Where Are They Now?

Every tail that leaves the Santa Cruz SPCA for a forever home begins a new tale — one that starts with a happy ending.

Read about how our adopted animals are thriving as loving companions and touching the lives of their human counterparts.

Read about Buckwheat!

How do I sum up the last five years with Buckwheat? How do I sum up Buckwheat? He is much more than a cute face with an awesome set of ears.

He is a comforter: one time, when I was weeping during a movie, he got down from his chair across the room, hopped up onto the couch and curled in close to me without my ever having to say a word.

He is much stronger than he looks: he follows us up mountains on hikes and into the wilderness on backpacking trips; he leaps across rivers and bounds between rocks like a mountain goat.

He is a little delusional: he once tried to chase a mountain goat and he is absolutely convinced that he can catch each and every squirrel and bunny that crosses his path (although he never comes even remotely close).

He is playful: he is always trying to engage other dogs in games of chase and will run circles around the park or our furniture, if you catch him in the right mood.

He is sweet and mellow: when we went to the adoption center at the Capitola Mall to meet him, he was the only dog not kept in an enclosure – he was just curled up next to a volunteer waiting patiently to meet us.

He is loyal and loving: he has wholeheartedly accepted the little wild woman we brought home from the hospital almost six months ago and has welcomed her into the folds of our “pack” with a patience that has far exceeded our hopes or expectations.

He is our companion, our sidekick, our copilot, our confidant, our teacher, and our funny, furry little love. He is hundreds of nicknames and thousands of fond memories. He has made our lives brighter and sweeter, happier and sillier, fuller and adventurous. We are so grateful to have been given the chance by the SCSPCA to give him a home. Buckwheat is truly the best dog we could have ever hoped or asked for. He is the perfect piece to our puzzle.

— Alexandra N.

Read about Wally!

Two years ago, we adopted Wally (formerly Coppertone) from the Santa Cruz SPCA. He was the last of his litter and was probably passed up by others because he had a swollen lip. Well, a few days on medicine and it was all cleared up. We love this orange bundle so much, thank you for rescuing him and keeping him safe until we found him! What you are able to do with such a small facility is truly amazing. Kudos to the Santa Cruz SPCA!

— Jennifer D.

Read about Pepper!

We had our rescue dog Rusty for a year and a half. And while perfect in almost every way, he couldn’t be left alone, not even for five minutes, without destroying the house and hurting himself. After exhausting every solution possible, we settled on the idea that maybe all he needed was a friend. So we started our pup hunt, and the search led us to the Santa Cruz SPCA. We met Pepper (formerly Pepsi) and immediately had a gut feeling about her. When we met her that day, she was very shy. She had her tail firmly between her legs on our test walk, and cowered every time we tried to touch her. But when we went back inside to talk to the SCSPCA staff, we saw a different dog. We saw a dog that was sweet and playful with the people she trusted. I knew that she could grow to love us like she loved them. Pepper had been under the loving care of the SCSPCA for 10 months, and we knew that taking on Pepper would be a bit of a challenge, but we knew she was the one for us.

We brought Rusty to meet her and they more or less ignored each other, which I thought was the perfect introduction. I thought if they got along, that’s all that matters. I just wanted them to trust and love each other. Once at home, it was a slow process getting Pepper used to walks, sleeping in our bed, and getting lots of cuddles from two very tall strangers. Within a few weeks, Pepper really started to show us her true self. Pepper’s true self is a hilarious, expressive, playful little love bug, who just wants to please. We haven’t stopped laughing since we adopted Pepper- her little 12 pound body is filled with so much more personality than we ever thought a dog could have.

Since adopting Pepper, I have not only fallen in love with her, but I have fallen more in love with Rusty. A part of me was so scared to adopt a second dog, worrying I would destroy my relationship with my only child. Pepper has not only given Rusty a best friend, but she gave him confidence we didn’t know he could have. On day 14 of having Pepper, we left them alone for the first time, and left a camera rolling. We saw something we NEVER thought was possible, we saw two dogs, that after we left, slept soundly on the couch until we got home- all snuggled up together. I cried tears of happiness that night- seeing how Pepper had changed Rusty in such a short period was such a gift. Not only is Rusty not suffering anymore, but we finally can make a trip to the grocery store together- something that hadn’t happened in two years.

To be completely honest, going into adopting a second dog I didn’t really think I could love a dog as much as I love Rusty. It only took me about 2 days with Pepper to realize that was totally wrong. Pepper has absolutely completed our little family. She might not be the dog that gets a lot of “oohs” and “awwws” on the street, and she might like to dig up our trash in the bathroom, but to us she is the perfect dog. We often just sit and wonder how she spent so long waiting to get adopted. I think shy dogs get passed by often, because people think that if a dog is shy, it will always be shy. We have watched Pepper going from growling at strangers on our walks, to jumping up on peoples laps at the park and soliciting pets. Seeing her transformation into a confident, silly dog has been the most rewarding part of the whole process for me. I am so grateful to the SCSPCA for taking such excellent care as she patiently waited for us to come to our senses and decide to adopt a second dog. I knew when we met Pepper we were lucky to be meeting a dog who had spent the last 10 months in a unique and valuable environment for socialization, so different from most shelter situations. We saved the picture the SCSPCA had up of Pepper on their website, and today we see a totally different dog, one who now is confident, and loves going to the beach everyday with her best friend and brother Rusty.

Molly G

Read about Buddy!

Buddy (formerly Alfalfa) has been a never-ending source of joy and love in my life. He loves to sample any food he can get his hands on and loves playing in water whenever he can; getting completely doused. He enjoys spending his alone time watching the wildlife outside our windows and loves leashed tours of the balcony garden while I tend to it.

Nelson S.

Read about Caroline!

In October 2016, I held an impromptu family meeting to announce that we would be fostering a dog. While randomly surfing the net, I came across Caroline (formerly Marina), a South Korean Dog Meat Trade survivor at the Santa Cruz SPCA. She needed a foster family so she could have surgery to correct her entropion, a painful condition that causes the eyelashes to turn inward and continually scratch the cornea. My husband read her story, looked over at the dog we adopted a year before, of the same breed and background, that became an utterly amazing, loving, gentle giant, and said, “Go get her tomorrow.”

During those first weeks in our home, she would play the damsel in distress but then the heroine in her daily struggles. She would dart away from an outreached hand, but then she would slowly make her way back and sniff it. I admired her inner struggle and her determination to overcome her flight response. She was teaching herself, and all I needed to provide was a safe environment for her to do it. She encouraged me to study more about canine behavior to understand her better, and I became a canine massage therapist to assist her in understanding human touch. She taught me about the importance of making the choice to face personal fears instead of allowing them to hold me back. Our appreciation and respect for each other grew deeper.

After her eye surgery, Marina was a different dog. To her, our house became less like a fright movie set filled with shadows and scary hallways and more like an uplifting, Lassie set where the humans try to translate every action/vocalization. She woke up genuinely happy each morning, a Golden Retriever puppy-type of happiness. This was an amazing feat, except for the fact Marina’s internal clock was set an hour earlier than the rest of the household. With a loud yawn, she would stand three inches from my pillow, staring, until I joined in the celebration of morning. When SC SPCA asked for fostering update, my husband said to me that we would have to stop fostering her. I was shocked because of all the progress, but he continued his thought, “We need to adopt her.” This came from a man that was not fond of dogs. Over the three months, he had fallen victim to Marina’s “hard to get” game. She barked at him every time he stood up, yet, she would sit and do a handshake with him if he was near the treat jar. Eight months later, my husband is her favorite tug-of-war companion (a game that was new to both of them), and, he now blames morning aches not on the aging process, but on the 100 lb dog sharing his side of the bed that he did not have the heart to disturb.

Although we are a “foster failure”, we believe we have learned to do what your heart says not what your mind fears. There are amazing people out there, and Marina (now called Caroline) must have known that from the start. Strangers helped get her from a small farm in a different country all the way to California to live the “Santa Cruz” lifestyle. Someone knew saving even one dog makes a world of difference. So many people helped my family get to where we are today, from Mandi and Tina of the SCSPCA, to David and Mardi for training guidance and support, and her ophthalmologist, Dr. Gratzek, who helped Caroline see the new world she wanted to love with all her soul. While the fostering road wasn’t as straight as we imagined it, the biggest stress now is who gets to claim the sofa and that Caroline does not like to have her meals served late! As her namesake song by Neil Diamond goes, “…good times never seemed so good.”

Valerie T.

Read about Dakota!

Some things were just meant to be! Dakota is loving life, one adventure at a time! It’s amazing to witness how confident she has become this past year with herself and others. She enjoys going to work with mom every day, taking afternoon beach strolls, and of course partaking in our evening snuggles. Dakota has become such a great companion, family member, and is our treasured furry child. We’re so lucky!

Nicolette D.

Read about Josie!

As a blind dog, we weren’t sure how quickly Josie or “Jo Jo” would adjust to our home but she is doing great! She can get around the house with no problem at all. It took her two full weeks to build the courage to go down the stairs but she did it. In fact, now she goes down so fast it looks like she is sliding down on her belly!

Jo Jo loves to walk my kids to school and prances so happily, tail wagging, up the street to see everyone off. She loves each and every one of our family members, including her big doodle sister!

On Fridays, we watch movies downstairs and she loves to climb up on the couch to snuggle with the family. She is an excellent cuddler and everyone fights over who gets to spoon with her! We are in the process of teaching Jo Jo some basic commands. She is so smart and learns quickly!

Thank you so much for connecting us with our sweet girl. We cannot imagine our home without her. She was the perfect addition and we love her dearly!

Damian B.

Read about Meelo!

I fell in love with 8-11yr old Meelo at the Scotts Valley Wine Festival back in September 2016. After a couple trial weeks I came in to the SCSPCA to make it official. To be honest, I was still a little unsure about our decision to adopt, as the little dude was still chasing our cats and reeking havoc on our once calm household. However, he was the biggest cuddle buddy in the world and we felt we needed to take the chance on him. In order to really explain how much he’s changed our lives, I have to tell you about life before Meelo…

We started out with two cats (Kuya and Pancho) and one dog (Skippy). They all got along by basically ignoring each other. Skippy was about 14 at the time and was going deaf, always tired, no longer playing with toys, and showing signs of dementia. He would get lost in the yard or basement and just seemed to be on a downhill slope. He also had a pretty bad heart murmur that was leading to heart failure and we were just trying to make sure he was happy for as long as possible.

Fast forward a few months with Meelo home and we couldn’t have imagined the outcome! Skippy now has spunk in his step and a spirit I’ve never seen. He’s running around again and playing with his toys. Every morning he waits outside of Meelos crate until the little guy decides to come out, which varies between a few minutes and a few hours. They then go on a backyard adventure together and come inside to see us off to work. I’m not sure what happens while we are gone, but I imagine it involves a lot of in-and-out the doggie door, mixed with frequent naps, and Meelo reminding Skippy where to go when he forgets. When we come home they excitedly greet us at the door with Meelo doing backflips and Skippy jumping and wagging his tail.

And then there are the cats! Those cats Meelo once chased — he still chases. But now it’s a game where Meelo and Kuya chase each other, and Pancho and Skippy intervene to make sure no one gets hurt. Everyone gets exercise up and down the stairs, and keep each other safe and happy.

So now the question is — who rescued who? Did we rescue Meelo? Did Meelo rescue Skippy? Does Skippy rescue the cats from Meelo? It’s all very complex, but in the end it’s clear that Meelo has found his forever home. So thank you SCSPCA for bringing him into our lives on that unexpected wine-festival filled weekend!

Jenna R.

Read about Archie!

Archie (formerly Jimmy) has been a perfect addition to our house. He loves our other cat, Rosie, and has helped bring her to life a bit more. She engages with us more now and finds Jimmy to be quite interesting and entertaining. He gives the best cuddles, is super playful with my kids, and enjoys all of our company!

Kristina S.

                  If you’ve adopted a lucky dog or cat from our shelter, we want to hear from you! Let us know your story, and we’ll share it with the world.

Shelter Location

2601 Chanticleer Ave.

Santa Cruz, CA 95065

(P) 831-465-5000 (F) 831-479-8530


Hours of Operation

Mon & Tues - CLOSED

Animal Browsing Wed to Sun 11am - 5pm

*PET FOOD PANTRY - Fridays 1:00pm - 3:00pm

The Santa Cruz SPCA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of animals. We receive no government funding, and depend solely on financial support from our friends. Our organization is not affiliated with any other SPCA or Humane Society.

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© 2017 Santa Cruz SPCA