TVAR Helps Area's Orphaned Animals Find New Homes

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated," Gandhi once famously said. It's a sentiment that would be shared by the volunteer staff of Tri-Valley Animal Rescue (TVAR), a local non-profit dedicated to placing homeless animals.

Founded in 1992, TVAR works with the East County Animal Shelter in Dublin in several specific ways. The group works with its volunteer foster family network to remove dogs and cats from the shelter and therefore from risk of euthanasia. When there are not enough foster families to accommodate the shelter's animals, TVAR volunteers aid shelter employees by walking dogs and socializing cats, thereby relieving the animals' stress and increasing the likelihood of their adoption.

"We've gotten the euthanasia rate down at the shelter - over 95 percent of the animals are placed into new homes," says Mary Morris, a volunteer spokesperson for TVAR. Nearly 900 cats and over 550 dogs were adopted last year thanks to TVAR.

While those numbers are impressive, the group is working to improve them by helping to build exercise areas for dogs at the shelter. "We're raising money and in the permitting process for building four outside dog exercise runs right next to the shelter, so that volunteers will be able to take the dogs out into the exercise runs right next to the building," she says. "People will be able to see them outside the cage and interact with them. Their personalities come out a lot more when they're not stressed out behind the cages."

To help build those runs, the group is currently sponsoring a donor brick campaign. "For $200, you can buy a brick that has your name on it or that of a beloved pet that you have or that has passed. The bricks will be laid down at the entrance to the dog exercise area."

Of course, the group's central activity is helping new owners adopt pets, and they have several ways of achieving that goal. Perhaps the most convenient way to see what dogs and cats are available is to access the group's web site at A comprehensive list of the pets in TVAR foster care is available with a photo and description of each animal. Similar information is available for the few animals that remain at the shelter.

Most prospective adopters want to meet the pets in person and TVAR has several events every week that allow that to happen as well. Adoption events take place each week at the following times and locations:

- Pleasanton Farmers' Market, cats and dogs available for adoption, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm every Saturday - PetSmart, Dublin, cat adoptions from noon to 4:00 pm every Saturday - Pet Food Express, Livermore, cat adoptions every Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm - PetSmart, Dublin, cat adoptions every Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 pm - PetCo, San Ramon, cat and dog adoptions every Sunday from noon to 4:00 pm

Since TVAR is an all-volunteer organization, it has a need for continued support. The group holds a volunteer orientation from 1:00-3:00 pm on the second Saturday of every month at the East County Animal Shelter, 4595 Gleason Dr., Dublin, with the next one scheduled on July 9. "We take people on tours through the shelter and explain what kind of volunteer opportunities there are," says Morris. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old; further information is available by e-mailing Noelle Hartshorn at . The group is also looking for new foster families. Anyone interested in learning how to become a foster is invited to contact Aki at (925) 275-8088 or .

Finally, there's an opportunity to help TVAR and enjoy delicious Italian food and Livermore wines at the same time! The group's annual fundraiser "That's Amore! A Taste of Italy," a dinner and auction, will be held Septemer 17th from 6:00 to 10:00 pm at the Garre Winery, 7986 Tesla Road in Livermore. Tickets are $50 in advance and $55 at the door and may be ordered online at , via PayPal at , or purchased in person at the TVAR adoption area at the Pleasanton Farmers' Market every Saturday.

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