by Kimberly Wade
Many people will describe the holidays as magical. The lights and sounds, ideas of Santa and eight tiny reindeer, spiritual beliefs and giving back to those in need—it’s all honored during the month of December. People come together, families celebrate, and the mood is festive no matter where you go. At Nevada Humane Society, it’s no different. Well, maybe it is, because the magic of the holidays for us, so far, is showcasing itself in a variety of unexpected ways.
This week we received a very unique letter in the mail. Mind you, people often write in to share their stories of their adopted pet, especially around this time of year. We get holiday cards from animals, we’re given photos of them, and treats arrive in Amazon boxes by the dozen so that we can offer something a little special to those waiting for a home. But this letter, this is, different.
Let me go back a bit. I do a lot of television and media for the animals so my face is out there. I’ve also been heavily involved in some incredible programs—two of my favorites being the PUPS Program and INK, Inmates Nursing Kittens. Both are based at the prison, the Warm Springs Correctional Center in Carson City. Both involve a specific group of inmates caring for specific animals. PUPS helps dogs that have some basic training challenges and need extra socialization. INK helps young kittens receive round-the-clock care until they are big enough to be spayed or neutered. The inmates have gotten to know me through these programs and by seeing me on TV, so it’s not unusual for a “fan” to send me a letter now and then, kind of like a pen pal… in prison.
Back to the letter. This one was different. It wasn’t for me, but rather, for a cat. David, an inmate at a somewhat nearby prison, wrote a letter to Mr. Meowgi, a little black cat. He even included his ID number and everything, just like the inmates have! He wants to give Mr. Meowgi hope and let him know he’s not alone. Here’s an excerpt:
“Like yourself, I am incarcerated. I am concerned that you may be having a hard time finding a home. Let me give you a few words of advice. No matter how stressed out you get or how frustrating your circumstances become, Mr. Meowgi, do not resort to violence, ok? You cannot afford any write-ups. Steer clear of trouble. If you see some cats mean mugging you let that be their problem—not yours. You have a chance to go home and start a family. Find a real Pooty Cat who will give you lots of kittens. Work out. Read. Maybe the food isn’t all that good but it could be worse. Play it straight and you’ll be home in no time. Keep your whiskers up. Stay strong!”
David, though he pokes fun at the situation, is a real person going through real change. The fact that he wanted to share that, and wanted to make a difference for our cats, to us, is amazing (and really funny). It’s true that shelters are not ideal, and not all of them are as fabulous as ours. We’re beyond blessed to have a big, modern, clean, open shelter with natural light and a variety of housing options. We have staff that genuinely cares about the animals. We work to find homes for our kids as quickly as possible. I bet you didn’t know this but the average length of stay is only a couple weeks. We play fetch and chase and hide and go seek with them, we tease them with treats, we take photos with our phones and share them on our personal Instagram accounts, and we even (don’t judge me) share our lunches (as long as the food is safe for them). We give our entire selves to help make our four-legged friends feel like they are at home while they are at the shelter, and while doing that, we work to find them homes. Like David, they are incarcerated—but by no fault of their own. They simply have been dealt a bad hand. And we don’t feel they deserve that so we’re working to fix it.
If you’ve been considering adoption, you know that now is the time. If people like David can give back, and show support for our sheltered animals, so can you. Become a volunteer, share some photos from our Facebook or Instagram, or write us a letter, like David. Knowing we have your support is huge.
By the way, Mr. Meowgi will be writing David back and sending pictures. Not because it’s the holiday season and it’s magical and support can come from all directions when you least expect it… but because it’s the right thing to do. And we can’t wait to see if David responds again.
Merry Christmas friends. Thanks for being a faithful reader and listener, supporting us, and even me, and letting us do what we do best… lifesaving.