As part of a nationwide Pet Adoptathon going on this weekend, the Nevada Humane Society (NHS) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Northern Nevada organized the event, which featured about 50 vendors and pet adoption organizations, with a goal of finding homes for 225 animals by tonight.
Saturday’s adoption festival was sponsored by PETCO and the PETCO Foundation and offered the public a chance to become acquainted with more than 40 animal shelters, rescue groups, animal welfare organizations and supporting businesses. Meredith Tanzer, events and marketing specialist for the SPCA, said it is important for community members interested in pet adoption and welfare to be able to develop relationships with the many organizations involved in animal rescue.
“The best thing for the community is to be able to visit a number of organizations and see the breadth of what is going on,” Tanzer said.
The festival was named in honor of Karen DeSouza, who was highly involved in animal rescue in northern Nevada until her death in 2009. Tom Jacobs, executive director of the SPCA, and Bonney Brown, executive director of the NHS, wrote in an event program that her “untimely death … has left an enormous void in our region’s rescue world.”
“The pet adoption festival is truly a united effort of which we can all be proud, as we all work together toward our goal of creating a no-kill community in northern Nevada,” Brown and Jacobs wrote.
In addition to a large number of pets available for adoption at discounted rates, the festival included pet-related items for purchase, pet parades, raffles, face painting, celebrity emcees, Reno Police Department K-9 unit demonstrations, low-cost microchipping and autographs by the University of Nevada, Reno football team.
“Pets make great companions and give us unconditional love,” said Diane Blankenburg, community programs director of the NHS. “And you can feel great knowing that you helped to save a life when you adopt an animal this weekend from a shelter or rescue group.”
Dave Sanders of Reno, who was one of the first to adopt a cat from the NHS Saturday morning, said the adoption event is great.
“I like it,” Sanders said. “I learned about it last night at work.”
Sanders said he works as a graveyard security officer at the Atlantis and decided to hang around after work to check out the festival. He didn’t really have any intentions of adopting a pet until one of the NHS cats “picked him.”
“Cats pick people,” Sanders said. “People don’t pick cats. For some reason this one just decided I was all his.”
The NHS is running a “pick your own price” adoption fee special through 9 p.m. tonight, so Sanders said he was able to adopt his new companion for a very reasonable amount of money.
“You can choose to pay nothing,” Sanders said. “But I won’t do that. I understand they have already given shots and paid for spaying and neutering.”
Tammy Bowen, who adopted a Chihuahua mix named Cleopatra from Chihuahua Rescue Truckee Meadows, said she went to the event with the intention of finding a small dog.
“I have a 3-year-old grandson and I can’t wait for him to come over and get acquainted with her,” Bowen said. “She’ll be going everywhere with me.”
Though the Atlantis adoption festival ended Saturday afternoon, adoptions are continuing at the NHS shelter through 9 p.m. tonight. The shelter opened at 9 a.m. Saturday will close this evening after 36 straight hours of pet adoptions.
According to Kimberly Chandler, NHS community programs assistant, anyone who visits the shelter between midnight and 7 a.m. today will be treated to breakfast in the Four Paws Café and have the opportunity to adopt an adult animal free of charge. The NHS shelter is located at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno.