October Volunteer of the Month

DSC_2026-webMeet Leigh, our October Volunteer of the Month. Leigh is an amazing dog walker who always brings a smile to the faces of the dogs and the SPCA staff – the cats even love her! It’s hard not to love Leigh with her infectious smile, bubbly personality, and huge heart. We’re so lucky to have such a sweet, kind, and generous volunteer!

When did you first start volunteering at the SPCA?

Summer of 2007.

Why did you choose to get involved with the SPCA?

I’ve always loved animals and wanted to find a way to do more to help them, so I started walking dogs at the CASPCA. That was one of the best decisions of my life.

Do you usually gravitate towards a certain type of dog here?

There are so many wonderful dogs at the CASPCA! Still, the pitbull and staffy mixes consistently win me over. I love their blocky heads, the way they watch intently, the way they read people superbly, and that they are prone to leaning, kissing and spreading joy.

What’s your favorite part of volunteering at the SPCA?

I started volunteering to help dogs, but ended up receiving tremendous kindness and positive energy from them. They are thrilled to be walked and most of them are highly responsive, resilient and appreciative. They have become role models for me. And the people who work for the CASPCA are tremendous. Strong, loving and devoted. Other volunteers feel the same way. We’re lucky to do what we do.

If you could adopt any dog here, who would it  be and why?

That is a hard question. In the end I’d say it’s a three-way tie between Bella, Blossom (pictured above with Leigh) and Chester. All of them have an undeniable dearness to them.

What’s your favorite kind of Halloween candy?

Three Musketeers!

Staff Comments:

“The dogs adore Leigh! It’s clear that she has a special place in her heart for each of them, and they know how much she truly cares.”

“Leigh is the best! I love seeing her. She’s always doing something special for the dogs – bringing them extra treats or toys, bringing them up to visit staff in offices, and just being extra kind to them.”

“I wish Leigh were here 7 days a week! It’s so wonderful to see her, and I know the dogs feel the same way!”

Meet Our Trick-or-Treaters October Staff Picks

Halloween simply would not be complete without cutely costumed pets! It is hard to deny that these furry friends look adorable in costume whether it be a cat or dog. Find out what Wizard, Miller, Murphy, and Hardy would dress up as for “Cutest Trick-or-Treater”!

Wizard-Would go Trick-or-Treating as Yoda


Paul says that is a no-brainer for why Wizard would be Yoda…his ears! He is a very energetic young man who loves playing outside, running, and fetching. Wizard is very smart just like a Jedi master as he knows “sit” and “down, the force is strong in this one! Paul describes him as a huge lover who loves to lean into you to receive attention. He does best with dogs as he is a little too rambunctious with cats.


Miller- Would go Trick-or-Treating as Tigger


“The wonderful thing about tiggers is tiggers are wonderful things!” Missy says that Miller would be Tigger because he wants to have fun, fun, fun and is a very goofy, loving guy. He is a very playful guy who loves walks, is excellent on a leash, and  has an eternal optimism that radiates onto anyone that he meets! Miller came into the shelter with hip issues that required surgery, but never once did that damper his spirits, as he persevered through a tough time. Now that his hips are fixed he has a spring in his step, and is ready to go to his forever home!

Murphy- Would go Trick-or-Treating as Spiderman



Linda thinks that Murphy would be Spiderman because he loves to cling on people and snuggle all day. He is a super sweet guy who loves wet food, toys, and to be the center of attention. Murphy would be best as an only cat in a home, as he has only child syndrome, and wants the spotlight on him. He is a very smart guy who would be a great cat to either clicker or harness train.

Hardy- Would go Trick-or-Treating as a Pirate



Lisa says that Hardy would be a pirate because he is scruffy and battle-worn from his prior life on the streets. Adopt Hardy and he will share his hidden pirate treasure chest which is full of precious love! He adores sitting in laps, giving head-butts and he won’t make you walk the plank for his love, because he is a lover pirate, not a fighter. Adopt him and sail the endless sea of love that he has to offer!


Best in Show September Staff Picks

While there is certainly something that every single SPCA animal can win “Best in Show” for, we’ve decided to narrow it down to four contestants. These extraordinary contestants are vying for the ultimate prize: a spot in your family! Find out why Vladimir, Mac, Trudy, and Jennifer are our “Best in Show” picks!

vlad-webValdimir – Nominated for being the best nurse and kitten-caretakervlad1-web(3)

Dr. Scheller absolutely loves Vladimir because he helps her take such good care of her patients. Vlad came to the SPCA with severe injuries, but now that he’s healthy, he wants to take care of others. He’s very concerned about the well-being of other cats, especially kittens. Vlad will let kittens knead on him and cuddle up next to him. He’s even tried to help Dr. Scheller check out her other patients! Dr. Scheller describes him as her cat clinic supervisor. Vladimir is only a cat nurse though, no dogs please.

jenn-web(2)Jennifer – Nominated for best supportive exercise buddy

Tiffany says if you need some workout motivation, Jennifer is your BFF! Jennifer loves to go for walks and explore, and if you start lagging on the walk, she’ll also give you lots of kisses and lovin’ to keep you moving and inspired. Jennifer is great at giving puppy-dog eye contact and paying attention to her special person. She loves to sit on or near you, and enjoys munching on some dog cookies. Jenn doesn’t mind other dogs, but she she’s definitely more of a people-person.

Trudy – Nominated for the best bird call and for the best swaggerTrudy-web

Sarah says Trudy is the cutest because she always coos and chirps (hence the best bird call), and due to previous rear-limb fractures prior to coming to the SPCA, Trudy has quiet the wiggle wiggle wiggle in her step. Trudy can often be seen running around and playing with her toys – when she plays, she does an adorable flop-down on her back! She also doesn’t let the non-players get her down. If another cat gives her a swat, Trudy doesn’t let it bother her and instead just keeps going! This peppy, fun-loving cat is sure to put a smile on your face.

mac1-webMac – Nominated for being the best America Ninja WarriorMac-web

Joey thinks Mac is the obvious candidate because Mac is just a lovable goofball who is excited about everything life has to offer. Mac’s energetic, playful, and puppy-like and also incredibly wiggly and full of kisses! Because Mac’s so exuberant and happy, we had a tough time getting a still photo of him, but he’s handsome and adorable nonetheless. This athletic guy loves peanut butter Kongs (peanut butter is a great snack after all the working out he does!) and knows how to sit politely.

Back-to-School Buddies

These popular pooches are vying to be part of all the back to school fun! Each one of these canines has something unique and special about them that will help them stand out in any classroom. Find out why staff loves Major, Hershey, Bella, and McCade and why you should, too!

Major_webMajor – The Daredevil aka “James Dean”
Bre’ says Major’s that loveable bad boy. You know, the one who makes all the girls swoon with his good looks and charm! This daredevil loves adventures and is always up to travel to new locations. He can often be seen using his wits and resources to play hooky and explore. Major can be independent, but when he finds that one special person, he’s all yours! Major enjoys peaceful quiet time, some alone time for reflection, and challenges to stimulate his mind. Major’s that mysterious daredevil who everyone talks about and just can’t wait to learn more about!

Hershey – The Ladies ManHershey_web
Chelsea says Hershey is the best guy ever because he’s been through so much hardship in his life, but he’s the happiest, most loving dog you’ll ever meet! Hershey loves to look adoringly into your eyes and give little grunts of contentment. Chelsea always looks forward to seeing Hershey because no matter what, he’s so happy and excited and just puts a smile on your face. We could all learn a little from this heartthrob – face every day like Hershey does: like every day is the best day of your life. This eternal optimist is sure to help you see the treat bucket as half full. Soft, comfy places and any delicious snacks are the keys to this fella’s heart!

Bella_webBella – The Valedictorian
Ashely says Bella’s a smart lady who’s very eager to please! Bella adores people, loves food puzzle toys, and is always up for a roll in the grass. This athletic go-getter is an all-star runner who loves to get her zoomies out. Once you prove that you’re worth trusting, Bella is the definition of loyal. Bella particularly enjoys car rides (I mean fieldtrips!), especially when she gets to go for ice cream – yum! This quick-witted girl would prefer to be your only dog-child – she has more than enough love to go around and to satisfy all your doggie lovin’ needs. Check out her video!

McCade – The Class ClownMcCade
Allison loves McCade because he’s a goofy guy who has an adventurous spirit. This fun friend might possibly skip a class or to and opt to spend some time playing outside. He’s a lady’s man and prefers to spend one-on-one time with his dog girlfriends. His favorite past-times including doing “the happy dance,” taking selfies with his BFFs, and running for prom king (he’s so handsome and photogenic that he makes all the girls go ga-ga!).

August Volunteer of the Month

Steve-webMeet Steve Stearns, our August Volunteer of the Month! Steve volunteers at least 3 days a week with the cats in Rows 1 and 2 (and will often visit the lobby cats, too) and has quickly racked up over 1,000 hours of volunteer time. Steve has a calm, gentle way with the cats and he has helped many cats find new homes. His personal knowledge of the cats helps Steve make wonderful matches between adopters and their new family members. The SPCA cats are lucky to have such a dedicated volunteer!
When did you first start volunteering at the SPCA?
The week after I retired from UVa in February 2013.
Why did you choose to get involved with the SPCA?
I love all animals–especially cats. Their independence and unpredictability endear them to me. I’ve had cats all my adult life (a dog too) so I know of the problems (and controversies) surrounding strays and ferals. Volunteering to socialize cats gives me not only pleasure and fulfillment but also enables me to find homes for strays.
Do you usually gravitate towards a certain type of cat here?
We can always divide the cats in the rows at the SPCA into those that immediately come out of their cages and those too shy or frightened to emerge. I concentrate on the latter. It is they that need the most socialization. I have fond memories of the cats that have gone from cringing in the back of a cage to being self-confident and loving of attention. The best example is Krista. When she arrived just over a year ago, she was terrified. She was frightened by just a touch, much less a pet. Today she peacefully shares a window cage with two other cats and greets me with head butts when I approach her. She can still be startled but is ready to go to a furrever home.
What’s your favorite part of volunteering at the SPCA?
There are two. The first is the pleasure of hearing a newly-arrived cat respond with purrs to my first touch. The second is the elation I feel when one of the cats I’ve helped care for is adopted by a family that I’m confident will lavish attention on their new kitty.
If you could recommend for adoption any cat here, who would it be and why?
Cecily. She arrived at the SPCA in February 2013– surrendered by someone with too many animals already. She’s since been adopted twice but, for a variety of reasons–none of them hers–was returned. She’s very vocal with people she knows. She’s the first cat that I let out upon my arrival and she soon curls up on a cabinet bed, sometimes sharing it with a cat named Amy. Recently, she’s been hopping into my lap when I sit down–this is a new behavior. I conclude she could easily become a lap cat. Her only idiosyncrasy is that she doesn’t like to be picked up. But leave her alone and she’ll soon be lying next to you, purring. She’s been here far too long and deserves a loving home!

Staff Comments:
“Steve is so helpful with potential adopters! If someone’s interested in or looking for a cat, I know I can just leave them with Steve and he does a wonderful job.”

“Steve is amazing with adopters! He always finds the perfect match. He knows just how to help people pick the right cat.”

“He’s very committed to his cats. He knows them all like the back of his hand! And he’s friendly to staff and adopters.”

They Make Us Melt Like Pup-Sicles on the 4th of July

These puppy dog and kitty cat eyes are sure to melt your hearts like Popsicle on the Fourth of July! Each one of these adorable critters has a certain quality that makes them beloved by staff and volunteers. Hurry on over to meet these fabulous cats and dogs – our Freedom Special ends July 13th and you don’t want to miss out!

JigsawJigsaw – if he were a Popsicle… he’s be an ice cream sandwich! Not only does his coloring totally resemble one, but he’s a sweet pint sized guy who’s ready to be grabbed and go into almost any home!

Daryan immediately reached for this sweet treat of a guy! He might be a shy guy at first, but with some sweet talk and cheek rubs he’ll melt in your arms and all over your heart quicker than you can say his name. This kind and gentlemanly cat needs a soft spot on your lap, a fan club to admire his distinguished markings, and a home to call his own.

Freddie Prinze Jr – if he were a Popsicle, he’d be a red, white, and blue patriotic popsicle – he can easily Freddie-webadapt to become cuddly and calm or energetic and playful depending on your mood, plus he’s an old-fashioned favorite!

Karah says Freddie Prinze Jr. is the man…er dog… who has it all! He’s got quick wits and is a real people pleaser who already knows “sit” and can catch treats in the air. He’d be the perfect gentleman to take to training classes since all he wants to do is stare into your eyes and be the best dog he can be. Freddie is also a ball to have around; he can literally play catch and fetch all day if you’re up for it. Don’t worry about keep-away, he’ll always bring the ball right back to you and drop it at your feet – he doesn’t want the fun to end! And he’s one of the absolute best cuddlers around. This sweet boy will wrap his arms around you and give you the best doggie hugs and kisses ever!

BarbBarb – if she were a Popsicle (or ice cream) she’d be Chunky Monkey because even though she’s got some extra fluff, she’s a go-to favorite!

Rebecca is a smitten kitten for Barb because Barb has pizazz! This plus-size model can strut her stuff and she prefers to have all eyes on her. Who needs other cats when you have a bodacious beauty like Barb? Barb recently started a vigorous exercise plan that entails jumping in and out of the kitty door at the SPCA and patrolling the kitty patio. If you have a porch or patio, Barb would love to continue her routine at your home!

Bon Jovi – if he were a Popsicle, he’d be a banana daiquiri Popsicle, because being a rock star, he likes aLaura-web little rum in his frozen treat!

Laura says Bon Jovi is easy on the eyes and will flirt with you when he’s in his kennel. Laura has a special connection to this handsome guy since she’s known him from day one – Laura met him late one Saturday night when he came in as an abandoned dog. She immediately thought of the song “Living on a Prayer,” and so Bon Jovi got his name! He’s just a sweet, fun, easy to please dog who doesn’t ask for much and is patiently awaiting his new home.

Capt OCaptain Octavius – if he were a Popsicle, he’d be a fudge pop because he’s all over you!

Nicole adores Capt. O because he’s just oozing with affection, and hey, who couldn’t love a cat who only has 3 legs? This cuddly fella knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it! This love bug loves people so much that he’d prefer to be your one and only, but he’ll tolerate other cats if he must. His main game is giving and receive hugs, window watching, lounging on patios, and just plain lounging in general. Perk: he’ll even let you hold him like a baby! ADOPTED!