People join rescue work for reasons as varied and mixed up as the DNA profile of the average mutt. Yet if you scratch the surface of any dedicated shelter worker, you’ll discover our common ground: a deep and abiding love of animals. We want to see them safe, cared for, and loved. Generally, we want to see them in a home and revered as part of a family. It’s with that outcome in mind that Valley Humane Society introduced Home to Home, a new adoption website serving the Bay Area. Find it here: VHS.home-home.org.
Free to use for those who would like to adopt a pet as well as for those who need to post an animal to a new home for them, Home to Home is a win-win for pets. They are able to pass straight from their existing home into the loving arms of a new family without ever experiencing the stress and fear caused by a trip to the shelter. It also gives potential adopters a chance to learn more about the animal’s history and preferences directly from the guardian.
At press time, a number of dogs and cats were seeking new homes, including Tex, a young yellow Lab mix; Samson, described by his guardian as a “Pointer/Pit mix”; and Cecilia, a senior Burmese cat. The site also offers helpful tips on subjects such as bringing home a new dog or cat and introducing adoptees to existing family animals. There is even a dog adoption re-homing agreement to officially transfer ownership (since dogs are considered property in the state of California).
Valley Humane Society manages the service, but we are not involved in adoptions. Individuals create a profile with photos and details about their pet, and adopters contact them directly for more information. It’s a great personal connection that allows the adopter to truly understand the animal they are bringing in to their home. Each profile is shared on our Facebook page, providing exposure to thousands of potential adopters (more, if followers share the post). The organization also helps facilitate by offering advice to guardians to improve their pet’s profile and tell his or her story.
Valley Humane Society does not euthanize animals to make space for others, so every healthy adoptable animal that we take in stays until a new home can be found. It is important to recognize what this means: Until any one animal is adopted, no new animals can be brought in. Our policies are not that different from many local shelters and rescues.
Home to Home was developed to interrupt the flow of pets heading from home environments into shelters. With more than 7,000 surrendered pets in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in 2016 alone, it’s a needed resource to help pets find their next home without adding to the burden of overcrowding created by abandoned, seized, lost, and unclaimed animals; plus, it frees up our community’s tight resources for use by those animals with no other option.
The reasons people give for needing to re-home an animal are myriad. At the top of the list come death, divorce, job loss, relocation — major life changes that would shake up any of our lives. At Valley Humane Society, founded 30 years ago on private surrender, we have seen too often how tempting it can be to judge the choices of others in situations we can’t imagine. We have also been witness to the tears and understand how heart-wrenching a decision it is to relinquish a pet. It’s a remarkably selfless act to recognize when you can no longer provide what is best for your pet and actively seek that out on their behalf.
At the end of the day, some great animals will simply need a new home, and it’s not helpful or fair to them, shelters, nor the many animals at greater risk of euthanasia to force them through traditional channels. Home to Home can help ease the transition for everyone by circumventing that process to bring animals and adopters together.
More information on Valley Humane Society and the Home to Home program is available at ValleyHumane.org, but anyone looking to add a furry friend to their household should make VHS.home-home.org part of their regular adoption rounds. You never know who you will meet there!
Melissa Adkins is marketing communications manager for Valley Humane Society in Pleasanton. She has worked in animal welfare for 13 years and is partial to black cats.
Shelter Zone features a different shelter and rescue group each month. To contribute, contact Editor@BayWoof.com.
Doggie in the Window
ADPOPT ME FROM VALLEY HUMANE!
At press time, these dogs were available for adoption from Valley Humane Society in Pleasanton. To see more animals and to learn more about these special dogs, visit ValleyHumane.org.
A black and gray terrier mix around 9 months old, Topper is a stately gent with a penchant for the finer things in life. His soulful eyes will steal your heart, but he’ll pay it back in spades.
Dexter is a 6-month-old terrier mix that was found wandering as a stray, and we’re starting to think he let himself out. The energetic fellow has a 3-foot leap and is smart and eager for affection.
Weighing in around 35 pounds is Miles, a white 5-month-old retriever mix. Miles has a distinctive look and may even be sporting a little Shar-Pei in the mix. One thing is certain: He’s a big boy!
This adorable pup is rarin’ to go! Corvette is around 3 months old. A tan terrier mix, he is active and friendly, and would love to drive off with his forever family as soon as possible. Buckle up!
Violet would love to make friends. She’s bit of a shy wallflower, but shower her with love, and she’ll bloom. Violet is a spayed retriever/terrier mix around 4 months old.
Each shelter or rescue group that submits an article for Shelter Zone is also invited to send in bios and photos of adoptable dogs. Email Editor@BayWoof.com.
Main article photo by: Photo by chendongshan-istock