It’s like we moved all the animals from a maximum security prison into the Ritz-Carlton. I know we have been gushing about the new Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe shelter lately, but the energy inside is amazing. On my most recent visit, 12 out of 12 cats were sleeping, or at least half-asleep, in the social room. They even had Squirrel TV on. It must have been a rerun because they weren’t even paying attention. Those cats aren’t stressed about anything. They are happy, healthy, and being adopted faster than ever before — 18 cats were adopted in November.

The lobby is bustling with activity. Volunteers are taking dogs for walks and hanging out with the cats. HSTT has even built a nice trail that you can access from the shelter. Adoptions of dogs are also being made at a record pace (27 last month). That’s 45 animals adopted in November, compared to only 15 animals last November. According to my dog math, that’s a 200 percent increase in adoptions. Since the new shelter opened in September, a total of 100 animals have been adopted.

I was playing poker with some four-legged friends of mine the other day who thought the new shelter was so nice that they were thinking of turning themselves in. I tried to explain to them that it was an animal shelter, not a day spa. It’s nice but I don’t know if it’s that nice. Either way, it’s a great time to be a dog, cat, or smammal (dog for ‘small animal’) in Tahoe/Truckee.

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On the cat side of the shelter, my current favorite is a longhaired orange guy named Leon Phelps. Leon, who I am not afraid to call handsome, apparently has a reputation with the ladies. He’s an affectionate, friendly tabby ready to move into your house. RJ, the orange tabby from our last installment, has been adopted.

I spent most of my time this month with my dogs. There has been a lot of turnover at the shelter. This is a good thing. All of the adoption activity has allowed HSTT to rescue dogs from shelters where they most likely would not have made it due to lack of space. There are some really cool dogs of all shapes, ages, sizes, and colors, even puppies. We chose to hang out with a lovable, big teddy bear named Ralph. Ralph is a mix of Great Dane and who-knows-what. He has a cool orange and black brindle coat that makes him look like he is part tiger. Ralph is a drooling man of a dog. I mean that in the nicest way possible. He’s enthusiastic, rambunctious, and ready to play. Ralph is a dude.

Ralph and I went for a nice walk and I was impressed. This dude knows basic commands like “sit” and “lay down.” He walks well on a leash and loves people. Ralphie would do best, however, in a house where he was the only dog. He is a big boy and will need someone who can handle him. Basically, this dude needs a dude. I picture Ralph hiking, playing in the snow, and relaxing by the fire with a beer after a long day. If that sounds like your idea of fun, come check him out.

If you are interested in Ralph or any of the other fine animals at the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, visit hstt.org. If you haven’t visited the new shelter yet, make sure to stop by. Tell them Olive sent you.

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