Now imagine spending a night in such a shelter. You wouldn’t spend a night in a haunted house, would you?
That’s exactly what 22 hearty souls did on Saturday night, agreeing to spend the night sleeping in the same quarters as the homeless animals at the Nevada Humane Society. From about 2 p.m. Saturday throughout the evening, these souls made phone calls from their place at the shelter seeking donations to benefit NHS. Their overnight efforts raised $3,672 and led to 66 adoptions.
Some of the visitors brought cots and mattresses to make the night cozier, while others just sacked out on the floor in sleeping bags. Some of the humans got a little bit of sleep, while others had a hard time dozing off in a strange, uncomfortable environment.
“It was hard for me just to feel what it’s like to sleep in a dog’s kennel and watch people walk by hoping someone will bail you out,” said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Chuck Allen, who is on the NHS board of directors and slept over on Saturday.
The purpose and name of this first-ever event was to see what life is like “In Their Paws.”
“They miss having a human owner they can spend the time with like we did,” said volunteer Donelle Larson, who spent the night snoozing with the older dogs at the shelter.
Natacha Sperka is another NHS volunteer who stayed overnight on Saturday. Her bed buddy was Reef, an 11-year-old mastiff mix, and they were inseparable both during and after slumber.
“We woke up and we were snuggling,” Sperka said.
Christina Rowe, a volunteer who spent the night in the shelter’s cat colony, said the experience not only helped bring money and visibility to NHS’ efforts but also will help the staff get animals adopted.
“It makes it easier to get them into homes because we get to know their personality,” she said, recounting a tale of matching a family with a pet that she had cared for extensively at the shelter.
NHS adoption manager Brittany Farrell said the event’s media exposure resulted in a steady stream of people interested in adopting pets, with a “surge” of people between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Saturday. The effort brought the shelter’s total for the Home 4 the Holidays adoption drive to 880 out of the 1,200 goal with two weeks left in the campaign. She said the overnight fundraiser was the first of its kind at NHS, coming at a time when the shelter is very full particularly because of pets being surrendered by owners who no longer can afford them. People are having a tough time feeding themselves much less their pets, Farrell said, so this event helped bring awareness to the animals’ plight.
“This is their life day in and day out until they get adopted,” she said.
For those who cannot adopt an animal but want to help, NHS is in need of food, toys for animals, towels for bedding and other supplies. For more information on donating or volunteering, call 856-2000.