Awesome people doing awesome things for animals: Sacramento’s Brooke Byrd!  »

Vegansaurus loves food! And yelling about injustice! And telling you how you can help fight injustice, especially through food! We also love—no to the DUH—animals, and the people who love to help them! That’s why today we’re bringing you an interview with one such volunteer, Brooke Byrd!

Vegansaurus: What are the Apawstrophes?
Brooke Byrd: The Apawstrophes is my team for the Sacramento SPCA’s annual Doggie Dash fundraiser. The team name is a play on my love for both grammar and animals, and my constant desire to mix the two (The Catastrophes was a close second, and would also be my roller derby name). So far the team is just me and a few close friends (plus some other random animal-lover I’ve never met). We’re raising money and pet supplies!

How did you get involved in this?
In November I started volunteering for the Sacramento SPCA, and I know first-hand the high volume of animals that come through. As a nonprofit, the SPCA relies entirely on donations through events like the Doggie Dash to take care of all the critters it houses.

How can other people get involved?
Find your local SPCA or animal shelter (donating directly to the local facility will put funds where they’re needed on the ground) and donate supplies, money or time. Most shelters are always in need of blankets and towels, and toys, treats, office supplies, etc. are always appreciated. Most shelters have volunteer programs as well—be prepared to dedicate some time to training.

How long have you been volunteering for animals? Do you do any other volunteer work, or are you exclusively animal-oriented?
I’ve only been at the [Sacramento] SPCA since November, but in college volunteered at the California Raptor Center in Davis. I’m also dedicated to the cause of marriage equality, and spend time at Equality California headquarters nearly every week-–if you’re in Sacramento and signed a petition at some time, I’ve probably called you. I also spend time as an escort at Planned Parenthood when needed.

You love animals—tell us about your current menagerie.
Currently I have three cats, one of which has developed a recent habit of enthusiastically vomiting on my carpet; two snakes named when I was first reading Harry Potter (Sly & Gryff); and a Tokay gecko named Spike who barks & hisses. Spike’s a girl, btw. I’ve also had a hedgehog named Puck and leopard geckos, and my parents currently house our family horses and dog.

What’s the deal with Sacramento—is it really terrible, or are there hidden treasures? Are there secrets animal lovers should know about it?
Sacramento, especially the midtown area, is changing pretty rapidly—for the better. We’ve got some pretty awesome little stores (Sugar Shack!) and restaurants, and the whole town is thoroughly saturated in Gold Rush-era history. It may not be your thing, but it’s still pretty cool to know about. And, it’s always amusing to watch tourists in knee socks and sandals taking a carriage ride through Old Sacramento. There’s also almost always something to do—concerts in the park and farmer’s markets everywhere, plus they even celebrated the first-ever Sacramento Beer Week in February. The Amgen Tour of California just happened in mid-May. Sac is also pretty perfectly placed-–less than two hours to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, wine country & Northern California.
And, while I’m not a big fan of veggies, Sac surprisingly has quite a few vegan/vegetarian options—there’s a food cart in downtown that has awesome eggplant, and Sugar Plum Vegan Café is also popular (the bakery looks awesome) [Ed: it is!].

As an employee of a California tourism organization, what about the state is especially awesome for animals? Animal-lovers?

Sacramento has tons of dog parks—my friend is obsessive mommy to a puggle and I swear she visits a different one every weekend. There are also tons of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating, where pets are welcome.
For animal lovers, there are some amazing local spots to check out wildlife—rafting down the American River or hiking the Yolo Basin. We’re also close to Davis and the Raptor Center, which rehabilitates hawks, eagles and owls, but also has some resident creatures. And, if you don’t mind zoos, the Sacramento Zoo recently opened a majorly renovated giraffe exhibit with a huge raised deck.

What else should I have asked you that I didn’t?
How I handle sitting at work all day without any animals. The answer: Cute Overload, and my Cute Overload daily calendar, with which I have wallpapered my cubicle [Ed: check out Oct. 1!].

Thanks, Brooke! Good luck next week!

Hey pals! Are you doing something great for animals that Vegansaurus readers should know about? Get it touch! Maybe you’re cleaning birds on the Gulf Coast; maybe you foster rabbits for SaveABunny; maybe you draft legislation to keep people from shooting at animals from helicopters with automatic weapons—you’re great, and we want to hear from you.

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