2014 Garden Tour Cancelled in Support of Community Drought Efforts

April 14, 2014—With California still deep in drought, Valley Humane Society has decided to cancel its annual Hidden Gardens of the Valley tour. Though this decision will leave the organization with a budget shortfall of $10,000-13,000 dollars this year, they feel strongly that their social responsibility goes beyond the organization’s needs.

“Promoting a fundraiser which encourages participating gardeners to excessively water their yard in preparation, and requires similar use of water for tour attendees to obtain like results feels irresponsible,” said Melanie Sadek, Executive Director. The Hidden Gardens of the Valley tour has been a staple fundraising event for Valley Humane Society since 2003, raising well over $100,000 since its inception. Through it, participants have the opportunity to tour the private backyards of ten Pleasanton homes to gain useful tips and inspiration for their own yards, as well as to simply enjoy the beautifully landscaped offerings.

“This was a tough decision, made after careful thought and consideration,” said Sadek, “but we know it is the most responsible decision for the community we serve. We are hopeful we can make up this lost revenue in other ways.”

Though the water needs of dogs and cats aren’t necessarily significant compared to a normal household’s needs, Valley Humane Society recommends that some basic steps can be taken to help conserve water. For example, don’t bath your animals more than once a month, unless advised differently by your veterinarian. When bathing, try to use a sink or bathtub where water can be contained, thereby requiring that less be used. If you have an external water source for your outdoor animals, such as a hose bib attachment that allows the animal to lick it when thirsty, make sure it is secure and not leaking. Even the smallest water-saving measures can have a significant effect on overall conservation.

Community members interested donating to help Valley Humane Society reduce the loss associated with the cancellation of the garden tour are invited to do so online or in person at the adoption center. Valley Humane Society is located at 3670 Nevada Street in Pleasanton; facility hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. Donors who contribute at least $25 toward the Garden Tour cancellation will receive one complimentary copy of the 2014 Wine Country Critter calendar, while supplies last.

Two Local Businesswomen Appointed to VHS Board of Directors

December 6, 2013—Valley Humane Society (VHS) is pleased to announce that Elisabeth Au-Yeung and Gina Piper have been appointed as new members to the board of directors.

Ms. Au-Yeung is vice president of marketing at Sensiba San Filippo LLP (SSF), a leading Northern California-based CPA and business consulting firm. She looks forward to working with the VHS board to leverage her more than 17 years of experience directing global and domestic marketing departments in such high-caliber companies as KPMG LLP, Deloitte Consulting, and PeopleSoft, and “contribute to this wonderful organization.” Ms. Au-Yeung and her family have lived in the Valley for more than 10 years.

Ms. Piper is a successful realtor of more than 18 years and a Pleasanton native. She has served in multiple leadership roles, including President of the Valley Marketing Association, President of the Women’s Council of Realtors, Director of the Bay East Association of Realtors, and Director of the California Association of Realtors. Ms. Piper is currently a member of the City of Pleasanton Economic Vitality Committee, a board member of Pleasanton Rotary North, and creator of the local Facebook page “Living in Pleasanton.” Giving back to the community which has given her so much is important to her.

Ms. Au-Yeung and Ms. Piper join a board of well-respected Tri-Valley professionals and animal lovers, including Board Chair Pamela Ott, the City of Pleasanton’s Economic Development Director; Treasurer Scott Paull, Senior Vice President of global supply chain and corporate operations at KLA Tencor; Secretary Phillip Vermont, partner at Randick, O’Dea & Tooliatos LLP; and Executive Committee Officer Lisa Hazlewood, Senior Manager of Human Resources at Equinix, Inc.

Feature Room Murals Celebrated November 6 with Artist’s Reception & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Carly Krakauer_crop smallOctober 31, 2013—Please join Valley Humane Society (VHS) and Tri-Valley city dignitaries for a formal ribbon cutting ceremony and reception on Wednesday, November 6, 2013, from 6 to 7:30 pm at 3670 Nevada Street in Pleasanton. The event marks the introduction of five newly-decorated animal feature rooms to the public, highlighting colorful murals coordinated by Carly Krakauer.

Krakauer arranged the project to beautify VHS, brightening the walls for both animals and visitors and encouraging a positive experience for pet adoption. Each mural represents one of the five cities served by VHS: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, and Danville. Krakauer’s efforts took over one year and more than 600 volunteer hours to complete, and will net her a Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony is a reception to honor Carly and the local artists who contributed their time and talent to design and paint the murals, including Debbie Wardrope, Megan Parks-Haller, Yang Liu and Kathleen Hill.

Combined with an existing mural painted by Chikako in Kitty City, the feline adoption room, the newly-vibrant feature rooms complement the happy atmosphere found at VHS.

Animal Lover’s Holiday Boutique Set for November 2

September 19, 2013—The Animal Lover’s Boutique, which is located year-round in the lobby of Feline Medical Center (FMC), 3160 Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton, will hold their 14th Annual Holiday Sale for the Animals event on Saturday, November 2nd. Proceeds from the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. boutique will benefit Jackie Barnett’s Just Like New (JLN) Fund, a Valley Humane Society program that aids sick and injured pets.

The one-day Holiday Sale will showcase a book-signing by local author, Fern Dahlstrom, of A Home For Charlie. Additional items will also be available during the Holiday Sale, including animal-themed and holiday gift items such as planters, garden art, wind chimes, ornaments, home and kitchen decor, purses, jewelry, greeting cards, handmade items and much more. “Stella and Dot” jewelry and unique pet-themed vendors will provide more shopping choices. For pampering your pet, browse the cat and dog toys and dishes while seeking opportunities to win several gift baskets.

The Just Like New Fund was founded in 1995 by Pleasanton animal advocate Jackie Barnett, who passed away in 2009. The fund, which now bears Jackie’s name, provides financial assistance to Tri-Valley residents who cannot afford emergency, lifesaving veterinary care for their pets. Since its beginning, the JLN Fund has helped save the lives of nearly 500 companion animals.

Today volunteers are continuing Jackie’s work. Volunteers raise money for the JLN Fund by making and selling catnip toys and other handmade items and by operating the Animal Lover’s Boutique at Feline Medical Center. Although FMC does not offer veterinary services on weekends, it is opening its lobby on Saturday, November 2 for the Holiday sales event. For more information, please contact Cindy Ferrin at (925) 323-8517.

VHS Volunteer Receives Red Cross Hero Award

September 10, 2013—Valley Humane Society (VHS) is pleased to announce that volunteer John Flotten will be honored by the Bay Area chapter of the American Red Cross as a Community Service Hero. John’s work on behalf of VHS community programs recommends him as “one whose actions exemplify the spirit of heroism through courage, dedication, and character.”

Giving thousands of hours of his time each year, John coordinates VHS’s AniMeals and Canine Comfort Pet Therapy programs. Under his leadership, AniMeals, which distributes dog and cat food and animal supplies to eligible low-income families, has grown from distributing a few thousand pounds of food each year to more than 30,000 pounds annually. His efforts have allowed VHS to help hundreds of loving companions remain at home with their families and out of the county shelter system.

John oversees recertification for Canine Comfort dogs and handlers and forges relationships with new facilities, schedules therapy visitations, and mentors new teams. An active handler with his dog Miles, John has helped start visitations in local school districts and city libraries, allowing thousands of school-age children to improve their reading skills through the gentle companionship of dogs. John and Miles also visit the Veteran’s Affairs Health Care Center in Livermore and work with Hope Hospice to sharing the unconditional love unique to dogs with individuals facing death.

John has been a lifelong volunteer, jumping at the chance to educate school children about the business world, teaching computer skills at the local Senior Center, sitting on education boards, and coaching sports. Valley Humane Society is proud to have him working on our behalf.

The award ceremony will take place during the 13th Annual Heroes Recognition Breakfast on Friday, September 27 from 8-10 am at the Hilton Oakland Airport, One Hegenberger Road, Oakland. Community members are invited to attend the award ceremony in support of John and other honorees; tickets may be purchased at

Teen Marketers Have Chance to Hone Skills, Help Animals

August 22, 2013—Possessing real-world experience in one’s desired field can make all the difference to a student in stiff competition for college admission. Valley Humane Society (VHS) announces a new program offering future marketers the chance to work with industry experts and hone their skills while helping animals and people in the community. The Teen Marketing Program kicks off September 9, 2013, and is limited to 20 students in each of three available sessions. Additional sessions begin December 2, 2013 and March 17, 2014.

Funded by a grant through the City of Pleasanton, the Teen Marketing Program is currently open only to Pleasanton high school juniors and seniors; there is no fee to participate. Marketing professionals will offer instruction and advice, which students will use to create and launch their own marketing campaigns to promote VHS animals, programs, and services. Campaigns will be featured in local media outlets.

Topics include graphic design, videography, social media outreach, and brand development, presented by experienced individuals from a range of both corporate and nonprofit environments: Robert Half International, Pleasanton Downtown Association, Ogden Costa Creative Group, Spring Street Studios.

Each session is comprised of twelve weekly 90-minute classes, plus 2 hours to be determined. Students interested in enrolling must commit to attending all meetings in the session to qualify for the program. In addition to hands-on marketing experience, participating students will earn 20 community service hours toward their high school civics graduation requirements. Please visit this page for class dates, downloadable application, and additional information.

Festival Makes Helping Animals a (Dog) Walk in the Park

August 1, 2013- It’s time to get moving and register for Paws in the Park, Valley Humane Society’s charity dog walk and animal festival! Scheduled for Sunday, September 22, 2013, the 3rd annual Paws in the Park offers animal lovers a fun, dynamic, easy way to support the rescue, care, and adoption of Tri-Valley dogs and cats. The walk begins at 10 am at Amador Valley Community Park in Pleasanton, followed by a free, family-friendly community celebration until 4 pm.

Walkers are encouraged to register early at and get a good start on collecting donations to help the animals. Registration fees include a t-shirt and goody bag, and cost $25 for individuals, $40 for couples, and $10 for youth age 12 and under, ARF alumni dogs with guardian, and “virtual” walkers. Children age 12 and under who do not wish to receive a t-shirt may also register for free.

Collar your friends and family to create a dog pack for extra fun, and don’t forget to bring Fido! The team that raises the most money toward the $25,000 goal will be treated to a private Yappy Hour for 20 people at Valley Humane Society. Paws in the Park also makes a great teambuilding activity for employees and coworkers. Create or join a pack today!

Everyone is invited to enjoy the afternoon’s animal festival, featuring pet-friendly vendors, canine demonstrations like rally/obedience and Frisbee, performing dogs, pet contests, children’s activities, music, and fabulous gourmet food truck fare.

Paws in the Park is presented by Pet Food Express, NBC, Contra Costa Times, and 101.7 KKIQ. Additional sponsorship opportunities and vendor booths are still available; please contact Lori Rice at for more information.

Free Cat and Dog Adoptions June 1 and 2 during Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days

May 16, 2013Daisy dreams of undivided attention. Brisco wants active adopters. All the animals at Valley Humane Society (VHS) are hoping to go home during Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days, June 1-2, 2013. All weekend long, cats and dogs will go home fee-free to qualified adopters. Located at 3670 Nevada Street in Pleasanton, VHS will be open Saturday, June 1 from 8 am to 6 pm and on Sunday, June 2 from 10 am to 6 pm in an effort to find a loving family for each animal in our care. VHS will also be performing adoptions at Stoneridge Mall from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday, and from 11 am to 2 pm on Sunday.

Animals will be adopted on a first-come, first-served basis during the event and may not be placed on “hold.” Standard adoption criteria apply. Potential adopters are encouraged to visit VHS ahead of time to fill out paperwork and have their adoption applications preapproved to speed the process. VHS will be open for adoption preapprovals Tuesday, May 28 and Wednesday, May 29 from 10 am to 6 pm, as well as Thursday, May 30 from 10 am to 2 pm, but is closed on Friday, May 31.

Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days is being held to increase awareness of shelter animals, boost adoptions, and support local shelters. Now in its fourth year, the event has spread to more than 200 participating organizations in eight communities nationwide. Maddie’s Fund has set aside $4 million dollars to provide shelters and rescues with an adoption stipend ranging from $500 to $2,000 for each pet adopted during the event.

“VHS is grateful for this opportunity from Maddie’s Fund® to showcase the many wonderful dogs and cats that deserve loving homes,” said VHS executive director Melanie Sadek. “We would be thrilled to find our entire facility empty come Monday morning.” For more information, please visit or the Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days website at

In preparation for the event, VHS is seeking individuals and families who would be willing to foster dogs in their home for approximately two weeks. Interested parties should contact Operations Manager Yayoi DaCosta at (925) 426-8656.

Temporary Foster Fomes Needed for “Springtime Six”

March 26, 2012— Six cats plucked from a crowded hoarding situation are counting on VHS to cultivate a brighter future for them this spring. Yet with the possibility of a viral infection overshadowing that future, VHS is asking for the community’s help to make sure the “Springtime Six” have a chance to blossom.

VHS is looking for individuals and families willing to foster one of these special cats in their homes for approximately one month, while they complete testing for the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) virus. Spread primarily through contact with infected saliva, FeLV is not transferrable to dogs or humans, but potential fosters should have no other cats. As potential carriers of FeLV, the Springtime Six must be kept separate from all other cats, including each other, during the testing phase. Holding six cats for that length of time in separate quarters at VHS would burden the facility’s space availability and send rescue operations into hibernation.

Ordinarily Sunny, Ribbons, Ruffles, and their former housemates would have no trouble finding new homes; adorable and engaging, their attention-seeking antics would attract adopters like bees to a flower. Should they be diagnosed as FeLV-positive, however, they could only be adopted to homes with other FeLV-positive cats or no other cats, and would have to be kept indoors to prevent transmission of the disease to neighborhood cats.

Families and individuals with room in their heart and homes to foster one of the Springtime Six for a one-month period should contact VHS at (925) 426-8656. All necessary training and supplies will be provided. Fosters may be asked to transport animals to and from VHS periodically as needed for testing and/or vet exams.

March 30, 2012 – UPDATE – The Springtime Six have all been placed! Thank you to our media friends who helped spread the word, and to everyone who stepped forward to assist. If you are still interested in helping to save the life of an animal by fostering a dog or cat, please sign up for our Foster Families Workshop.