Celebrating Saia’s First Birthday

Saia Turns Oneby Kimberly Wade

How many of you celebrate your pets’ birthdays? Whether by posting a simple photo on social media or going the distance with pup-cakes, presents, balloons and then some? If you’re like me, you do both! Next week, on April 18, my little Siamese, Saia, turns one. She’s a chunky, goofy, vibrant little girl with lots of sass in her personality. I wasn’t always one to make a big deal out of pet birthdays, but after losing my first three cats, and experiencing pet loss for the first time, I decided I needed to celebrate life. Now even my husband laughs at me for the birthday “pawties” I throw!

You may recall a year ago, I was in Las Vegas for an animal conference. After it ended, I met with a nearby animal welfare group to bring 15 cats and kittens back to Reno. My little Saia was one of them. As we were moving the kittens into our adoption vehicle, she refused to go into the cage with her four siblings. She literally leapt into my arms (mind you, she was about four weeks old) and clung to me. When I tried to put her with her siblings she wanted nothing to do with them. She wouldn’t eat. She wouldn’t sleep. So while my husband drove (he always gets roped into helping me with these things), I held her in my lap for ten hours. Once back in Reno, she came home with us, to our house, as a foster kitten. She still wouldn’t eat; I couldn’t leave her alone overnight! Her siblings were fine and doing everything right, but apparently she wanted nothing to do with them.

As you can guess, Saia never left my house. She eventually began eating, and I think her constant desire to eat today is because she’s making up for lost calories during her childhood. She’s my special little girl, who took a road trip with me, making her way into our hearts and home. For those of you thinking that my husband is very tolerant and that I’m lucky to have him (given my obsession with animals), you’re right.

So next week, we celebrate Saia’s birthday. Most of our brood (we have three dogs and three cats) have birthdays early in the year, so as you can imagine it’s been busy. Saia, just like the others, will receive toys, a fancy bed, treats and more. I even go as far as to get one of those big helium number one balloons, you know, like most people do with their human kids? For me, my pets are family, so why not celebrate their precious little lives? I’ll be sharing it all over social media too.

I know I’m not the only one that does this. The veterinarian my husband and I go to had a birthday “pawty” for her 14-year-old lab and invited lots of her doggie friends to come over and celebrate. Another friend decorates with balloons, beautiful chalkboard signs, and cake for her kitties. Then there are all of the pets’ who have social media accounts! I too have an Instagram for my cats (@little_maisey_moo) and our Nevada Humane Society office cats (@nhsbosscats) and the number of birthday celebrations we see are incredible!

Speaking of birthdays, I do have one special shout out, an early Happy Birthday to Maddie, the namesake to Maddie’s Fund. She would have been 30 on April 26, and her legacy lives on thanks to Maddie’s Fund, and also thanks to so many lives we’ve saved here at Nevada Humane Society.

So, whether you laugh at me or support me, the point is that our animals are family. They love us unconditionally, and if you’ve ever adopted from Nevada Humane Society you know this well. We take our pets’ on vacation, to the beach, shopping, out to dinner and then some—so why shouldn’t we celebrate their birthdays? Every day and every year that we have our animals with us is another one to be acknowledged. Whether you go big with a “pawty” like I do, or just post a photo online and have all of your friends wish your four-legged BFF Happy Birthday, it’s a joy for all of us. Hopefully Saia’s birthday celebration will be inspiration for your furkids, too.

By the way, if you want to share photos and stories of your “pet pawties” I’d love to see them! Email me at kwade@nevadahumanesociety.org or send them in to 2825-B Longley Lane, Reno, 89502.


Kimberly Wade is the Communications Director for Nevada Humane Society. She has been with the organization for 7 years but her passion for animals began as a child. Kimberly lives with her husband, 3 cats (one pictured) and 3 dogs.


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Heels & Hounds is Back!

by Kimberly Wade

Think Kentucky Derby. Veuve Cliqcuot. Shopping. Mother’s Day. Adorable, four-legged, fluffy dogs and cats. Brunch. A photo booth. Plenty of pink, orange, green and gold. Spring. Charity. All of this sums up our first big fundraising event of the year, our third annual Heels & Hounds, and you don’t want to miss it!

I can’t believe it’s already April and that Heels & Hounds is here again but we are so excited to kick off Spring with a bang—especially given the recent weather hasn’t felt very Spring like! Our event will fill you with all of the warm fuzzies—bright colors, fun-filled festivities, lively and friendly community go-getters and of course, animals. Because after all, that’s why we host events and raise awareness—because the animals need you.

Heels & Hounds is our annual champagne brunch and fashion show, happening in one week, on Sunday, April 9, at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. Tickets aren’t available at the door, so be sure to get yours now by calling 775-856-2000 ext. 320 or visiting our website, www.nevadahumanesociety.org. Just a few of the festivities that you’ll enjoy include:

  • Dozens of boutique vendors with of one-of-a-kind gifts for people and pets—just in time for Mother’s Day too!
  • A Bubbles & Bling Champagne raffle, where you can buy a glass of Veuve Clicquot and one lucky glass will win a pair of $2,500 Diamond earrings, courtesy of Goldilocks Jewelry and Coin!
  • The Key to The Couture Closet raffle, a fabulous gem of over $4,000 worth of prizes, with everything from a style makeover to health and wellness packages, beauty and fashion gifts, jewelry and a shopping spree valued at $500 by Dillard’s!
  • A silent auction with over 75 cool items for people of all lifestyles
  • A fashion show with local celebrities and pets
  • Unlimited champagne, brunch and even more sweet treats
  • Pets, pets and more pets!

Tickets are going fast and at $75 each they’re a steal for what we know is going to be the best “Sunday Funday” ever. Not to mention, all of this comes back to benefit our homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society.

Last year we saw over 17,000 animals come through our shelter for some form of help. While most of those were homeless pets, others were animals who needed vaccines, spay or neuter services, behavior help and more. Through it all, we saved over 95% of the animals in both Reno and Carson City. That’s lifesaving, folks. That’s making a big impact on local communities as well as those smaller ones around us. And all of this is done thanks to your support, your donations.

So if you’re thinking about going out next Sunday, April 9, maybe it should be for Heels & Hounds. After all, you’ll get a wonderful day with family and friends all for a good cause—because everything we raise for Heels & Hounds helps us cover the cost of animal care—it helps us save lives.

Tickets are not available at the door and last call is by tomorrow, Thursday, April 6, so get yours now either by phone at 775-856-2000 ext. 320 or online. We hope to see you there!

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Angel Pets Deserving of Second Chances

Kimberly Wade

“I’m Bella Rouge. I’m an Angel Pet.” This statement is just the beginning of a group of special pets at Nevada Humane Society seeking love, a family and unlimited belly rubs. Featuring nearly twenty cats and dogs, Angel Pets are those who are in need of a special home even more than anyone else.

Bella Rouge just had a birthday, turning ten-years-old. Her coat shimmers in colors of gold, orange, white and dark chocolate. She’s charming, talkative and a champion sunbather. Her need? She’s diabetic, so she needs daily medication and a special diet.

Boe is a handsome, teenage Shepherd with a stunning ivory coat. He’s always smiling, not to mention intelligent and affectionate. He loves his life despite one simple thing—he has a chronic urinary challenge. It’s easily manageable with a healthy diet and daily medication, even if it’s not fun to talk about.

Bugsy is almost 5, with eyes the color of the sunrise and a striped tiger coat. He’s a mix of sweet and spice with the cutest little face. His challenge? He has arthritis because of his round, full-figure. While exercise will definitely help, Bugsy is also on daily medications and trying his best to learn kitty yoga.

Bella Rouge, Boe and Bugsy are all part of the Angel Pets program, which is designed to help geriatric pets or those with chronic medical conditions find loving homes. Angel Pets offer companionship, unconditional love and every other benefit a pet provides—but they too need something in return. Whether a prescription diet or medications, Angel Pets need a family who will commit to them and be there for them in sickness and health—and Nevada Humane Society is here to provide medical care, training, and support for any condition these animals may have.

By asking the various animal lovers who come into our shelter, we’ve discovered that many people express interest in adopting a pet with special needs but do not have the financial means to absorb the cost of medical care. Under the Angel Pets program, Nevada Humane Society eases the burden of caring for that pet while the adopter gives the pet a chance to live a healthy life outside of the shelter. We waive adoption fees and cover medical care relating to their condition in our vet clinic—because that’s how much we feel animals just like Bella Rouge, Boe and Bugsy deserve a home.

If you’ve ever thought about opening your heart and home to a special pet, please consider adopting an Angel Pet from Nevada Humane Society. You can visit the shelter, spend time with one—or several—Angel Pets and see who is a good fit for you. Remember, we’ll offer education and support regarding their medical condition, arm you with supplies and send you home with any medications and pet food. That means all you need to do… is love. We promise it’ll be the best relationship you’ll ever have, so what do you say? Will you be the human angel to one of our Angel Pets?


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Oakley the Kitten Has a Happy Ending

Oakley Collageby Kimberly Wade

Back in February, a little black kitten made headlines throughout Carson City. Oakley took it upon herself to have a nature adventure and climbed all the way to the top of an Oak tree (hence, her name). Sadly, she couldn’t quite figure out how to get down. At only six months old, her life experience was still minimal, and there was no mom in sight to help her. She began to cry.

A nearby Carson City resident heard her cries and went outside to see what the noise was. Imagine their surprise to find Oakley, high atop an Oak tree in a neighboring yard! Our Nevada Humane Society Animal Control Officers were called but we didn’t have the right tools to get into the tree—not to mention it would have been extremely risky for a person to climb the thin, unsteady branches. The resident then called Healthy Trees, a business local to Carson City. Lucky for all of us, they were available to help.

John and Sean used their climbing gear to safely reach little Oakley, then they repelled down to us. She was in good spirits, not injured and appeared to be friendly with everyone. Healthy Trees saved the day.

Oakley remained at Nevada Humane Society for five days to see if anyone claimed her. No one came forward so we went ahead and spayed her, vaccinated her and microchipped her, then put her up for adoption. Her story at that point had been published throughout Washoe County and Carson City, so it was no surprise when a wonderful family came forward to meet her.

Just the other day Oakley’s new family sent us an adorable photos and message:

“We love her! She has bonded with us all, especially my son and is very playful and loving. She loves dogs…no worries with our two, even on the first night…crazy! She and our 13-year-old kitty are working on it but we have no doubt that one day we’ll come home and they will be curled up in a dog bed together. She also plays with Leo’s tail… it’s pretty funny since she doesn’t have one. By the way, we’ve modified her name to Annie Oakley! We love the story of her rescue, but thought it added a fun western flair! We call her by her full name….Annie said really fast. Thanks again for rescuing her and for keeping her safe to find her loving home!  I don’t know who she lived with before us, but honestly, they must miss her. She is a joy!”

Aww, we love this! It’s so good to hear of the community coming together to help Oakley and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of Carson City. Happy Tails to Oakley!

P.S. Healthy Trees said if we get stuck in this situation again (because we know cats climb) we can call them anytime! Great job Carson community!



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St. CATricks or St. DOGricks?

by Kimberly Wade

If you’re like me, you celebrate the holidays with your pets, including those like National Cat or Dog Day! We do this because our pets are family and therefore it’s only natural for us to include them in the celebrations. But what about using the holidays as a tool to speak up for animals in need?

Though Nevada Humane Society began in 1932, our lifesaving efforts, progressive movement and innovative programs didn’t begin until about 2007. That’s when the Board of Directors decided to change the mission to one of lifesaving and they hired a new leadership team to make this happen. At that time, we honestly had hundreds and hundreds of animals residing at the shelter daily—literally, three to four times the number of animals that reside here today. We needed to be creative, and quickly, in order to move animals into loving homes and make room for the many homeless pets that entered the shelter every day. We knew right away that getting people in the door to adopt was going to be key. So we got creative.

Our former executive director, Bonney Brown, was known nationwide for her talents in animal welfare. One of my favorite stories she used to share was that of adoption marketing. You see, back then we tried everything. We had certified pre-owned pets for adoption, senior campaigns, and promotions around the holidays. Whatever people were talking about, whatever got people in the door, we would do. After months of testing the waters and gaining a presence in the local and national media for our lifesaving success, we also began to hear from the naysayers. They exist everywhere—you know, the ones who don’t believe in what we are doing, don’t consider animals family, and so forth.

A woman mailed a letter to Bonney, basically insulting Nevada Humane Society by saying how “stupid” we were for using holidays and trends to make people adopt. She thought we were ridiculous and chastised us. She ended the letter with the statement, “What’s next? Arbor Day?”

You guessed it. Bonney and her team partnered with a local nursery, and over a period of days surrounding Arbor Day, held a fun adoption promotion where everyone who adopted was given a free tree from the nursery—all in honor of Arbor Day and all because of a nasty letter from someone who didn’t believe in us. The media loved it, and to this day we still share that story.

As Saint Patrick’s Day is nearly upon us, I share this to raise recognition for our animals. At Nevada Humane Society, we celebrate St. CATRicks and St. DOGricks. We look to the end of the rainbow for our version of the pot of gold—perhaps a kitten or an adult cat. We tout that dogs are luckier than a four leaf clover. We dress up our ginger colored pets with green headbands and take photos of them for fun. We use every angle we can to encourage people to come meet our pets so that they can see what we already know—they are all incredible individuals and deserve to find love a second time with a new family.

Happy St. CATricks or St. DOGricks and be safe with your furry family. Need to add to the celebration? Visit us daily, as we’re open at our shelter in Reno and Carson City seven days a week for pet adoptions, from 11am until 6:30pm. Follow the rainbow to us, because everyone will certainly reap the reward.

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Boxes, The #1 Preferred Toy of Cats

by Kimberly Wade

The doorbell rings. Dogs bark. Cats scramble to hide. Or maybe they run to greet your visitor. Either way, something big is happening. You answer the door to find the Fed Ex guy with a giant cardboard box. It’s like Christmas, Halloween and a birthday all rolled into one—for the cats.

My husband and I get our pet food delivered each month by Chewy.com. No matter what’s in the box, the cats always are the most excited for the box. Just the box. Maybe the paper stuffing too, but really, just the box. And if you have cats, you know that no matter what we buy them, not matter how fabulous the toy, they will always prefer just the box.

Cats and boxes go together like ribbons and bows. There’s just some sort of attraction. Feline experts have discussed a variety of reasons why cats prefer boxes and it actually makes sense when you think about it.

Reason one—for play. Cats can peer out of a box, climb into it, bat it around, or hide under it. They can scratch it, chew on it or throw their toys into it. No matter what they do with it, a box is exciting for just about any cat.

Reason two—for security. Shy cats, or maybe those who simply need some quiet time, can find privacy and a good hiding spot in a box. Boxes can make them feel secure and safe. That’s also true in animal shelters. At Nevada Humane Society, we have these boxes called Hide, Perch and Go habitats. The bottom has a little cubby hole for them to hide, the top has an area to perch, and when they are adopted, they fold up into a temporary cat carrier so that you can safely transport them home. Cats genuinely love them and it’s a wonderful tool for them in the busy, shelter environment.

Another reason is the principle we’ve all seen on the internet—“If it fits, I sits.” I’m not kidding. If you haven’t before, Google it. You’ll see more photos of cats cramming themselves into boxes of all sizes. While there is no expert study on why this happens, cats are known for their oddball places to relax or curl up. Mine at home are obsessed with my husband’s shoes, the sink, and any size box. Even if they only can fit in one leg, they will find a way to make their entire body fit, no matter how tight the space.

Finally, the latest box trend, one I am newly obsessed with. If you follow cats on Instagram you know the the hashtag #fridaynightboxpawty is a hit. From Amazon boxes to Chewy boxes to everything in between, my cats join this party every Friday night. We take a picture with their preferred box of the week, post it on their Instagram, tag their furriends (fur friends, get it?) and have a good laugh. Yes, I realize your cat needs to have his own Instagram account for this, but I promise it’s worth it.

There are so many ways to build relationships and create a bond between you and your pet. The #boxpawty is only one of them. And if you’ve adopted a pet from Nevada Humane Society, you know this. If you haven’t, well, you really need to get on that bandwagon, visit our shelter (one in Reno and one in Carson City!) and fall in love with someone because we promise it’s worth it.

By the way, you all know I’m a cat lady, but my husband and I do have dogs too. Three, to be exact. They too have their quirks, but other than food, they don’t have a “specific thing” like our cats do. So feel free to share your dog stories because I know they deserve it too. And I’m curious as to what silly dog topic I can come up with for this column.

Until next time, send me your cat box photos or other fun ideas to kwade@nevadahumanesociety.org. I love to share stories of adopted pets and can’t wait to read them!


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Double the Love

by Kimberly Wade

It’s the kind of story that warms your heart and breaks your heart all at the same time. Two dogs, one of them a senior, given up as a last resort. It was the last thing their family wanted to do, but when things spiral out of control and animals have nowhere to go, Nevada Humane Society is here.

Otis and Yogi arrived in late January. Yogi is an 8 year old Pomeranian Otis, his brother, is an 11 year old Pekingese. This dynamic duo has been together since they were puppies. Otis may be a few years older, but he easily took on the role of big brother from day one. They’ve bonded. They’ve shared ups and downs, learned from mistakes, gained from adventures and led a great life.

Recently, Otis and Yogi’s human mother had some circumstances arise that were out of her control. Her family was down on their luck and lost their home. They reached out to her, and of course she took them in. It wasn’t a good fit for Otis and Yogi, and after trying everything, she called Nevada Humane Society.

The day she came in to surrender Otis and Yogi was an emotional one. It was clear this was a hard decision. She was in tears; therefore, our staff was in tears. Everyone knew it was the right thing to do but it didn’t make it any easier. The glimmer of good news in all of this was that Otis and Yogi, though a bit nervous, were for the most part goofy, silly and affectionate. It was as if they knew they needed to keep their spirits up, and make everyone in the room smile no matter how tough the goodbye was.

Our staff at Nevada Humane Society immediately notified several managers. We knew that we needed to take extra good care of Otis and Yogi and give them lots of TLC. They deserved it. We quickly learned that both dogs were in pretty good shape. They needed some dental work but otherwise were healthy and happy. We promised to find them a home together, so right away we took photos and set them up with fluffy beds, food and water. Over the next couple of weeks they received medical care and love from staff—they quickly became a favorite of everyone.

Now the time has come for us to say goodbye to Otis and Yogi—they’re ready for a new family! We promised their person that we would find them a home together, and we’re keeping that promise. Otis and Yogi have sweet personalities and big, toothy grins. They love everyone and want nothing more than constant cuddle time. They will benefit from a good amount of attention, so we’re hoping someone who has plenty of time on their hands will fall in love with them—but we want anyone who is interested to come meet them. Otis and Yogi brought so much love to their previous owner and we know they will do the same for their next family.

This is lifesaving. We don’t turn you away no matter what the age. We take in the old, the ugly, the shy and the sweet. We understand things can happen and that while giving up a pet is hard, sometimes it needs to be done. We don’t judge nor do we assume. We are here to provide love and care for the animals while finding them new homes. This is lifesaving.

If you can help us find Otis and Yogi a home together, you are as much a part of this as we are. Otis and Yogi are available at our Reno shelter, located at 2825 Longley Lane. We’re open daily from 11am to 6:30pm, and an hour earlier on Saturdays, at 10am. We hope that Otis and Yogi’s new family is out there and that we get to meet you soon. Then, we can wrap up their story with a happy ending—something all of us can’t wait to see.ogether where they will get the love and affection they once had. Both boys have sweet personalities and big, toothy grins. They’ll need a little dental work but otherwise they’re in good shape. This is lifesaving. We don’t turn you away, no matter what the age. We take in the old, the ugly, the shy and the sweet. If you can help us find Yogi and Otis a home, together, as a team we can make a difference.

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