Valley Humane Society Champions Pets

Valley Humane Society (VHS) creates a brighter future for cats and dogs by encouraging and strengthening the bond between people and pets. This Pleasanton-based nonprofit rescues and rehabilitates companion animals, champions responsible caretaking, helps people in need of comfort, and supports and preserves existing pet-guardian relationships. After 32 years of relying solely on local vets to perform surgeries for Valley Humane Society, VHS recently hired a surgical team that has started performing surgeries on Valley Humane's adoptable animals.

"This will allow us to streamline our adoption process by getting dogs and cats into their new homes much faster," says Executive Director Melanie Sadek, who has been at Valley Humane Society for nearly nine years. "The wait time for local surgeries was delaying our ability to place animals, increasing an animal's length of stay with us. We are temporarily renting a surgical suite until we can evaluate how to add one to Valley Humane Society."

Most people assume VHS only helps adoptable cats and dogs but the organization makes a larger impact in the Tri-Valley community in a variety of ways. Valley Humane Society has forged a partnership with the Alameda County District Attorney's office to provide pet-assisted therapy to children and adults who are providing witness testimony on the stand in Alameda County courts, for example. The process of providing testimony is extremely stressful, especially for children, which means that the partnership provides an important benefit to the court system.

VHS provides dog/handler teams to corporate campuses seeking stress relief for their employees. VHS also partners with local school districts and libraries to provide the Paws to Read program, which brings VHS Canine Comfort teams together with children aged five to twelve to promote literacy and a love of animals. Paws to Read is available in six libraries in the East Bay and in elementary schools so resource teachers can identify students who need the positive reinforcement provided by the non-judgmental, canine reading partner, according to Sadek.

"Our canine comfort pet therapy program provides pet-assisted therapy to thousands of people in the East Bay each year," she notes.

The organization provides education to hundreds of youth each year, teaching children about the humane ethic and how to be kind to others. VHS also provides 120,000 animal meals a year through partnerships with organizations in the community who support those in need. "Our goal is to help people keep their beloved animals in their home," says Sadek, who also serves on the California Animal Welfare Association Board of Directors to help ensure state policy is leading to life-enriching and life-saving outcomes for all dogs and cats in the state.

As a community organization, VHS does not receive any funds from national organizations or government. All of its programs are funded by corporate and community member donations. "We are always looking to expand our relationships with local business through corporate sponsorship, team building, volunteer, and board roles," says Sadek.

For more information about Valley Humane Society, please visit www.valleyhumane.org .

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