RESCUED, PART 2.
It is astounding and humbling to witness the extent to which some compassionate and driven individuals will go to for their cause and for their beliefs. These individuals are often overlooked in our current society, both attention and praise is paid toward the oversized influences of tech CEO's, professional athletes, and a lengthy list of celebrity egos. These "unremarkable heroes" as I like to think of them would prefer that it stay that way, they request no thank you nor any praise for saving lives, providing assistance to those in-need, and down right using every talent in their arsenal to challenge the fundamental inequities that have existed for a very long time. They are quite content in devoting their every waking moment toward making this world not a "better place", but reshaping it to be a more equitable and fair place for all of us to exist. For the vast majority of us who are not "unremarkable heroes", yours truly included, it is our responsibility to not only pay attention to their efforts but support their mission. Hearts Alive Village is an organization made up unremarkable heroes and this is their story.
When 10-year-old Kendall Stevens answered a journal prompt in her 5th grade English class, she had no idea of the future she was about to create.
“If I had one wish, I’d open an animal rescue called Hearts Alive Village and we’d rescue everything from dogs and cats to pigs and cows.”
Eight years later, Hearts Alive Village has just passed the 5,800 dogs, cats, and bunnies saved mark and as for those farm animals? We’ve got a handful of pigs in foster homes and we just rescued the first horse and 5 goats for the new Hearts Alive Village Horse Rescue and Sanctuary.
But let’s go back to the beginning.
Before the very first dog or cat entered the rescue, Christy worked to understand the real reason that pets were being surrendered in such high numbers. She discovered that most animals were not entering the shelter system because they weren’t loved or wanted, but rather because their parents couldn’t afford them, and they saw no other options. Something as simple as kibble or a crate could be the difference between a family staying together, and an animal losing their home and possibly their life.
This became the first problem to tackle. We started Kendall’s Kupboard, a pet food pantry that would provide food and other supplies to low-income families, seniors, and veterans so they could keep their beloved pets by their side. For years, the pantry fed approximately 200 pets (in homes) each month.
01. Gracie a female Pit-bull mix wearing her favorite floral tiara on her adoption day! | 02. Marge a small Pinscher, Miniature / Chihuahua mix dolls off on summer day with her foster family, for more information on Marge and how to adopt visit HeartsAliveVillage.com | 03. Crimson a husky mix, one of the many success stories of doting dogs finding loving furever homes through the earnest efforts of HAV.
Until of course, COVID became a household word.
As a tourism-based town, Las Vegas was hit hard and hundreds of thousands of Las Vegans found themselves out of work. Many families who had never struggled to make bills before, now had to decide between feeding themselves or feeding their pets.
With assistance from Greatergood.org and the Dave and Cheryl Duffield Foundation, we expanded our pet pantry to become the Crisis Pet Food Distribution Center for the state of Nevada. At the height of COVID, we were feeding more than 2,000 pets each month and the need is still there.
Yet more still had to be done.
It wasn’t just food that pet parents were struggling to afford. Veterinary Care, even preventative care, is expensive and for many families, out of reach. Something as simple as a $50 vet visit to get shots and a microchip is too much for some, and for others, an illness or accident that costs $1,000+ to treat could mean not paying their rent or their mortgage for the month. Faced with these situations, many families had to make a terrible decision:
- Let their beloved pet suffer
- Surrender them in the hopes that they’d receive treatment at the shelter (which they wouldn’t)
- Economically euthanize them
No pet parent should ever face that decision, and no pet should ever not receive treatment because their family is unable to pay. So, we created the Village Fund, a community donation-based fund to help loving pet parents pay for their fur baby’s medical needs.
But there were only so many animals we could help this way. With the need so great, it was time to do more for the community. In November 2020, we opened the Hearts Alive Village Animal Clinic, the first full-service, low-cost, nonprofit veterinary clinic in the state. Now, affordable vet care is a reality for EVERY pet parent, regardless of their financial position.
01. A kitten receives its first vaccinations and check-up immediately after being surrendered to the new Hearts Alive Village Animal Clinic full-service, low-cost, nonprofit veterinary clinic the first of its kind in Nevada. | 02. Outside of HAV's Pet Supply Store located at 1750 South Rainbow Blvd. | 03. The inside of HAV pet supply store looks much like any mom & pop pet shop yet all of the profits from this unique establishment are directly funneled back into the organization helping to pay for all of their amazing work.
Our community support programs are what set us apart. We believe that everyone deserves the love and companionship of an animal, and if a bag of food or a vaccine is what’s standing in the way of a family staying together, we are honored to provide that resource. Being surrendered is traumatic for an animal in any circumstance and finding a new family is the most difficult part of rescue. If we can take that step out of the equation… why not?
Sometimes though, animals truly do need to be rehomed. Through no fault of their own, pets can no longer stay with their families. When this happens, we take them in, rehabilitate them when necessary – providing medical and behavioral treatment – and then we find them the perfect home. For some, it happens within days. For many, finding the ideal family takes time. We have a wonderful network of foster homes that will love and care for the animal while they wait (we provide all the supplies), and for those who don’t go into foster, we have the ReTreat – a comfortable space where animals can decompress after a stint at the shelter, on the streets, or losing their family. They receive baths and massages, go on outings to the park, hiking, and to pet-friendly stores to work on their socialization. Most importantly, they get the love, attention, and training they need to enter the next chapter of their lives.
For some, life begins on the streets. We work very closely with C5, our local TNR group to fix feral cats and decrease the stray population. Many of the adult cats we’ve encountered, and most of the kittens are not truly feral and with some patience and nurturing, they are ready to become loving family members. With the main spay and neuter clinics closed during the pandemic, this is the worst kitten season we’ve seen in years and over the past 4 months, we’ve taken in more than 1,000 kittens. We’re ramping up spay and neuter to meet the need.
01. A portion if HAV's OLDIES BUT GOODIES THRIFT STORE is a sanctuary for senior cats only enough room for these gentle, wise, and loving souls to socialize with each other and humans until they are adopted. | 02. If you are looking to get involved HAV has many ways to volunteer. One of Clay's favorite duties is spending time with and feeding the kittens. | 03. A new born kitten brought into the clinic receives milk the mother cat was no where to be found. Sadly, this scenario is much too common in a city where there is estimated to be 350,000 stray cats.
We’ve got programs to support Veterans, to educate children, and now to save farm animals from an uncertain future. Our organization makes a real difference in the lives of animals today and well into the future.
And we can’t do any of it without our Villagers.
We are grateful to our adopters, fosters, volunteers, donors, our community businesses, and our customers who shop in our Pet Supply Store and Thrift Store and help us fund our programs. If you are not a part of our Village, we invite you to join us. Please help us speak for these animals and provide them with the advocacy and the treatment they deserve. You can learn more about our programs and how to get involved at www.heartsalivevillage.org.
We know that times are difficult for many, however, if you are able to donate, your contribution will truly save lives. We currently have a $50,000 match so with every donation, your impact is doubled.
Together, we can give these beautiful babies a second chance at a happy life.
01. Spending a little time with Wilson, a sweetheart, a Terrier American Bull mix who was recently adopted from HAV and is now in a loving home. | 02. One of the many beautiful concepts behind Heart's Alive rescue model is to not have animals caged in kennels for all hours of the day with little to no interaction, rather it is to give every animal the love and attention they deserve. For Twix a young pit-bull this means getting hosed down during a hot summer day in the shade. | 03. Not every Pet Supply Store has a rescue bunny! Matthew is the center of attention, petting and visiting with him and all of his furry friends is so worth a trip to Hearts Alive Village.
Organizations like Hearts Alive Village, Bone Voyage Dog Rescue, TheRanchChapala.com are profound organizations making real change in several communities, they are an inspiration to us. We urge you to find out more about these non-profit groups and if possible make a financial contribution to support their beautiful mission. 10% of the proceeds from all purchases made of our Rescued Pet Bowls, Talavera Pet Bowls, Devotion Doggie Sculptural Collections directly funds Zenwaro's on going initiative to raise awareness of animal neglect and animal abuse. We partner with several non-profit rescue groups, non-profit animal clinics, and humane animal shelters in Las Vegas NV and Mexico (throughout the regions we work in). We utilize these funds to assist spay / neuter clinics and to support organizations that provide aid to homeless pets along with fostering, adopting, and re-homing at risk pets.