Tahoe Husky Rescue | Brad Taylor & Letisha Cole

Tahoe Husky Rescue founders Brad Taylor and Letisha Cole exude a calming, assuring aura that makes them instantly likeable to humans and animals. I learned this after meeting them recently at the Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company in Truckee. Taylor has been living in the Lake Tahoe area for more than 10 years. He came out West to enjoy skiing and the outdoors. He fell in love with a co-worker’s Husky puppy that he played with in the office.

Kaleea, Koa, Pele and Alpine with owners Brad Taylor and Letisha Cole. | Kayla Anderson

In 2001, he adopted his own Husky from a breeder in Carson City, Nev., and named her Malia. Two years later, he went back to the breeder to get her a sister he named Kiana. Although he loves his two dogs, he says that he is not a fan of breeders anymore. He’s learned that there are too many abandoned animals that need good homes.

A few years later, Taylor was at a veterinary’s office when a couple from the Bay Area came in to drop off their Husky — permanently. Since the dog had nowhere to go but to an animal shelter, Taylor took the dog in and named it Koda.

He matched Koda with a couple from Tahoe Donner two weeks later. It was lucky for Koda that Taylor took an interest in her. He learned that often when owners surrender their Huskies in the Reno-Tahoe area, shelters are either too full to take them in or the dogs end up getting euthanized if they display aggressive behavior.

Tahoe Husky Rescue operates entirely from donations and money out of their own pockets.

Taylor and Cole started the Tahoe Husky Rescue to save these at-risk Huskies and now receive calls from California and Nevada shelters looking for someone to foster a dog. They get about an equal number of calls from people looking to adopt Huskies as they do from people or entities looking to surrender them.

“After realizing how many dogs get euthanized, I wanted to try to take those rescue-only dogs out of the shelters,” he says.

Balto came from Southern California, flown up through Pilots ‘N’ Paws by pilot Wayne McClelland from Incline Village, Nev. Balto found a home in Reno.

In 2015, the couple solidified the nonprofit Tahoe Husky Rescue into a 501(c)3 to save as many Huskies as possible. Most their rescue pups come from Reno animal shelters. When Taylor fosters them, he says they never know how long it will take before the dogs are placed in a permanent home. Tahoe Husky Rescue operates entirely from donations and money out of their pockets. Most of the money goes toward vet bills. Every dog that Tahoe Husky Rescue takes in is spayed/neutered and a small adoption fee helps cover expenses.

“There are so many Huskies in shelters,” Cole says. “It’s insane how much money people will pay for a puppy when you can get a rescue dog for $200.”

Tahoe Husky Rescue has taken in include some memorable dogs. Austin, one of their first dogs.

“He never had human contact and was very shy. He went to four homes and was a total escape artist. Two minutes after we adopted him out, the people called us and said he jumped out the car window. Later he darted out the door when a pizza delivery guy came. Austin finally was adopted by an older lady who has kept him ever since,” says Cole.

Kiva was found running wild in the Sun Valley/Reno area.

“When we arrived, she opened someone’s front door and was found in the house playing with a dog and Brad got her on a leash,” says Cole. A woman from Grass Valley saw her at a Squaw Valley Peaks and Paws event and adopted her.

Taylor says that the most rewarding aspect of starting the Tahoe Husky Rescue is saving lives and giving dogs a second chance. Cole says that they love meeting new owners and getting the random text messages and photos of healthy, happy adopted dogs.

On the first Friday of every month, Truckee’s Tahoe Brewing Company taproom hosts a Hops for Huskies event from 3 to 8 p.m. The proceeds benefit the Tahoe Husky Rescue.

On May 19, Best Pies in Truckee will also be hosting a fundraiser for Tahoe Husky Rescue, which will be in the form of a Speakeasy Night, an evening of casino-style gaming, live music and libations. Tickets are on sale at Best Pies and 1920s attire is highly encouraged. (Editor’s note: Author Kayla Anderson will be one of the blackjack dealers.) | tahoehuskyrescue.org

Kayla Anderson

Kayla Anderson is a freelance writer, marketer and action sports enthusiast who has spent the last 10 years in North Lake Tahoe snowboarding, hiking and wake surfing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chico State University and loves being out on the lake as often as she can.