Giving has been on my mind lately. Now, don’t worry, this is not my “season of giving” column where I beseech you to support your local animal welfare organizations—I save that until December when you are feeling particularly merry. The concept of giving has been knocking around my noggin for a couple reasons; chief amongst them is the recent passing of legendary local philanthropist Link Piazzo. Mr. Piazzo’s generosity helped make NHS’ new home on Longley possible which in turn made our no-kill community possible. Since the shelter that bears his name opened, well over 70,000 lives have been saved. His generosity provided a second chance to tens of thousands and gave the gift of love to the families of Washoe County in the form of dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and more. That is quite a surpassing legacy; his was and is an immeasurable gift.
Giving can take many forms. Mr. Piazzo not only gave an incredible, jaw-dropping financial contribution to NHS, he also gave a little dog named Punkin (a homeless dog housed at NHS) a new home. Mr. Piazzo described Punkin, “She is very simply the greatest dog on earth, the smartest dog on earth, and now she’s one of the most expensive dogs on earth!” I can’t imagine a better example of how a little love given and a little (or a lot) love returned changed the world. That’s just what happened, together we changed the world. Washoe County became one of the nation’s earliest no-kill communities and a shining example that saving every life possible is not just the right thing to do but the most effective thing to do. NHS is one of the most effective animal welfare organizations in the nation as a result of a little dog named Punkin (and her incredible family).
Over 70,000 animals have been given a new home since 2007 and each story is special, each “happy tail” is moving and we jump out of our skin every time we hear back from one of our adopters. The act of adoption is a gift and each time a family gives a home to an animal in need we celebrate. We know how everyone involved, furry or two legged are changed. NHS recently saved a dog who had been attacked—her injuries were extensive and required dramatic facial reconstruction. Our talented team of doctors saved her life. I went in the morning after her evening surgery, expecting to see a drawn, sad, ailing animal. I thought I would sit with her a bit and comfort her. When I arrived at her kennel she was all wagging tail and wiggly. I bent down to pet her and she covered me in kisses and tried to climb me like a tree. It was as if she had forgotten her injury and ordeal and just remembered that she loves everyone. That was her gift to me.
Just last week she was adopted. A gentleman gave her a second chance and a new home. I am ironclad certain that he will receive ten-fold in return. A pet’s love is a gift.
Thank you to Link Piazzo for helping NHS and our animals find a new home. Everyone at NHS will grieve this loss, forever remember his extraordinary generosity, and remain eternally grateful. We are proud to call the Link Piazzo Animal Shelter home.