Volunteer Spotlight
Shannon & Ajay: The Banana Family

Blog Post
Shannon and Ajay with seven kittens

Chances are, you’ve seen these wonderful humans around campus a lot lately, and if not: meet Shannon and Ajay. You will often see them volunteering as a couple (couples who volunteer together stay together) and Shannon tells their story below.

Tell us about your role (or roles) as a volunteer?

I started off volunteering as a foster mom of five kittens and allowed myself time to get to know the shelter. After a couple months of volunteering, I began training in the Cattery. Once I found out there was a Book Barn where you could help sort books in preparation for the biannual book sale I knew I had to join in…I LOVE books! Recently, with Bunny Apocalypse and knowing help would be needed I jumped in to clean cages and lend a hand with the bunny care. During that time I truly got to know the staff and found myself wanting to see what other avenues I could continue aiding.

I’m a designer by trade and found there was a need for redesigning the Foster Care Evaluation forms. I have one more Small Animal training class to go and then I’m off to take on Dog Training. I’m also lending a hand with the vaccine clinic on Mondays/Tuesdays and the mobile clinic on Sundays. Oh, and I’m one of the lovely ones wearing orange for parking control. I absolutely love the SacSPCA and look to be trained (and continue training) to actively volunteer throughout the campus in all avenues needed. 

Of all the organizations you could have chosen, why did you choose to volunteer your time here?

In the beginning, I chose SacSPCA because I have a heart for animals: they are a huge part of my life and if I can help them in any way I will. I chose to stay at the SSPCA because of the people. I have found the staff to be tremendously caring, encouraging, hardworking and determined to make SSPCA an incredible shelter for the animals in our area. I take great pride in saying I volunteer with the SacSPCA because I know I’m truly apart of a team.

What do you like most about helping animals?

Oh goodness, everything! I root for the runts and underdogs, for the little disabled fur babies that come in and the kitties with gooey eyes who cannot see. These are the animals that are extra special to me; the ones in dire need of our care. Ajay and I take great pride in caring for kittens with swollen and infected eyes. We warm compress them hourly, snuggle them with blankets and love on them until a couple weeks later we can finally see their eyeballs and they’re toddling around our house. We like knowing just that extra little amount of love and care made a huge impact on an animal’s life. 

Do you have any animals at home? If so, tell us their names, species, and ages!

Oh absolutely, my life isn’t the same without a furbaby or two in the home. We have Ella Darlene (a SacSPCA Alum) who is a12 year old Yorkie whom we like to lovingly refer to as “Mariah Carey in a 3lb. body.” Life wouldn’t be nearly as exciting without that sassy little nugget. We recently adopted another Yorkie, Remy Sue, who is 9 years old and complete opposite of her older and smaller sister. She’s the sports star of the family who loves walks and adventures. We outfitted our Mini Cooper to include a five-star rest and relaxation Yorkie resort in the back with Starbucks Pupacchinos, an extra-large fluffy tempur-pedic dog bed, numerous cozy baby blankets, a plethora of doggy backpacks, bag carriers, stroller and of course fashionable clothing for every occasion. If two little dogs weren’t enough of a lap warmer, we also have Chiquita the hamster; she wholeheartedly entertains our mid-night Netflix binges. After 4 years of fostering kittens, we’re failing with this last litter of 7! We’re happy to announce the soon-to-be-bananas, Grayson and Pandora the kittens!

What would you say to someone considering volunteering?

What are you waiting for?! Do it! Visit, go online or check out the SacSPCA Facebook page and enroll in the next volunteer training course. There are numerous areas at the SacSPCA to volunteer with from the obvious Cats, Kittens, Dogs and Small Animals to behind-the-scenes, becoming a foster parent, helping with the Kong Brigade and make treats for the dogs, sort books in the Book Barn or even play wakey-wakey with the newly neutered/spayed cats as they’re coming out of anesthesia in the feral cat spay/neuter clinic. You can find just about anything here to lend a hand with.

We don’t have to include this, but I’m wildly curious: The Banana Family? Where did the name come from?

We’re the Banana Foster Family, you can find us on Facebook and Instagram where we post photos and updates on all of our fosters. The name came about early on in our relationship. To begin, as friends there was a time I needed a username for a game we were about to play on PlayStation. I went with a nickname my Aunt used to call me, Shannon Bananon; Ajay instantly began calling me Banana. Then a year or so later we began dating, and thus we became the Bananas; she was my Banana Squish and I was her Banana Peel. This quickly evolved into we living in the “Banana House” with our “Banana Bunch” amongst our little Banana family. After getting engaged and on our third anniversary we went and got matching banana tattoos on our ring-fingers. We’re in love. We’re best friends. We’re the bananas. This past year we actually started The Banana Paper Company as I’m a graphic designer to boot. It’s a cute snowball effect, don’t you think?!

Thank you, Shannon and Ajay, for everything that you both do for the SacSPCA, the animals, and the staff. Your energy, compassion, smiles, hard work, and talents are very much appreciated; we are honored to have you as a part of our community.