LONG ISLAND, NY — Homeless cats and dogs on Long Island have a caring cupid working to make their Valentine’s Day special.
Valerie Sanks, of Rocky Point, is a volunteer for the Brookhaven Animal Shelter who made headlines recently when she asked for donations to build a wall of peanut butter for shelter dogs to enjoy.
Now, Sanks is working to make Valentine’s Day sweeter for dogs and cats, she said on the Blankets for Buster and His Friends Facebook page. Sanks said she is looking for “Cupid’s cuties” to donate boxes of Milk-Bones, any size, or Temptation cat treats for the “shelter babies” in facilities across Long Island.
She’s set a goal of 250 boxes or bags of treats, to be divided up and delivered to shelters during Valentine’s Day week. As of Sunday, 118 boxes had been donated, she said.
The treats can be sent to P.O. Box￼￼￼￼ 335, Rocky Point, NY 11778.
“Very few things bring us as much joy as our pets. Giving them their favorite treat makes us as happy as it does them,” she said.
The Cupid’s Cuties effort, she added, “is about making the shelter animals feel as special as our own. It’s been a tough year for all of the volunteers who have been unable to spend time with their favorite furry friend. This Valentine’s Day we want to make sure they all have treats to make them feel as loved as possible.”
Tina, one of those who donated treats, said, “It feels so great to give, knowing tails will be wagging and kitties will be purring at every shelter in town.”
For years, Sanks has devoted her life to giving back to homeless dogs. She’s hosted sleepovers for the dogs to shower them with affection, planned birthday parties and car rides, helped a dying dog realize her bucket list of dreams, and organized blanket drives.
Rosemarie DeMaio reached out to Patch to describe Sanks’ dedication to homeless dogs. “During the holidays she has a blanket drive and has collected thousands of. blankets for homeless animals; she literally drives all over New York to deliver them,” she said.
Sanks also spotlights dogs looking for their forever homes, sharing their stories on social media to help spread the word, she said.
She met Sanks when her dog, a 5-pound Shih Tzu, ran away, DeMaio said. “She was a complete stranger but could she the despair in my posts,” she said. “Valerie showed up at my house to help me look for her. We got a call of a sighting and Valerie went to the location with a grill at 1 a.m. and cooked bacon in an attempt to lure her out of the woods. She didn’t come out but Val didn’t give up. We found her 10 days later,” she said. “She is just an amazing person.”