by Kimberly Wade
If you’re like me, you celebrate the holidays with your pets, including those like National Cat or Dog Day! We do this because our pets are family and therefore it’s only natural for us to include them in the celebrations. But what about using the holidays as a tool to speak up for animals in need?
Though Nevada Humane Society began in 1932, our lifesaving efforts, progressive movement and innovative programs didn’t begin until about 2007. That’s when the Board of Directors decided to change the mission to one of lifesaving and they hired a new leadership team to make this happen. At that time, we honestly had hundreds and hundreds of animals residing at the shelter daily—literally, three to four times the number of animals that reside here today. We needed to be creative, and quickly, in order to move animals into loving homes and make room for the many homeless pets that entered the shelter every day. We knew right away that getting people in the door to adopt was going to be key. So we got creative.
Our former executive director, Bonney Brown, was known nationwide for her talents in animal welfare. One of my favorite stories she used to share was that of adoption marketing. You see, back then we tried everything. We had certified pre-owned pets for adoption, senior campaigns, and promotions around the holidays. Whatever people were talking about, whatever got people in the door, we would do. After months of testing the waters and gaining a presence in the local and national media for our lifesaving success, we also began to hear from the naysayers. They exist everywhere—you know, the ones who don’t believe in what we are doing, don’t consider animals family, and so forth.
A woman mailed a letter to Bonney, basically insulting Nevada Humane Society by saying how “stupid” we were for using holidays and trends to make people adopt. She thought we were ridiculous and chastised us. She ended the letter with the statement, “What’s next? Arbor Day?”
You guessed it. Bonney and her team partnered with a local nursery, and over a period of days surrounding Arbor Day, held a fun adoption promotion where everyone who adopted was given a free tree from the nursery—all in honor of Arbor Day and all because of a nasty letter from someone who didn’t believe in us. The media loved it, and to this day we still share that story.
As Saint Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us, I share this to raise recognition for our animals. At Nevada Humane Society, we celebrate St. CATRicks and St. DOGricks. We look to the end of the rainbow for our version of the pot of gold—perhaps a kitten or an adult cat. We tout that dogs are luckier than a four leaf clover. We dress up our ginger colored pets with green headbands and take photos of them for fun. We use every angle we can to encourage people to come meet our pets so that they can see what we already know—they are all incredible individuals and deserve to find love a second time with a new family.
Happy St. CATricks or St. DOGricks and be safe with your furry family. Need to add to the celebration? Visit us daily, as we’re open at our shelter in Reno and Carson City seven days a week for pet adoptions, from 11am until 6:30pm. Follow the rainbow to us, because everyone will certainly reap the reward.