By Sheryl Green
From day 1, Hearts Alive Village Las Vegas has been about more than animal rescue.
Founder and Executive Director, Christy Stevens, knew that in order to solve the problem of overwhelming pet homelessness in the valley, the organization would need to focus on people. When a family surrenders their pet to the animal shelter, it’s rarely because they no longer love or want their animal. Most often, it’s because they can’t afford their pet and don’t see any other options. Hearts Alive Village is working to change that.
It all started in 2013 with their first program, Kendall’s Kupboard, named for Christy’s daughter and inspiration behind the rescue. This pet food pantry was designed to assist families who want to keep their beloved pets but are unable to afford food. Since its inception, the program has fed between 200 and 300 pets each month.
Unfortunately, food wasn’t the only support Vegas pet parents needed. Calls began to come in from individuals whose fur babies were sick or injured. Challenged with astronomically high vet bills and an inability to get credit, their parents were facing an impossible decision… let their pets suffer, surrender them to the shelter in the hope that they’d receive treatment, or have them “economically euthanized.” No pet parent should ever face that decision.
Hearts Alive Village began providing community animals with treatment, assisting pet parents to cover the funds above what they could handle. When animals are suffering due to their family’s inability to access care, the Village Fund is there to provide assistance for as many as possible.
It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit our tourism town hard. With more than 30% of the population out of work, people are struggling to provide for their pets now more than ever. With support from GreaterGood.org and a grant from the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation, Hearts Alive Village has expanded Kendall’s Kupboard to become the Crisis Pet Food Distribution Center for the state of Nevada. The pet food pantry has gone from serving 300 pets each month, to serving close to 3,000. They also work with a number of other rescues, human food pantries, and cat trappers to provide pet food where it’s needed.
With more than 50% of their annual budget going to veterinary costs, Hearts Alive realized that the next logical step was to open their own veterinary clinic where care can be given to the rescues’ animals and community animals in need, at a fraction of the cost. The Pet Adoption and Wellness Center is under construction and set to open this fall. The full-service, low-cost veterinary clinic will be the first of its kind in the state and will provide a much-needed service to our financially- devastated community. In addition to veterinary services, the Wellness Center will feature grooming and short-term boarding. With these programs, the organization can keep pets out of the shelter and where they belong – in their original homes with the families that love them.
While the future of Vegas is unclear, one thing is for sure. Hearts Alive Village will continue their mission, nurturing a compassionate society where animals are supported both in their homes and on the journey to find a home.
Hearts Alive Village
1750 S Rainbow Blvd #4, Las Vegas, NV 89146