What is it about holding a newborn puppy that seduces our senses so profoundly? The sweet smell, down-like softness, little round bellies—they way they squeak and cuddle—perhaps it’s the remembrance of a deep joy from childhood that makes it such a visceral experience.

There are times, however, when dogs are taken to a shelter, pregnant, or with newborn puppies in tow. Local heroes step up to care for the dogs, on a temporary basis, from the Humane Society of the Northbay. They "adopt" them over a weekend, sometimes longer as needed. Recently a Benicia couple volunteered to take care of seven newborn puppies and their mother. The little bundles of energy and cuteness have a good chance of being adopted out when they are old enough; however, sometimes the older dogs are not so lucky.

Sophie and Muffin are two examples of sweet, older dogs in residence at Northbay for over a year. Just recently, Muffin finally found a permanent home. Eleven year old Sophie has not been so fortunate – she is a "super sweet, silly girl" who has been looking for an active, fun family. She enjoys walks with the volunteers and would love to have someone take her on hikes. Sophie would fit in with all kinds of homes, but because she has lots of energy, she'll probably do better with older children. It takes a special family to adopt an older dog, but Sophie is as deserving as they come.

Peter Wilson, Humane Society of the Northbay's director, says that between 3,000 and 4,000 animals come to the organization each year. Those include dogs, cats, birds and rabbits. Wilson has been the program's director since 2003, and is slowly expanding programs as funding allows. When asked what keeps him motivated to find appropriate homes for so many abandoned animals, he replied, "It's really about finding the right niche … I found that I was able to be effective in fundraising and make a difference for the animals. We do more each year." He is quick to point out that the shelter does not euthanize animals. But funding is an ongoing challenge, and the shelter is always looking for foster parents, volunteers and donations. To help, visit bvhumane.org.