Inking for Dollars: SF SPCA Employee Holds Fabulous Fundraiser


People choose tattoos because they speak to something important in that person’s life. And for a lot of those people, that something important is an animal companion.

Laura Gretch, the San Francisco SPCAs Community Cares Initiative Manager, has been getting tattooed for more than half her life now, she says. Many of those tattoos celebrate the animals that have made a difference in her life.

One of those tattoos is of Toby, a cat she adopted from the SPCA shelter many years ago. When he finally succumbed to years of heart disease, liver failure and asthma, Gretch memorialized him with a beautiful tattoo that takes up her entire upper left arm.

Now Gretch has come up with a supercool way to raise funds for her favorite organization: She’s selling space on her skin.

That’s right: Gretch is auctioning off the opportunity to choose a tattoo, which she’ll get inked on her own skin, to help support the SF SPCA.

Gretch is grateful to work for a no-kill shelter. In fact, the San Francisco SPCA is the birthplace of the no-kill movement. Ninety-seven percent of the animals that enter the SPCA leave because they’ve been adopted; those few that don’t are euthanized because they are so unhealthy and untreatable that it’s really a kindness to allow them the release from a life of constant suffering.

It’s no surprise that a woman who has spent most of her adult life in the animal care and animal shelter world would want to support an organization like that.

Gretch isn’t the only SF SPCA staffer who’s got her love of animals painted on her skin. Six SPCA employees are inked with tattoos that celebrate cats, and because San Francisco is a pretty darn ink-friendly place, where even high-level professionals can have visible tattoos without even causing a raised eyebrow, I’m willing to bet that lots of other SPCA staffers have their own animal ink.

So how can you get in on the action? Go to the SF SPCA’s listing on eBay and make your bid. Better hurry, though; the auction ends today at 10:52 a.m. PST (1:52 p.m. EST). When I checked at 7:24 a.m. EST, the high bid was $202.50.

Come on, people! We can do better than that! A tattoo any bigger than an inch or two in size can cost several hundred dollars. Let’s make it worth the SPCA’s while and get that tattoo for a price at least equivalent to its market value.

Update: The auction closed with a top bid of $550. Great job, everyone — that’s a price increase of more than $300 in just six hours — and congratulations to Laura Gretch and the SF SPCA for a job well-done! This is just the first part of the SPCA’s Be Mine Valentine’s Day Adoptathon, which runs through Feb. 12. You can get your own cattoo for $30; attend a Cat Mojo Workshop with Jackson Galaxy, America’s favorite cat daddy; and adopt an animal companion of your own for $10 on Feb. 10, $11 on Feb. 11, and $12 on Feb. 12. For a complete schedule, go here.

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