"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 of the Pleasanton-based Humane Society.
The Hidden Gardens tour has been a major fundraising event for the organization, raising well over $100,000 since its inception in 2006.
It also has been a favorite of garden enthusiasts, giving participants an opportunity to tour the private backyards of 10 Pleasanton homes each year to gain useful tips and inspiration for their own yards, as well as to simply enjoy the beautifully landscaped offerings.
Now, the organization will have to find other ways of dealing with a budget shortfall of $10,000-$13,000 this year.
"This was a tough decision, made after careful thought and consideration," Sadek said, "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."
Those who were planning to participate in the garden tour can still donate to the Valley Humane Society online at www.valleyhumane.org or in person at the adoption center, 670 Nevada St. in Pleasanton. The facility's hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Donors who contribute at least $25 toward the Garden Tour cancellation will receive a complimentary copy of the 2014 Wine Country Critters calendar while supplies last and will be entered in a drawing for a $100 Petco gift card. That drawing will take place on or around May 15.
Though the water needs of dogs and cats aren't necessarily significant compared to a normal household's needs, Sadek suggests steps can be taken to help conserve water, even that used for pets.
For example, she said, don't bathe pets more than once a month, unless advised differently by a veterinarian. When bathing, try to use a sink or bathtub where water can be contained, thereby requiring that less be used. If an outdoor water source is available for animals, such as a hose bib attachment that allows them 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," Sadek added.