Paying it forward, one dog at a time

We adopted our pit bull mix, Reno, from the Sacramento County Shelter on Easter Sunday of 2011. At the time there were few dog bios or volunteer notes on the shelter website, and trying to guess at whether the dog would be the right fit for our family based on a photo alone or a brief interaction at the shelter was very frustrating.

I was determined to adopt from one of our local shelters though, so when I read the description of Reno (then named Niner) below, written by a volunteer, I felt like he might be a good fit for us. I met him in person and found him to be just as sweet, attentive, and bouncy as I’d hoped. His temperament seemed great even though he’d been at the shelter for three long months. There were other dogs we were considering too, but I couldn’t find much or any information about them at the shelter, and being a first-time dog adopter, I was nervous about the unknown. At least Niner/Reno had gotten this one little vote of confidence from someone who had cared enough to write a bit about him.

Reno's Shelter Ad

A few years later, with Reno happily a permanent member of our family, I found myself volunteering at the shelter, and one of the very first things I wanted to do after meeting and walking dogs was to write bios about them for the shelter website. I wanted to pay forward the favor that unknown volunteer had done for us in taking the time to describe Reno. I started gathering as much as I could about the adoptable dogs and writing as many descriptions as I could find the time to write.

I quickly grew frustrated with the limiting format though. I wanted to post multiple photos, videos, and longer descriptions of dogs that would help adopters make even more informed and confident decisions. I tried out building a simple website for one of my foster dogs, and when I could tell it really helped people learn more about her, I decided to expand the idea and create a website to promote all the dogs for whom we have information, photos, and videos.

And that’s how this site was born. It now takes quite a bit of work for me and another awesome volunteer, Laura, to keep up with it all. On top of that, several volunteers devote their time to photographing the dogs, and a good number of dog walking volunteers share their notes, videos, and photos of dogs each week to make the site more dynamic and informative.

We very much hope we help you find the love of your life! (And to that unknown volunteer who helped Reno find his forever home with us, I owe you many thanks. This effort has grown out of that one act of kindness over three years ago.)

The  author with Reno at age 4

The author with Reno at age 4, at his favorite place–the American River