Rising Above the Clouds

What a way to wake up! Reno’s beautiful skyline peppered with the boisterous hues and whimsical shapes of The Great Reno Balloon Races taking flight. I love this time year, in part because I love the Balloon Races and I love watching the summer swelter slip into fall. Yet this weekend is a bit different than last year.

Rising above the silhouette of the Silver Legacy and Whitney Peak, laid against the hills of the Great Basin and the majesty of the Grand Sierra, billows a Nevada Humane Society Balloon. This partnership between two great Reno institutions came to fruition as a result of a lot of hard work and innovation, but most importantly is extraordinarily exciting.

This kind of synthesis between nonprofit organizations is always thrilling and NHS is proud to unfurl our banner on the beautiful Sonoma Star balloon. For me, that is not the most exciting part. The funds that will be raised to benefit NHS is truly lifesaving, but for those of you who regularly read my columns (hi Mom) probably already know that what makes my socks twirl up and down – the metaphor.

Watching Nevada Humane Society soar among the clouds is a physical and visceral reminder of what this organization has achieved. Community members defying the speciousness of gravity as they fly high above the Truckee Meadows with NHS – it’s symbolic of what we have been doing together for so many years. The metaphorical poetry blows me down.

Washoe County has been declared the safest place to be a dog or cat in the United States. Carson City has been a no-kill community for almost a year now and boasts “save and return to owner” rates as high as or higher than any other community in the nation. G.I. Dogs continues to partner rescue animals with veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder and/or traumatic brain injury. Seniors for Seniors pairs older animals with active adults every single day, and Emily’s Fund saves the most vulnerable, most injured and most in need. The compendium of programs and services offered at NHS has made this community better than all the rest. Whether we together face the economic crisis of a few years ago or the increasing numbers of animals needing profound medical intervention, whatever the obstacle we rise above and we soar.

I told you this metaphor really speaks to me…

There are no metrics in which NHS, Washoe County and Carson City don’t lead the nation in the care of homeless, stray and unwanted animals. We stand at the top of this mountain – from adoption per capita to save rate, we fly high. Though, fighting my metaphor, we aren’t buoyed by aerodynamic forces that I don’t understand (please don’t try to explain it to me – I was a history major); we instead are floated by our community, the better angels of our nature insisting there is a better way, and the thousands of faces that look to us to give them a brighter tomorrow.

No community has achieved more over the past decade in animal welfare than this one. End of story. Yet, we cannot yet fly into the sunset. We continue to fight to provide more spay/neuter procedures, meet the medical needs of an increasingly ill and injured population, reach into traditionally underserved communities, protect trap-neuter-return-monitor programs and save ever more lives. This flight is not over – we will continue to rise.

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