Life in a kennel is stressful for dogs, who are by nature highly social and active creatures. Therefore, many volunteer hours at the Sacramento SPCA go toward walking the dogs out on a walking track out behind the shelter.

Until recently, the track was a hard gravel path snaking through tall weeds and low spots prone to flooding in the rainy season. This week, the SPCA dedicated the Cal Loudon Memorial Dog Walk, the product of generous donations from Michael and Holly Fahn, Michael Cleary and Dr. Kristen Robinson.

Cal Loudon was a dog lover and longtime employee for Michael Fahn’s concert promotion business in Northern California, and when he died, Fahn wanted to find a way to honor his memory. Project Dog Walk was born.

“I never saw a person in my life that dogs of all shapes and sizes would flock to for love and attention and he gave it to them,” said Fahn, in a letter to the SPCA. “He was bigger than life, one of a kind and and I'm thrilled to have his name enshrined at the entrance to the recently remodeled dog walk!!”

The work to clear the lot, level it and put in drainage began, and when funds ran short, Cleary and Robinson stepped up to complete the work and repair damaged fences to reduce the risk of runaways. Community donations provided landscaping, which was planned with assistance from the Sacramento Tree Foundation.

The Fahn's donated $55,000; Cleary and Robinson gave $18,500 and other community donations totaled $20,767.

Cleary, a longtime volunteer at the shelter along with Robinson, joked that he acted in self-interest – recalling trudging through swamps and weeds on hard gravel paths while walking shelter dogs over the years.

Volunteers on hand for a brief dedication ceremony Tuesday were pleased with the new walking paths, lined with young trees and dotted with a couple of benches. More benches, trees, shade structures and a two-tiered watering station (to suit human and canine hydration needs) are pending.

“There are still plenty of naming opportunities available for individuals and businesses looking to sponsor a bench, shade structure or pet water fountain for the space as well,” said Dawn Foster, marketing and communications director. “Interested parties should contact Michele Steiner at 916.504.2870 or for more information.”