by Kimberly Wade
Many of you may not know this but prior to NHS, I was a producer at a local news station. That basically means I was responsible for putting content on the air. Our biggest struggle was always that so many people didn’t want to hear the bad things, yet they wanted to know if something was awry in their neighborhood. It was my job to give them that information. However, there’s also “fluffy” news which is that of happy, lighthearted content, and a “kicker” which is the uplifting or funny story that is typically aired at the end of the newscast. Finding these stories (which usually featured animals—though you could have guessed that because of my obsession with pets) was one of my favorite parts of the job. I would pick stories that made people smile, gave them something good to talk about, and raised awareness for a specific cause. Knowing all of this, now that I’m at NHS, we’re often in the news for this reason—because we make a point to brag about all the good that we do.
In fact, just recently, we made local and national headlines for something that we are so beyond excited about. Thanks to one of our adopters, we won a $100,000 grant from Petco Foundation, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! It came at the perfect time, and allows us to really stop and reflect on all that we are blessed with this holiday season.
The tale of this honor stems from Petco Foundation‘s Holiday Wishes Grant Campaign. In October, pet parents and animal lovers submitted stories about how adopting a pet changed their lives. Over 3,000 stories were submitted nationwide (I even wrote one from my recent adoption). When the winners were announced this past week, 53 animal welfare organizations were recognized, receiving $750,000 in grants to celebrate their lifesaving work. Not to brag (though we did admit we do this) but NHS won the grand prize. Grand prize! Our adopter came out on top over thousands of stories to win us $100,000, as well as a year’s supply of Halo dog and cat food. I mean, come on, how exciting is this?
We were notified by Petco Foundation a few days before the winners were announced, and we had to keep it top secret. Only a few of us knew about it (I was one of the lucky ones). It was such a hard secret to keep! I had the pleasure of contacting the adopter to let her know and to thank her. She was blown away and yet so humbled that she could help. It’s just simply so amazing that the story of one fabulous dog, adopted by one fabulous person, is not only life changing for the two of them but now for us and the thousands of animals that will benefit because of the Holiday Wishes grant. Truly, we are blessed this holiday season.
We can’t thank Laura Hibbard, the adopter, enough. We’re infinitely grateful to Petco Foundation and Halo, Purely for Pets, for helping us to increase our lifesaving efforts with their support. And to everyone who has helped to get our name out there into the community, local and afar, we are indebted. Yes, we at NHS do a lot of hard work for the homeless pets in our community, but without adopters, donors, supporters, volunteers, and the simple sharing of information, we wouldn’t be successful. Washoe County and Carson City wouldn’t be as nationally known as they are today without your help. We may brag, but it is you who takes that bragging to the streets to make a difference.
P.S. While you can read about Brindy’s story on our Facebook or through our website, below is an excerpt. We encourage you to visit our website to read it all because we promise it will warm your heart.
“I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and thought that a service dog would be a great asset to me. After learning that it takes 2-4 years to get a pre-trained dog, and since I’ve always enjoyed animal training, I decided to train my own service dog. I started by compiling a list of requirements for a dog to match my needs. I went looking for a lab when I found Brindy at NHS in Reno in May 2010,” said Laura Hibbard, Brindy’s adopter. “Brindy is the most intelligent dog I’ve ever owned, performs a multitude of tasks for me and goes with me almost everywhere. I’ve heard of people who reject pet adoption because “you don’t know what you’re getting.” That was certainly true in my case because Brindy is far more than I ever expected!”