pets' lives saved since becoming no-kill in
January 2002

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Richmond SPCA

Humane Center

2519 Hermitage Road
Richmond, VA 23220

Adoption Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.
Lora Robins Gift Shop Hours
Mon. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.

Donation Drop Off Hours
Mon. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tue. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sat. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sun. 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.

Susan M. Markel
Veterinary Hospital

Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.

Admissions Hours
Mon. - Fri. by appointment.
Closed December 24-25.

Administrative Hours
Mon. - Fri. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed December 24-25.
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Charity Navigator: Four Star Charity

March 14, 2011

Dear Fellow Animal Lover:

There are no certainties in life and we have recently gotten a powerful lesson in that truth. John Birkitt died last week. It was sudden and totally unexpected. His passing leaves a huge hole in the hearts of his family members and in the hearts of all of us who are a part of the Richmond SPCA. He was the very definition of a fun guy and a fine human being.

John & Brenda John and Brenda Birkitt dealt with the death of their beloved son, Johnny, a few years ago as well as I imagine any parents could ever deal with such a horrible loss. There is just something fundamentally wrong with our children leaving this life before we do, and every parent sees that possibility as an utter nightmare. The remarkable thing about John was that he made the decision that he would find a way to turn their loss of Johnny into something positive that would have been deeply meaningful to the son he loved so much. Johnny adored animals and his dogs were dear to his heart. John knew that doing something for animals to honor the memory of Johnny would have made his son very happy. So, John pushed aside his grief and pain and pulled together a team to raise money for and run in our Dog Jog and 5K Run in 2007 in honor of the memory of Johnny Birkitt.

John and Brenda threw themselves into this endeavor, and Team Johnny Birkitt recruited more participants and raised more money than any team in the history of the event. We were so touched and impressed by what they had done. It seemed inadequate to simply give them the award for the most money raised. While they certainly had raised the most money, they had done so much more. They had given all of us a lesson in what honoring a person or an ideal with heartfelt dedication really looks like. So we created the Johnny Birkitt Hero Award in 2007 to honor annually that person or team that has shown the deepest dedication to our cause to save the lives of homeless animals.

John did not stop there. He and Brenda recruited and inspired members for Team Johnny Birkitt each year to set a new standard for raising money and demonstrating spirit. And, there was nothing self-glorifying in John. Each year, he did more to help us train others to successfully recruit teams and raise more money for this organization through their Dog Jog participation. He became a huge part of the success of the event for us through his mentoring of other teams. Never once was he concerned that one of them might raise more than his team — he would have been proud and delighted for that to happen.

John also helped me to promote the event on television interviews, and his charming, fun and inspiring nature always came through. John was such a joker, and I will always hold the memory of his face lighting up when he said something hilarious that got you laughing. He was great company all the time.

The news of John’s death has been devastating for our staff, Board and so many others who are part of the family of this organization. We miss him terribly. But, John would want us to have the courage and dedication to do for his memory what he did for Johnny’s — work hard to make something positive and meaningful out of it. So, I urge everyone of you who knew John or who is inspired by his story of love and dedication to raise money for this Dog Jog like you never have before and make it a huge success. That is truly what John would have wanted us to do.


Robin Robertson Starr
Chief Executive Officer
Richmond SPCA

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