"We know there are animals out in the community that need our help, and our hearts go out to them," said Barbara Sobalvarro, president of Friends of Animal Services. "These days I think people are a lot more aware of the need to value an animal's life."
The first 50 people who adopt pets from the Antioch animal shelter in the next month will receive up to $50 towards adoption costs. Sobalvarro feels that pet adoption should be affordable but not free.
"When things are too cheap and plentiful, it will lose value," she said. "I would like to see us get to the point where one will actually have to search hard to get a pet."
The group primarily focuses on the shelter in Antioch so that they can better devote their efforts to educating the community about the local animal needs.
"We are talking about raising people's consciousness and understanding," said Sobalvarro. "That takes time."
The group has donated funds to build a dog playground called Rambo's Romp at the shelter. It includes high-end Astroturf, shade trees, a fire hydrant and dog house in a fenced location behind the facility. A dedication ceremony attended by Mayor Donald Freitas will also be held on Saturday.
"So far we have heard nothing but great things about how much the shelter dogs enjoy the play area," said Sobalvarro as she watched a brown and white boxer named Camille approve the park-like grounds with enthusiastic wags of her tail.
Upcoming events include the 11th annual Black Cat Ball on Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lone Tree Golf Course. It includes dinner, a raffle, awards, a costume contest, silent auction, live music and dancing. Tickets are $55 for adults and $25 for children.
The organization continues its mission by holding adoption celebrations every few months, especially on holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, when each shelter pet will be fed a bit of ham or turkey.
For more information, call 431-8318.