SSPA Newsletter
In This Issue
Medical Foster Saves Lives | We Need Fosters | Groundbreaking | Happy Tails
Medical Foster Helps SSPA Dogs Most in Need
Emily's pack: SSPA "foster fails" Gronkowski, Abigail and Jessie, along with tripod Hope (spotted white).
As a dedicated medical foster, Emily Agosta has made a difference in the lives of many SSPA dogs who are most in need.

She started fostering for SSPA around the time of its inception in 2011 - when it was known as Pit Bull Socialization and Obedience Crew (PB SOC).

"I picked a dog that needed medical care since I knew I was home and could do adjuster meds, get to vet appointments, etc.," Emily said. "I have fostered nine dogs; four were 6-week-old puppies and only one dog was not part of SSPA (my first foster)."

Being a medical foster means the dogs stay with you for longer than the average foster dog as they need time to recover - often physically and mentally.

Despite the long time frame and medical upkeep required for each dog, Emily says fostering with SSPA has been a good experience.
"It’s been really easy for me. Maybe because I work from home so my schedule is very flexible. Plus I constantly communicate, ask questions and educate myself on each pup I bring home," Emily said. "(SSPA founder) Delyse has always been supportive, even when we had an emergency and I was close to hyperventilating. She talked me off the ledge."

Emily said two of her most memorable fosters were Abigail and Ava.

Abigail came to the shelter as an underweight puppy with a bad case of demodex mange and ear infections.

Ava needed life-saving surgery to remove a kidney.

"Both were so, so very sick when they came to me," Emily said. "Long roads to getting healthy with lots of meds, vet appointments, setbacks and some sleepless nights, but both are truly the most amazing recoveries and stories of why we foster."

Emily made Abigail a permanent family member, while Ava found her forever home late last year!

"Abigail came to me about two months after my beloved Birdie passed away. I knew that Birdie had brought her into my life at just the right time," Emily said. "Helping Abigail recover helped me recover from losing Birdie. It was a no-brainer, I was keeping her. I’m guessing Delyse knew the moment she asked me that I’d be keeping her."
And Abigail's not her only "foster fail" - Emily has adopted two other SSPA pups: Gronkowski and Jessie.

"Gronkowski was my first foster fail. He had some confidence and anxiety issues that I felt would only be exacerbated by being adopted out into another home, so rather than put him (and a family having to learn all his idiosyncrasies) through that, I just kept him," Emily said. "I think he would have been returned, too, he’s just too neurotic and wired differently."

Jessie - her more-difficult dog - was one of the four puppies Emily fostered in summer 2019.

"We knew right away she was going to be the trouble one," Emily said. "She did things her way, didn’t listen, bossed her siblings around, constantly mischievous."

Ultimately, caring for Jessie became a family affair. Abigail actually helped keep Jessie in check, even though she's only nine months older, Emily said. And Emily's daughter will be taking Jessie in.

"I knew that we would either have to keep her or find a family that was truly invested in a lot of training for her because she would not be an easy dog," Emily said. "My daughter decided she would keep her and work with her (and she will take Jessie when she moves out)."

You can follow the pack and fosters on Instagram.

When people are on the fence about fostering, Emily's advice is, “Do it.”

"It’s so very rewarding watching these animals transform and finding them their perfect homes," Emily said. "Some ask about getting attached and I remind them that 'Of course I get attached! But I know I’m finding them the best home and I get to foster another one afterward!' ”

Emily's commitment to saving dogs doesn't end with fostering: She's been among the volunteers on the front lines of the cleanup at SSPA's new site.

"I’m so glad to have been part of this journey with SSPA, from its beginnings at PB SOC to now breaking ground at their soon-to-be new location," Emily said. "I cannot wait to meet all the dogs we’re going to help, however the road gets us there, I’m excited for it!"

Thank you, Emily, for your passion and dedication to SSPA's dogs!
Fosters Needed

Handsome Gator, with our friends at Stockton Animal Shelter, is still looking for a special foster!

He's super smart, a total heartthrob and loves to play ball!

He's a cattle dog in need of a foster who has experience with working dogs who nip at feet.

Gator has shown to resource guard in the home and would benefit from management, rules and working that smarty-pants mind of his!

Not in the area? Shelter transport can be arranged!

Ready to foster him? (He needs a home without children.) Submit your foster application today!

Like the panther in “The Jungle Book,” this guy is stunning and ready to be your BFF!

He’s one fabulous dude who’s social and playful! 

And it goes without saying, he is one stunning pup.

Not in the area? No problem! Shelter transport can easily be arranged for you.

Ready to open your heart and home to him? Fill out a foster application today.

Sweet, playful, silly - Boy is the ultimate package!

Boy is a cute, young pup looking for a foster to match his fun spirit. He would love to find a home with another playful dog to hang out with!

He's currently with our friends at Stockton Animal Shelter and is ready to go home with you today!

Not in the area? We have transport from the shelter available.

Ready to bring Boy home with you? Apply to foster him.

This puppy is such a cutie!

She’s social, very sweet, playful and young!

And she’d love nothing more than a loving foster to take her in and show her how great life can be!

We can easily arrange shelter transport for you if you're not in the area.

Ready to bring her home? Fill out a foster application today.

As his name suggests, this boy is sweet - with fun, bouncy and silly mixed in!

He’s a head-turner with his soulful face and gorgeous brindle coat!

More than anything, he’d love to land safely in a loving foster home!
Ready to take this hunk of joy in? Fill out our foster application today!
Groundbreaking at Our New Site Continues
Volunteers turned out Saturday to help continue the cleanup at SSPA's future site.
Thanks to our incredible, dedicated volunteers, we’re making progress toward our goal of getting SSPA’s new site up and running.

We had another cleanup day at the former Boys Ranch on Saturday, and it means so much to see your amazing commitment and support!

To each and every one of you coming out and donating your time to make a difference for shelter dogs: Thank you so much!

We can’t wait to see what our future holds with a new site that’s full of potential - and amazing supporters like you!

Stay tuned via social media and this newsletter to see upcoming volunteer dates.
Help SSPA Save More Lives
Happy Tails
Homer got his freedom ride last week!

Remember this boy, whom we were trying to find a foster for by year’s end? 

Awesome news: SSPA pulled this adorable and beloved boy from the shelter Thursday, and he’s now safe in an awesome foster home!

The first photo shows his freedom ride - and his face says it all!

He’s now adoptable through SSPA:

When we say we’re a nonprofit #WhereAllDogsMatter, we mean it, and #FosteringSavesLives is 100% true!

We’re thrilled for our boy!
Bean with the incredibly smooshable face, at right, is having a blast after getting adopted last year!

This girl stole all of our hearts with her squishy face and adorable antics, and was beloved by her awesome SSPA foster family!

She was a big-time cuddler, which as you can see, has continued with her forever family!

She also had a playful and spunky side, which her fur-sibling loves!

Needless to say, she's loving life in her forever home!

Thank you to her foster for taking such great care of her and to her adopters for giving her a loving home!
Maggie was just adopted!

This sweet girl went through so much! She required surgery to remove her ears after coming to the shelter suffering from neglect and in lots of pain.

She healed up wonderfully in foster and quickly proved to be adept at mastering hand commands. She also is great with cats and dogs! What a catch!

Now she's happy in her forever home! We can't thank her foster and adopters enough!
We'd love to share your story! Have your own SSPA story to share and/or want to be interviewed for SSPA's newsletter? Email us at!
Get to Know a Member of the SSPA Team!
In this series, we'll feature one of our team members each week!
Q&A with Staff Member Robert Ives

How long have you been part of SSPA and what inspired you to be part of the team?
I started volunteering with SSPA roughly five years ago - the organization was known as PB SOC at that time. My wife and I were the owners of an amazing pit bull, Lola, and were doing some fundraising for bully rescues in the Sacramento area because of our love of the often misrepresented and denigrated breed. We stumbled across PB SOC and added them to our fundraising efforts and began following the group on Facebook as well. I was impressed with the work they were doing with the shelter dogs and attended the first available volunteer orientation that came up. From my perspective, PB SOC was on the front lines of the battle to save these dogs in what was at the time a pretty treacherous environment for a pit bull type dog. That sort of hands-on action inspired me to join and I have never regretted it.

What’s the best thing about being a member of #TeamSSPA?
Positive outcomes! It is incredibly rewarding to help dogs succeed that would otherwise be lost to the antiquated systems of evaluation and protocols that so many shelters still employ. At SSPA, we say "All Dogs Matter" and we mean it to our very core. We truly put our best effort into giving every dog we handle the time, energy and resources needed to facilitate a positive outcome. Seeing the animals we work with become beloved family members is quite honestly the biggest reward I could dream of.

What moment during your time with SSPA is most memorable for you? 
Every day working with dogs provides memorable moments but I would have to say one of the most cherished is an evening we spent at AUSTIN PETS ALIVE! in Texas. We spent 10 days there working with the amazing behavior team and learned so many valuable methods and skills it would be difficult to list. We were there in November and on Thanksgiving Day we stayed until around 10 p.m. and worked with staff and volunteers to get every dog out for their third potty break before bedtime. This was a goal for them every single day. When bedtime arrived, we helped dispense fresh blankets and spot clean kennels for all the "guests." It was incredible and inspiring how much cheer and compassion every single staff member still had even after being there for at least a 12-hour shift. Every dog tended to, no dogs left to sleep in dirty kennels, everyone happy to do whatever was needed. That night, tucking those dogs in and working with so many compassionate and dedicated people really motivated me to continuously pursue that type of cohesion and coordination in every aspect of our work back at home.

What do you hope to help SSPA accomplish in the future?
I hope to help SSPA open our own facility where we can continue saving as many lives as possible and helping the animals and families in our community. We are currently taking huge strides in making this dream a reality and it will drastically increase how much we can accomplish.

What is your favorite thing about your pets?
My favorite thing about our pets is snuggle time; there is nothing better than being buried under 200+ lbs of pit bull love. Even though each of the three are uniquely different, they ALL live for getting and giving attention.

Final thoughts?
I would really like to deliver a heartfelt thanks to all those who have supported our work and program. It can be incredibly difficult and exhausting work at times, but to know that there are so many people who believe in our mission and continue to help us achieve our goals is a much-needed boost and keeps me going. Honestly, there is nothing else I would rather be doing.
Adoptable Dogs

Eli is a beyond-adorable, soft and sweet nugget. He came into the shelter terrified and shut down.

Now in foster care, with lots of positive reinforcement and a couple of well-rounded female dogs, he has really come out of his shell. Eli has the heart of a sweet, eager-to-please, playful and a bit mischievous puppy inside a cautious exterior.

His ideal forever family will understand that his shyness is due to his lack of proper socialization as a young dog. He’s looking for a family who will help him continue to grow into a balanced, happy dog. He'd love a playful, confident female dog in his future home!

Ready to adopt?! Fill out an adoption application!

This cutie pie is not only handsome as can be, he’s a cuddle pro!

He 's a snuggler extraordinaire, who also happens to have a fun and silly side and plenty of energy to keep up with you!

While he’s lucky to be in a wonderful foster home, he’d love to find his forever home!

(Please note: He prefers a home without other pups or cats.)

Ready to bring him home? Fill out an adoption application.

This boy came to the shelter in bad shape. He was an outdoor dog, chained in a kennel his entire life.

With the help of our awesome SSPA team and his foster, he's developed more confidence and learned that life can be good.

Let us tell you - this boy is resilient! He had owners who didn't show him an ounce of compassion, but now he's found a way to trust and even show his silly side.

Understandably, he can take a bit to develop trust, but once he does, he's marvelous!

He's low maintenance, mellow and easy to please, and has successfully lived with cats and other dogs!

Ready to bring him home? Apply to adopt him.

This boy is our resident, super-adorable cow 😉!

Ranger is an amazing family dog and is already house trained!

He has lived in a home with teens and loves all the attention! He’s all-around fabulous!

He's looking for a home without other dogs or cats, but he'll bring enough joy into your life to be your one and only!

Ready to bring him home?! Fill out an adoption application.

This young guy has a wonderful smile that brightens up everyone's day!

He'll also capture everyone's attention with his gorgeous looks!

While he's enjoying time in foster, he'd love to find his forever home.

Ready to adopt?! Fill out an adoption application!