By her own admission, Gina Knepp didn’t know a pit bull from a Pomeranian.
“But I knew how to motivate people. How to get energy behind the mission,” says Knepp, who took over as animal care services manager at the city’s Front Street shelter in 2011.
Her mission was to turn around a failing facility with an abysmal 20 percent “live release rate”—the percentage of animals leaving the shelter alive.
Visit the artisan jewelry store, Little Relics, in Midtown on Tuesdays and Thursdays and be prepared for an enthusiastic welcome from Buttercup the bulldog.
“Sometimes she becomes an overzealous greeter,” says Buttercup’s owner and master jeweler Susan Rabinovitz. “She follows people around. She thinks everyone is here to see her.”
This is how the conversation typically goes: “My friend found a stray cat and took her to the SPCA on Bradshaw.” “You mean the county shelter?” “Isn’t that the pound on Front Street?”
Confusing? Yes. But it doesn’t have to be. Let’s start with the basics.
Bodie bounds onto the well-worn leather sofa and makes himself comfortable, furry head on a blue chenille pillow. The 75-pound German Shepherd with soulful brown eyes and gigantic feet is a long distance from China, where his journey began.
This handsome canine is one of the lucky ones. Found abandoned on the streets of Shanghai, he spent three years in a local shelter before making his way to the United States and his 4,000-square-foot home in Elk Grove with new owners Anna and Dave Kuhn and their other two rescue dogs.
The small sign hanging from the front door says it all: “Spoiled cats and their household staff live here!”
Spoiled cats indeed. Honey West, a tortie with a “tort-i-tude,” is most comfortable hiding under the bed when strangers call. Black Bart, a sleek panther-like feline, will make himself at home in anyone’s lap. Watson, a handsome short-hair tabby with golden brown highlights, is good about getting his daily diabetes shot but expects a treat for the effort. All three are seniors at 9, 10 and 11, respectively.
Not long after my husband, Mark, and I moved into our Wilhaggin home, we decided to build a deck and pergola off the master bedroom. Mark is a man of many talents—he is a consultant for the state Legislature during the week, but on weekends he turns into a tool-toting maniac capable of building or renovating just about anything.
When the gorgeous redwood structure was complete, it called out for a decorative vine that would wrap around each of the four corner posts and provide a canopy of shade during Sacramento’s hot summers. Without a second thought, we ordered online four Tempranillo grape vines. In addition to being fast growing and hearty, the plants would provide Mark and his son the opportunity to become home winemakers.