Sacramento Shelter Pets Alive is a nonprofit that serves as a safety net and support system for shelter dogs, with a focus on the most vulnerable. SSPA is a group of staff and volunteers who provide innovative, comprehensive behavioral and rehabilitative programs, foster care and rescue support, and adoption retention that have proved to sustain a high live outcome.
Have questions about the dogs on this site or want more information regarding the services SSPA provides? Email us at email@example.com. Please keep in mind that we are volunteers and generally respond within 24 hours. We appreciate your patience.
SSPA approaches every dog as an individual, with the understanding that physical appearance does not determine behavior. In 2012, around the time we started at the Sacramento County shelter as Pit Bull Socialization and Obedience Crew (PB SOC), the live outcome for dogs at the shelter was 65%. Originally, our focus on supporting block-headed dogs, the most euthanized and vulnerable, but our program evolved as we learned and grew. In 2016, we expanded our focus to better serve all shelter dogs, which led to our current name: Sacramento Shelter Pets Alive (SSPA). In 2018, the live outcome for dogs at Sacramento County’s open-admission municipal shelter was 93%.
At the close of 2020, our contract with the Sacramento County shelter came to an end, and we started working with Stockton shelter dogs. We are also cleaning up and breaking ground at our new site, the former Boys Ranch. The future is bright!
Our work includes:
- Dog Walking and Obedience Work
- Playgroups Program
- Compassion in Action
- Adoption Counseling and Dog Introductions
- Support to Keep Dogs in Homes
- Out-of-Shelter Experiences
- Dog Day Out (on hold for now)
- Foster/Rescue Support
- Website, Dog Bios and Social Media
- Foster Care Program Support
- Post-Adoption Support/Training
- Photography, Videography and Marketing
- Special Projects, Events and Fundraisers
Want to know more about our playgroups for shelter dogs? This video highlights what we do in playgroups and why this part of our mission is so vital:
Our cruelty case/confiscated dog program involves important early work in establishing a standard of care for victims. The program aims to provide the necessary support for long-stay dogs to remain mentally and physically healthy. This video shares the story of one of our most extreme confiscate situations, during which 18 dogs from a fight bust were ordered to be housed at a shelter for two years:
Our obedience work provides much-needed mental stimulation for dogs, giving them an outlet to release kennel stress, quieting their minds and preparing them for their future homes.
Meet Our Leadership Team
Delyse Gannaway, CPDT-KA – Program Founder/Director and Playgroup Supervising Lead
As SSPA’s founder and director, Delyse oversees all aspects of the organization. Her ultimate goal is obtaining her own housing facility to support multiple shelters and their dogs in need – a dream currently being realized at the former Boys Ranch. She also runs shelter-dog playgroups, is the behavior team lead, and gets to know all of the dogs in the program to help match them with foster and adoptive homes. If that isn’t enough to keep her busy, she writes all the bios you see on dogs’ pages, supports foster providers who need help and fosters dogs herself. She is a passionate advocate for the well-being of all dogs – our very own force of nature in an SSPA T-shirt.
Sandy – Playgroup Leader and Behavioral Team Member
Sandy is a part of our behavior team, a playgroup leader and an amazingly devoted foster provider. She puts in extensive time each week helping run dog playgroups, along with overseeing testing, socialization and exercising of as many as 100-plus dogs at a time. She loves every dog and worries about each one’s well-being. Sandy is always willing to do more. She takes on some of the more-challenging medical and behavioral foster dogs who need extra TLC in order to thrive – and she seems to always have room for one more dog.
Robert – Playgroup Leader and Behavioral Team Member
As a playgroup leader and part of our behavior team, Robert helps keep playgroups running smoothly. Robert has been one of SSPA’s biggest supporters, and continues to grow and gain behavioral knowledge as a lead. Robert is a devoted and passionate team member putting in multiple hours weekly ensuring dogs get out of their kennels and participate in playgroups. He also provides the necessary behavioral training a dog needs to thrive. He is also the founder of one of our largest fundraisers, Meet Your Maker. Robert puts in countless hours to make this event a huge success.
Chandra – Photography Team Lead
Our photo team lead, Chandra, lends her awesome skills to help our dogs look their best! She also recruits and oversees an amazing team of talented photographers, dog handlers and editors, who take and process the photos and videos for our website.
Jessica, Jill, Kristine, Mattee and Noelle – Online Adoption Counseling Team
Our adoption counselors work in conjunction with Delyse (SSPA’s director) to provide adoption counseling and foster support via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Adding a new member to your family can be a difficult decision, and SSPA’s adoption counselors aim to relieve some of that stress by matching adopters with compatible dogs for the most successful outcomes. Our counseling team will also provide post-adoption support and resources to address any issue that may arise after taking your new dog home.
Kalin and Kerissa – Social Media Team
The SSPA media team ensures our Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter accounts are always active with informational posts. Our social media offers a line of communication for SSPA to engage the public, while providing detailed information on our available dogs, dogs in need of foster and all our upcoming events. Kalin also oversees and writes our weekly newsletter.
From photographers to videographers to playgroup helpers, dog walkers, and internet support, there are many ways our volunteers enrich the lives of shelter dogs and help them have happy outcomes. Check out of some of our volunteers in action. Want to join the team? Email us at email@example.com.