eTales: Santa Paws

Visions of tennis balls danced in their heads
Santa Paws, December 8–9

Santa PawsWhether your four-legged friend has visions of sugarplums or simply dreams of a fuzzy new tennis ball, she’ll have the opportunity to express her fondest holiday wishes to Santa Paws during our annual photography event on Saturday, November 8 and Sunday, November 9.

Join us either day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (no appointment needed) to have your pet’s portrait taken with the jolliest Santa this side of the North Pole. Packages start at only $25 for digital images; prints, enlargements and photo greeting cards are also available. All proceeds directly benefit the Sacramento SPCA.

Participants are welcome to bring dogs (on leash, please), cats, and other small animals (in carriers). Human family members are welcome to be in the photo as well.

What makes the Sacramento SPCA’s Santa Paws event unique is that the set design changes from year to year. The theme for 2014 is “Golden Wonderland,” featuring a gold background, tree, ornaments and pillows. Although your animal companion may not visibly age much from one year to the next, it’s still worthwhile to attend annually because the images are so unique.

“We never miss Santa Paws, and we love how every year the photos have a completely new look,” says Sacramento resident Debra Townsend. “We’ve been coming since we were newlyweds with our two dogs.”

The Townsend’s photos show those same dogs with their first baby who is now almost nine years old. One dog has since passed, but they’ve added two more over the years — and another daughter.

“It’s just a joy to look back and see our family’s history in these pictures,” she says.

We’re pleased to welcome back local photographer Patrick Storm for a second Santa Paws season. Storm expertly captures that perfect moment when your dog, cat, iguana, or child looks his/her best.

Questions about Santa Paws 2014? Please call (916) 504-2849 or email

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eTales: Fall book sale

Forging bonds page by page
Annual fall book sale, November 13–16

Book saleAs the weather turns cool, stock up on good reads to fill those long evenings ahead by the fireside (with your animal friends curled up beside you, of course). Join us for the Sacramento SPCA’s Fall Book Sale, November 13 through 16 in Citrus Heights.

The SPCA’s famed book sales, held in autumn and spring, are the longest-running charity used book sales in the Sacramento area. Categories for the fall sale include audio books, biography, Christmas, history/politics, mystery and fiction. All proceeds directly benefit the animals in our care.

“What sets our sale apart is that we accept book donations year-round,” says SPCA Community Services Director Val Masters. “Our volunteers log hundreds of hours each month sorting, categorizing, pricing and making sure that only the very best books are offered for sale.”

The sale is in a new location this year at Greenfaire Village. The extra-large storefront means even more room for the high-quality selection and low prices that the community has come to expect and enjoy over the years.

Don’t miss the annual fall book sale

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eTales: Purrses for Pets

New homes found in cocktail clutch
Purrses for Pets, November 20

PurrsesYou don’t have to be a woman to enjoy the Sacramento SPCA’s Purrses for Pets event, but it helps.

“It’s all about the purses!” says Anna Zablah, special events manager for the SPCA. “Everyone just goes crazy for them.”

Held at the renowned Arden Hills Resort & Spa, Purrses for Pets is an elegant evening of cocktails, hors d’ouevres, wine and desserts — and shopping… for purses. Oh, and jewelry and accessories, too. But did we mention the purses?

“The selection really runs the gamut,” says Zablah. “We have brand-new bags from Kate Spade, Coach, Michael Kors and other great designers, and some that aren’t designer but are really adorable and fun. We also have a terrific selection of pre-owned designer and non-designer purses in excellent condition. There’s something for everyone.”

All proceeds from the event benefit the SPCA’s programs and services. So remember, that Dooney & Bourke bag you buy doesn’t just look fabulous — it’s helping animals live better lives. And so is that darling cocktail clutch, and that beachy tote. Don’t the homeless pets deserve for you to get that Vera Bradley that perfectly matches your ballet flats?

Purrses for Pets is Thursday, November 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets to the event, which include auction, raffle, appetizers, cocktails, and desserts, are only $45. It’s a sell-out every year, so be sure to buy your ticket now, or risk being left… with last season’s handbag.

Join us for Purrses for Pets

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Something for everyone this season

We can’t wait to see you at these great upcoming events. This holiday season, there is a little something for everyone…

Santa Paws Holiday Photo ShootChristmasKitten
November 8–9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Gather those smiling faces in your family (both two- and four-legged!) and join us for this two-day event with Sacramento photographer Patrick Storm. Then rest easy knowing that you have the family holiday photo checked off the list well before the holiday!

This year’s set includes a white couch surrounded by a gold holiday tree and other gold decor and, of course, Santa Claus, you, and your amazing pets!

No appointment needed. Packages start at $25 for digital images. Prints, enlargements and photo greeting cards also available.

Annual Fall Book Sale
November 13–16, 2014

Join us at Greenfaire Village for the annual Sacramento SPCA Fall Book Sale —
the Sacramento area’s longest running charity used book sale.

Click here for more information on the annual fall book sale.

Purrses for Pets
November 20, 2014 from 6–8 p.m.

Join us at Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa for an evening of luxury and a little self indulgence.

Shop among hundreds of purses, bags, jewelry, and accessories ranging from splurges to steals! Join the fun with a silent auction, raffle, appetizers, cocktails, and desserts.

Click here for more information on Purrses for Pets.

Holiday Boutique Sale
December 2–9

Make this year’s holiday one to remember with unique gifts from the Sacramento SPCA Thrift Store. Give yourself an early holiday gift with a trip to the sale for deep discounts on everything from jewelry to new-to-you holiday decorations.


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eTales September 2014: Back to school

Back to school for kids — and Marlee!

Smiling boyWith the arrival of autumn, the Sacramento SPCA’s adoption center no longer buzzes with the activity of our wildly popular summer day camp programs for kids.

Instead, we’re in classrooms throughout the community, bringing our messages of kindness, compassion and responsible pet ownership to elementary, middle, and high school students in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova and Folsom.

Teachers can request presentations on a variety of subjects, from dog safety and bite prevention (kindergarten through fourth grade) to pet overpopulation and the importance of spaying and neutering (middle school and above).

The Sacramento SPCA is on the road and in the classroom two to three days a week. In 2013, more than 6,000 students attended our presentations.

“We have many teachers who invite us back year after year,” says Dee Dee Drake, the Sacramento SPCA’s Humane Education Manager. “We meet a fresh group of children every time and they’re always interested in learning about animals.”

MarleeAnd what would a visit from the Sacramento SPCA be without the presence of a four-legged friend?

Eight-year-old pug Marlee accompanies Drake on all school visits.

“Marlee’s the ideal education ambassador for the organization,” says Drake. “She’s friendly, loves to visit new places, and absolutely adores children.”

Drake adopted Marlee from the Sacramento SPCA in 2006 and the kid-crazy canine has been in the education biz ever since.

“I try not to take it personally that most of the thank-you notes we receive begin, ‘Dear Marlee,’” Drake says. “I’m just the chauffeur for the real star of the show.”

Local classroom teachers can request a visit by email or by calling (916) 504-2849.

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eTales September 2014: Welcoming creatures of all kinds

Welcoming creatures of all kinds

Join us on the morning of Saturday, October 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the Sacramento SPCA’s second annual Blessing of the Animals.

Friars from the Ecumenical Order of Saints Francis and Clare will be on hand to bless the public’s animal companions during a brief, but moving ceremony.Friar Haug-West

Friar Cyd Haug-West, a former Sacramento SPCA volunteer, remembers the success of last year’s blessing. “We love blessing the animals!” she says. “After last year’s event, my fellow friars and I all agreed that we had received at least as much blessing as we had given. As we bless each animal, we are privileged to witness, up close, the deep love between people and their animals. Blessing the animals with our hands and prayers also connects us, beyond the limits of time, to our beloved Saint Francis, who had a particular love for and connection with creatures of all kinds.”

Haug-West credits her time spent here as a volunteer with helping her along the path to becoming a Franciscan. “My favorite definition of the Franciscan world view is from Richard Rohr, OFM, who says simply, ‘Everything belongs,’” she says. “Each and every dog I spent time with embodied this statement in the way they all lived completely in the present: in their joy to get outside, to walk or run, to smell all the smells, to chase butterflies, to see birds or jackrabbits, to get their ears rubbed, to play with a ball, to get Blessingtreats. Every dog reminded me to live in the moment with gratitude.”

And four-legged area residents aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the blessing. “We hope all who take part will leave with a renewed sense of the special bond we form with our pets, that goes far beyond any kind of ‘ownership’ of one species over another.”

Dogs must be on leash, and cats and other small animals should be secured in carriers. All species and faiths are welcome! There is no charge for this event, but donations are always welcome.

Subscribe to eTales for more information on the happenings at and the stories of the Sacramento SPCA.

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New foster parent orientation

Interested in becoming a foster parent for the Sacramento SPCA? We have all sorts of animals who need your help.

The orientation will take place at the Sacramento SPCA in the Multipurpose Room (just off the adoption center).

We’ll go over training, supplies and the reasons animals need to go into foster care.

If you would like to attend, please send an e-mail to Sacramento SPCA Foster Care Coordinator Sarah Varanini or give her a call at (916) 504-2808.

Thank you for your interest in the Sacramento SPCA!

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SNAAP program

SNAAP logo

Donate goods for the SNAAP program

The Sacramento SPCA, in partnership with City of Sacramento Front Street Shelter and Sacramento County Animal Care & Regulation, recently embarked on a journey to directly assist families in areas where they need it most.

Each day SNAAP Coordinator Mike Vasquez knocks on neighborhood doors and provides services to families whose pets might not otherwise receive them. This includes food, toys, vaccines, microchips and collars with tags — even transport to and from the Sacramento SPCA Spay/Neuter Clinic.

If you’d like to help, donations of the following items are in high demand:

• Beds, for all sizes of cats and dogs
• Collars, for all sizes of cats and dogs
• Food for cats, dry and wet
• Leashes
• Litterboxes, medium-sized
• Toys, enrichment focused for both cats and dogs

When making your donation let the staff person receiving it know it’s for the SNAAP program.


If you know someone who needs help with their pet, but doesn’t live in the SNAAP program target area, tell them about It provides robust information to help people keep their pet an important part of the family.

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A safe and happy July 4 with your pet

It’s that time of year again! The 4th of July holiday is one of the most important times of year to take precautions with your pet.

The following are a few helpful tips to not only keep your pet safe, but also happy and comfortable this holiday weekend:

BE AWARE OF THEIR SURROUNDINGS. From celebrating at your house to going to a friend’s place or a local park, you always want to be sure that your pet(s) are comfortable.

You know your pet(s) best. Don’t put them in situations they may typically find overwhelming.

  • If they don’t like large groups of people, let them stay home in the air conditioning while you and your family head over to the BBQ.
  • If they have noise phobias, make sure they have a safe place of their own in the house while you set off fireworks outdoors and, of course, don’t take them to the local fireworks display.

Always be mindful of the front and patio doors. Oftentimes, our pets will join the increase in traffic in and out of the door on summer holiday weekends — and they may just take themselves for a walk long before we even know about it.

MAKE SURE THEY HAVE A COLLAR WITH ID TAG ON AT ALL TIMES. A microchip may eventually get your pet(s) home, but a collar with ID tag and phone number increases their chance of getting home before going to a local animal shelter.

A collar and ID tag is the best line of defense in case the weekend activity sends your pet on an unexpected adventure.

MANAGE THEIR DIET. During the excitement of the holiday, it’s easy to share what is on the grill with your pet(s), but remember that just like people, moderation is key.

The best rule of thumb is to not feed your pet people food; however, if you feel compelled only provide them a taste by giving a very small portion. Also, follow these helpful tips on what NOT to feed your pet, even in small portions:

Harmful foods for your CAT      Harmful foods for your DOG

MIND THE HEAT. A great rule of thumb is that if you’re taking precautions with yourself and your family regarding the weather, you’ll want to do the same with your pet(s). The following tips are always helpful:

  • Ensure they always have access to fresh, cold water.
  • Limit outdoor playtime to the necessary walks your pets need.
  • Ensure that while outdoors your pets have access to shade or other cooling options, such as play pools filled with cold water.
  • Remember that the pavement will be hot — try not to linger unnecessarily on the asphalt.
  • Know the signs of heat stroke and provide immediate relief if your pet(s) exhibit any of the following by soaking them in cool water and/or taking them to your or an emergency vet:

+ excessive panting     + salivation
+ vomiting     + anxious or staring expression
+ fast pulse rate and high body temperature

Follow these helpful tips and your in for a great weekend with your pet. Have a great July 4th!