40,500 pets saved — and counting

Today is the fifth anniversary of the Nevada Humane Society and Animal Services shelter in Reno. It seems fitting to think about the dogs and cats who have been saved during the last five years; they number 40,507 pets in all.

Envision for a moment more than 20,000 tail-wagging dogs and more than 20,000 purring cats. Imagine the kind families who have opened their hearts and homes to them, and the joy these pets have brought into their lives.

Last year, in spite of many economic challenges, Washoe County had a 91 percent countywide save rate for animals entering shelters.

Nationally, the save rate is only about 50 percent, placing our community among the tops in the nation. This is not something accomplished within the confines of shelter walls. It is a testament to the kindness and care this community — all of you — give to our animal companions.

Since 2006, donations to NHS have enabled a total of 35,811 animals to be spayed or neutered in our clinic, and 69,491 requests for help to be addressed by our free Animal Help Desk.

Just this week, when a photo album of pets arriving at Nevada Humane Society was posted on the Reno Gazette-Journal website, more than 100,000 people viewed it in the first four hours. This is a community of super animal lovers.

Back in 2000, this building was only a twinkle in the eye of Susan Asher, the then-director of NHS, and county management.

They had a bold vision of what could be, including the creation of the public-private partnership between NHS and Animal Services. Many of you voted to build this shelter and many others donated to NHS to help fund it.

Among the many generous supporters, one particular person believed in the vision of a brighter future for homeless dogs and cats to such a degree that he contributed $1.5 million. That person is Link Piazzo, a well-known Reno businessman, decorated Air Force veteran and philanthropist.

Today, we are celebrating the anniversary of the opening of this beautiful adoption center and honoring Link Piazzo for his vision and support.

Of course, you too, are part of fulfilling the orphaned pets’ dreams of a new life, and we hope that you will join together today with kindred spirits by coming down to the shelter for this celebration.

On behalf of the more than 40,000 dogs and cats saved, thank you!

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