For many humane societies, losing their animal shelter, as Napa Humane did in 2002 to a flood control project, would be a fatal blow. For Napa Humane, it was an opportunity to consider the real needs of the Valley's animals and how best to address those needs — which were more about keeping animals from entering the animal shelter in the first place than who was running the shelter. This transition involved a good deal of self-reinvention and working synergistically with the community.
Napa Humane has been thinking creatively ever since — whether it's been partnering with local wineries and other businesses to raise funds or collaborating with the Napa County Animal Shelter and local animal welfare groups to facilitate quick adoptions by making the dogs, cats and rabbits in their care more visible. Purchased with funds from a 2004 fundraising event, Napa Humane's state-of-the-art mobile adoption unit brings prospective adoptees from the Shelter and to well-trafficked locations around the County to meet their would-be families. A traveling photo exhibition of adoptables moves around town. Trahan Winery has even launched 2008 Trahan Sadie's Red Wine, named in honor of (adopted) winery dog Sadie, with a percentage of proceeds donated to Napa Humane.
Among Napa Humane's notable programs is its low cost Spay/Neuter Clinic, which also offers microchipping and vaccination services at the Friday drop-in clinics to help ensure that lost pets get home safely (they also have a free chip check-up program where you can get your chip scanned and make sure your contact info is up to date!) and to promote a healthy animal population. They also offer a wealth of support, education and training resources for the Valley's pets and their people, including humane education programs and a behavior helpline. The results of all these collaborative efforts are impressive — in contrast to many rural animal shelters, the Napa County Animal Shelter is not overwhelmed with unwanted pets, staff can focus on their cases that need special TLC, and Napa Humane is able to provide support and resources to assist them. It's a great example of community members pitching in with their own particular strengths, and the animals winning big.
photo: Sadie's Red Wine, Trahan Winery