By Jill Vacchina Dobbs, J.D.
We are half way through 2018 and reflecting on a lot of recent changes. This year we drastically reduced the prices of our low-cost, community spay/neuter program (SNyPS) and launched a $50 pit bull type dog sterilization program. This program was designed to decrease over-population of a breed-type most commonly found in shelters long-term that is unfairly discriminated against. Consequently, we’ve increased the amount of surgeries we can do on a weekly basis to better serve our community. From January to June the program is up 154% compared to 2017 and is filling a need in our community! During the same time period, we also fixed 589 SPCA adoptable pets that came into our Adoption Center. Fixing pets remains one of the most impactful things we can do to control unwanted litters and reduce homeless pet populations in northern Nevada.
Our low-cost, community vaccination and microchip program is also seeing a significant increase. We vaccinated 5,515 pets from January to June! This program is critical to keeping the pets and people in our community safe. We offer a variety of vaccines, including canine influenza. You can walk-in during our posted vaccine clinic hours, or schedule an appointment online: https://spcanevada.org/programs/spay-neuter-vaccinate/.
We have also launched new programs to keep our animals happy and healthy while they wait for loving homes! We have a formalized enrichment program that our staff follows daily and includes a volunteer component. When you come visit our dog kennels, you’ll see the enrichment cards tracking daily volunteer enrichment activities. In addition to walking, we are using scents, clicker training, quiet time, nose work, feeding games, and more to keep our dogs’ brains active. But, our homeless pets need your help! As a nonprofit animal shelter we heavily rely on volunteers to help care for our animals. There are a lot of fun ways to interact with them, including blowing bubbles for and reading to the dogs and cats. Please come spend time playing with our rescue pets…they need it and deserve it!
To help keep pets in their homes where they belong, we’ve also launched an SPCA-NN Help Line to offer support and answer questions for our adopters and the entire community. Please feel free to call us with any questions about your pets…we’re here to help! Call 775-324-7773 and dial 9.
We continue to work hard getting our longer-term animals adopted, and have created some new ways to get them additional exposure. For those animals who are completely different when outside the shelter we place QR code videos on their kennel cards to show them in action to potential adopters! We’re also holding small, pop-up adoption events at various businesses across town. Be sure to watch our social media channels for the next one. We’ve seen tremendous success with behavior modification plans assisting some pets in extra special ways so they are ready for adoption and success in their new homes. Ruby, Nicci and Sheba all recently benefitted from behavior modification while they were with us, and now all three are living happily-ever-after in their new homes! Our long-term cat, Bonnie, is also benefitting from behavior modification that is helping her be more outgoing. Please come meet her!
A new program that has become a staff and volunteer favorite is our Day Trippers program. Studies show that dogs benefit from even just two hours away from the stressful shelter environment. This program allows volunteers to take dogs out into the world for fun adventures and show them off to our community. Dogs go on car rides to get Puppaccinos, or on leashed trail runs, enjoy lunch in a volunteer’s backyard, and even experience lake swims! This program is especially beneficial for our longer-term residents and we are always looking for more people to participate.
While you’re in the dog kennels be sure to notice our beautifully re-done kennel floors and enjoy the calming music we’re playing to help keep the dogs relaxed. Our dogs are loving their yard rotations more since we re-surfaced our activity yards. Yard rotations and play groups are not only fun for the dogs, they are critical to keeping them healthy and happy.
This summer we are improving our cat housing. We are enlarging their spaces, increasing their enrichment activities, and growing our foster program. Foster families save lives. It’s really that simple. The more fosters we have, then the more litters we are able to save. It is a fun experience and a great summer activity while kids are out of school, and there is a high number of homeless litters during summer. Please consider bringing some temporary, furry roommates into your home this summer…the reward is life changing.
We are planning even more new programs and positive changes for the rest of 2018, and we’re excited to continue sharing our success stories with our supporters. Thank you to all of our staff, volunteers, donors, business partners, friends, and entire community—we couldn’t save lives without y’all!