As I drive into the parking lot of the Sacramento SPCA, I see several people and pets already lined up outside the Spay/Neuter Clinic. It’s 6:45 a.m.
Animal owners and rescuers leisurely chat to pass the time on this crisp fall morning, cat carriers and humane traps scattered about their feet. Dogs, large and small, scruffy and fluffy, struggle against their leashes to greet one another.
Recently, a dear friend, who has lived in the Sacramento area for 40 years, decided to relocate back home to the Midwest where she spent the first 28 years of her life. Despite the prospect of harsh, snow-laden winters and saying goodbye to her many friends, she sold her Carmichael house and purchased a two-story condo with a stunning view of her new city.
There was just one problem. She had to transport her 17-pound schnauzer mix and four cats more than 1,500 miles to their new hometown. And it was not going to be by car—four cats in carriers and an active pooch on a four-day road trip would be too stressful.
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.