Alameda, CA

Be a Hero — How to Help the Lost and Abandoned Pets of Alameda

Karin K Jensen

Photo courtesy of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter

When quarantine began in March 2020, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) suddenly had to find loving foster homes for 70 dogs, cats, and rabbits in its shelter. Marketing and Communications Manager, Carla Thornton, was concerned.

“We didn’t want to expose our volunteers or staff to the virus. We knew that the best thing for everyone would be to get the animals adopted or into foster homes as quickly as possible.

The problem was that it usually takes one to two weeks to find a foster family for a single animal. The thought of placing 70 animals in homes on short notice felt almost impossible. FAAS sent out an email to its mailing list, posted on social media, and hoped for the best.

Fortunately, Alamedans responded heroically. FAAS was able to clear the shelter in four days. Carla Thornton reports that this success still warms the hearts of staff, and FAAS thanks everyone in the community for making this miracle possible.

Currently, both FAAS locations are closed to the general public, and adoptions are by appointment only to keep everyone safe. FAAS continues to operate behind the scenes seven days a week, caring for incoming animals and getting them adopted as quickly as possible. As the pandemic continues, the need for support is on-going.

Five ways you can help are to:

  • Report a Stray
  • Donate to the Pet Food Pantry
  • Foster a Pet
  • Adopt a Pet
  • Participate in the PawPrints Online Auction and Sale
  • Donate directly or through third-party fundraisers

Report a Stray

A pet lost in the city contends with traffic plus lack of food and a warm place to rest at night. Its owners suffer heartbreak and distress at losing their companion.

Photo courtesy of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter

The FAAS shelter on Fortmann Way is staffed seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to receive and shelter stray animals found in Alameda.

To report a stray, call 510-337-8565 for instructions. This is also the number to call if your pet becomes lost.

If you find a stray outside those hours, FAAS asks that you keep the animal with you if possible, then bring it to FAAS when they are open. However, if you can’t keep the stray or see a stray that you can’t safely capture, call 510-337-8340, the Alameda Police non-emergency line.

When an officer becomes available, they will pick up the animal and place it in one of FAAS’s overnight kennels, where it will be safe and warm until kennel workers arrive at 6 in the morning.

Donate to the Pet Food Pantry

During the pandemic, some owners are finding it increasingly difficult to afford their pets. FAAS and the Humane Society of Alameda have stepped up to help.

The FAAS Pet Food Pantry is open to Alameda residents twice a month. FAAS Volunteer Engagement and Outreach Manager Shannon Shelby tells the story of a gentleman who came to FAAS to surrender his dog due to not being able to afford the food anymore.

“I told him about the Pet Food Pantry, and he was so excited that he would be able to keep his dog and feed him. He called on a Wednesday and showed up that Saturday to pick up food.”

You can help by donating dry or wet dog and cat food and kitty litter shipped directly from online retailers to FAAS. You may also drop off new, unopened pet food in person. Check the FAAS website's front page for details on how and when to donate.

Photo by Macey Bundt/Unsplash

Foster a Pet

At all times, but especially during the pandemic, FAAS needs foster families, especially for adult cats and large dogs. Fostering is a great way to not only help out a pet until they find their forever home. It is also a way to enjoy a pet without a long-term commitment.

Photo courtesy of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter

Barbara Gallardo is a health care worker at Alameda Hospital who volunteers at FAAS. When the need to foster underage or frail kittens and puppies arose, she jumped at the chance.

She explains, “What better time to provide care, love, and aid to a little creature in need than during the pandemic? Living alone, this was perfect for me.”

So far, Barbara has fostered five kittens and two puppies. Each of them started at just over one pound each.

She explains, “The very best part of fostering is to see these lovely animals gain confidence, develop trust in people, build strength and motor development, and observe their personalities develop. It is heartwarming to see these animals blossom and become ready for their forever home.”

Follow FAAS on Facebook to learn about the latest needs for caregivers. If you can foster, please contact Nanou Ballou at


Ready to adopt your new best friend? Alameda High School junior Maddie Kuhns created this public service announcement to inspire you to do just that:

Although both FAAS locations at Southshore and Fortmann Way are closed to the general public, FAAS is making appointments for “virtual” adoptions, accomplished mostly over the phone and email.

This culminates in a socially distanced in-person adoption in their parking lot. To view pets currently available, please check the FAAS website. To meet a pet in which you are interested, fill out and submit an adoption form. Someone will respond to your application as soon as possible.

Participate in the Paw Prints Online Auction and Sale

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts (FBCA) is having a big online fundraiser with the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) from March 4-14, 2021.

Photo courtesy of the Frank Bette Center for the Arts

FBCA will sell or auction a wide variety of photographs, paintings, and crafts featuring Alameda and animals. Check the FBCA website to preview the packages.


Did you know that Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter accepts all strays found in the City of Alameda? In traditional shelters, this obligation to take all strays usually means that they must put down animals they’ve held longer or who are injured or ill due to a lack of room.

Fortunately, donations from the public make it possible for Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter to save more than 97% of the animals received. You can donate in several ways.

  • Donate cash through the FAAS website.
  • Donate supplies through the FAAS Amazon wishlist.
  • Support or host a third-party fundraiser.

Throughout the year, ordinary Alamedans become heroes by hosting their own fundraisers for FAAS.

  • For instance, every October, Vali Ebert hosts a popular jewelry, handbag, and plant sale that nets thousands of dollars for FAAS.
  • Recently, Alameda teen Raiden baked dog biscuits, sold them online to friends, and donated a portion of his proceeds to FAAS.
  • Currently, Alameda teen Avril Jensen sells a 39-page children’s e-book that she illustrated with 100% of profits going to FAAS. You can purchase your copy here.

Illustration courtesy of Avril Jensen

Learn about hosting your own third-party fundraiser on the FAAS website.

Be a Hero

However you choose to help, whether by reporting a stray, donating to the pet food pantry, fostering or adopting a pet, or donating, know that it will make a difference in the life of a lost or abandoned pet.

#FriendsOfTheAlamedaAnimalShelter #FAAS #AnimalShelter #StrayDog #StrayCat #AbandonedPet #LostPet #FosterAPet

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Writing About Asian American history, arts, and culture. Author: The Strength of Water, an Asian American Coming of Age Memoir.

Alameda, CA

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