NHS Owes it to the Volunteers

A little behind the curtain information—I most often write this column at home splayed out on the couch or sitting up in bed. That maybe more information than you were looking for but it’s the truth. Honestly, it can be hard to find the time and quiet space to collect my thoughts and compose something even resembling coherent at my office. I’d like to, and often do, blame my office cat/boss Sebastian for this as he favors laying on my keyboard and batting me in the face—but that’s just one of the perks of working at Nevada Humane Society and has little impact on my productivity. You work around the cat; anyone with cats know that. I’d like to blame my phone ringing off the hook and the constant need for me to leap from my chair to save lives. Not true either. I am busy, but most of the lifesaving, last minute heroics and seat of your pants field responses are done by the capable staff and volunteers of NHS. The real reason my office is so hectic is a result of the sheer volume of what NHS does on a day to day basis. This place is hopping (and not just in the bunny room—I know, bad joke) around the clock.

Pets for Life staff is out the door before the break of dawn to engage underserved populations, the clinic starts revving well before 7:00 am in preparation for the 70 or so animals that will visit them that day, the cleaning of the kennels and catteries starts early and never ceases, volunteers set up for our Pet Food Assistance Program , members of our C.A.T. team hit the streets early, the Animal Resource Center prepares to field hundreds of calls every day, volunteers jet off in different directions to set up offsite adoption events, our Emergency Response Teams gears up and prepares for whatever may come, and so, so, so much more. It’s dizzying. Oh, and all the while NHS takes in 16,000 animals a year in Washoe County and Carson City. Take my word for it, it’s a lot.

You may wonder, as anyone would, how all or any of this is possible. Finally, an easy question—our volunteers! Over 8,000 volunteers suit up to make this place tick and make our unrivaled lifesaving possible. Without hyperbole or grandiosity, I can assure you that Nevada Humane Society could not function without our volunteers and none of our stratospheric outcomes would be possible without them. These folks are a force of nature.

Volunteers make the NHS world go round. I am too imperfect a writer to properly intone the impact they make and the lives they change. They are remarkable people. Our volunteers give up their weekends, evenings, holidays, and hearts to ensure that every animal in our community that needs a home, gets a home. There’s no aspect of NHS that isn’t impacted by volunteers. They are an army of good—they’ve changed our community, forever, for better.

This past week was National Volunteer Appreciate Week. A week isn’t long enough and we don’t say it often enough, but thank you to our extraordinary, superlative volunteers. I was pulling into NHS just today and saw a multitude of volunteers out walking dogs around the shelter. As we parked I saw one of our most omnipresent volunteers, Rosemarie, sitting with an older dog enjoying each other’s company. What a difference Rosemarie made for that homeless animal—she was his friend, she reminded him that people care. If home is where the heart is, a breathtaking number of amazing people call NHS home. We are so grateful, honored and humbled. Well over 70,000 animals adopted since 2007 owe you, our volunteers, a standing ovation and buckets of gratitude. Thank you for being you!

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