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Surprise $50,000 gift brings joy to area SPCA, staff

New shoes make for a pretty good Valentine’s Day present. A check for $50,000 makes for an even better one.

Staff at the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA gathered in the building’s basement on Thursday to enjoy a holiday luncheon, courtesy of the local Petco pet supplies store, but were surprised with a check from the Petco Foundation and 55 pairs of new shoes for staff members.

Petco also provided Valentine toys and treats to the society’s resident cats and dogs and a box of Valentines to the society from across the country.

“We’re so very thankful for the lifesaving work you do every day and we’re excited to say thank you for doing it,” Wendy Fontaine, Petco Foundation field manager, told the assembled staff prior to the luncheon.

Fontaine presented the lunch, Valentines and presents with words of thanks.

The gift of a pair of BOBS by Skechers shoes for each staff member brought a hearty reaction. The shoe line is part of the company’s effort to give back to communities; it currently donates a portion of sales to the Petco Foundation.

Then, when Fontaine and foundation members unveiled the surprise, an oversized $50,000 check, the gift elicited a gasp from staff, followed by raucous applause.

Fontaine said the check is in recognition of work that CASPCA volunteers perform to save the lives of animals facing euthanasia in other shelters because of overcrowding, to rescue pets and strays from natural disasters and to enter into low-income communities and offer services.

“Thank you from the Petco Foundation for what you do; together, we can create a life-saving nation [for animals],” she said.

Angie Gunter, CASPCA’s executive director, said the surprise award means a lot to her and the staff.

The money will be used to continue funding the shelter’s efforts to rescue dogs at crowded shelters.

“We’re delighted to be recognized and rewarded for that very important project,” Gunter said after the presentation, speaking about the rescue effort that keeps many animals from facing euthanasia. “Our staff works so hard all of the time, taking care of the animals and their needs and the customers and going out into the community, and this means a lot.”

“We try to work with other shelters to bring in those animals at risk of euthanasia in overcrowded shelters and help them go forward to create their own no-kill shelters,” Gunter said. “We’re very lucky in that we have a large foster network and can foster a lot of animals. We have the capacity of about 700 animals here, and that allows us to help other shelters out.”

The funds also will help the shelter’s compassionate care clinics, where staff and volunteers go into low-income communities to provide free or low-cost veterinarian care and services, and will help the organization to provide low-cost spay and neuter programs.

“We have to have money to do those things, and the grant money will help us continue those programs,” she said.


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