The Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) is very fortunate to have Janine Bartalini Shafer helping the senior and special-needs dogs at the shelter. She has established the Janine Bartalini Shafer Fund to pay for the adoptions of any dog who is 7 years or older, and dogs with special needs that make adoption more difficult. This special fund is instrumental in helping FAAS match senior or special needs dogs in our shelter with prospective new homes. FAAS is very grateful for Janine's generosity and support.

Many of the pets adopted from FAAS go to homes with children. When you add a pet to the family, this is a perfect opportunity to teach children humane treatment of animals. A pet living in a pet-friendly environment makes for a safe home for the pet and child.

It is important to teach your children to always treat animals gently and with kindness. Safe handling is the first step toward avoiding animals feeling threatened or in pain, which may lead to bites or scratches. Children should never restrain the pet or pull an animal's tail, legs or ears, as this can result in the pet trying to defend itself. Remember that a pet that feels safe is a happier pet.

Here are a couple of upcoming family events benefiting FAAS:

Jan. 26 -- FAAS garage sale -- 1590 Fortmann Way, Alameda from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can find new toys and gently used items for your pets at this special pet-themed garage sale. There will also be a pet food giveaway for low-income households.

Feb. 13 -- "Tip A Cop" at Applebee's in the South Shore Center from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Alameda Police Chief Mike Noonan and fellow officers are raising needed funds for the animals at the shelter. All tips to the officers will be given to FAAS.

For more information on either of these events, visit the FAAS website at ttp://www.alamedaanimalshelter.org/ or you can call 510-337-8565.

PET OF THE WEEK: Hugh is a gorgeous, 10-month-old, longhaired brown tabby with green eyes and a snuggly personality.

DOG ALLEY: There are 15 available dogs at the Alameda Animal Shelter. BUNKY is a sweet little tan-white Chihuahua with a beautiful white blaze and big brown eyes. QUINCY is a mellow 8-year-old Labrador mix with distinguished gray whiskers and a loving, friendly personality.

CAT LAIR: There are 33 available cats at the Alameda Animal Shelter. HEATH and KILLIAN are beautiful orange-white, 6-month-old kittens that are super-sweet.

RABBIT ROW: Puti, an 8-year-old New Zealand white, and Holly, a 4-year-old mini-lop, are both in foster care. Contact the shelter for more information on these rabbits.

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