Despite the obstacles we’ve encountered during the pandemic, SPCA of Northern Nevada is committed to finding solutions to continue helping pets and people in our community.

I want to celebrate what we accomplished together in 2020, and appreciate all those who helped us survive, and in some ways thrive, despite the unimaginable challenges that we all faced together. 

A Special Thank You

First, thank you to our incredible staff! Your passion, dedication, flexibility, and determination to put pets first is beyond compare!

Second, thank you to our generous donors who kept our pets a priority! We were able to pivot resources to where they were needed most to save and improve the lives of pets and their people in northern Nevada.

Third, our small but mighty crew of volunteers and fosters, who continued showing up when we needed them most—we couldn’t have done it without you. We look forward to the time when we can offer volunteer trainings again and benefit from a larger volunteer force.

Fourth, our adopters who provide pets in need with loving homes: Thanks for being the warm, safe, loving family our pets deserve.

Fifth, our community of supporters who drop off donations, share our social media posts, spread knowledge of our services to those in need, counter negative complaints with truth, love, and patience, and always look for ways to help us fulfill our mission.

We are SO PROUD of how our community comes together to overcome the difficulties of this pandemic.

Rural Pet Rescue and Adoptions During Covid-19

Our team has always known how important pets are—after all, we dedicate our lives to helping and loving them! But the pandemic proved that fact to the world. 

People found comfort in animal companionship while pets got what they’d wanted and needed all along—time with their humans. In many parts of the country, owner surrenders dropped, and adoptions nationwide skyrocketed! And in some regions, such as northern Nevada, demand is catching up with supply. 

COVID negatively impacted our staffing and pet rescue transports, leading to fewer pets available for adoption. Additionally, we received between 20 and 80 applications for our most desirable pets as soon as they were posted to our website. This high demand led to a lot of broken hearts and frustration with the new online adoption system. We appreciate our community’s patience while we work to improve our virtual processes. This new process is critical to continuing adoptions despite reduced capacity, forced closures, and our commitment to prioritizing the welfare of our pets, staff, and community.

Despite the challenges, we adopted 1,463 pets into loving homes! We also maintained our low return rate of 5%, which means we continue to make loving matches! 

Another indicator of our positive impact is the Live Release Rate. Ours remains consistently high at 98%. SPCA-NN has always been “no-kill” since it was founded in 1998. We take euthanasia, which means “good death” in Latin, VERY seriously and from a place of compassion.

One of the surprising positive impacts of closing our adoption center to the public is seeing how much it’s helped our homeless pets’ mental health. Not having strangers hover over their kennels all day has reduced their stress tremendously, and without lowering adoption demand! 

We are now able to use prior public space for additional housing and enrichment activities. It also freed up staff time for even more love and enrichment of our resident pets. These changes, along with high adoption demand, have dropped our resident pets’ average length of stay 30%! People keep asking me when we’re going to re-open to the public, but due to these wonderful improvements, we will remain appointment-based for 2021. 

Community Programs Expansion

In 2020 we pivoted more resources toward retention programs to keep pets in their loving homes. These include the following discounted or free services for qualified pets: dog training, behavior modifications and consultations, affordable vaccine clinics, affordable community spay/neuter clinics, virtual pet enrichment education, virtual humane education, dental vouchers, medical fund, and a Pet Help Line (775-324-7773, ext. 200). In 2021, we will continue to add more as financial assistance needs increase.

In 2020, we provided more than DOUBLE the affordable spay/neuter surgeries to the public compared to 2019 for a total of 2,416 pets fixed between our in-house and community surgery programs! Our outstanding clinic also performed 19 specialty surgeries, treated 91 fungus graduates, and served 8,431 pets through our affordable vaccine and microchip clinic! 

We were able to increase our community spay/neuter program thanks to our hardworking clinic team, and an incredible partnership with Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS). We operate two community spay days at our SPCA-NN clinic, and one day in the WCRAS clinic. Thanks to our generous donors, we will be reducing our spay/neuter pricing this spring—stay tuned for the details!

Todd's Medical Fund

The national homeless pet crisis has significantly improved over the last 30 years. Unfortunately, now we’re seeing a significant increase in pets with healthy prognosis being euthanized outside of the sheltering system because their owners/guardians can’t afford their vet care. This is a serious problem that affects all of us, as it leads to unnecessary euthanasia, and staff burnout in the private vet practices. We need highly functioning, viable private vet practices in all our communities, including emergency pet care clinics. The SPCA-NN is addressing these problems with a new medical fund along with robust partnerships with local vet practices: VCA Lakeside, AESC, Blue Pearl SVS, and Options.   

Due to the pandemic, the public’s already high need for affordable veterinarian services dramatically escalated. Our medical fund, called Todd’s Medical Fund, is named in honor of an amazing, generous member of our community who always supported pets in need. Sadly, Todd Denton passed away last December and will be greatly missed. We are honored to remember him in a way that will continue to benefit pets in need while reminding us all to face our life’s adversities with grace and compassion as Todd did.

Thanks to our generous donors, we’ve started an affordable end of life care program. This fund, which is part of Todd’s Medical Fund, will assist people in financial need when it’s time to say goodbye to their beloved companions. We are grateful for our end of life care partners:

  1. Options
  2. VCA Lakeside
  3. Rover Vet Care 
  4. A Beloved Friends Pet Crematory 

*SPCA-NN’s End of Life Care Fund only covers communal cremation services.

SPCA-NN also started a pet retention program with nationally renowned animal behaviorist Kelley Bollen’s Alive and Thriving program! We will cover the cost of a consultation and two follow up sessions for SPCA-NN alumni pets whose guardians can’t afford these vital services. This is yet another example of programs that we are funding to keep pets in their loving homes and out of the shelter system. 

We are also working on starting a TNR program for feral cats in our region since this is another area of significant need in our community. Stay tuned for more details in next month’s Paw Print newsletter!

Teamwork makes the dream work! Thanks to our amazing community, pets in need (and their people) are getting the support they all deserve. THANK YOU NORTHERN NEVADA—it is an honor to serve you!

Your donations make this life-saving work possible! Please consider making a gift to support pets in your community.

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