Giving to Animals Mends a Broken Heart

Local Student Develops Creative Partnership with Santa Barbara Humane

The animals at Santa Barbara Humane have never met a donor quite like Ryan Cappelluti. This UC Santa Barbara undergraduate has the biggest heart, and his support of the dogs and cats at the local non-profit is one-of-a-kind, both in its origin story and in its ongoing impact.

After Cappelluti and his girlfriend broke up, he decided to sell the two Lakers tickets he had for an upcoming game. Rather than pocketing the profits, his big heart pushed him in another direction. He asked his ex-girlfriend to choose an organization to receive the money as a donation in her honor.

The choice of Santa Barbara Humane felt right because Cappelluti had grown up supporting animals. His family volunteered with Guide Dogs for the Blind during his childhood in Sacramento. His mother still volunteers with their local SPCA, and their family dog was rescued after a hurricane in Puerto Rico. “We have always adopted dogs,” Cappelluti shared.

After making the initial $500 donation, Cappelluti said, “giving back felt good.” He was given a tour of the Santa Barbara campus, and he wanted to do more.

Just days after his first contribution, Cappelluti returned to campus with another. And then another. Through his work as a valet in the Santa Barbara area, he had found another avenue to support animals in need on an ongoing basis. Cappelluti decided to donate all of his one-dollar tips to Santa Barbara

Humane. Every few weeks, he will be back at the shelter to make his impact.

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