Meet the turtle lady: Pocket’s very own Felice Rood

It was 11 a.m. on a pleasant, not too hot Monday morning on Starlit Circle. Felice Rood had visitors – two children and their grandmother came through the side gate of her home in the Pocket. Grandma Marilyn Flynn was holding a very badly beat up red-ear slider turtle they picked up at the SPCA on Bradshaw Road. She and Rood quickly examined the shell. “ She’s nasty,” they said. “Gotta get the shell better,” Rood said.

Meanwhile, the children went on exploring, visiting the turtles that are now residing in Rood’s suburban backyard.

It was just another day ‘At The Bunker’.

“I try to help one and all with their problems,” Rood says.

“My home is a hotel, hospital, hospice, orphanage and maternity ward all for turtles and tortoises and there is no charge although if people want to donate, the money goes into the Sick Turtle Fund,” she says.

Rood said she thinks she may be the only legitimate turtle and tortoise rescue in Sacramento, with a rubber stamp of approval from the California Department Fish and Game while others who have turned into “hoarders” who don’t end up adopting out any of the turtles that live there.

Rood says she doesn’t know how many turtles she has since the population changes daily. Monday was a case in point and in fact, two more were added the previous Friday — a box turtle and a Russian tortoise because the children had grown and the parents did not want to care for the creatures any longer.

Rood says she adopts the homeless turtles to people with outdoor ponds where they live happily ever after.  “Oh, you can’t release non-native turtles into the river because they interfere with the wild population of natives,” she says.
Her backyard is really serene loaded with lots of water, plants, grass and snacks for the turtles.

Rood doesn’t keep any turtles in the house except for babies in the winter. “Turtles and tortoises are wild animals and should never be in fish tanks indoors. Outdoors they remain healthy and active and not depressed surrounded by glass from which they cannot escape,” she says. Her mantra – “Aquariums are for fish and fluorescent lights are for potted plants.”

Rood says she’s lucky enough to have built a greenhouse a long time ago to house her African leopard tortoises over the winter since they do not hibernate. The box turtles, Russian tortoises, Greek tortoises are allowed to hibernate outside along with all of the water turtles in their ponds, she says. Only critters from warmer climates must be kept warm all winter.

That turtle Flynn brought in did look really bad off, I agreed, after the rescuers left. “It looked like it had been in a drainage ditch,” Rood said, adding that it could take about a year to heal completely. Just a little TLC, clean water and a peaceful atmosphere with plenty of sunshine is all it will need to heal the wounded shell and beat-up belly.

Rood said she has always loved turtles from the time she was very little and the only pet she was allowed to have was a tiny turtle in a plastic bowl. “They never lived too long.  There was no information available,” she says.

When Rood moved to California from Dayton Ohio in 1971, she had several box turtles with her, including a tortoise named Brutus.

“I did find Brutus a mate and everything was fine until one day ‘Nero’ became ill and no matter how hard I tried, I could not get any information or help with his care and he did die.  This was in 1977.”

At this time T.E.A.M. was formed, Turtle and Tortoise Education Adoption Media in Los Angeles and Rood became a Sacramento representative, approved by the Fish and Game.

“I was able to take in homeless turtles and tortoises and find them good homes and I am still doing this today,” she says.

Rood later learned what happened to Nero; it was kidney failure. “He drank too much. He was always drinking,” she says.

In 1981 Rood was urged to start a club.  “Never having belonged to a club, I made this one up,” she says.

The Sacramento Turtle and Tortoise Club dues have always been $2 a year and there are no officers.  “It’s a friendly club and nobody is ever elected to do anything which is what makes it so popular,” she says. There are more than 800 members and a huge Facebook page, which is “great fun and very informative.”  The club has four seasonal meetings a year and discusses problems pertaining to that particular season. They also have the annual Turtlerama, which is coming up on Aug
. 17 at Belle Cooledge Library. It’s a club event that educates the public and where members display their pets.

Rood hopes to continue her efforts for as long as she’s able and she appreciates the greens some of the supermarkets save for her and also the friends who collect snails for the box turtles and deliver them to her doorstep regularly. “They make my life so much easier!” she says.

Asked if there’s anything to add, Rood warns: “Raccoons are a terrible threat to our turtles, please be on guard, everyone.” She said they bite a turtle in the middle of the night, turn it over so it can’t go anywhere and let it bleed to death. Then the owners will come to see it in the morning completely shocked when they ask Rood about what could cause such a tragedy and she tells them. The Tuesday when I was over visiting her, she said she ran outside in the early morning when her motion sensor and alarm went off. But it was just a cat.

If you go:

What: Turtlerama will include live turtles and tortoises, a turtle boutique, free plants with any donation, adoption information, lectures, educational displays, free admission
When:
Saturday, Aug. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Belle Cooledge Library (South Land Park Drive and Fruitridge Road)0

All aboard?! Dogs take flight to no-kill Idaho rescue

All aboard!? Beautiful weather was expected as 19 dogs took flight on Friday, March 29. They were probably going to be euthanized at Front Street, but they got on a plane and flew to Boise, Idaho.

Seventeen of them are small dogs and two are rottweillers. They all fit onto a tiny-two-seater plane and flew out of Executive Airport at 10:30 a.m. They were scheduled to arrive in Boise at 12:30 p.m. our time. Non-stop flight to a no-kill rescue!

“What this does is opens up all these kennels at the shelter so now. I have 160 dogs today, so I get them evaluated and move them up for adoption. It’s constant. It’s an inventory change all the time. The more I can get out faster, the more lives I can change,” Gina Knepp, Animal Care Services Manager for the City of Sacramento, said.

“When we found out that Idaho Humane was willing to accept little dogs, even Chihuahuas, we knew a great opportunity was available to us,” Knepp said Knepp. “We contacted Yehuda Netanel, founder of Wings of Rescue, and began flying dogs to Boise on a monthly basis.”

Knepp said small dogs are in high demand in Idaho because Idahoans have traditionally liked large dogs, but people there have wanted lap dogs lately and haven’t had access to them. “There’s a population that wants littles and we’ve got ‘em. It’s economics. It’s supply and demand,” she said.

Knepp said Netanel has larger planes than the one used on March 29, including one that fits 40 dogs.

City of Sacramento Animal Care Services, The Sacramento SPCA, and Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation are participating in the ASPCA’s (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Carroll Petrie Foundation Dog Rescue Project, a new $1 million initiative that will fund much-needed treatments and services for shelter dogs, ultimately preparing them for transport from overcrowded shelters to give them the best chance of finding permanent homes. The project is being made possible thanks to a generous donation from Mrs. Carroll Petrie, a respected international philanthropist.

Since beginning the program in September 2012, the three Sacramento shelters have transferred more than 1,000 dogs to other shelters and rescue groups, including shelters in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. In January 2013, the City of Sacramento found a new transfer partner at the Idaho Humane Society.

“We hope to work with Wings of Rescue to do a mega transport of 40 dogs in the near future,” said Knepp.  “Without the ASPCA, the Petrie Grant, and Wings of Rescue none of this would be possible.” All of the pilots with Wings of Rescue volunteer their time. Grant money is used primarily for fuel.

The ASPCA, through The Carroll Petrie Foundation Dog Rescue Project, aims to save 16,600 dogs through a per dog or puppy subsidy for each animal transferred out through the following types of programs:
·Transfer to rescue groups;
·Transfer to other shelters;
·Adoptions through “Foster Adoption Ambassador” programs; or
·Adoptions through permanent off-site partner locations.

The subsidy per dog or puppy can be used for anything from crates and gasoline purchases for transport vehicles to “make-ready” veterinary services for the dogs (i.e. spay/neuter, health certificates, vaccines) that will prepare them to leave the shelter.

Now at the city shelter: Free microchips to City of Sacramento kitties

In 2012, 3955 cats ended up at the Front Street Shelter.  Of those cats, only 92 were reunited with their owner.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of owned cats rarely have any form of identification.  They arrive without a collar and very few are ever micro-chipped.

In the hope of changing those numbers, during the month of April, the City of Sacramento-Front Street shelter will be offering a “complimentary” micro-chip to any owned cat living within the city limits.  City residents may bring their cat to the shelter Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. for a free micro-chip. A suggested donation of $5 would be greatly appreciated.  Proof of City residency is required.  Life time micro-chip registration is included.

Bowling for Bullies on Front Street!

The Front Street Shelter is at it again! During the month of April, anyone adopting a bully breed dog will have a chance to strike some pins to defray adoption costs.   Roll the ball, knock down the pins and get a discounted adoption. $5 off adoption fees for each pin successfully knocked over! We have a wide variety of bully breeds all waiting for a new home.

Coffee Garden Owner Starts Holiday Bike Ride to Help Local Nonprofits

Illustration by Stan Meek, colorin by Serene Lusano

Illustration by Stan Meek, coloring by Serene Lusano

It all started when Michael Madsen, owner of The Coffee Garden in Curtis Park, was talking to his customers – one about bike rides and another about a local nonprofit that needed some help.

The result? The first-ever Mike’s Light Ride – a fundraiser and bicycle cruise through Curtis Park to enjoy holiday lights in the community – to take place on Saturday, December 22.

Feeling Festive

Madsen says the idea for the bike ride initially came from a conversation he had with a customer about community bike rides that had occurred in Sacramento in the past. They thought The Coffee Garden would be a good location for people to meet up for a bike ride.

Mike’s Light Ride will begin with a party at The Coffee Garden starting at 2pm, where attendees can mingle with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and Snoopy. Additionally, Madsen invited the Sacramento SPCA to talk about animals available for adoption.

Then starting at 6pm, the bike ride will begin. Madsen plans to take riders on a route through some of the best holiday lights in the area, plus there will be a few stops for hot chocolate or hot apple cider along the way.

And to add to the holiday fun, riders are invited to come dressed in their holiday best and decorate their bikes for the chance to win prizes. “We’re having contests for the bike with the most lights, best kid’s bike, best costume or best holiday wear, and then best bike and holiday wear overall,” Madsen adds.

Tubman House

Although Mike’s Light Ride is all about holiday fun, it’s also a way of giving back.

From another customer, Madsen found out the staff of a local nonprofit, Waking the Village, held their weekly staff meetings at his coffee shop. And then he also found out they had recently lost part of their funding for their program Tubman House and decided to do something to help. “They do a lot of good work, so we decided to give whatever we get to (at Mike’s Light Ride) to them,” he says.

According to Bridget Alexander, executive director of Waking the Village, Tubman House is a transitional community where young parents between the ages of 18 to 21 that are currently homeless live with their children for 18 months as they work towards independence.

“We’re ensuring this is going to be their last experience with homelessness (by) tackling anything that might prove a barrier to that ability,” Alexander says, such as helping them finish high school and start college or career training, as well as receive counseling or parenting help them might need.

“They are working towards having a support network that’s going to sustain them, but also putting in place things and identifying the environment that’s going to allow them to maintain momentum after they (leave),” she adds.

As of October, Alexander says they lost about 60 percent of their funding after a federal government program was ended, leaving them “scrambling to raise money in challenging times.” “We’re going to lose 18 beds if we can’t close the gap, and of our six people staff we’ve laid off two staff positions,” she adds. “We’re really hoping to get back to full staff again as our programs operate much better with all the people we need on board.”

Madsen said because they intend on collecting more gifts than the Tubman House could use this Christmas, two other nonprofits have been selected to benefit from Mike’s Light Ride: Wellspring Women’s Center and the Praise of Worship Church of God, which is near Coffee Garden and has a list of 14 children in need of gifts.

To help out Tubman House, Madsen is asking attendees for donations of money, toys and food.

Alexander says diapers are a huge need for Tubman House, as they go through about 1,000 a month. And food is always needed as they have about 20 people living in their program at one time.

Overall, Alexander is “delighted” Madsen selected Tubman House to be the beneficiary of Mike’s Light Ride, especially at a time when they could use the community’s help to make their families’ holidays a bit brighter.

“Any event like this is a key reminder that we’re all responsible for one another, be it our neighbors, be it the poorest among us,” Alexander says. “And that at this time most of all it’s so important that we’re reminding ourselves of that and doing the work of making sure that we are an authentic community where all of us are honored and have our needs met, especially for children.”

And Madsen hopes Mike’s Light Ride will be a great way to bring family and friends together for a fun evening to do something good for Tubman House. “That I can turn around and help them is awesome, and having the community help them also is awesome,” he adds.

Mike’s Light Ride will take place Saturday, December 22, at The Coffee Garden, 2904 Franklin Blvd., in Sacramento. Party starts at 2pm, bike ride starts at 6pm. For more information, call 916-457-5507 or visit thecoffeegarden.com.

For more information on Waking the Village and Tubman House, visit wakingthevillage.org.

corrie@valcomnews.com

Valley Community Newspapers Pets of the Month

August

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Meet Drew! She is our pet of the month of August!

Our sweet girl Drew is up for adoption! This happy, goofy, three-year-old love bug is a staff and volunteer favorite here at the shelter. She has been with us since May, and we are determined to find her a home! Drew is great with other dogs and older kids. She is energetic and lively, but just enough to balance out her snuggling, cuddle-bug side. Drew will make a great addition to the right family! Come visit her at the Sacramento SPCA, Tuesday-Sunday from 11AM- 6PM.


July

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Meet Pinky! Valley Community Newspapers Pet of the Month of July.

Meet Pinky! Valley Community Newspapers Pet of the Month of July.

[ANIMAL ID 20399462]

Pinky is a 2 1/2 year old chihuahua girl with a little pink nose. Visit her today at the Sacramento SPCA or online at www.sspca.org


June

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Meet Tulip at the Sacramento SPCA!

Meet Tulip at the Sacramento SPCA!

[ANIMAL ID 19861651]

Tulip is a friendly, little girl (just over 13 pounds) who has a slight independent streak. She is very affectionate and loving, but not clingy. Tulip is a sensitive, gentle dog who seems to get along with everyone. She is also very playful and curious. Tulip walks really well on the leash and is a delightful walking companion.

It’s thought that Tulip should do well in a calm household made up of any or all ages where she can be a loving and loved family member. She might also enjoy sharing her new, forever home with another small, friendly dog.

Tulips normally bloom in springtime and then fade, but this little Tulip is waiting to blossom year round in her new family. If you’d like to have this flower forever in the garden of your heart, tip-toe down to the Sacramento SPCA to meet Tulip and this little dearie might instantly make your life cheery.

Visit her today at the Sacramento SPCA or online at www.sspca.org


May

header-adoptDog

"Chicken Little" is available for adoption!

"Chicken Little" is available for adoption!

[ANIMAL ID 19609359] Chicken Little is a little shy when he first meets you, but offer him a few gentle pets and he’s your new, very affectionate friend who will be glad to climb onto your lap for even more pets. Then, offer him a treat and watch him balance on his hind legs to receive it. Chicken Little is a very lively, playful, little guy but then he is still a puppy even though he might appear older. He loves to run and play with other small dogs and his Dachshund/Beagle personality really presents itself when he’s given the opportunity to explore. Yes, Chicken Little loves to explore, nose to the ground. He is currently learning to walk on the leash but it’s hard when there are so many interesting scents in the world that need to be investigated.

Even though he’s older, Chicken Little is still a puppy and requires a lot of affection, attention, supervision, socialization and guidance, as well as play. A positive training class would be beneficial for him and his new family to help him mature into a well-mannered dog they will be proud to call their own.

Probably the best home for Chicken Little would be a fairly active home where he can be kept occupied. Left alone and bored, many dogs, especially Dachshunds and Beagles, may dig and chew things to keep themselves entertained. Chicken Little would also probably enjoy another small, friendly dog to play with and keep him company.

If you could use a lively companion to accompany you through life, Chicken Little could be the one for you. He’s waiting at the Sacramento SPCA to join that forever family he knows he’s destined to be a part of. Come meet him and see if you don’t feel the sky falling on you with delight as you welcome this little guy into your heart and home. Visit him today at the Sacramento SPCA or online at www.sspca.org


February

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Pet of the month "Cody"

Pet of the month "Cody"

How can you resist that face!? Sweet, eight-year-old Cody is looking for a home to spend her Golden Years. A little shy at first, Cody is a very charming and energetic little pup who is sure to warm up to you. She prefers the company of adults (older kids OK) and isn’t a big fan of other dogs or cats. Cody is lively, sweet and looking for a nice family who gives good scratches behind the ears. Come vist Cody! Visit her today at the Sacramento SPCA or online at www.sspca.org


December

Cat of the month named "Lucy"

Cat of the month named "Lucy"

Meet Lucy!

Lucy’s owner had to give Lucy and her sister, Ethel, up when the lady’s health started failing and she had to move across the country to be closer to family members. Even though Lucy is 17 years old, she is in excellent health. She lived with the same person since she was a kitten, and has adjusted well to the Adoption Center and the other cats. Lucy likes people and she loves tobe petted. Both Lucy and Ethel just need someone to take them into their home to let them live out their lives in peace and quiet, and with a lot of love.

Happy Tails (916) 556-1155 6001 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento http://www.happytails.org/


November

Small pet of the month named "Louie"

Small pet of the month named "Louie"

Louie, Louie! A very sweet and handsome Himalayan, this boy will be sure to warm your heart. He’s only about six-months-old and is said to make a really great, friendly companion by SPCA volunteers. As a young kit, his sibling had a habit of nibbling on his ears, but you’ll see that he is fully healed and he doesn’t let that little impurity stop him from being a good-looking rabbit! Come visit Louie and his friends and siblings at the Sacramento SPCA. www.sspca.org.

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Cat of the month named "Buddy"

Cat of the month named "Buddy"

My name is Buddy and I am big gorgeous boy. I was rescued from an abusive situation so I am a little standoffish at first, and I am taking my time to learn and trust humans again. When I was first fostered by a Happy Tails volunteer, he said I was a complete teddy bear, and loved sitting on laps and being carried. I will be a loyal and loving companion for the patient kind-hearted person willing to give me a safe, permanent home.

Happy Tails (916) 556-1155 6001 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento http://www.happytails.org/


October

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"Meow Meow"

Cat of the month named "Meow Meow"

Meow Meow is about 5 years old with a funny little mustache! She was found abandoned in a warehouse, and Happy Tails welcomed her into our adoption center. She was recently put on a special diet and received special living quarters — our office! She is very independent and does not really get along with other cats. She will be sitting on her cat tree waiting to meet you!

Happy Tails (916) 556-1155 6001 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento http://www.happytails.org/

header-adoptDog

"Boxer Boy"

Dog of the month named "Boxer Boy"

Boxer is a very special boy, this 5 yo Boxer/ Beagle mix is looking for a home. He only has one eye, but also sweet, outgoing and an overall happy dog! Boxer loves to walk or play fetch, but he’s most content being at your side! A friendly boy that gets along well with other dogs and older kids. Available through our Senior Adoption Program to those that are at least 65 years-old. (We’ll waive the adoption fee!) Visit him today at the Sacramento SPCA or online at www.sspca.org


Keeping pets and seniors together: Sacramento SPCA offers pet services to senior citizens

Imagine an older woman in her wheel chair; leaving her Natomas home in the morning with her little dachshund bundled up on her lap, switching between light rail and the bus for three hours to reach her destination point.

Imagine an older woman in her wheel chair; leaving her Natomas home in the morning with her little dachshund bundled up on her lap, switching between light rail and the bus for three hours to reach her destination point. The woman was bringing her dog to the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals (SPCA) located at 6201 Florin Perkins Road, where a program called “Senior Services” provides free pet vaccinations to senior citizens age 60 and over the first Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “This woman arrived late and was incredibly grateful and gracious to us when we told her we would vaccinate her dog that day,” SPCA Senior Services Coordinator Shari Lowen said. “Our goal is keeping seniors and their pets together.” Pet, senior needs met For many seniors, their life is their pet. “No one can argue the benefits of keeping seniors and their pets together,” Lowen said. “The senior program provides free vaccinations, nail trims, and pet adoptions.” The money saved on free pet vaccinations provide many seniors money needed for pet food. Lynn Humphries, ‘A Sure Solution’ consultant, thinks the SPCA Senior program is wonderful. “Three years ago I received a call from a gentleman who had a sick dog and no money. At that time the SPCA didn’t have a senior program, so I split the cost of the veterinarian fees with a friend,” Humphries said. “The man started crying when he found out his dog was going to be OK.” Meals on Wheels connection Humphries said the folks who volunteer with “Meals on Wheels” keep their eyes open for seniors who might need assistance with a pet. Lori Olshaskie, Meals on Wheels’ Social Services supervisor, said she has known seniors on fixed incomes who would rather see their pet eat than themselves. “The level of love and commitment to their pets is amazing,” Olshaskie said. “Especially when a person lives alone, having a pet makes a huge difference in that persons life.” Meals on Wheels is grateful for pet food donations and is willing to pick them up. Golf tournament The SPCA holds an annual golf tournament to raise money for the Senior Service program. It will take place Monday, May 9 at the Del Paso Country Club, presented by Hank Fisher. In addition to free vaccinations, the Senior Service program provides discounted dog training, free telephone assistance with dog and cat behavior issues and discounted private animal behavior consultations. They also provide quarterly estate planning seminars that include information about options for pets in the event the owner is no longer here to care for them. Future programs Lowen said the SPCA is working on a program where volunteers go to the senior’s home and provide whatever services his or her pet might need, such as transportation to the veterinarian because many seniors no longer drive. The SPCA is trying to get volunteers together to walk dogs for folks who are immobile or not able to walk far. To learn more, call the Sacramento SPCA at (916) 383-7387 or visit www.sspca.org.

KEEPING SENIORS AND PETS TOGETHER is one of the missions of the Sacramento SPCA. / Photo iStockphoto

The woman was bringing her dog to the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals (SPCA) located at 6201 Florin Perkins Road, where a program called “Senior Services” provides free pet vaccinations to senior citizens age 60 and over the first Wednesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“This woman arrived late and was incredibly grateful and gracious to us when we told her we would vaccinate her dog that day,” SPCA Senior Services Coordinator Shari Lowen said. “Our goal is keeping seniors and their pets together.”

Pet, senior needs met

For many seniors, their life is their pet.

“No one can argue the benefits of keeping seniors and their pets together,” Lowen said. “The senior program provides free vaccinations, nail trims, and pet adoptions.”

The money saved on free pet vaccinations provide many seniors money needed for pet food.

Lynn Humphries, ‘A Sure Solution’ consultant, thinks the SPCA Senior program is wonderful.

“Three years ago I received a call from a gentleman who had a sick dog and no money. At that time the SPCA didn’t have a senior program, so I split the cost of the veterinarian fees with a friend,” Humphries said. “The man started crying when he found out his dog was going to be OK.”

Meals on Wheels connection

Humphries said the folks who volunteer with “Meals on Wheels” keep their eyes open for seniors who might need assistance with a pet.

Lori Olshaskie, Meals on Wheels’ Social Services supervisor, said she has known seniors on fixed incomes who would rather see their pet eat than themselves.

“The level of love and commitment to their pets is amazing,” Olshaskie said. “Especially when a person lives alone, having a pet makes a huge difference in that persons life.”

Meals on Wheels is grateful for pet food donations and is willing to pick them up.

Golf tournament

The SPCA holds an annual golf tournament to raise money for the Senior Service program. It will take place Monday, May 9 at the Del Paso Country Club, presented by Hank Fisher.

In addition to free vaccinations, the Senior Service program provides discounted dog training, free telephone assistance with dog and cat behavior issues and discounted private animal behavior consultations. They also provide quarterly estate planning seminars that include information about options for pets in the event the owner is no longer here to care for them.

Future programs

Lowen said the SPCA is working on a program where volunteers go to the senior’s home and provide whatever services his or her pet might need, such as transportation to the veterinarian because many seniors no longer drive. The SPCA is trying to get volunteers together to walk dogs for folks who are immobile or not able to walk far.

To learn more, call the Sacramento SPCA at (916) 383-7387 or visit www.sspca.org.

Food for all: Titanic’s Pantry helps Sacramento families feed their four-legged family members

The last few years have been very rough for everyone economically – every day families struggle just to put food on the table. And for many families, that includes a struggle to provide food for their pets also.

PETS IN NEED. As the economy stumbles, humans aren’t the only family members in need. Families are struggling to feed their furry children, too. Titanic’s Pantry exists to help. / Photo courtesy, Titanic’s Pantry

PETS IN NEED. As the economy stumbles, humans aren’t the only family members in need. Families are struggling to feed their furry children, too. Titanic’s Pantry exists to help. / Photo courtesy, Titanic’s Pantry

That’s where Sacramento’s pet food bank, Titanic’s Pantry, comes in.

“When you have to make a decision between paying your mortgage, your car payment or buying dog food, that’s a real conundrum,” explained Gina Knepp, acting manager of the City of Sacramento Animal Care Services. “It’s a terrible dilemma for anyone to have to face. If you find yourself in dire straits where you need pet food, come get it from us because we don’t want people to surrender their pets to the local shelters – that’s the last thing we want to do.”

The pantry is seeing an increase in need, just as local food banks for humans are seeing an uptick – at this time of year, especially. Every neighborhood in the region is affected.

Penny Cistaro, now chief operations officer for the Sacramento SPCA, started Titanic’s Pantry in November 2009. She got the idea for the pantry while in Washington State.

“When I came back to California, there wasn’t a (pet) food bank in the region, and having had a (pet) food bank up in Washington State at the shelter I had worked at and seeing the benefits there, I wanted to start one here,” Cistaro said.

A team effort

Now about two years later, Titanic’s Pantry is a collaborative effort of the City of Sacramento Animal Care Services, Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation, the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), and Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary.

According to Knepp, those in need of pet food can visit the city, county, or SPCA shelter once a month for a donation.

The City’s shelter has the biggest client base – more than 2,000 people come there each month and they distribute at least 3,000 pounds of food a week. Additionally, Titanic’s Pantry provides a number of other supplies that people may need for their animals; everything from cat litter and litter boxes to dog biscuits, leashes, collars, beds and even toys.

Who is eligible?

So who is eligible to receive assistance from Titanic’s Pantry?

Anyone who needs it, according to Knepp. There is no application to fill out or proof of eligibility.

“If they’re not registered with us, the first time they come in they show us a picture ID and we’ll put them in our computer system to keep track of how many people we’re helping,” Knepp explained. “Then once a month they can come back if they need to and get food from us. We have some people that come back several times. And then we have some people that come back and bring us a bag of food to thank us because we helped them when they were in trouble.”

Bags of food needed

And it’s those bags of pet food coming in to Titanic’s Pantry that are so desperately needed right now.

“One of the biggest challenges is to keep the shelves constantly stocked because you rely on donations,” said Shari Lowen, senior services coordinator for the Sacramento SPCA and volunteer that helped Cistaro start Titanic’s Pantry. “You may get a huge truckload of donated food and that might last a few weeks and then somebody comes in and there’s absolutely nothing to give them.”

Donations of pet food – dry cat and dog food – are how the community can help support the Pantry, Cistaro said.

“Buy a 20, 30, or 40 pound bag of food and bring it to the SPCA or take it to the county or the city (shelters) – whichever shelter is closest or whichever one is closest to your heart,” Cistaro said. “Just bring in food – even a 10-pound, 5-pound bag of dry food. It’s easy to transport, it lasts, that’s what will help.”

Participate in a pet food drive

According to Knepp, donations can be made on-site to the city, county, SPCA, or Happy Tails. She added that the community can pitch in to help by setting up pet food drives for the Pantry in their neighborhood.

EVERY BIT HELPS. Donations of bags of pet food – in 5, 10, 20, even 50 pound bags – can help to make a difference in the life of a family in your neighborhood. Grateful families often return months later with a donation of pet food…happy to return the favor for help during a “rough patch.” / Photo courtesy, Titanic’s Pantry

EVERY BIT HELPS. Donations of bags of pet food – in 5, 10, 20, even 50 pound bags – can help to make a difference in the life of a family in your neighborhood. Grateful families often return months later with a donation of pet food…happy to return the favor for help during a “rough patch.” / Photo courtesy, Titanic’s Pantry

For example, Knepp held a drive in Hollywood Park, raising 800 pounds of food for the Pantry. She then passed it on to Curtis Park – which brought in over 3,000 pounds of food donations – and now is trying to get Land Park “to take up the gauntlet.”

Knepp said a pet food drive can also be a great project for groups, such as high schools.

Help pets by volunteering

Titanic’s Pantry is also always in need of volunteers to help with picking up donations of pet food. For example, a Save Mart store in Vacaville currently supplies the Pantry with donations of food from broken bags, which Knepp says can sometimes add up to about 7,000 pounds of dry kibble for the Pantry. Volunteers are needed to help bag the loose kibble for distribution using empty sand bags Knepp obtained from the Department of Transportation.

“Our volunteers will come in and fill the sand bags up with dog food and we tie the tops just like sand, but it’s dog food, and (we) give that out,” she explained.

Keeping Titanic’s Pantry going will continue to help enable people to keep their animals, Cistaro said.

“Animals play a powerful role in someone’s life,” she said. “People lose so much, the last thing they should lose is a family member and an animal is a family member.”

For more information on Titanic’s Pantry, including volunteer and donation information, visit www.sacpetfoodbank.org.

Dogs and their owners parade in the rain at 18th annual Doggy Dash

Despite unseasonably wet and chilly weather, some 5,000 animal lovers gathered with their canine companions for the 18th annual Doggy Dash, a 5K or 2K walk to benefit the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on June 4. The event was held at beautiful William Land Park.

For 17 years, two- and four-legged participants have attended this event, creating a tradition in Sacramento and transforming the Doggy Dash into one of the biggest “can’t miss” events of the year.

The morning’s activities included the walk, the Fifth annual Pug Races, Pup Shows (Ugliest Dog, Best Wag, Best Smile, Best Kisser, Best Tricks, Most Magnificent Pup and more), demonstrations by the Sacramento Police K9 Unit, Sacramento Flyball, Touch and Go and First Fun Agility and the Disc Dogs of the Golden Gate.

18th annual Doggy Dash is June 4, rain or shine

The 18th annual Doggy Dash will be held this Saturday, June 4 – rain or shine – in Sacramento’s beautiful William Land Park. There are two walks (a 5K and a 2K) to benefit the animals at the Sacramento SPCA, also a “Bark in the Park” afterward. / Photo courtesy

The 18th annual Doggy Dash will be held this Saturday, June 4 – rain or shine – in Sacramento’s beautiful William Land Park. There are two walks (a 5K and a 2K) to benefit the animals at the Sacramento SPCA, also a “Bark in the Park” afterward. / Photo courtesy

Some 5,000 animal lovers will gather with and without their canine companions for the 18th annual Doggy Dash, a 5K or 2K walk to benefit the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on June 4. The event will be held at Sacramento’s beautiful William Land Park.

For 17 years, two- and four-legged participants have attended this event, creating a tradition in Sacramento and transforming the Doggy Dash into one of the biggest “can’t miss” events of the year.

Be sure to stay after the Dash for a Bark at the Park Festival, where you can enter your canine pal in the Pup Show, high-flying Disc Contest, or our ever-popular Pug Races. Visit with pet-friendly businesses, learn about Sacramento-area animal rescue organizations or just have lunch while watching all the action.

The days activities include:

  • 5K or 2K walk
  • Fifth annual Pug Races
  • Pup Shows: Ugliest Dog, Best Wag, Best Smile, Best Kisser, Best Tricks, Most Magnificent Pup and more
  • Pet-friendly businesses
  • Demonstrations by the Sacramento Police K9 Unit, Sacramento Flyball, Touch and Go and First Fun Agility and the Disc Dogs of the Golden Gate “Disc Toss and Fetch” contest

On-site registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and events begin at 8:30 a.m. and run through 12:20 p.m.

Register today

Whether you choose to bring a canine companion or invite a two-legged friend, mark your calendar and join your friends and neighbors for the Doggy Dash and Bark at the Park Festival. By doing so, you will help to make a difference in the lives of homeless animals sheltered at the Sacramento SPCA. Register as a solo participant, start a team or join an existing team. For more information, visit www.sspca.org.

Two truckloads of donations gathered for SPCA in memory of Pocket Pooch

Over 75 Jazzercisers came out for a fun “Huff Before You Stuff” class at Land Park/Greenhaven Jazzercise on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 25.
Dedicated to healthy habits and a healthy community, these Jazzercisers gathered for a “Huff Before You Stuff” class at Land Park/Greenhaven Jazzercise on Nov. 25. Each person brought items to donate to the Sacramento SPCA in memory of Olive, a Pocket resident dachshund who passed away last fall. / Photo courtesy

Dedicated to healthy habits and a healthy community, these Jazzercisers gathered for a “Huff Before You Stuff” class at Land Park/Greenhaven Jazzercise on Nov. 25. Each person brought items to donate to the Sacramento SPCA in memory of Olive, a Pocket resident dachshund who passed away last fall. / Photo courtesy

The class was also a benefit for the SPCA in memory of Jim and Jackie Collins beloved little dachshund “Olive,” who they lost last month. The donations filled two trucks, and over $350 in monetary donations were collected as well.

Donations for the SPCA shelter animals were also received at Valley Community Newspapers.

The donations will help the shelter animals for the here-and-now. The efforts of the Jazzercisers and others in the community have helped to make a difference for the shelter animals.

Sadly,there is an ongoing need for items for the animals. These include: bath towels, bleach, manual can openers, Carefresh animal bedding, cat toys and treats, cat trees and scratching posts, collars, dog toys and treats, grooming clippers (Oscar A5/#40 blades), heating pads, humidifiers (for sick animals), KMR – kitten milk replacement, Kongs, leashes, long-handled squeegees, meat-flavored baby food (for sick and finicky eaters), newspaper (rolled tubes of 25-35 sheets each), peanut butter, pet beds, plastic litterboxes (small) and stainless steel dog and cat bowls.

If you were out of town on Thanksgiving Day and would like to make a donation, items can still be dropped off with Linda Pohl at the Valley Community Newspapers office, located at 2709 Riverside Blvd. in Sacramento.

Olive Collins was a happy resident of the Pocket area in Sacramento. Sadly, her life was cut short last summer when she was hit by a car. In appreciation for her life, friends are gathering donations to benefit the animals at Sacramento SPCA in Olive’s memory. / Photo courtesy
Olive-Memorial-photo

Olive Collins was a happy resident of the Pocket area in Sacramento. Sadly, her life was cut short last summer when she was hit by a car. In appreciation for her life, friends are gathering donations to benefit the animals at Sacramento SPCA in Olive’s memory. / Photo courtesy

‘Giving Thanks and Giving Back’ donation drive in memory of Pocket pooch

 

Land Park/Greenhaven Jazzercise is hosting a donation drive to benefit the animals at the Sacramento SPCA in honor and loving memory of dachshund Olive Collins, a Pocket resident whose life was tragically cut short when she was hit by a passing auto.

Olive Collins was a happy resident of the Pocket area in Sacramento. Sadly, her life was cut short last summer when she was hit by a car. In appreciation for her life, friends are gathering donations to benefit the animals at Sacramento SPCA in Olive’s memory. / Photo courtesy

Olive Collins was a happy resident of the Pocket area in Sacramento. Sadly, her life was cut short last summer when she was hit by a car. In appreciation for her life, friends are gathering donations to benefit the animals at Sacramento SPCA in Olive’s memory. / Photo courtesy

The donation drive will be held on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 25. Those interested in attending a team taught Jazzercise class at 9:15 a.m. are welcome. However, it is not necessary to participate in Jazzercise to make a donation that will help the animals.

In addition to monetary donations, the SPCA shelter animals and the humans who care for them need: art display boards/easels, bath towels, bleach, manual can openers, Carefresh animal bedding, cat toys and treats, cat trees and scratching posts, collars, dog toys and treats, grooming clippers (Oscar A5/#40 blades), heating pads, humidifiers (for sick animals), KMR – kitten milk replacement, Kongs, leashes, long-handled squeegees, meat-flavored baby food (for sick and finicky eaters), newspaper (rolled tubes of 25-35 sheets each), peanut butter, pet beds, plastic litterboxes (small) and stainless steel dog and cat bowls.

If you plan to be out of town on Thanksgiving Day, items can be dropped off with Linda Pohl at the Valley Community Newspapers office, located at 2709 Riverside Blvd. in Sacramento.