Carson City non-profit focuses on animal rescue and community kindness
There’s something about ponies that brings out adoration, which could explain why many children go through a phase when they desperately want to own one.
For Zoe Cockerill, a stroll down the street with her ponies attracted interest of all ages, and influenced her to launch a new charitable mission in Carson City.
“People would ask if they could join me on my walks,” she said. “It sort of grew from there and evolved on its own. Then, I was asked to take dogs, cats, chickens, and ducks, and it became animal related.”
Cockerill filed for non-profit status last year to start her organization, The Littlest Things, to promote acts of kindness and animal rescue education throughout the local community with events.
She can only walk her ponies after experiencing a severe neck injury in 2014; surgery replaced her entire vertebrae, limiting her exercise to walking.
“I realized through my disability the ponies enjoyed interaction,” she said. “People wanted to get involved walking with me and it made them so happy.”
Based in her backyard on 4050 Line Drive, she hosts programs for children educating them about responsibilities of owning a pet. Three of the ponies on Cockerill’s mini farm are rescued, as they were purchased by families who couldn’t take care of them.
“I believe kids need to be at least 10 years old to own a pet,” she said. “Kids will want them but can’t care for them at a young age, unless the parent is helping with that responsibility.”
Cockerill also plans outdoor events for children, as an opportunity to walk with ponies and learn how to care for animals. On her farm, there are three ponies, three dogs, four goats, and many chickens and ducks.
Helping organize events is Amanda Long of Keller Williams Reality, as she also is specialized in online business strategy.
“When we met, we became best friends immediately,” she said. “It’s a good cause and my kids can get involved. I like being a part of the community and we love anything with animals.”
Cockerill also is a certified dog trainer and helps with the Carson Tahoe SPCA.
She gained her connection with the organization by helping to rescue 32 pit bulls when she first moved to Carson City in 2014.
“A veteran who needed help didn’t have time to fix his dogs,” she said. “Some of them gave birth to puppies. At that time for once a week, I took two puppies in for vaccinations and secured them in my heated garage to keep them warm until the SPCA picked them up. I was new, and no one knew me. It takes a community to do this.”
Cockerill always had a heart for animals; when she was a teen, she would take her rabbit with her on motorcycle rides, and fostered injured ducks at home until they recovered.
But she found her passion for animal rescue when she served on the Board of Directors for the former Fairmont Animal Shelter in San Leandro, Calif.
During her time there, she also launched a community service program in the area for teens to train shelter dogs.
But education is the main reason why the Cockerills decided to move to Carson City. Their son, Dominic, a recent grad of Eagle Valley Middle School, achieved in multiple honors courses and is planning to focus on manufacturing as a career when he starts Carson High School in the fall.
“I researched the schools here,” she said. “I love it here. There’s so many people you can talk to and it’s community-oriented.”
Since their residency in Carson City, Cockerill and her husband also launched two custom metal fabrication services from their home: One Off Concepts and Tri Fusion LLC.
Cockerill currently works remotely as a tech and project manager for Fleenor Paper Company, based in Alameda, Calif.
But as for The Littlest Things, Cockerill goes beyond animal care. Her organization also is partnered with CC NV Rocks, a local group who inscribes uplifting messages on rocks and hides them around Carson City for others to find. She hosts rock painting parties once a month at her home.
The Littlest Things also contributes to Food For Thought’s volunteer programs, and plans to host a petting zoo event in July at the Ormsby Acute Rehab.
How locals can help this charity grow
Cockerill said she offers volunteer opportunities and updates her donations wish list on the official Facebook page.
However, the farm is at its max for fostering animals at this time.
Community members also can donate proceeds to the upcoming Summer Tea Party hosted by The Littlest Things on Saturday, June 10, 2-4 p.m. at the Governor’s Mansion. The menu includes tea, sandwiches, fruit, and desserts. Guests are welcome to dress up in attire.
Adult admission is $15 and kids 12 and under is $10.
All proceeds go toward the animals in the organization.
To purchase tickets, visit thelittlestthings.org or contact Cockerill at 775-721-3393.