Love (Actually) Is All Around
Compassion for animals...and humans!
In September 2016, the Sacramento SPCA started a new partnership with Wellspace Health, a treatment center in North Sacramento. How could these two very different organizations help each other? By pairing up those in need. The SPCA’s foster program is designed to help animals that are in need of a little something extra — whether it be underaged kittens or puppies, animals recovering from illness or injury, or those in need of a little extra socialization like Jax.
Wellspace Health offers both withdrawal management (detox) and residential treatment for substance use disorders and is staffed 24 hours a day. The Residential Treatment program has on-site therapists in addition to registered and certified substance abuse counselors, and offers 31 hours of programming a week.
A supervisor on staff contacted the SPCA, wanting to find a way to benefit the animals in the shelter as well as the residents at the treatment center. Foster care seemed like the perfect solution! Wellspace staff attended a new foster parent orientation and the organization took home its very first foster dog, Jax: a shy Pittie mix in need of some extra love. Jax spent three months in the care of the staff and clients at Wellspace. He was paired with two residents whose responsibilities included daily care, basic manners training, and socialization. He became a regular at the frisbee park and was having a wonderful time with all of his new friends. In fact, he bonded so well with one of his residents that they adopted him once they graduated from the program!
Since then, Wellspace has fostered seven dogs for the Sacramento SPCA — ranging from a tiny, toothless Yorkie to a blind Pekingnese to their current foster, an injured Boxer named Jack– finding homes for three of the seven.
“Since we have started fostering dogs, I have continually had feedback from clients about how it makes our residential program feel more like a home. The dogs provide a welcome opportunity to take responsibility and are a source of comfort to the people we serve. The dogs join our family, and often times we are able to find them their forever home. Therapeutically, our dogs help the clients in recovery, reducing anxiety and allowing for a safe connection. The dogs help our clients get in touch with their playful side during some pretty dark moments and are often the first smiling face they see. The partnership has also had a tremendous impact on client health, as walking the dog in the community is seen as a privilege as it demonstrate the client is responsible and has earned a certain level of trust. We love seeing our alumni dogs return for visits and stay in contact for updates.”-Kathrina Cauckwell, AOD Supervisor Wellspace Health