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Nevada Humane Society gets creative in sour economy
by Jessica Garcia
Dec 29, 2009 | 1730 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Cortney Maddock -
The Nevada Humane Society hopes to adopt out more than 1,200 pets by the New Year.
Tribune/Cortney Maddock - The Nevada Humane Society hopes to adopt out more than 1,200 pets by the New Year.
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RENO – Lilli Walker, special events manager for the Nevada Humane Society, preferred dogs to cats before she was hired a year ago, but she said her crafty cats found a way of choosing her to make their home.

“I made it here six months and I was probably the only person in the office without a cat,” Walker said Tuesday. “So I adopted a cat. Then, two months later, I took home another cat and I just brought home two more last night. I’ve decided that’s where I’m going to draw the line.”

Walker said the NHS is working quickly and creatively to adopt out 1,200 pets by Sunday as part of its Home 4 the Holidays campaign, which is part of a national pet adoption drive in which 3,000 animal shelters are working to adopt more than 1.5 million animals this season.

So far, more than 800 local pets have been given permanent homes and the NHS adoption center on Longley Lane currently is holding 500 more, with some kennels and pet condos being doubled up to accommodate nearly full occupancy.

While the facility offers year-round adoption specials on all kinds of small animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters and so on, this season the NHS began employing different strategies to attract the public to its animals beyond its usual modes of publicity, including e-mails to donors and volunteers, visiting various communities with its mobile van and posting its hours on its Web site.

“Sometimes we’d just go out to the Kietzke Lane Wal-Mart, wherever people are at certain businesses,” Walker said. “Of course, we have to have permissions to have our cats and dogs there to try to get them adopted.”

Recently, the society made a stop at the Grand Sierra Resort for a friendly visit.

“Some of our dogs were in the cast of ‘101 Dalmatians,’ ” Walker said. “We had our dogs there as people were coming out of the theater.”

With so many pets surrendered at this time because of a weakened economy, Walker said the NHS is doing what it can to encourage owners to adopt or keep their pet, if need be, by providing resources or food through its pet assistance program.

“That might be the difference between keeping and surrendering their pet if they already have a pet at home and they need a 20-pound bag of food,” Walker said.

NHS, which operates on donations, also has received the kindness of other organizations in the past. This year, a Christmas party with the Nevada Air National Guard produced about 500 pounds in food because everyone who attended was asked to bring bags or cans of pet food, to the surprise of the NHS. That easily provided a couple of weeks’ worth of food, Walker said.

In addition to the need for food, supplies and adoptions, the NHS is always welcome to the assistance of volunteers, young and old, to fill various capacities, whether that means building kennels, writing cards or visiting the animals. Walker said NHS has about 1,500 volunteers but more from the community who’d like to give their time are always appreciated.

“We’ve had some people come in and shovel snow because we had a lot of buildup of snow and couldn’t open the doors to the kennel,” she said. “…Anyone with a talent can come and help.”

As a thank you for those who choose to adopt first thing in 2010, NHS will offer gift baskets by its partner, Mass Media, to the families of the first dog and cat adoptions of the year. Baskets will contain pet care items, including blankets, toys, collars and electronic drinking fountains. The families’ picture will also be posted on the NHS Web site.

“We opened on New Year’s Day for the first time last year and there was a mob waiting outside,” Walker said.

The Nevada Humane Society, located at 2825 Longley Lane, will be open on Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Special adoption fees on New Year’s Day are $40 for adult dogs 4 months and older and $20 for adult cats 4 months and older. Kittens are $50.

All dogs and cats at NHS are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped before adoption.

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