It’s been a big year for big anniversaries.
December 1st kicks off the 20th year of the wildly popular Meyer Outlet Sale, when the cookware kings open their doors to the public to shop for incredible bargains right from the warehouse. They’ve been wonderful friends to the Humane Society of the North Bay, where we’ve been celebrating our 30th anniversary, by matching up to $15,000 in cash donations from customers at both locations in Vallejo and Fairfield.
As with many animal welfare groups in the Bay area, the Humane Society in Vallejo constantly struggles for funds to keep afloat. Luckily, the Meyer employees are huge animal lovers, and it shows. Every staff person, including top management, works the registers at some point during the sale and they always ask for donations to the shelter.
We’re thankful that so many people come through with cash, check and charge extras that turn into a holiday bonus for us of tens of thousands of dollars. Meyer even accepts donations dropped off by people who aren’t there to shop; members of the public who know it will all be added to the bottom line when it comes time for the Meyer match.
Our Humane Society truly couldn’t keep afloat without that kind of generosity. As a private nonprofit shelter unaffiliated with any state or national agency, we rely almost entirely on donations. HSNB has a contract with the City of Vallejo to manage the intake of stray and surrendered animals — who come to our doors at a rate of more than 2000 cats and dogs a year — and the city’s contribution makes up just under a fifth of our operating budget. The rest of our funding comes from fundraising events such as the annual Barkitecture Gala, adoption fees, individual and business donors, and sales from our Happy Tails Thrift store.
We need to keep the doors open and the lights on for all these homeless animals. They show up lost, hungry and scared, looking for a refuge from the neglect or outright abuse they may have suffered. Sometimes, too, there are well-meaning families who’ve come to realize that they can no longer afford the cost and commitment of a companion animal.
Whatever the story, we do what we can to turn it into a happy one. Thanks to increased social media and other outreach efforts, we’ve more than tripled the number of positive outcomes in the past two years, whether that means animals being put on the adoption floor, or turned over to a rescue group with their own resources and networks, or – sometimes most thrilling of all – reuniting them with the families who’ve been frantically searching for days or weeks.
With all the sad moments the shelter sees, there are many moments of joy. We hope the public will partner with us too, by making sure their animals are microchipped (with up-to-date contact information) and spayed and neutered. As much as we love spending time with our animals, we’d rather see fewer of them! HSNB administers a low-cost spay and neuter voucher program on behalf of the city for Vallejo residents. Although we don’t make any money from the sale of these vouchers, we believe it’s an incredibly important as a community to get cats and dogs fixed and off the streets.
Because their needs are year-round, we’ve launched a “Dollar-A-Day” drive for ongoing monthly donations of $30. We think the health and happiness of these homeless animals are worth a dollar a day, don’t you? If you can’t donate, please consider adopting and spreading the word about how rewarding that is.
If time is what you have to spare, we welcome your volunteer efforts, whether dog walking and cat cuddling or volunteering to staff events or the adoption office. Our wonderful volunteers are a fantastic support to the animals; we couldn’t make it without them, either.
And it only takes a moment to come visit our resident dogs and cats. They’ll trade a kind word for a wagging puppy tail and a caress of their silky cat coats. You can’t get a better trade-off that that.
Kristin Eddy, an HSNB volunteer since 2008, is Vice-President of the Board of Directors.