Sammie's Friends is a a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that provides medical care for the animals at the Nevada County Animal Shelter, making them adoptable, and supports other disadvantaged animals in Nevada County that without help would otherwise be euthanized to end their suffering.  Sammie's Friends also operates the Nevada County Animal Shelter at 14647 McCourtney Road.

Sammie's Friends  •  14647 McCourtney Rd  •  Grass Valley, CA 95949
(530) 471-5041  •    Kennel Hours: 12:00 - 4:00 Monday - Saturday


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Can't Afford to Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Sammie's Friends and Pound Puppy Rescue can help.

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Please be a responsible pet owner and save animals' lives by spaying or neutering your pet.


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Help Nevada County animals by donating your vehicle to Sammie's Friends.
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Animals Who Need Our Help

Meet Elmo.  This pony has not had it very easy -- his owner didn’t take the best care of him.  Poor Elmo is only 5 years old.  Due to poor diet and maintenance he has developed laminitis, and his hooves were way overdue for trimming, which was causing him great pain in his front hooves. Brandy, our trusted Farrier, trimmed his hooves and even though Elmo put up a fight, he seems very grateful and to run around much easier.

On top of this, Elmo’s left eye was in very rough shape.  It was ulcerated, infected and possibly cancerous; he couldn't even see out of it, and is much better off without it.  The vets at Bear River Mobile Clinic were forced to remove the eye.  Reports are that Elmo is recovering just fine and loving life at his new foster home!

UPDATE:  Poor little Elmo came to us as a stray horse with a hugely infected eye, very skinny, unkempt, and overgrown hooves. We found the owner who said he'd pick Elmo up, but after six months we're sure that isn't happening. Elmo's eye could not be saved and had to be removed. We fattened him up a bit, got his hooves trimmed and found him a wonderful loving foster home. His foster mom thinks he's adorable.  He is. He follows her and her husband around like a dog and comes running whenever he hears them coming. He gets along with all the dogs, cats and chickens. The foster parents' four-year-old granddaughter loves feeding Elmo. He is gentle with her. When foster dad comes with the food, he and Elmo whinny back and forth. It's so cute.

Elmo is 11 hands high and weighs about 450 pounds. He still needs a permanent home and would love to live with another horse and some kids. With kindness and gentleness Elmo will do anything you want him to do. He's a little lover boy. He should never have to suffer ever again.

The picture below shows Elmo entering the water for the first time ever. The foster mom says, "Today was a big day for Elmo. We decided that it was time to take him from our more 'quiet pasture' and put him in the creek pasture to expose him to something new. This pasture has a lot more going on around it and is very close to the house so there's vehicle noise and street noise. At first he seemed a little scared, but in about 15 minutes he calmed down. I went into the pasture with him and as usual, he started following me. I took 'me and my shadow' down to the creek as I was curious what his response was going to be.

"He wouldn't go in, so I did. Of course as soon as he saw that Mom wasn't being eaten alive and that I was getting away, he decided he would risk it. It was unfortunate that I wasn't able to capture some of his more comical moments - such as pawing the water. It was so funny.  I think this also shows this little guy's willingness to overcome strange things. You note that he has no halter on and came into the water entirely on his own choice. So he really has potential."

We love you, Elmo, and thank the foster family for lovin' him and taking such good care of him.

This is Poncho.  Poncho’s owner was forced to turn him into the shelter due to the loss of his home, as well as Poncho needing some medical attention.  Poncho is 16, is partially blind, partially deaf, had a total of 5 teeth, and also had a large number of warts on his body.  The poor little guy was attacked by another dog over a bone and had the wart on top of his head ripped open, and was left in rough shape.

The wonderful vets at Brighton Greens took him right in and were able to repair the top of his head, remove the majority of the warts on his body, and also discovered that all but one of his teeth needed to be removed.  Poncho did great during surgery and spent the next 2 weeks at a foster home.  His stitches have been removed and he is making it just fine with 1 tooth.  You will be happy to know that Poncho has been adopted by a loving lady and her elderly mother, and will be spoiled daily.

This little guy is Bart.  He has had a bit of a rough life.  A dog twice Bart's size came onto his property and attacked him.  Bart nearly lost his life!

When he arrived at Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital, they immediately began to work on Bart, and discovered his neck muscles were completely torn apart - which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  If it weren't for this, Bart would have been able to move his head, thus leading him to suffocate.  Pretty bad, right?

Well, on top of this, Bart had previously been attacked and left with a leg that was so severely injured it needed to be amputated.  Bart's owners didn't have the funds at the time, and decided to amputate the leg themselves.  Bad idea.  The wound was rotten and infected.  (His previous owners are facing animal cruelty charges.)  Luckily, the amazing vets at Mother Lode fixed all of Bart's issues, and he is making a full recovery in his loving foster home!


Sweet, adorable Sassy knew that she needed to hitch a ride to Grass Valley.  She was found in a parking lot in Yreka, just searching for someone to scoop her up and rescue her.  Luckily, a nice couple from Grass Valley decided to bring her back to Grass Valley and up to Sammie’s Friends shelter. Fortunately they did, because a lack of proper nutrition and care had given spunky li'l Sassy Rickets.  Rickets is caused by a lack of calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin D, and causes improper bone development.  Generally, young animals develop Rickets and if not treated, they end up with extremely bowed legs that fracture and break easily.

So, sweet li'l Sassy took a trip to see Dr. Van Geem and the amazing staff at Mother Lode Vet, where her little legs were bandaged together (similar to hobbling a horse's legs).  Sassy was taught how to hop by her foster mommy, and quickly began playing, eating a good diet with a calcium supplement and growing, growing, growing!  Her legs are now well on their way to being straightened.

Sassy has one of those personalities that inspires.  Despite her disabilities, and the bandages that limit her mobility, Sassy is fun, happy, and just getting on with her life!  She loves everyone she meets, dogs, cats, humans and horses.  She gives the best kisses and is an amazing snuggle companion.  She’ll be available for adoption soon….whoever adopts her is going to be very, very lucky.  Her person is going to have to be prepared for future issues Sassy might develop, and they’ll need to keep her on a really good diet.  With love, proper care, and food, this honey is going to grow up to be strong and healthy!  Thank goodness she was able to catch that ride to Sammie’s! 

UPDATE:  Here's Sassy all grown up, strong and with very straight legs. No one would ever know what terrible condition she was in as a puppy. Sassy has turned out to be a fabulous dog in every way. She is healthy. She lives with a family with three children who adore her. She is so good with them. She even goes to their classrooms with them. She goes to the river and camping with her family. Sammie's Friends is so happy they could help this wonderful dog.

Sweet-faced Barney was found in a ditch.  Luckily, a nice person found Barney and brought him to the shelter.  We noticed that Barney was limping and seemed very lethargic.  We took him to Best Friends Veterinary Hospital, where it was found that he had a dislocated hip that was full of fractures.

Barney was treated for his injuries and boarded until a foster home could be found.  One of our amazing foster moms stepped forward and offered to foster.  She had him in her home for over two months before a nice man contacted her about adopting Barney.  They met each other and fell in love.

Today Barney lives with his new family and is a happy, healthy boy!  His new owner sent us this “after” picture with a little blurb saying, "My entire family loves him!! He's a better dog then I'd hoped for."  None of this would have been possible without your donations!

This poor kitty was found by a person who took him to Mother Lode Vet Hospital, and he became a Sammie's Friends kitty.  He was so badly mangled his leg had to be amputated, and a toe from the other foot was also amputated.  He had lacerations so big that they could not be sewed together.  There wasn't much hope that Charlie would live.

For a very long time he had a high fever and lots of infection in his body. We all held our breath and prayed a lot.  Dr. Van Geem and Dr. Dinucci applied their genius and voilà -- Charlie lives!  He's been learning how to walk on three legs, and doing a great job in his foster home.  He is ready to be adopted.  He must be an indoor kitty only.  He has lots of love to give and is finally well.

Thank you to Dr. Tim and Dr. Mario and to Sallie his foster mom, and thank you to all the people who send us donations to make these stories possible!

A lady called the Sammie’s Friends shelter in desperation.  Her dog had cancer and needed surgery to remove the lump, or face the possibility of euthanasia.  The lady was disabled, without the funds to have the surgery done, and asked for Sammie’s Friends to help cover the cost.

Cheryl quickly arranged to have the dog seen at Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital.  Dr. Mario Dinucci did an amazing job removing a 7½-pound mass, and Lightning is well on the way to recovery.  Thank you to Mother Lode and the amazing donors out there who make it possible for Sammie’s Friends to help animals like Lightning.

Sweet Shyla was found off of Yuba Ridge in Nevada City. We noticed right away that something was going on with her eyes; they were squinty and seemed to be really bothering her. We took her to the vet, where they determined that Shyla's eyelashes were scratching her eyes, a condition that is also known as Entropion. Entropion is the turning in of the edges of the eyelid so that the lashes rub against the eye surface.

The staff at Sammie’s Friends didn’t want poor Shyla to have to live with that bothersome feeling anymore, and had Entropion surgery done to correct the condition. Shyla still squints from time to time, which is probably just a habit she’s developed to try and lessen her discomfort. Her eyes are all healed, though, and we can tell that she is so much happier than before. We’re hoping that she’ll soon have even more reason to be happy when her forever family comes to adopt her. Sammie’s Friends wouldn’t have been able to help Shyla without the generous donations from people just like you. Thank you for helping the homeless animals of Nevada County.

Darling Brandi was found as a stray on McCourtney Road. The shelter staff hoped and crossed their fingers that Brandi's owner would reclaim her, but they never did, and Brandi became yet another older dog lost by her owners.

The staff noticed several large tumors right away, and had the shelter vet look at them to determine whether or not they could be removed. Luckily they could, and Sammie’s set up an appointment for her at Best Friends Animal Hospital. Dr. Strolle did a terrific job removing the largest of Brandi’s tumors, which tuned out to be cancerous. Brandi is now on the mend and living in a foster home.

We hope that someone really compassionate will adopt this sweet baby and let her live out the rest of her days with them. Brandi is such a sweet girl. Sammie’s Friends is so thankful to all of those who have made donations and made Brandi’s surgery possible. She deserves nothing but the best care, which we can provide thanks to you.

On June 3rd, Nevada County Animal Control, Sammie’s Friends Animal Shelter, and several local horsewomen responded to a horse neglect call on Banner Lava Cap.  Twelve horses were found living in horrendous conditions in 4 to 5 feet of mud, in 10'x10' and 12'x12' stalls, with little to no shelter.  Most of the horses were thin, had very overgrown feet and teeth, had dreadlocks, and some even had halters rotting off their faces. 

All of the horses were removed from the property, received veterinary care and had their feet trimmed and their teeth floated. There were 8 Arabian stallions and 4 Arabian mares; the stallions were gelded and all are available now for adoption. 

The photos show just how bad they looked.  You should see them now!  (Contact Ruth for more information: 


Sammie's Friends has paid for the care of these horses through the help of a grant from the ASPCA and your generous donations.  We thank you all!



Often times when you are in the shelter world, you receive emails from other shelters and rescues with lists of animals that are in immediate danger of euthanasia. One night, Sammie spoke to Cheryl and convinced her to open an email about a Sharpei mom, who was in a shelter in Southern California.  Cheryl looked at the momma's face and the faces of her 7 puppies, and made the call. They were scheduled to be euthanized the following morning.

A Sammie's Friends volunteer drove all the way down to pick up the mom and her pups. The mom was is terrible condition; she had lost all of her hair, was emaciated and had overgrown toenails digging into her feet. Her pups also looked very unhealthy. We took them to the vet, and $7,000 later…. we discovered that all of the puppies had Parvo, and that mom (who we named Hope) was suffering from all sorts of horrible things: skin issues, pneumonia, a bacterial infection. It was so bad that she actually almost died.

Luckily, Hope and her pups were placed into a very loving foster home. Sadly, most of the puppies were in such bad shape that they didn't make it through the Parvo, and only one survived. Everyone at the shelter took comfort knowing that each of the puppies was in a safe, warm and loving environment when they passed, and that each had received the best medical care possible. This wouldn't have been possible without your donations.

Hope and her remaining pup, Trinket, are now just gorgeous, happy and healthy dogs! They are both available for adoption. They were given a second chance thanks to Sammie's Friends and all of the amazing people who donate to the Sammie's Friends cause.

Sweet Huxley. This poor fellow was found wandering down Greenhorn Road looking very lost, injured and starving. Two nice young people picked Huxley up and brought him to the Sammie's Friends shelter. The staff were shocked to see how many injuries Huxley had.  It looked almost as if he had been hit by a car and then beaten by someone and then attacked by another dog! He looked just terrible.

The staff quickly rushed him over to Pine Creek, where the vet examined little Huxley and treated his nasty, infected wounds. Even Dr. Nolet was stumped as to how Huxley got hurt; he too thought that it must have been a combination of bad things.

Luckily, Huxley ended up with the compassionate people at Sammie's Friends where, thanks to your donations, animals like Huxley are able to get the veterinary care they need.  Huxley is on the mend and living at the shelter.  Despite all that he's been through, Huxley still has a sparkle in his eye and is ready to give kisses.  Huxley is going to be another success story, thanks to all the dedicated people in our community.

Fred was brought in as a stray to the Sammie's Friends Shelter.  He had a yucky, infected eye.  Under the direction of a veterinarian, the staff tried him on a round of antibiotics, but quickly realized that more drastic measures would have to be taken.  Fred ended up going under anesthesia and having his badly mangled eye removed.  The staff immediately saw an improvement in Fred's behavior, and he quickly became a staff and volunteer favorite.

Fred was so relieved to be at the shelter.  He was filthy, covered in fleas and stickers when Sammie's Friends first got him.  He ate like a horse and LOVED being brushed, especially when he had to wear that cone!  By the time his stitches came out, Fred was a new cat!  Clean, handsome and so loving.  Fred quickly stole the heart of his forever mom, who came in on a whim to look at the cats.  It was love at first sight for both of them.  Fred is now living in heaven with his new family.  Who knows what would have happened to Fred had he not come in to the Sammie's Friends Shelter?  Your donations are used to help special animals like this.  Thank you.

Kitten (aka Roxie) was left at the shelter after hours.  The staff found her in the morning and brought her in.  She had a big hole on the top of her head.  Kitten was quickly taken to Pine Creek, where they inserted a drain and sewed up her head.  The vet thought that maybe Kitten had been hit really hard over the head with a blunt object.  Poor baby.

Kitten is now awaiting adoption at the Sammie's Friends shelter; her head is all healed up, and she has a cool scar to show off.

Poor old Patches....  He's 15 years old and was surrendered to Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter by his very elderly owner.  The owner could hardly get around herself, and was heartbroken to give him up.  She said, "Now I really have no one."  Talk about break your heart.

This was a case of a justified owner surrender.  The lady could hardly walk herself, and has to use a walker.  There's no way she can bend down to clean the litter box, etc.  The lady told the Sammie's Friends staff member (who went to her house to get Patches since she can't drive and has no family in town) that Patches had been drooling a lot.  When the staff member looked in his mouth, she could see why.  All of Patches's teeth were rotten.

Sammie's Friends took Patches to Dr. Nolet at Pine Creek.  As soon as he opened his mouth, Dr. Nolet said, "This cat needed a dental like a year ago."  His teeth were all rotten, and once Dr. Nolet got in there to pull his teeth, he found deep, infected pockets of pus.  Patches also had a broken jaw.

Patches has had his teeth worked on and his jaw fixed.  Sammie's Friends found out that he had thyroid issues, so he is now on medication.  Patches is a very lucky boy.  Someone came to the shelter to foster him and is hopefully going to adopt him.


Twinkle was rescued from deplorable conditions.  She was emaciated and barely able to walk when Susannah Jones of Rough and Ready first found her.  Twinkle was living on a ranch run by two caretakers who had picked up a bad drug habit.  At 6 months of age, Twinkle suffered some sort of blunt-force trauma that shattered her shoulder and left her in excruciating pain.  Unfortunately, the "caretakers" did not seek veterinary care for Twinkle.  Instead, Twinkle was left in a barren pasture for 6 months.

In early September, Susannah approached the caretakers of the ranch and asked if she could rescue the horse.  Luckily, the caretakers accepted.  Susannah was able to pay for a preliminary veterinarian visit and set her up with a nice green pasture to graze in, and even an elderly pasture mate.  She soon realized that without the help of the community and a rescue organization like Sammie's Friends, she wouldn't be able to provide Twinkle with the care she so deserves.  Cheryl Wicks of Sammie's Friends graciously offered to help raise funds to pay for Twinkle's ongoing veterinary bills.

Twinkle is slowly improving; she has gained weight and is gradually beginning to trust people.  She is currently under the veterinary care of Dr. Linda Reznicek of Grass Valley.  Sammie's Friends put together a press release and were able to raise $2000 for Twinkle's care.

UPDATE: Twinkle runs and plays at her foster home.  She is still up for adoption.  Twinkle is just as happy as can be.  She LOVES food and attention from people.

Read a Union article about Twinkle and her amazing progress under the care of Dr. Linda Reznicek.

Every penny of your donation to Sammie's Friends goes directly to help Nevada County Animals.  Please help by donating online through PayPal or Network for Good, or by mailing a check to the address below.

Sammie's Friends
a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation
14647 McCourtney Road
Grass Valley, CA 95949
(530) 471-5041