 for a set of four -- and provide them to fire stations in San Mateo County free of charge, says Mr. Delucchi.
Celebrity status

The oxygen masks have drawn national attention, with stories in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today, and appearances on TV, including the Sharon Osbourne Show.

Ms. Osbourne loves animals, and presented the humane society with a $1,000 check on the show, says Mr. Delucchi.

Due to the publicity, animal oxygen-mask campaigns have sprung up throughout the nation, he says. "It's nice to say that it took off in San Mateo County," he adds.

He and Cooper also appeared on Peninsula TV's Bay Area Women, where Mr. Delucchi discussed temporary shelter services the humane society offers for pets belonging to domestic abuse victims.

And the spotlight does not fade there. Every Thursday at 6 p.m., Mr. Delucchi hosts a show on Peninsula TV about the humane society.
Stumbled into job

Mr. Delucchi, who grew up in San Bruno, has lived in Menlo Park for about a year and a half. A communication major and varsity baseball player at Stanford University, Mr. Delucchi graduated in 1989 with a bachelor's degree and the 1987 and 1988 NCAA College World Series Championships under his belt.

For about seven years after college, Mr. Delucchi worked in admissions and taught English at various local schools.

Working at a humane society was not always part of his career plans. "I really just stumbled into this job," he says. "I got lucky."

Still, Mr. Delucchi notes that his first taste of animal welfare came during his senior year at Stanford, when he and three housemates participated in a six-month puppy-raising program through Canine Companions for Independence, a national organization that trains dogs to be aides for the disabled, he says. The guys took their black lab to classes, grocery stores, and parties to introduce her to social situations.

Mr. Delucchi says he leaned toward working at the humane society when he became interested in nonprofits during his teaching years.

"I liked the idea of working for a community organization where people really care about what they do," he says.

While he encounters distressing animal cruelty cases, the good people he meets far outweigh the bad, he says.

For example, he notes: "One day, someone walked in wanting to adopt a cat. He asked for the cat that had been there the longest, and was willing to take it home -- sight unseen."

One of his favorite aspects of the job is seeing how the programs change people's lives.

"Retired folks who volunteer at the PHS can find a new sense of purpose," Mr. Delucchi says. "And you wouldn't believe the celebrations we see in the front lobby when families find their lost pets."
INFORMATION

For more information about the Peninsula Humane Society, go to PeninsulaHumaneSociety.org, or call 340-7022.


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