Humane Society cancels garden tour because of drought

Director still hopes participants will donate to organization

The Valley Humane Society has cancelled its annual Hidden Gardens of the Valley tour scheduled for later this spring because of current drought conditions.

"Promoting a fundraiser which encourages participating gardeners to excessively water their yard in preparation, and requires similar use of water for tour attendees to obtain like results feels irresponsible," said Melanie Sadek, the Pleasanton-based Humane Society's executive director.

The Hidden Gardens tour has been a major fundraising event for the organization, raising well over $100,000 since its inception in 2006.

It also has been a favorite of garden enthusiasts, giving participants an opportunity to tour the private backyards of 10 Pleasanton homes each year to gain useful tips and inspiration for their own yards, as well as to simply enjoy the beautifully landscaped offerings.

Now, the organization will have to find other ways of dealing with a budget shortfall of $10,000-13,000 dollars this year.

"This was a tough decision, made after careful thought and consideration," Sadek said, "but we know it is the most responsible decision for the community we serve. We are hopeful we can make up this lost revenue in other ways."

Those who were planning to participate in the garden tour can still donate to the Valley Humane Society online at or in person at the adoption center, 670 Nevada St. in Pleasanton. The facility's hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Donors who contribute at least $25 toward the Garden Tour cancellation will receive a complimentary copy of the 2014 Wine Country Critters calendar while supplies last and will be entered in a drawing for a $100 Petco gift card. That drawing will take place on or around May 15.

Though the water needs of dogs and cats aren't necessarily significant compared to a normal household's needs, Sadek suggests steps can be taken to help conserve water, even that used for pets.

For example, she said, don't bath pets more than once a month, unless advised differently by a veterinarian. When bathing, try to use a sink or bathtub where water can be contained, thereby requiring that less be used. If an outdoor water source is available for animals, such as a hose bib attachment that allows them to lick it when thirsty, make sure it is secure and not leaking.

"Even the smallest water-saving measures can have a significant effect on overall conservation," Sadek added.


Like this comment
Posted by Vivian
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Apr 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

I heard they had to cancel because they did not have enough participants this year. Just saying.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Apr 16, 2014 at 10:48 am

I believe that the water needs of dogs and cats are equal to the needs of humans.

Like this comment
Posted by Rose
a resident of Amador Estates
on Apr 16, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Continue garden tours of drought tolerant ones since most of us are interested in going that way. Thank you for the work for animals

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Ironwood
on Apr 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm

@Rose check out the May 4th show at

Like this comment
Posted by Dry Gardener
a resident of Stoneridge
on Apr 17, 2014 at 9:22 am

How sad. It could have been an opportunity to illuminate the beauties of native and drought tolerant gardens. These plantings fill my garden, which has been in garden tours, as well as featured in several state/municipal water saving campaigns.

A wealth of resources is available to help homeowners and landscapers make that transformation.

Like this comment
Posted by highdiver
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Too bad they couldnt have trucked in some of the 38 million gallons of drinking water the City of Portland dumped because some kid took a pee in a reservoir there.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Apr 25, 2017 at 7:16 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

GE's re-organization reaches San Ramon digital headquarters
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 1,772 views

Sound and Fury over Vile and Slur-ry
By Tom Cushing | 60 comments | 968 views

New state housing requirements could affect Pleasanton
By Jeb Bing | 0 comments | 327 views