She was 19 years old and arrived on the doorstep of The Shade Tree in Las Vegas in 2005 with a garbage bag full of clothes and a cat carrier. When she was told “no pets allowed”, all of the courage that led her to make this first step evaporated in front of our eyes and she said,
“I made every mistake possible, was abused as a teenager, ran away only to pick men who abused me and introduced me to drugs. The only one who never left me and always believed in me was my cat. If she can’t come with me, I will just go back. I guess it’s the life I deserve.”
From that introduction, a determination to remove this barrier became my driving force. We needed a solution to a challenge that existed today yet had not been solved. Two years later in 2007, Noah’s @ The Shade Tree opened its doors as the first stand alone, full service pet facility in the country located on the campus of a domestic violence shelter. After servicing over 1400 pets for almost 90,000 boarding nights over that next decade, we introduced our 2nd location in Reno so that we could serve both Northern and Southern Nevada.
That young girl trusted me with her cat that day and stayed at The Shade Tree in Las Vegas for six weeks to rebuild her life. Her cat was spoiled, cared for in foster care and returned to her when she left to reunite with her family. That reunion changed my life.
The survivors that The Shade Tree Shelter in Las Vegas, Domestic Violence Resource Center in Reno & both Noah’s serve are some of the strongest and most courageous individuals you could ever meet. They just don't know it. The life they deserveis not the life they know:
It’s not: I’m just lucky he stays with me because I am nothing.
It’s not: I don’t need or have any girlfriends in my life, because he loves me so much that he wants me all to himself.
It’s not: I was late coming home from work because my car broke down, so he beat my dog with a pipe. It’s my fault, I deserved that beating not my dog.
Discouraged victims don’t need critics. They hurt enough already.
They don’t need to be judged. They already judge themselves.
They don’t need to be asked, why didn’t they just leave, they know the answer isn’t acceptable to you.
The life they deserve at this time is a place to hide and heal.
They deserve our support, understanding, dignity and grace.
They deserve for their pets to be cared for, attended to and even spoiled.
They deserve a life free of abuse and judgement.
And we, at The Shade Tree, DVRC and Noah’s are here to give it to them.