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!

July Volunteers of the Month

Anne and TomMeet Tom and Anne Wild, two incredible SPCA volunteers. This husband and wife duo have logged over 1,110 hours in the past three years! They’re dependable, outgoing and friendly, and invaluable to our clinic staff. These two are volunteer rock stars and we couldn’t be luckier to have them!

When did you first start volunteering at the SPCA?

We started volunteering in Charlottesville in 2008, shortly after we moved here. We started out fostering, socializing cats and walking dogs, and both of us eventually ended up volunteering in the clinic

Why did you choose to get involved with the SPCA?

We have volunteered at animal shelters for years and loved the fact that this is a no-kill community.

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

We foster cats and kittens but love dogs as well.

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

We like that we are always learning something, plus all the wonderful people we have met. We also love fostering, so it is hard to choose a favorite!

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

Just about any animal we have ever fostered!

How many animals have you fostered for the SPCA?

Not sure but I’m guessing well over 100.

Staff Comments:

“They’re the best. No, seriously, they’re the best! They’re everything you’d want in a foster and volunteer, they’re extremely compassionate, and they’re willing to work their tails off. And they’re the nicest people to work with! They’re understanding and are willing to work with our schedule to do what’s best for the animals and do what needs to get done. I love them!”

“They’ve saved our butts in the clinic! They’re come in early and help us with whatever needs help with. And they’re always willing to foster the animals we really need good fosters for – the shy cats, the sickly kittens, whoever we need!”

To Infinity and Beyond: A Tale of Two Dogs

Bramble-in-a-car-with-James-TilsonTo Infinity and Beyond: A Tale of Two Dogs

Okay, so New York is a little closer than infinity, but it is still a long haul from Charlottesville. The distance, though, didn’t stop our Behavior Team from arranging a dog transfer with the Southampton Animal Shelter. Why did we need to transfer a dog all the way there, and how did we do it? We’re glad you asked.

Bramble-in-a-lake-with-James-Tilson_webOur Behavior Program

Thanks to a dedicated group of people, the SPCA is committed to exhausting all options to help the homeless animals of our community. This takes a combination of extremely hard work, guts and imagination. Each week, we meet to discuss the dogs and cats who need more help. They may be shy, unsocialized, hard to handle, or struggling in some other way. We try to use our limited resources to tailor help for each animal’s individual’s needs. Sometimes, all a shy cat needs is time in an office. All a high energy dog needs might be a chance to play with other dogs. But sometimes, they don’t know how.

Playing for Life

Several years ago, renowned dog handler Aimee Sadler began arranging dog playgroups in Southampton Animal Shelter. Realizing how play with other dogs offers enrichment opportunities often missing in most shelters, she decided to take her program on the road and teach as many shelters as possible how to use play to help their more difficult dogs get enough exercise and mental stimulation to become appealing options for adoption.

Several of our staff, including our Behavior Coordinator Ashley Litton, had attended Aimee’s Playing for Life seminars and learned the basics of playgroups. We are able to run them at the SPCA, but our level of skill and experience is essentially high school level.


Bramble had been in the SPCA since March. He needed some advance education. He had difficulty with being kenneled – he was bored, smart and strong. Very strong. He liked to dart out of his kennels and “fence fight” with other dogs. (Dogs in shelters or other kennel situations often show a type of barrier aggression called fence fighting. In a home, when not surrounded by other dogs, this behavior dissipates.) Because he was so strong, it was sometimes hard for staff or volunteers to corral him back into his kennel. Also, when staff took him out for walks, he whined a lot and never seemed interested in people. We were nervous about putting him in playgroups, because what if something happened?

We discussed him every week without a solution. We tried to find a foster for him, but it can be difficult to come by a foster with no other animals. Our Director of Operations, Laura Jones, developed quite the soft spot for Bramble. She boarded her animals (two dogs with issues and two cats) and brought Bramble home. Within an hour, Bramble was a couch potato. Clearly, there was a good dog in there. But what kind of family could take him? He was also mouthy. Laura and Ashley felt he would improve with training, but our SPCA doesn’t yet have the resources to do individual training with dogs. But some other shelters do. Thanks to personal relationships developed over the years, Laura was able to successfully reach out to Southampton Animal Shelter, one of those gifted shelters and the home of Aimee Sadler’s Playing for Life program, and they decided to accept Bramble. Usually there is a $1,000 fee associated with a behavior transfer, but Southampton was willing to do a trade with us instead. They knew what we needed – a dog who did well in playgroups who could help us learn and help our dogs learn. Realizing that she could wrangle a mini-seminar out of the trip, Laura decided to drive Bramble to Southampton. Luckily, he was an excellent passenger.


Rocco & Laura

Rocco & Laura


Ten hours after leaving Charlottesville, Laura dropped off a very excited Bramble. The staff at Southampton helped him settle in for the evening and Laura went to her motel to get some rest before the next day. At 8:30 on the dot, she arrived at the Southampton Animal Shelter and was escorted to their playparks to meet Josh, Matt and Kathy who ran playgroups. Bramble was already out in the park with two other dogs, having a great time. “I almost cried,” Laura remembers. Three hours later, the Southampton staff had rotated about 25 dogs through the playgroup and Laura and the team discussed the program and the tools and training Charlottesville needed to grow to the next level. “It was exciting and inspiring,” Laura says.

Rocco was the dog the behavior team at Southampton felt would be a good fit. A play group “rock star”, he could help us develop our playgroup program. Laura watched him and agreed. But would he be a good traveler? There were, after all, 450 miles to go.

Back in Charlottesville

Rocco_webRocco proved to be a champ in the car and sweet as pie. Out staff put him in playgroups the next day and he was a perfect gentleman. A rockstar as promised. And gorgeous.

Want to Help?

We could use more funding and foster families. Transport is not always an option, so we want to develop our program in-house. For that, we need money, and Rocco needs a home. Come visit him, and come visit our playgroups!

Contact Laura Jones or Ashley Litton for more information.


June Staff Picks

Summer loving had me a blast
Summer loving happened so fast
I met a dog crazy for me
Met a cat cute as can be

Summer Loving is in full swing at the SPCA! There are tons of adorable cats and kittens, and fun-loving puppies and dogs waiting to meet you. Find out which Grease characters Lavinia, Vera, Samwise, Cleopatra, and Reggie are and why they’re June Staff Picks.

Lavinia-webLavinia = Rizzo because she’s very observant and likes to keep everyone in check.
Sam loves Lavinia because she’s the best of both worlds – inside Lavinia is very mellow and enjoys snoozing on a comfy bed or couch; once you’re ready to go outside, Lavinia can hang with the best of them! She loves to walk and trot around. Sam also thinks that her and Lavinia could have a shared passion in swimming. Sam loves to swim and swim therapy is something that would be wonderful for Lavinia’s hips and joints. Sam’s favorite thing about Lavinia? She’s a great nanny dog and will bark if kids are unattended and get too rowdy. This fun-loving girl will wiggle her whole entire body and lean so far into you that she sometimes falls over! If you want someone who’s always happy to see you, Lavinia is your girl.

Vera = Frenchy because she’s not loud and flashy but she’s still a total sweetheart. Vera doesn’t need tovera-web be the star of the show, she just loves being part of the gang.
Linda absolutely adores Vera for oh so many reasons – Vera is an incredibly loyal cat who trusts those she loves with her whole heart. She might be shy at first, but once she knows you she loves you forever. She recognizes the voices of people she loves and will perk up and come to the door for attention when she hears them. She will sit on your lap if you insist, but she prefers to cuddle up right next to you – can you say perfect book-reading or tv-watching buddy? And Vera LOVES other cats! She used to live by herself at the SPCA, but kept climbing in beds and cages and snuggling with other cats, so now she lives with a few feline friends. She’s the purr-fect BFF for you and your cat!

Sam-webSamwise = Danny Zuko because while he appears a little rough around the edges, he has a certain je ne sais qua, making it impossible not to love him.
Leslie was immediately drawn to Samwise because she says he’s old like her! While that’s not true in Leslie’s case, Samwise is a senior guy. Our SPCA veterinarians estimate Samwise to be at least 12 years old. Samwise is fun-loving and enjoys scampering around in the garden, begging for treats, and eating hotdogs. Samwise is looking for a very special home indeed since he does have some health concerns – he is mostly blind, has some hearing loss, has 2 old jaw fractures, and has zero teeth. He doesn’t let this slow him down, though! He’s happy and peppy, and just the stinkin’ cutest thing around.

Cleopatra = Rizzo because as sweet and mellow as Cleopatra is, she’s definitely a diva and wants all eyes onCleo-web her!
Lauren says Cleopatra is her favorite because she’s just a mellow cuddle bug who loves getting pet and sitting in laps. This easy-going gal really really wants love and affection. She adores people oh so much so she’d prefer to be the only star of the show. She doesn’t want to have to share her purr-son’s attention with dogs or many other cats. Did you know that only 25% of orange cats are females? Cleopatra’s an extra special girl and she’s ready to be yours!

reggie-webReggie = Doody because they’re both good guys who enjoy the simple things in life.
Angela says Reggie is just a really great dog. Yes, he can be a shy guy at first, but once you’re friends with him you’ll see his sweet side come out. Don’t underestimate him because of his quiet exterior – to know him is to love him. You’ll see his affectionate side come out in no time. Reggie really flourishes in the company of other dogs. His favorite thing to do is to run and play with the pack. And he loves hotdogs! Will you bring him a few?

June Volunteer of the Month

nancyMeet Nancy Gercke, our jubilant June Volunteer of the Month! Nancy does so much for the SPCA and we’re without a doubt so lucky to have her. She walks dogs at least 3 days a week (often times five or six days), is a co-founder of the Flora and Furries Garden Club (and as such helps maintain our beautiful dog walking trails), helps with offsite events like the Bow Wow Walk, and even does dishes! If asked, there’s nothing Nancy won’t help with.

When did you first start volunteering at the SPCA?
I started volunteering approximately four and a half years ago for a couple of days a week. Currently, I walk dogs 4 or 5 days a week. In addition, I help out on Saturdays with community volunteer groups on landscaping and care of the shelter property.

Why did you choose to get involved with the SPCA?
Initially, I got involved with the SPCA because I wanted to adopt a dog. I figured that by walking dogs I would find the “one” dog that would be compatible with me and my family. It took four years before I adopted a beagle/setter not necessarily because she was the only “one” but because it took me that long to make up my mind on which “one.”

Do you usually gravitate towards a certain type of animal here?
I like cats as well as dogs and when our beloved 20 year old cat died my husband and I waited a year before adopting 2 kittens from the SPCA. I prefer to walk dogs as it gives the dogs and myself much needed exercise.

What’s your favorite part of volunteering at the SPCA?
There are a number of enjoyable aspects to volunteering such as making new friends who share common interests however my favorite part is the gratitude the dogs show when I walk and play with them.

If you could adopt any animal here, who would it be and why?
I would adopt another dog. If I were younger, I’d adopt Cher. I love her energy, curiosity and intelligence. One thing I’ve learned since volunteering is that there is not a breed of dog I don’t like, it is all about the individual dog. I liked dogs before volunteering and now I love them.


Staff Comments
“She’s a dynamo! I’m so impressed with how devoted she is to all aspects of the SPCA. She helped all day with the Bow Wow Walk and never once stopped smiling or helping with everything and anything. She’s a work horse!”

“Nancy always does her best to make sure that the animals and people at the SPCA are taken care of and happy.”

“She always has kind words to say to you and can really lift spirits.”

“Nancy is so thoughtful. She’s always stopping to ask how you’re doing, and often times she’ll leave you surprises on your desk, like flowers or dog themed post-its.”


May Volunteer of the Month

danielle1_webMeet Danielle Hancock, our May Volunteer of the Month! Danielle is a volunteer of many talents – she can always be counted on to lead birthday parties for kids at the SPCA and she’s even helped with SPCA summer camp. She’s also an offsite event team leader and often helps with adoption outings. She’s been known to drop all her plans at the last minute just to help the SPCA out! I can always count on Danielle to help, no matter what, even if she’s sick. She’s amazing with both cats and dogs – they all love her!

When did you first start volunteering at the SPCA?

I first starting volunteering at the CASPCA in November of 2012.

Why did you choose to get involved with the SPCA?

I have always loved animals. I felt that I could help socialize them and in return they could help me. When I needed a study break, I would just come and cuddle some cats!

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

I tend to gravitate more to the cats, but I love the dogs too. I tend to gravitate to the tuxedo cats and long-haired cats and cats with a sassy personality. As for dogs, I tend to gravitate to the smaller dogs, and dogs with some spunk. I absolutely loved Sadie; when I took her to a birthday party she popped every balloon.
What’s your favorite part of volunteering at the SPCA?

I love so many things about volunteering. It’s so great to see the smiles on the birthday kid’s face when they get to pick an animal to bring to their party. It’s also nice talking with potential adopters and helping to match them with their perfect pet. But…I think my favorite part of volunteering is working with the public and helping them to understand how special and cool cats really are (and seeing the spark when a “dog person” meets a really sweet cat!)

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

I would adopt Maple! Maple is a super sweet cat who has been at the SPCA for quite a while. She is a spunky cat who loves laser pointers and who will not allow her brain abnormality hold her back. Once she feels safe, she is a fun, loving cat. I would adopt her because she deserves a great, safe forever home, and she seems to get overlooked too often.

Maple is currently at Purrin’ at Pantops. When I went to visit her, Aggie tried very hard to convince me that she should come home with me as well. So while I’m dreaming, I’ll add Aggie to the list. Aggie so cute with her nub of a tail. She loves to be loved and isn’t afraid to ask for more love. If you are looking for a love bug this is the cat for you.

Staff Comments
“We love Danielle because she’s good with pets and kids alike! She’s an important part of our humane education program.”

“The cats love her! You can tell that she just gets them, and that they enjoy the time they get to spend with her.”

“I don’t know what I’d do without her! She’s always there when I need last minute help.”