Success at Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days

by Mark Robison, guest blogger and Co-Executive Director for Maddie’s® Pet Project – Saving Nevada’s Pets


It’s time to raise your paws in appreciation—more than 950 homeless cats and dogs were adopted out across Nevada for Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days last weekend. I’d like to think it’s because of you for taking them in, and your friends for taking them in, and their friends for taking them in. You did this! You welcomed pets into your family all across Nevada and I couldn’t be more proud.

Forty-one shelters and rescue groups made it happen as part of a free-adoption event organized by Maddie’s® Pet Project in Nevada, a new three-year campaign aimed at helping more homeless cats and dogs find good homes and creating a safety net for pets by improving access to veterinary care in the Silver State.

Final numbers are not expected for another week, with some groups still verifying numbers. At this point, it’s confirmed that 657 dogs and 294 cats were adopted as part of the event. A few other animals were adopted, too: seven rabbits, four ducks, two guinea pigs, and one hamster.

Shelters and rescue groups participated in Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days in 12 communities, including Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, Silver Springs, Ely, Fallon, Fernley, Yerington, Boulder City, Henderson, and Pahrump. In order to enable shelters to waive adoption fees, Maddie’s Pet Project is awarding participating organizations $300 for each cat and dog adopted out April 27-28 to cover sheltering expenses.

Lyon County Animal Shelter in Silver Springs was one of many places surprised by the event’s popularity. “We were thrilled by the response,” said shelter supervisor Nicole Cates. “I had expected to adopt out 12 dogs, and instead we adopted out twice that many.”

Jill Dobbs, executive director of the SPCA of Northern Nevada, said, “We loved interacting with so many people from our community who came to our adoption center for the event. It was inspiring to match 53 homeless pets with loving homes and watch the animals get their second chance at love.”

Nevada Humane Society adopted out 161 dogs and cats at the shelter’s Reno location and 18 in Carson City, plus seven other small animals.

“What an amazing experience,” said Carrie Brown, adoption manager at Nevada Humane Society. “I’m so glad to have been a part of it.”

The adoption event was made possible by Maddie’s Pet Project in Nevada thanks to funding from the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation and Maddie’s Fund®. Their generosity is inspired by their miniature schnauzer Maddie, whose birthday was April 26. Gov. Brian Sandoval proclaimed it Maddie’s Day during a Reno ceremony, officially kicking off the three-year campaign.

To learn more about the Nevada campaign, visit

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Adoption is THE Option

by Kimberly Wade

One of my favorite events is back, happening Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28—Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days! For two days only, all adoption fees will be waived for dogs and cats at participating organization across Nevada—that’s right, I said Nevada! It’s a statewide adoption event, one that I’m leading as part of Maddie’s® Pet Project in Nevada, a new initiative that aims to create a safety net for cats and dogs by increasing adoptions from shelters and improving access to veterinary care in underserved areas throughout the entire state.

Mark Robison, the co-executive director of Maddie’s® Pet Project in Nevada (and who actually created this Animal Files column years ago) comments, “We are so excited to help groups find good homes for the pets in their care. Thanks to the generosity of the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation and Maddie’s Fund, we will reimburse animal organizations $300 for every cat or dog they adopt during the event so they are able to waive their normal adoption fees.”

Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days is a win for everyone. Homeless pets across the state will be adopted by loving families, instead of residing in a shelter. Animal organizations will be awarded $300 for every single dog and cat they adopt—funds they can then use for other animals that will be in their care. The people win too! Think of the hundreds (although we estimate 1,000 adoptions will take place statewide) of families that will be adding to their family! They now get to wake up with an adorable cat or dog—who we know will bring them unconditional love and so much more. Benefits of a pet include making people happier and healthier, lowering your blood pressure and reducing stress. They also help provide companionship for seniors and give kids the opportunity to become more socially well-adjusted.

Maddie’s® Pet Adoption Days kicked off on Thursday, when Governor Brian Sandoval issued a special proclamation for Nevada. April 26 is the birthday of Maddie, a miniature schnauzer who brought joy to the Duffields and inspired them to help other pets have a good life—and it’s now dubbed Maddie’s Day, in honor of her legacy and all of the pets that will continue to be helped by this initiative.

If you’ve been thinking about adopting, now is the time. The initial fees are waived (but of course, caring and providing for a pet is a commitment and certainly not free) and when you adopt shelters will receive that awesome donation of $300.

Participating organizations are at this link or, if you are in northern Nevada, contact these groups for their specific adoption hours and locations:

  • Shelters: Nevada Humane Society (Reno and Carson City), SPCA of Northern Nevada (Reno), Pet Network Humane Society (Incline Village), Canine Rehabilitation Center and Sanctuary (CRCS, Washoe Valley) and Catmandu (Carson City).
  • Rescues: Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation and The Littlest Things, holding adoptions at Pet Station in Incline Village; Boxers and Buddies and Res-Que, holding adoptions at Petco Northtowne; Animal Rescue Group of Northern Nevada (ARGONN) holding adoptions at PetSmart Spanish Springs; and Another Chance, holding adoptions at Petco Carson City.

Remember, contact a specific group to find out their hours and locations—many have multiple locations and if they don’t have a shelter (the rescue groups) they are not open all day. Need help navigating all of this? Call us at 775-399-3853 and we’ll guide you to an adoption agency. Happy adopting!

Featured Pet: I’m Tiva! Yes, you’ve seen me before and you will until I go home! I’m a four-year-old gal who tends to be mellow and introverted—though I love a good cuddle. I’ve been at Nevada Humane Society much longer than others, and the staff loves me but I really deserve a home. I’m a pit bull so I have that little frowny face that makes me look grumpy, but I promise you I’m not. Give me a chance—visit me today!31369137_10156800948070656_4871196668763956430_n


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Adopt and Save a Life

By Mary Nielsen, guest blogger and author of this cat blog, Feline Living!


Adopt and save a life

Stray animals and overcrowded animal shelters are a big problem. There are millions of animals in the shelters all over the USA and they are waiting for a loving home. New stray animals are appearing on the streets every day and it is hard for shelters to take them all in if the numbers of animals are increasing with the shelter spaces being limited. But you can help these animals! All you have to do is adopt a cat or dog and encourage others to do likewise. Not only will you have a warm cuddly friend who will love you to the end, but now the shelter has the means to help even more animals in need. If you have the capacity to care for an animal, why not adopt?

How shelters care for animals

Unlike those unsavory kitten and puppy mills, animal shelters show the highest regard for the well-being of the homeless cats and dogs they take in. In a tick, the shelter workers can turn a matted grimalkin into a Duchess or a floppy mop top into Lassie. Shelters not only feed and house cats and dogs in need but also provide very necessary veterinary care. Spaying and neutering is a priority as are vaccinations and parasite removal. Any and all illnesses will be screened and tended to as is appropriate.

Find the pet that’s just right for you

What every cat and dog really wants is a family. Different cats and dogs will naturally have different needs. Do you want a mate to just sit on the sofa and watch telly with you? Do you want someone to run about in the garden with? Do you want a big buddy you can take out to the countryside with? Would you prefer a purring little mite to curl up in your lap? No matter what cat or dog you get, please remember that this is a living being who needs love like food and water. Please do exercise forbearance and patience. Keep in mind the animal does want to make you happy, if he or she only knew how. It can be tricky sussing out what must be done to help a pet settle into your lifestyle. It’s fortunate that your local animal center can help you. Ask, and you shall receive.

The animals need you!

If you cannot adopt a pet, please consider fostering one. Shelters are always in need of volunteers of a sort. If you’ve a lorry with enough room, you can provide transportation services. If you do photography, you can take photos for an adoption website. If you do web design, you can offer your services. There are also simple tasks like answering phones and e-mails or if you’d prefer personal interaction, you can offer to walk or groom animals. Please help however you can. If you have friends or family who would like to add a cat or dog to their household, suggest adopting. If you need more reasons to adopt, please consult this infographic. Adopting a pet saves a life. Please make your home the Forever Home a pet dreams of.

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Through the Looking Glass

by Kimberly Wade

Recently we put out a plea on social media asking for photos of adopted pets—and wow, did people follow through! We have the most adorable photos of so many Nevada Humane Society alumni and I am blown away at the stories and positive impact each and every one of them has had on their new families. I mean, I know people love their pets but to have literally hundreds of people email me brings a joy to my heart—and I can’t even take credit! The entire team at Nevada Humane Society, from adoption counselors to animal caregivers to veterinary technicians to our administrative team found homes for these animals by working together. However, it got me thinking. With so many dogs and cats going home in a matter of days, why are there some animals who reside at the shelter so much longer than others?

I’m going to be honest. While the average length of stay is just less than two weeks, there are some dogs and cats who are there for months. It’s hard to say why, but what I’ve seen is that these are the dogs and cats who are more introverted, or who require ongoing medical care or who have some unique quirks that require them to be an only pet. But really, time will allow for the introvert to come out of their shell. Those with ongoing medical care are typically an Angel Pet, where we provide free or at cost supplies and veterinary care for their lifetime. Those that would do best as an only home are because we have a history on them from previous owners or we have seen their dislike for other four-legged friends at the shelter—and we want to set them up for success. Either way, they all still deserve a home, love and a family to call their own. So here’s my plea to you—we have four specific pups that could really benefit from a home and a family, and I need your help to make that happen.

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane SocietyTiva is a four-year-old gal who tends to be on the mellow, introverted side—though she loves a good cuddle. She’s been here for a year, and the staff and volunteers love her and parade her everywhere with the hopes of finding that special someone—but it hasn’t worked. She’s a pit bull so she has that little frowny face that makes her look grumpy, but we promise you she’s not.

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane SocietyAce is a big, goofy, terrier mix who always smiles. He’s seven and has also been here a year. Did we say he’s big? Think of him like a giant body pillow—fluffy and round. He’s got a smile a mile wide, so be ready for it.

Rocko 36498207(2).jpgRocko is a stunning fella with the most beautiful shaded coat—his fur is a shining mix of gray and brown. He’s built well, strong in the right places, cut in others—like a movie star. He’s six and pushing six months at the shelter. He’s a bit shy, and likes to take his time getting to know you before jumping into a relationship—but once he’s committed, he’s all in.

Princess 37350482(2).jpgFinally, there’s Princess, all wiggly butt and tail wagging excitement. She thinks she’s pampered, going after any lap she can sit on and any hand that will pet her. She’s about nine, so she thinks she’s retired but really she’s got a goofy energy that is guaranteed to keep you active and entertained. Princess is also one of those frowny pit bulls, but when she sees you that frown very quickly turns upside down.

Each of these four prefer older kids or adults only, no cats and will need to meet any other dogs before going home—but would probably do better with no other pets. They’re independent, free spirits who love their humans. Their breeds by nature are energetic and love attention. They do best with active families, toys and other enriching goodies to keep them entertained and lots of love. We really don’t want them sad to be here; after all, Nevada Humane Society is pretty awesome, but we know it’s better for them in a home. So the challenge is on. Either you open your heart and home to one of these bumbly, goofy dogs, or help us find someone who will. Challenge accepted? Good. We’re open daily for adoptions so I expect to see you soon.

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Ten Years of Lifesaving

by Kimberly Wade

Animal welfare is progressive. We know that people come and go, the needs of a community change and life just happens. In 2017, Nevada Humane Society hit a milestone—10 years of lifesaving. Though we originated in 1932, our Board of Directors didn’t move to change the mission to one of lifesaving, creating and sustaining a no-kill community, until 2006. At that point, a new regional animal shelter was already under construction—the one currently on Longley Lane—after the community recognized the need for it. Everyone knew that by bringing Washoe County Regional Animal Services and Nevada Humane Society together under one roof, it would create a better place for homeless pets as well as provide a one-stop shop for people. The shelter opened in 2007, and today, after 10 years of lifesaving, we can say that over 100,000 lives have been saved—a feat that hasn’t been easy but is immensely rewarding.

Over the last 10 years, Nevada Humane Society created programs based on community need. You asked, we answered. With things like progressive adoption campaigns to encourage people to visit the shelter first, before going to a pet store or other means of acquiring a pet; low-cost spay and neuter services and vaccinations; programs for senior people and senior pets; Nevada Humane Society truly created a safety net for homeless pets in this community.

If you had told management at Nevada Humane Society 10 years ago that we would be transporting in animals from other shelters, animals that wouldn’t otherwise have a second chance, we wouldn’t have believed it. If you had told the team that spay and neuter would work, that we would see drastically decreasing numbers of kittens, feral cats and even puppies, we wouldn’t have believed it. The lifesaving mission in 2007 seemed virtually impossible but we were determined.

It’s pretty impressive now to see the difference. Our free Animal Help Desk helps provide people with various resources so that relinquishing their pet to the shelter is their last option. There are temporary food programs if you are down on your luck and can’t feed your pet. There are resources to help you with a dog or cat who isn’t as well-mannered as you would like. There are ways to manage and care for feral cats, keeping the population down yet allowing them to live a healthy, outdoor lifestyle—as they are meant for. There are adoptions! People now can come to a shelter for any pet, any age, breed, look or personality. There are dogs and cats, yes, but also small animals, farm animals and so much more. We have partnered with prisons, allowing inmates to not only better themselves as people, but to also help homeless pets, by training dogs who need basic manners or socialization and caring for tiny, newborn kittens—raising them so that they can then be adopted into loving families.

We have listened to the needs of our community to provide a better life for homeless pets, all while helping people too. We accepted that animal welfare is progressive and always changing—this has allowed us to succeed. This has allowed us to overcome challenges, learn from mistakes and keep moving forward. This has allowed us to hit 10 years of lifesaving, and proudly declare that over 100,000 animals are now in loving homes because of everything we aimed for. To all of you who supported us then and still support us now… thank you.

Events for the Animals: Tickets for Heels & Hounds, a champagne brunch and fashion show, are on sale now! The event celebrates the Year of the Dog and benefits all homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society. Heels & Hounds is on Sunday, April 8. Tickets start at $80. Details: 775-856-2000 ext. 320 or

Featured Pet: We’re Huey, Dewey and Louie, three young and fabulous brothers. We were brought up from southern Nevada to give us a second chance at a new home. We may look alike, but our purrsonalities are very different! Sweet, lovable and curious—we’re the best packaged deal, and our adoption fees are sponsored, so we go home, together, for free! Meet us today!Huey, Dewey and Louie.jpg


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Big Hearts, Big Community

29497268_10156700780870656_3645335428949583896_n.jpgby Kimberly Wade

So many good things! I feel like since I author this column I probably see more compliments than most, but the number of awesome things happening for our animals is growing and we are really excited to see so many big hearts in our community.

You are probably aware we’ve been working with other shelters across the state to bring in animals to Washoe County to find them loving homes, animals that wouldn’t otherwise have that chance. Most recently, we brought in about 150 cats from Desert Haven Animal Society in Pahrump. So far over 100 of them have been adopted!

Salon Lux, Raising Canes, Amazon, Silver State Barricade and Sign—there are so many awesome businesses who are partnering with Nevada Humane Society to help homeless pets. These are just a few of our supporters, and recently, each of them took it upon themselves to organize fundraisers and bring in donations for the animals. Seeing everything from monetary donations to Amazon gift cards to sponsored adoption fees—this is our community! Knowing we come together to help when someone needs it, people and pets alike, is something to be proud of!

Here’s something else that was different yet successful. A mother reached out to us on Facebook. She said that her daughter’s 7th birthday was coming up and she wanted to adopt a cat. Mom told her it was a lot of work and responsibility, and that they should go to Nevada Humane Society to work with the kitties for a day to see what the work entails. So they did! The daughter spent time with our staff cleaning cats, playing with them, feeding them, and even followed proper hygiene—wearing rubber gloves! She was very excited and the work didn’t deter her. She fell in love with Chubbs, a big 2 year old who had been lost on the streets, and took him home that day. Not only were we a part of this cool learning experience, but we were able to pair an awesome family with the sweetest cat!

Buttercup is a nearly 18 year old Siamese, whose person had to give her up. Poor Buttercup arrived matted and blind. It wasn’t easy for her to face. She looked rough around the edges, but her personality stood out—so much so the staff took a huge liking to her. We shared her story on Facebook and within a matter of days she had a home—a fabulous young gal came in and wanted to help. She had no other pets so Buttercup would certainly be spoiled with attention. This is the kind of lifesaving that makes us so happy!

This is lifesaving. This is Nevada Humane Society. Going above and beyond for homeless pets. Working with the community to save lives. Reaching out for help when needed (which is always). We are here for the animals, but you are here too—and that’s what makes such big hearts in this big community.

By the way, if you want to help, here are a few ideas:

  • Sponsor an adoption fee! The average adoption fee for dogs is $50 and cats $25. If you sponsor the fee, you or your business will get special marketing and together we’ll get a pet home!
  • Create a fundraising event for the animals and donate the proceeds to us! We’ve got lots of ideas if you need them, but things like this are great for schools and kids!
  • Donate supplies! We have a wish list on our website, but right now our biggest needs are cat and kitten food (dry kibble and canned food; no fish flavors), pet beds and toys. Amazon gift cards are great too!
  • Monetary donations. Funding helps us with everything from medical care to special programs to adoptions. Every penny counts!

We’ll say it again. This is lifesaving. This is Nevada Humane Society. Your awesome stories and partnerships and support make it possible. Thank you and we can’t wait to write more columns just like this!

Featured Pet: Hi! I’m Pauline, age 14. I’ve been at the shelter much longer than others because I’ve got a unique personality. I’m sassy, independent, quiet and prefer to hang out with you… but I’m not a lap cat and I’m slow to adjust to new places. I know I’m different but that doesn’t make me any less deserving. I’ve lived with kids, cats and dogs and I think I would come out of my shell once in a home, so won’t you take a chance on me today?

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Facing Reality

Bby Kimberly Wade

It’s time. I’ve shared so much of my journey with my pets that I know I need to face reality. And every time I share with you, whether personal or related to Nevada Humane Society, you step up. It helps us to relate, to know we are not alone. So it’s time.

I can’t even get the words on paper.

Barley, my best friend, my first dog, my boy, left me two months ago, on December 28. My husband and I didn’t share this with many people; most of you even still ask about him. But it’s time to face reality.

If you were lucky to have known him, you would describe him as the happiest dog ever. Always smiling, always up for adventure. My sidekick. He went everywhere with me. He was my muse. As long as I was there, he would do anything. He visited Nevada Humane Society often, acted as a secondary foster parent to every pet I brought home and loved everyone. He just wanted to be with people—especially me. He would have done anything for me, and he did.

I shared his journey with Diabetes last fall, because I talked about so many animals at Nevada Humane Society that needed special care, just like he now did. I had never faced that journey myself until him.

It was hard at first, but it got easier. From talking with so many of you who adopted special needs pets I knew we could do this. And by no means do I ever want to deter any of you from adopting a special needs pet—because they are amazing, just as Barley was.

His body didn’t accept our help. We tried everything. Traditional medicine, various types of insulin, acupuncture and other holistic supplements. We think he was insulin resistant, that Pancreatitis was the cause and that’s what quickly shut down the rest of his organs.

He wanted to fight. We wanted to fight. I told him so many times that I would do this as long as he wanted it. But it got ugly.

We lost our senior lab, Gilda in the middle of December. A few days later Barley lost his eyesight. A few days later Tito, our Italian Greyhound, chose to leave us. Barley started failing. I almost don’t blame him. His body was a mess, he lost his siblings, and his ability to live life to the fullest was falling apart. Mind you it was also Christmas.

We knew Barley was done on Christmas Eve. He tried so hard to be his normal vivacious, happy self but he was so tired. He couldn’t see. We kept trying. We saw an eye specialist the day after Christmas. The icing on the cake. Normally, even for vet appointments, he loves to ride in the car. He was terrified. We were told one eye had to be removed, and the other, well, even if we fixed it he would likely go blind again. We had to decide on surgery now. Everything Barley was putting out told us he wouldn’t make it through surgery, much less the recovery. So why do it? For us? My husband knew it was time. I had a feeling but wasn’t 100%. I asked Barley to stop being strong for me and to tell me what he wanted. I told him I would fight but if he was done I would let him go. The next morning, as he laid on the couch, he told me. He didn’t want to get up for food, or a ride or anything. He was tired. He was ready. I called my husband. I lost it.

We spent the day watching movies, playing in the yard and with the cats. I was beyond broken. We got Barley a cheeseburger and fries on the way to the vet; he was so happy! His Diabetic diet for the last couple of months wasn’t fun; he’s a foodie.

We got to the vet. Our team is amazing. They were there for Gilda and Tito. They fought the Diabetes with us. They loved all of them too yet it doesn’t make it easier. Barley was scared and trying to be strong for me but I told him I would be fine. He left us on my lap, in my arms, with my husband and our vet team beside us.

Diabetes is manageable. I honestly don’t think I can go through that again, but with so many animals who face medical conditions, they need you. I need you, because I can’t do it. For all of us who lost a best friend, struggled with illness, making the choice to let them go… we are not alone. And that’s why I write this today. Animals are more than my passion. They are my family. Nevada Humane Society believes in family, and hopefully it’s your time to adopt and I hope Barley’s story will make you step up for someone else in need.

To say our home is empty without dogs is an understatement. The cats are trying to fill the void, but it’s so different. We won’t be ready for a long time, but we know we made the right decision letting all of them go and we don’t love any less because of it.

I’ll leave you with this. I needed Barley to send us a sign that he was okay. The vision was immediate. As soon as he arrived at his next destination, he was greeted with his vision, bright green grass and his brother. Tito was waiting for him. Barley looked up at him, knew it was okay and they moved on, together. For me, knowing they have each other and that hopefully one day we’ll see him again, I can grieve. Finally.




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