January Volunteers of the Month – The SPCA’s Junior Board

I’m so excited to announce and recognize our SPCA Junior Board Members. These high-school students are going above and beyond in their commitment to make sure that the future of the SPCA and the animal welfare community is bright. Collectively, they represent six local schools. Together, they’ll work with staff and members of our community to learn about different aspects of animal welfare, brainstorm ways to get their peers and schools involved with the SPCA in new ways, plan and lead a mega-adoption event, form teams and fund raise for our 2015 Bow Wow Walk, and much more! Learn more about the Junior Board below!


 2014/2015 Junior Board Members

Jennifer Andersin
Laila Arzouni
Kiara Barbour
Grace Culver
Maggie Dougherty
Kelly Graff
Anna Hennigan
Berkeley Hoerr
Juliet Kingsley
Claire Martin
Ava McDonough
Allison Morris
Audrey Parks
Lisa Shi

Laila's Cody

Laila’s Cody

How long have you been involved with the SPCA?

Audrey: I’ve been a volunteer at the SPCA for two years. Volunteering at the SPCA became a coming of age goal, and when I turned 14 I went to an orientation. My sister got her dog Sadie from the SPCA, and that’s when I started to volunteer. I also came on a field trip when I was in K-1 and I remember seeing a husky mix and being really enchanted by the whole experience.

Kelly: I have volunteered since the summer before ninth grade so a year and a half.

Juliet: I have been volunteering at the SPCA since September of 2014!

Grace: I have been a Junior Volunteer at the CASPCA for three years, but have been making donations and visiting forever!

Allie: I have been involved with the SPCA since a young age (doing bake sales etc. to raise money) but have been volunteering for about 6 months.

Laila: I have been involved with the SPCA since I moved to Charlottesville when I was eight years old. I’ve technically been a junior volunteer since September.

Lisa: I’ve been involved with the SPCA since Freshman year; about a year and a half.

Maggie: I have been volunteering at the SPCA for around two years.

Kiara: I have been involved with the SPCA for almost two years.

Ava: I have loved animals for as long as I remember. After attending the SPCA summer camp when I was in 3rd grade, I was

Grace's Scarlett

Grace’s Scarlett

hooked on volunteering there. There were so many animals that needed love and new homes that I know I needed to help. Ever since then, I have been a foster parent to many puppies and kittens as well as helping to socialize older cats. I also volunteer several hours a month at the SPCA walking dogs, playing with cats, photographing animals, and volunteering at summer camps.

Claire: I have been involved with the SPCA for about a year.

Anna: I have been involved with the SPCA for about a year.  I volunteer some weekends, and over the summer I helped with the summer camp for middle school students.

Why did you decide to volunteer at the SPCA?

Audrey: I’ve grown up loving animals and I have always wanted to be a veterinarian. At any social gathering, I could be found socializing with the nearest pet. Volunteering is a perfect fit because I get to meet a lot of neat animals and help them find a home. 

Kelly's Gracie

Kelly’s Gracie

Kelly: I decided to volunteer because I love animals and have been interested with the SPCA since I got my dog there when I was about 5. I just wanted to help animals get good homes like my dog got. 

Juliet: I decided to volunteer at the SPCA because I not only love animals, but am very passionate about helping animals and giving them better lives. I want to make sure they live a healthy, happy life.

Grace: I volunteer at the SPCA because I love animals and believe that animal cruelty is a serious issue that does not get enough recognition.

Allie: I have always wanted to be a volunteer at the SPCA so when I turned 14 I decided to apply.

Laila: I decided to volunteer at the SPCA because of my love for animals and desire to give them a better life, and hopefully a loving family.

Lisa: I decided to volunteer because i love working with animals and its a great way form of community service.

Maggie: I decided to get involved because I had always thought the SPCA was important and when we needed volunteer hours for school I decided that it was the perfect opportunity.

Kiara: I decided to volunteer at the SPCA because a friend of mine who volunteers here told me about and I decided to join it and it’s been a blast!

Ava: The SPCA is a very special place filled with wonderful volunteers who love to care for animals. I knew I would fit in and be

Allie's Grey

Allie’s Grey

able to love a lot of animals as a way of making their lives better and to help find them a permanent home. Every animal is precious and deserves love.

Claire: I decided to volunteer to get in hours for school/transcripts.

Anna: I love animals (especially cats) and I believe it is important to help animals and ensure that they live the happiest lives possible.  I think that the SPCA is a wonderful opportunity to work with animals and make their lives better while also making a difference in the community.

What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Junior Board?

Audrey: As a member of the Junior Board, my goal is to learn more about the administrative part of animal welfare. I grew up learning how animals think, now I get to learn how people think about animals.

Kelly: I hope to spread awareness of animals so that as many animals can get as many good homes. And I also want to make more bonds with people with my same interests. 

Juliet: As a Junior Board member, I hope to help organize drives or events to raise money for the animals at the SPCA. I also want to help raise awareness of the SPCA and start an SPCA club at my school.

Grace: I hope to spread interest in volunteering, fundraising and adopting homeless animals, especially to high school students. I also hope to learn about what’s happening “behind-the-scenes” at the SPCA that makes it so successful.

Allie: As a member of the junior board I hope to get more teens involved with the SPCA, help get the SPCA more attention and fundraising, and meet people that share my passion for animals.

Laila: As a junior volunteer, I hope to raise awareness of these adorable pets in need of families, bring joy to the animals’ temporary home at the shelter, and give a helping hand.

Audrey's Jake

Audrey’s Jake

Lisa: I hope to come up with helpful ideas, plans and activities for the SPCA.

Maggie: I hope to help out the community and obviously the animals at the SPCA and get more people in the community involved and helping out.

Kiara: What I hope to accomplish as a member of the junior board is that I want to become actively involved with the animals and staff here at the SPCA.

Ava: I hope to help with increasing awareness of how many cats and dogs need homes in our community, and to help fundraise to support the SPCA with its mission. I have also started an animal club at my high school and want to connect more high school volunteers with the SPCA.

Claire: I hope to help out the community.

Anna: I hope that I can convince others to volunteer and adopt in order to improve the lives of animals, and improve their own lives in the process.

Do you have any SPCA alum at home? (See pictures of their SPCA alum’s throughout the post!)

Audrey: I do have an SPCA alum at home! We adopted Jake the border collie/ setter mix this summer when he was about 4 months old. Jake is really smart and definitely my best friend. He loves to run and chase things, but he also enjoys belly scratches, ear rubs, and hugs. He’s a big dog with a bigger heart. 

Kelly: Yes I have a dog from the SPCA and I have had her since I was 5(about 10 years). She is a border collie mix that loves people, my guinea pig and extra treats. 

Grace: I do have a CASPCA alum at home! Her name is Scarlett (formerly Heidi, I think). She is quite a rascal. She loves being outside, destroying stuffed animals, howling, playing with our neighbor dogs and having her polka-dotted belly rubbed. 

annaAllie: I have a cat named Grey that I got from the SPCA about 5 years ago. He loves playing with my dog, basking in the sun, and laying on laps.

Lalia: I have two dogs and a cat, one of which is from the SPCA. His name is Cody and he is 6 years old. He has a crazy love for treats, toys that squeak, and human food. Also, he recently got shaved but still has a natural Mohawk!!

Ava: Yes, we have Junie, our adorable 10 year-old tuxedo cat, and Peaches, our beloved 5 year-old lemon beagle mix. They are the most loving, wonderful animals in the world!

Anna: I have two SPCA alums!  Mira, the tortoiseshell, is almost two years old, and Leo is  under a year old.  They are best friends and they love to romp and play together.  This picture was taken right after they finished grooming each other:

January Staff Picks

New year, new home!  At the shelter we have a handful of cats that have waited too long for a home of their own. Adopt our 25 longest residents for free! Through the end of January all adoptions fees are waved on our longest residents. Check out a few of our Staff favorites below.

Taffy is a super playful gal who loves toys, treats, and any wet food she is given. She absolutely loves to give hugs and is a very vocal cat. Once Taffy creates bond with people she gets extremely excited to see them, and greets them at the front of her cage with loud purrs. A dream home for Taffy would be one with a screened in porch, as she is very adventurous and loves to explore. Taffy wants all the attention to be on her, so a home without any other pets would be best for her. Rebecca says that any person would be lucky to own Taffy because she is so sweet and wants nothing more than to just sit and be with people.


Gomez first arrived at the shelter terrified of everything and feral. With the dedicated staff, Gomez has made leaps and bounds to come out of his shell and has learned to love people. He adores toys that jingle, any toy that has catnip in it, and loves to burrow himself in a blanket and purr. When Gomez hears people, he instantly starts purring and waiting for them to come spend time with him. He is not the biggest fan of being picked up, but loves to sit next to people and be pet. Gomez gets along great with other cats as long as they are mindful of his personal space. A quiet home would be best for him as he tends to get overwhelmed with loud noises and retreat back into his shell. Alyssa thinks that Gomez is the biggest snuggler that you will ever meet, and will bring any person tons of unconditional love.

Mr. Tiffany is an extremely loyal cat to the people he makes connections with, and Lauren thinks that he would make a great fit in a home with a young couple who understand his boundaries. He loves catnip toys, food, and fluffy blankets to knead in. Currently he is working on being a lap cat and loves to sit next to people. Mr. Tiffany would love to explore the outside through a window or screened in porch.


Barb is a very active girl who loves going outside to explore the wonderful sights and sounds. She is learning to get along with other cats, but would prefer to be an only child, as she loves to have the spotlight solely on her. Beth thinks that Barb would thrive in a family setting with older children because they will provide her with unconditional love, and give her space when she becomes overstimulated.


Lionel and Dave Meowthews came into the shelter separately and instantly formed an inseparable bond. Lionel arrived extremely nervous and almost feral; once he met Dave his personality instantly began to change. He started to like receiving gentle head rubs and cuddles from staff. These two are BFF’s and Beth thinks that a quiet, gentle home would be best for them so that they can feel safe and comfortable. Dave would love to have a home with a comfortable nest carefully observing Lionel playing and exploring their new home together. ADOPTED!!!!!

6 5

Carolina is a very sweet, gentle girl that is patiently waiting to find her perfect human companion. She would do great in any home, is indifferent to other cats, and loves to cuddle in a warm comfy bed. Lauren says that Carolina is a very easy going low key cat, and would do great with a fellow foodie, as Carolina herself loves food! She is an extremely affectionate to her human and would make a great companion to a quiet home.



12saves-banner12 Saves of Christmas: Freeing Fiona From Pain

12saves-fionaFiona arrived at the SPCA filthy, covered in fleas and ticks. She was a sad sight: her front toe nails were so long they had curled under and dug deep into her paw pads, many of her teeth were rotten and in need of extraction, and she had one of the worst ear infections that our clinic staff had ever seen. It was heartbreaking to look at her.

Despite the obvious pain she was in, Fiona was still the sweetest dog you’ll ever meet. She was always looking for affection, a hand to nuzzle or a lap to curl up in. She quickly won the hearts of the staff caring for her.

12AVES-fionapawThe SPCA medical team began by treating Fiona’s parasites, addressing her painful paws and performing dental surgery to clean and extract her infected teeth. Her ears were another matter; it would require more than just simple antibiotic treatments to clear the terrible, painful infection.

12saves-fionaearOur Director of Medical Services consulted with our friends at Virginia Veterinary Specialists and everyone agreed that surgery was needed to remedy Fiona’s ear pain. Fiona’s ears were completely obstructed by masses that were likely the result of years of painful, untreated ear infections. She would need to have costly ear surgery to remove the masses in order resolve the severe infection and free her from the pain that had likely plagued her for years.

We turned to our community to help us raise the $3,500 needed to cover Fiona’s care and the outpouring of support was touching–hundreds of donors made gifts and sent encouraging notes wishing her well.

12saves-fiona-recoveryFiona would need a pre-surgery MRI in the following days and her surgery would be completed the next week. Fiona came through surgery like a champ. Within days she showed signs of feeling better, and she likely did, because for the first time in perhaps years, her ears were free from infection and pain.

In the coming weeks Fiona would go into a foster home for the rest of her recovery. The family bonded with her quickly and made it known that they had no intention of bringing her back to the SPCA–she was going to become one of the family.

Fiona is one of more than 3,000 pets that have depended on us for care so far this year. Some of these pets simply needed a safe place to rest their paws while they wait for their owners to find them, but many, like Fiona, arrived sick, injured and suffering, in need of lifesaving medical care or behavioral help. All of this care comes at a cost and it is only with your support that we are able to continue providing it to pets like Fiona. Please make a yearend gift today so that we can continue to give pets in need a brighter future into 2015.






















The 11th Save of Christmas: Beau 

The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA helps thousands of animals each year. During the month of December, we share twelve stories about animals saved by the SPCA this year. These stories exemplify our commitment to maintaining Charlottesville-Albemarle as a No Kill community. All of these stories have a happy ending because of the commitment of our SPCA and the generosity and support from people like you. Follow along this month to read all 12 stories on our blog or use the box to the left to sign up to receive our e-news in your inbox.

beau112savesOur 11th Save of Christmas is about patience, dedication and not giving up when your efforts are not immediately appreciated. Beau’s transformation is truly a testament to our dedicated volunteer team. When Beau arrived at the SPCA on the 2nd day of 2014, he had never even been on a leash and didn’t seem to have much use for humans. It was reported to Animal Control that Beau had been roaming in the Esmont area for approximately nine years. It would take weeks of work before anyone was able to put a collar on Beau and even longer before he showed any signs of appreciating the volunteers’ efforts to help him, but our dedicated volunteer team never gave up. Several volunteers even made extra weekly visits  to the SPCA  just so their progress in gaining Beau’s trust didn’t suffer; I like to think that he had his own volunteer support team.

This video below was created by one of Beau’s volunteers, Faye Brown, and it tells Beau’s story much better than we ever could.

As of Christmas Eve, we are working with an adopter who is very interested in making  Beau a permanent part of their family. The only hurdle is a fencing issue that needs be to resolved because of Beau’s history as an escape artist in prior placements. We are all very hopeful that, come 2015, Beau will finally have a family to call his own.

Many of the pets that arrive at the SPCA are scared and in need of a little extra love and some behavioral work. Much of this work is done by our experienced volunteers and for that, we are so thankful. Please consider a gift today, in honor of their efforts, so that we may continue to provide the extra time and care needed for pets like Beau. makeagift



The 10th Save of Christmas: Tux

The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA helps thousands of animals each year. During the month of December, we share twelve stories about animals saved by the SPCA this year. These stories exemplify our commitment to maintaining Charlottesville-Albemarle as a No Kill community. All of these stories have a happy ending because of the commitment of our SPCA and the generosity and support from people like you. Follow along this month to read all 12 stories on our blog or use the box to the left to sign up to receive our e-news in your inbox.

When Tux arrive he couldn't walk on his own.

When Tux arrive he couldn’t walk on his own.

This past February Tux was surrendered to the SPCA after he was hit by a car and his owners were unable to afford medical care. It was clear that he had sustained his injury a while ago and it severely limited his mobility. He was unable to use his back legs and instead used his two front legs to get around, had hair loss on his back and head, and had numerous scrapes all over his body. After a thorough veterinary exam from Dr. Scheller, it was determined that he could gain use of his legs again, it was just going to take time and lots of TLC. The SPCA just needed to find the right foster home that understood his special needs and were willing to work with him. Tux was unable to use the bathroom on his own and needed a person to express his bladder, as well as help him move about in his day to day life.

12saves-tux2Being a staff member as well fostering animals, I received an email about Tux stating his needs and I instantly fell in love. I quickly took it upon myself to ask about Tux and learn all that I could about his medical needs. After having a discussion with Dr. Scheller, I decided that he would be a perfect fit and he went home with me the same day. Tux instantly made himself right at home and curled up on the couch next to me. As he was sleeping I wondered how a cat that has been through so much can be the biggest love, and have such a great outlook on life. Even though he couldn’t use his back feet, and had to use his front feet to crawl around, he had such a positive outlook on life.

12saves-tux3Everyday Tux became a little bit stronger and stronger, but still was not using his back feet. He loved to play with the other dogs and cats in my home, and they got along great together. After close to a month of fostering him, I began to wonder if he was ever going to be able to walk again. And then the impossible happened. Tux was scooting himself around in my home and he used his back to feet to push himself up. Being that it was his first time walking, his feet were incredibly weak, but he did it. From then on, he made significant strides in his mobility. The first few days of him using all four feet to walk was a huge struggle for him, but I could tell that he was not going to give up. After a week of him learning to walk again, his legs became stronger, and he was able to better support himself. Along with Tux’s learning to walk came his ability to feel his bladder and he started being able to go to the bathroom on his own. In the month that I had Tux, I had seen a guy who faced such adversity not only overcome it, but maintain the best possible attitude. All he wanted was a lap to cuddle on and someone to pet him. I brought Tux back to the SPCA because I knew he needed a home where he could be the center of attention and be the only child.

12saves-tuxfinalFour months after arriving at the SPCA with an uncertain future, Tux got his second chance when he was adopted in early May. So many pets, like Tux, depend on our SPCA for lifesaving care, please consider making a gift to support this work.




The 9th Save of Christmas: Taz’s Survival Story

The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA helps thousands of animals each year. During the month of December, we share twelve stories about animals saved by the SPCA this year. These stories exemplify our commitment to maintaining Charlottesville-Albemarle as a No Kill community. All of these stories have a happy ending because of the commitment of our SPCA and the generosity and support from people like you. Follow along this month to read all 12 stories on our blog or use the box to the left to sign up to receive our e-news in your inbox.

jazzy1Taz was adopted from the SPCA a little over 12 years ago and although he was much loved by his owner, she found herself unable to care for him. This fall, Taz found himself back at the SPCA.

With his greying muzzle, a poor coat due to flea infestation, and blindness in one eye, at many other shelters Taz might not be considered a candidate for adoption. Thankfully, in our community, older age and a few minor medical concerns are never a permanent barrier to finding a new home.

Our medical team set out to address Taz’s poor coat with flea and tick treatments and grooming, and performed diagnostic tests to ensure that his blindness was not the result of an underlying medical condition. His tests indicated that he was relatively healthy for a dog of his age and once his flea dermatitis had cleared up, he was made available for adoption.

One quiet evening, SPCA staff member Sue Mills was doing a closing walk through the SPCA when she noticed something was wrong with Taz. His breathing was labored and he couldn’t get up. She immediately rushed to get clinic staff who called in our Director of Medical Services Dr. Scheller and Veterinarian Dr. Sims. Staff suspected bloat and moved Taz to the SPCA’s surgical suite to prepare for possible surgery. Once Drs. Scheller and Sims arrived, they confirmed their suspicions and readied for surgery.taz1

Concerned for Taz, staff gathered around the operating area. No one wanted to go home until they knew he was going to pull through. Bloat is a life-threatening emergency with a mortality rate of nearly 50 percent and with Taz’s age, things didn’t seem favorable—but no one gave up hope. Early recognition and treatment was on Taz’s side.


Dr. Scheller and Dr. Sims with Taz

Surgery revealed that Taz’s stomach was indeed twisted. It would take the medical team nearly an hour to complete the surgery, and many staff stayed by Taz’s side to offer the surgical staff support and assistance. It was nearly 10PM before everything was complete and Taz was awakened. He had survived the surgery and staff was elated and hopeful for his recovery.

Shortly after the surgery, the medical team felt that Taz was well enough to continue his recovery in a home. Longtime Rummage Store volunteer Jan Cubbage, who has a well-known soft spot for older Labradors, opened up her home to Taz as a place to recover. A better foster for Taz would be hard to find. Jan has fostered dozens of pets in her years as a volunteer and is known to spoil both her pets and foster babies. Taz fit right into her pack of dogs and crew of cats like one of the family. Once healthy enough, Taz began joining her at the Rummage Store to greet customers and donors.

Jan Cubbage with Jazzy at the SPCA Rummage Store.

Jan Cubbage with Jazzy at the SPCA Rummage Store.

Taz, now renamed Jazzy, is just about ready to find the home where he will live out the rest of his days surrounded by the love and care he deserves. If you are interested in meeting Jazzy, please fill out an adoption application here.

It is thanks to our supportive community of donors, dedicated foster parents like Jan, quick-thinking staff members like Sue, and our talented medical team that Taz is alive today.  You can support and honor this life-giving work by making a tax-deductible donation today.