Bonds of Unconditional Love

New nonprofit volunteers are matchmakers for pets in Northern Nevada

By Dianna Troyer

Foster care coordinator Desiree Carlyle adopted Mad Max, a Great Pyrenees. Photo by Carollee Egbert

When a Deeth resident moved to Highland Manor in Elko due to health issues, she needed to find a home for her beloved companion, a Great Pyrenees.

“A friend told her we could help,” says Desiree Carlyle, a foster care coordinator for Endless Pawsibilities Foundation.

The new nonprofit’s volunteers rescue and place pets in homes throughout Northern Nevada, from Wendover to Winnemucca.

“We not only found a home for her dog but a new companion for her, too,” says Desiree, who also lives in Deeth. “After settling in, she called in January and said she was ready for a new dog. We had a match—a Chihuahua cross that had been at the shelter. It was meant to be. They’re perfect for each other. Pets and people can have an incredible bond.”

The organization’s veterinarian, Tessa Morgan, recognizes the need for animal welfare and care in Northern Nevada. Photo courtesy of Tessa Morgan

Desiree gets about 20 to 40 calls a week about pets needing homes “because someone with pets has died or people divorce and can’t take their pets with them in their new homes. We’ve had a few cases of pet hoarders, too.”

She learned of Endless Pawsibilities through its Facebook page after Carlin residents Jon and Misty Eklund started it. For several years, the Eklunds had worked with rescues and done animal transporting but decided to try to make a bigger difference and help more animals by obtaining a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax-exempt status in February 2023. Jon volunteered to be president, and Misty is the fundraising coordinator.

Misty says the organization has grown more quickly than expected through social media and word-of-mouth. It has a network of roughly 50 volunteers.

“It’s due to a lot of amazing people in the community who also love and care about animals,” she says. “We want to try as best we can to help rural animals, shelter animals, and abandoned animals. They don’t have anyone to advocate for them, and they can easily get overlooked. We even found homes for turtles and a parakeet.”

Misty says the bond between pets and people motivates her.

“Throughout my life, animals have always been there for me unconditionally,” Misty says. “Their love is genuine. When we started this rescue, we wanted to give back to animals that don’t always have someone standing up for them.”

Welcoming Crew

The organization’s treasurer, Thalia Montana-Syme of Elko, became involved after reading a request for foster care on the foundation’s Facebook page. “I picked up the dog from the shelter, and he ended up staying with me for a few weeks before finding his forever home,” she says.

“It was so rewarding to help that one dog that I continued to foster and became more involved.”

She kept one foster dog, Sprocket, who is the head of the welcoming committee for fosters at her home.

“He’s sweet and gets along with everyone,” Thalia says. Her 7-year-old daughter, Quinn, also welcomes and helps care for their foster friends.

“She gets emotional when it’s time to say goodbye, but she has a really good understanding of the difference we are making by helping them,” Thalia says. “She’s part of the future generation that will be advocating for animals.”

Vast Service Area

Misty found a home for a black kitten from Wendover. Photo courtesy of Endless Pawsibilities Foundation

The organization’s veterinarian, Dr. Tessa Morgan, says there is a huge need for pet care in the county.

“Northern Nevada is a vast area with a city-run kill shelter in Elko and five towns without formal animal services,” says Tessa, a Wells resident. “This shelter has to serve all of Elko County, which is an impossible task. It’s really gratifying to see an animal—lost, stray or from a shelter—find a loving forever family.”

Tessa grew up on a ranch near Lamoille. “I always loved being around animals and knew I wanted to be a veterinarian and come back to the area to work,” she says.

After graduating from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015, she was hired at the Elko Veterinary Clinic and met the Eklunds, who were clients.

“We became friends with our common interests—a vision to provide care for pets in the area,” she says.

Last September, she started a mobile practice, replacing Star Valley veterinarian Dr. Hannah Rodriguez, who moved away.

“I know professionally and personally how pets bring so much joy to people. At home, being around our pets brightens our day,” she says of herself, her husband, Craig, and their young daughter. “Our dogs and cats came to us after people passed away, or they were strays, or their owners abandoned them at the vet clinic in Elko. We understand that animals can sometimes get left behind. We even have a rooster and some hens because their owners couldn’t keep them anymore.”

Eventually, Endless Pawsibilities would like to have a mobile clinic to provide affordable veterinary services for low-income families, veterans, senior citizens, and rural communities in Northern Nevada, Tessa says.

Misty says she and volunteers are grateful to veterinarians for their compassion and empathy.

“We’re here so animals are not falling through the cracks and to do the best we can to improve our community for future generations of animals and people,” she says. “People in the community have opened their eyes and hearts to help us. We absolutely love the support we receive. Helping pets—even one at a time—keeps us going.”