Teri Vance: Joyful pet shelter brought joy to my life
More than 11 years ago, then Nevada Appeal photographer Cathleen Allison came back from an assignment where she was on a ride along with animal control.
She was with the officer when they discovered a dog had been abandoned for weeks in a backyard full of trash.
I had just moved into my own house, and Cat prodded me to go the Carson City Animal Shelter to check out this dog. Somewhat reluctantly, I did.
I could write novels about what has happened over the next 11 years. The lessons this dog taught me about love and patience and being present.
But the short story is, I found my favorite friend at the shelter that day.
And I’m not alone. I’m sure there are many of you who have similar stories. People who took a chance on a dog or a cat, giving them a second shot at life, and in turn enriching your own.
That’s how, said Lisa Schuette, the community raised $200,000 in less than four years to construct an upgraded, no-kill shelter, expected to be completed by September.
“It’s wonderful to be a part of something that is making a difference in real time,” Schuette said. “It’s been a wonderful journey.”
After hearing talk for several years in the community, Schuette spearheaded the effort to raise money for the new facility. In September 2012, the Carson Animal Services Initiative was formed.
“People were just thrilled that this was happening and wanted to be a part of it,” said Schuette, chairwoman of CASI. “Truly this was a grassroots effort.”
While construction on the new shelter is underway, the work is not over.
Schuette said the nonprofit has now shifted its efforts to helping to equip the shelter and create programs to support spaying and neutering efforts in the community.
That will be the focus of the fourth annual Woofs, Wine and Whiskers — A Purrfect Evening at the Governor’s Mansion 5-7:30 p.m. March 11.
The event, catered by Casino Fandango, will feature wine tasting, appetizers, chocolates and a live auction.
“It’s really fun,” Schuette said. “It’s just a great way to visit with friends, enjoy some wine and great chocolates while helping animals in our community.”
Schuette said the event, with Sheriff Ken Furlong serving as master of ceremonies, has traditionally been successful — a reflection of the community’s commitment to helping any way they can.
“It really is the genuine desire and willingness that people have to be a part of something positive,” she said. “Whether it’s supporting kids, homeless people, hunger, animals … there are so many people willing to put time and energy into real solutions. The wonderful thing about CASI is it has offered the community a vehicle to help get the shelter built.”
Schuette refers to the new shelter as a “joyful” place, where people will feel comfortable coming to look at prospective pets or to volunteer.
That kind of environment will give the animals a better chance of being adopted.
And what I’ve learned is that by adopting an animal, you adopt a piece of joy.