National Geographic Barks Up SPCA's Tree 

The SPCA's new facility and joint programs like the one it has with the city of Richmond have caught the attention of National Geographic.

Recently a news correspondent and a cameraman from the show's office in Washington, D.C., came to Richmond to check out the chic shelter and its variety of programs. The show will include the shelter in a documentary it plans to air at least four times this month on the National Geographic Channel, says Denise Deisler, associate executive director for the SPCA.

It is not yet known when the show will run. Calls to "National Geographic Today" were not returned by press time.

Ever since the posh new $7-million, 64,000-square-foot, "full-service" animal facility opened Oct. 19, the Richmond SPCA has been inundated with national media coverage. The Washington Post, USA Today, CNN — even a German TV station — have picked up the story.

But attention from National Geographic has been particularly winsome — and welcome. For one thing, it's National Geographic.

And Deisler says this coverage is especially desirable because it highlights more than the eye-popping facility. "We're delighted because of the interest in SPCA programs and partnerships," Deisler says, like the one it has with the Richmond Animal Shelter.

The SPCA and the city shelter have worked out a plan in which associates from the SPCA visit the shelter twice a week to determine if dogs there are qualified for either adoption or a spot in the SPCA's animal hospital.

While in Richmond, the two-person crew from Geographic happened upon "Penny Lane," a black-and-brown mutt that was taken from the shelter to the SPCA. The camera followed "Penny Lane" — rags-to-riches style — from the grooming room to the clinic to the sitting room, where newcomers go to get used to the place.

And it appears the National Geographic crew got what it came for, says Deisler: "They followed the staff on a typical day in the life of a dog and how they end up here." — B.W.



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