Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter is offering free adoptions for all senior pets (older than 7 years) for the entire month of September. Mature pets make great companions. They are generally house-trained, less likely to engage in the adolescent behavior of kittens and puppies, and they still give you all the love you possibly need.

The gift of time is one of the most valuable assets for a nonprofit organization. The shelter deeply appreciates and relies on volunteers to make sure the animals at the shelter get the best care possible.

Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter has more than 200 volunteers socializing cats and dogs, helping with laundry, cleaning kennels and helping with events. To participate as a volunteer, individuals need to go through an orientation and attend trainings. A commitment to work two hours a week for six months is also required. Youth between the ages of 10 and 15 are welcome to volunteer if they are accompanied by an adult family member.

Response to the shelter's previous call for volunteers has been overwhelming, and all orientations are full until the end of 2012. While the basic volunteer needs are met, the shelter still needs foster care for kittens, puppies and those needing time away from the shelter. Please note that the "foster" position includes some reading and an interview. If you are interested in becoming a foster volunteer, contact the shelter at 510-337-8565.

The shelter's calendar photo contest deadline for entries is fast approaching. The last day for entries and voting is Sept. 15. If you haven't already entered or voted, go to www.360photocontest.com/152. The top 25 voter entries will be considered for the 13 pets of the month and cover in the 2013 calendar.

PET OF THE WEEK: Misty is a shy reserved girl looking for a quiet home with people of her own. She is a good walker and doesn't mind other animals. She's the perfect size for apartment living, but would be happy anywhere her family is.

DOG ALLEY SENIORS: Dolly is a friendly, energetic golden retriever/chow mix who is 11 years young. She loves to go on walks and loves humans. She's not fond of other dogs, so she should go to an only dog household. Squeak is a joyful, happy 8-year-old Pomeranian mix. He has lived with another dog and is a real character. Speak to Squeak, and he may just answer you!

CAT LAIR SENIORS: Boo Boo may have a strange name, but she's a wonderful all-black cat with big beautiful eyes. She is 12 years old and very sweet. Captain is a big handsome guy with gray and white markings and a fantastic cute face. He is 11 years old with energy and love to spare.

RABBIT ROW: George and Gracie are a beautiful black-and-white pair. Dutch is a dwarf bunny that needs some special care. He's a great little guy. Fatty Bob, George and Gracie's baby, is a sweet young bunny.

Mim Carlson, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter's executive director, is filling in while Linda Treml is away.