Big dreams, immediate needs |

Big dreams, immediate needs

Photo by Paul Raymore/Sierra SunCici hangs out in the side yard at the Truckee Animal Control kennel. Cici is one of many dogs who are available for adoption through the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe.

The staff and volunteers of the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe were overwhelmed to learn that Ruth Frishman, who recently died of cancer, had left the organization approximately $500,000 from her estate.

“She’s been a great supporter of ours for a long time. She’s adopted [animals] from us and [her gift] was really just amazing,” said Stephanie Hiemstra, Humane Society executive director. “We had no idea that was going to happen.”

And while the money was unexpected, Frishman’s gift came at an excellent time for the organization, which is starting the process of planning and fund-raising for a regional, no-kill shelter for homeless animals in the area.

“The Ruth Frishman donation has not accelerated [the shelter building process],” Hiemstra said. “We won’t actually receive any of the money for probably about a year… and by that point we certainly hope to be well underway with a capital campaign.

“One of our focuses for this summer is getting it organized and getting it going. Ideally, we’d love to be able to start building sometime in 2007.”

But while the impact of Frishman’s donation won’t be felt immediately, her gift came with a challenge to both the Town of Truckee and the local Rotary clubs to match her level of support in getting a shelter built. And that, Hiemstra said, could be huge.

“We have a lot of big ideas and big plans, and if Rotary or the town or whomever steps up and really helps out, I have no doubt that we’re going to have a state-of-the-art facility,” she said.

That the Humane Society needs a new shelter facility could not be more obvious than now.

“The shelter is not suited to hold more than about eight dogs comfortably, and right now we have 14 dogs that belong to the Humane Society,” said Karen Barta, Humane Society behavior and training coordinator.

Barta hopes some of those dogs will find new homes at Saturday’s Pet Expo at the Truckee River Regional Park.

Last year, 20 cats were adopted at the expo as well as a couple of dogs, and Barta hopes to see similar results at this year’s event.

As a bonus this year and in the future, anyone who adopts a dog from the Humane Society will also get five weeks of obedience training classes for an additional $30 through the organization’s Diamonds in the Rough program.

A collaborative effort of the Humane Society and Truckee Animal Control, Diamonds in the Rough aims to reduce the number of people turning in shelter dogs because of behavioral problems.

“So many of the dogs start their training here at the shelter and the volunteers work with them in a really consistent way with all positive training,” Barta said. “So Diamonds in the Rough is a way to transfer what the dogs have learned in our care to the new families.”

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