Pet shelter volunteers remain on alert |

Pet shelter volunteers remain on alert

Susie Vasquez

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Upon returning to his Cayuga Avenue home early Thursday morning, Denny Stewart's two-year-old chocolate labrador Duke bolted from his truck. Nearby residents found him and reunited him with his best friend.

Veterinary assistant Michele Pesci had tears in her eyes as she told the volunteers of Noah’s Wish, an organization dedicated to animal rescue, that her Alpine neighborhood was on high alert and could be evacuated if afternoon winds rejuvenate the Angora fire.

That could mean more displaced animals and more work for the organization, set up for pet rescue just behind Sierra Veterinary Hospital on Highway 50.

Noah’s wish had 22 dogs, 19 cats and one rabbit early Thursday, but the numbers could increase significantly if more homes are evacuated.

Pesci, who works at the hospital, said more cages would be available and Noah’s Wish coordinator Charlie Crosby gave her a reassuring hug.

Sierra Veterinary Hospital started taking pets right after the fire started, Pesci said.

“When Noah’s Ark first called at 4 p.m. Sunday, we didn’t have many animals from the fire. We told them we were okay,” Pesci said. “When they called again at 11 p.m., we were swamped.

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“We owe them a great big thanks,” she said.

The scene was neat and orderly Thursday, the pet food and other supplies stacked and ready for pet owners. Volunteers tended to a variety of chores and the dogs seemed content in their cages, tucked neatly under tents in the parking lot.

Other pets are housed in the vet hospital, as well as at Four Paws Grooming and Boarding nearby, Crosby said.

Truckloads of pet supplies for these Angora fire victims have been donated from as far away as Dayton, Ohio. Donations from Reno residents flowed through Pet Network in Incline Village and Tahoe Fence provided the needed fencing.

Locals have come in to clean cages and walk the animals, which has been a tremendous help. Noah’s Wish, which limits its work to taking displaced pets, will stay until the crisis is over, Crosby said.

“We shelter, rescue, provide foster care and adopt out if need be,” she said. “All supplies have been donated specifically for those who have lost their homes in the Tahoe basin.”

Dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, Crosby was open and animated as she spoke of this national organization. Volunteers come from all over the country to help out and a fresh crew just came from Los Angeles, Calif., today, she said.

“This is all we do,” she said. “We opened a shelter in Louisiana (during the Katrina disaster) and we were there for 11 weeks. This is the first time most of us have seen each other since.

“We’re a family,” she said. “If we don’t get to see each other once in awhile, we’re not happy.”

Noah’s Wish can be contacted for assistance by calling (916) 939-9474.

The Tahoe Humane Society is also offering assistance for displaced pets and can be reached at (530) 577-4521

Found or lost pets can be listed through Pet Network at

El Dorado Animal Control is sheltering 11 dogs, 16 cats and three birds who have lost their homes in the Angora fire. For more information, call the shelter at (530) 577-1766.

Those who have found an injured or orphaned wild animal can call Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care at (530) 577-2273. These animals should not be given any food or water, but they should be kept warm, according to officials at Wildlife Care.

— Susie Vasquez can be reached at or (775) 782-5121, ext. 211.