Valley Humane Society celebrating 30 years

Local nonprofit works to improve lives of animals, people

Pleasanton's Valley Humane Society is marking its 30th anniversary with a birthday bash for humans and animals alike next week.

Valley Humane is a nonprofit that works to rescue and adopt out Tri-Valley cats and dogs, especially by alleviating overcrowded public animal shelters. Over the past three decades, the organization has also expanded to include a variety of programs that improve the lives of people as well.

"Thirty years as a nonprofit is a pretty big milestone, considering that our nonprofit relies 100% on community support," said Melanie Sadek, executive director of the organization.

"And so the fact that the community believes in us and supports us to the point where we've been able to really make life-changing differences in the lives of animals and people for the last 30 years is pretty significant," she added.

The birthday bash will be held on Sept. 21.

Valley Humane was initially founded as a "private surrender resource" for pet owners who had to give up their animals but didn't want them to go to an overflowing public shelter.

"When Valley Humane got started 30 years ago, it was founded because a group of volunteers wanted a safe place for people to be able to surrender their animals," Sadek said. "At the time, the public shelters didn't have a lot of rescue relationships. So if you had to surrender your animal to a public shelter, it was kind of unknown what was really going to happen."

The organization serves the Tri-Valley, though they sometimes extend down to Sunol and out to other parts of the East Bay.

Aside from the standard animal surrender and intake, a key component of Valley Humane's work centers on projects that benefit humans as well as animals. The Canine Comfort Pet Therapy team brings animals to hospitals, rehabilitation units, senior housing, long-term care facilities and children's cancer units to offer puppy love in its Paws to Heal program, and the same team promotes literacy at local libraries for Paws to Read.

Valley Humane also partners with nonprofit Hope Hospice to provide in-home pet care for patients in hospice care. If a patient dies, Valley Humane will then bring their pet into its adoption system to help place the animal.

Through their Animeals program, Valley Humane has a pet food pantry that annually provides over 120,000 free meals for the dogs and cats of seniors and low-income families.

The shelter hopes to expand their footprint, Sadek said, and increase their building space so they can take in more animals.

The birthday bash will take place from 5-8 p.m. at the Valley Humane Society, 3670 Nevada St. The community is invited to drop by and enjoy cake, ice cream and furry friends -- there will even be a "puppy smash," Sadek said, where puppies will "go to town" on a giant dog cake made of carrots, peanut butter, applesauce and cream cheese frosting.

The celebration event is open to the public, and a donation of $30 -- $1 for each of Valley Humane's years -- is appreciated.

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