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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Canine Influenza: How We Are Helping

by Kimberly Wade

Two weekends ago, there was an article in RGJ which mentioned both Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA of Northern Nevada. It specifically referred to our collaborations with other shelters and rescues across the state as we transport homeless pets to Washoe County to provide them with a lifesaving opportunity through our organizations—therefore saving more lives statewide. The concern was making sure the animals that are being brought in and adopted out are healthy.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the canine influenza, or dog flu, is highly contagious. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed, and infection can occur year round. Almost all dogs exposed will become infected and the majority of them develop flu-like symptoms. It is not contagious to people. Supportive care should be provided to keep the dog comfortable and medications may be necessary but most dogs recover within a few weeks.

In the last two months, within the Reno area, there have been 80 new cases of canine influenza reported. We don’t want to scare you, but ultimately there are pet-related businesses that are choosing to temporarily shut their doors or not accept new clients. So what are we doing about it, especially since, as it was pointed out, we are bringing in animals from other areas?

At both Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA, best practices are in place for the safety of the dogs and our community. Both shelters have full-time veterinarians and clinic staff. There are strict protocols in place to ensure that any sign of illness is immediately reported, then dogs are quarantined and examined by a veterinarian. All dogs are vaccinated for canine influenza (as well as other illnesses) at the time they arrive at the shelter and receive the appropriate boosters.

Both shelters also offer the canine influenza vaccine (among others) at weekly vaccine clinics for the general public. Nevada Humane Society has a low-cost vaccine clinic every Saturday from 9am to 11am; the SPCA has a low-cost vaccine clinic the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 5pm to 7pm and every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA take any pet-related illness seriously. We work diligently to protect homeless pets and owned pets. When we take in pets from other shelters or rescues, we quarantine animals if we feel they may be contagious—and many times they are quarantined regardless if they are from specific regions where any illness is prevalent. We also do this with kittens and puppies—especially if they are too small to be vaccinated—in both the shelter and foster homes. If animals are surrendered, we have a thorough discussion with their owner to determine if the dog could have been exposed, and we work with them to try and keep the animal out of the shelter until a quarantined period has passed.

So what can you do? Learn the basics about the illness and how to protect your dog:

  • Canine Influenza is spread primarily through the air, so coughing and sneezing even 20 feet away can cause infection
  • It can spread by people moving between an infected dog and uninfected dog or contaminated objects (bedding, food bowls, etc.)
  • Signs of the illness range from mild to severe
  • Symptoms include coughing, possible nasal or eye discharge, lethargy, reduced appetite and fever
  • Secondary bacterial infections can also occur if not handled in a timely manner
  • Talk to your vet (establish a relationship with a full-service, private vet if you don’t already have one) and see if the vaccine is right for your dog
  • Wash your hands between dog-to-dog contact, and if you don’t have to, avoid petting other dogs
  • Avoid dog-friendly places, such as parks, daycares or other areas dogs may gather, as the virus can live outside of the host for up to 48 hours

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Featured Pet: Hi, I’m Queenie! I know, my looks get your attention, and hopefully my purrsonality will too! A little sweet, a little shy, I’m the kind of gal who needs someone to be patient with me and let me warm up to them slowly. Change is a big adjustment for anyone, but I work hard at letting my affection show! Just know I’m charming, friendly and curious and meet me today!

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A Forever Valentine

by Kimberly Wade

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and with all of the promotional products being featured everywhere, it’s hard not to think about it! But as we know, flowers wilt, candy gets eaten and gifts can be tossed away after time. So what about considering a forever Valentine? Don’t laugh, you knew that’s where I was going with this—because when you adopt, that’s what you get.

Valentine’s Day aside, there’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. Unconditional love. I know I talk about it all the time, but it’s true. I’ve been under the weather this week and a head cold is never fun, but I’ll tell you what, my cats are there for me. They know when I need a distraction from the discomfort, a cuddle to help me sleep and playful antics to make me smile. They don’t run for fear of catching my cooties but rather they stick around and do what they do best—offer unconditional love.

Over the holidays, when we lost our dogs, the cats grieved too. They roamed the house, crying out, looking for their doggie siblings. They went in to their bedroom, sniffing around and wondering why there wasn’t this lumbering old lab or our Italian Greyhound, who used to make them chase him every morning. I’ve seen species grieve for the same species, but it was interesting to see different species grieve for each other too—and heartbreaking. But despite their confusion, they knew we, as mom and dad, were in more pain, so they stepped up their game. Newton, our cat who is known for loving everyone you meet and truly the most affectionate cat in the world (no joke, but that’s another story), didn’t leave us alone. It’s as if he knew we needed him. Maisey, our goofy, playful, ride on my shoulders Siamese, spent more time cuddled with me than normal (and that’s a lot). Even Saia, our shy little one, came out of her comfort zone to be a part of the family.

Last year, during several stressful situations we endured, our animals were there for us. It’s funny—it’s as if they don’t want to add to that stress so they behave the best they can be. They know that it’s not the time for knocking half full glassware off the counter or making a mess with their toys (sometimes our living room looks like a giant playpen). They simply are there for us, bringing us comfort and unconditional love.

Even when they do something they shouldn’t, like sneaking food off our plate or accidently deleting an email off the laptop, they know they made a mistake but they still offer unconditional love.

I think animals are probably one of the most selfless beings on the planet. OK, maybe dogs and cats, because let’s be honest, the rabbit digging up your backyard doesn’t really care, but dogs and cats, they are here for their people. When you treat them right, give them the best life they deserve, rescue them, ADOPT them, they know. They just know. They know it’s meant to be and they know that you are their person. And the cool thing is that I’ve had more people tell me that the pet (or pets) they adopted from a shelter or rescue are the most appreciative and offer the most unconditional love.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches, love your pets too. Consider adding to the family by visiting Nevada Humane Society and adopting. Because unconditional love is real, and there won’t be a day that will go by that you don’t see that. And right now, Nevada Humane Society has some of the most adorable dogs and cats looking for love… a forever love, not just for Valentine’s Day, so I really hope you give a new relationship a chance. You won’t regret it.


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A Positive Future Ahead

by Kimberly Wade

2018 is going to be a big year for Nevada Humane Society, as lots of positive growth is on the horizon—something all of us as animal lovers are excited about. For me, as I’ve shared so much of my journey over the last couple of years that I’ve fulfilled this column, there are also big changes, and I wanted to share it with you.

I’ve been in the marketing role from the beginning, initially hired as the Foster Coordinator but moving into marketing within a few months of my start date. The role quickly evolved to best fit my skillsets and for the needs of the animals, and over the last 8 years, I’m very proud of everything I’ve accomplished as well as how the organization has grown. I can honestly say it’s a job that has bettered me as a person, changed the lives of those around me and made me fall even harder for homeless pets—if that was possible!

Recently, I was presented with an opportunity to join a new team, with Humane Network (many of you remember Bonney Brown and Diane Blankenburg, who began this column), who was chosen by Maddie’s Fund to lead efforts in creating a no-kill Nevada. This goal is something that will allow all of the lives of healthy and treatable pets to be saved, to revolutionize the status and well-being of homeless pets, and to provide access to care for so many of those in need in rural areas. In essence, I will be helping an awesome group of individuals save more lives not just in Washoe County, but all across the state—and that, my friends, is huge.

Despite taking on such an amazing role, you can’t get rid of me that easily. I’ll be continuing all of my marketing efforts for Nevada Humane Society, sharing lifesaving stories, promoting our fun-filled events, and of course, writing this column. I know from the volume of comments I receive that you all love hearing about our adventures at Nevada Humane Society (and yes, even my crazy personal pet stories) so now you get to hear more—because you’ll be helping me save lives statewide.

Though our initial efforts will be in Las Vegas, a big part of lifesaving is transporting animals to shelters who have added resources and a higher volume of adoptions—hence, Nevada Humane Society, and our fellow groups among the north. Over the last month, we’ve collaborated with the SPCA of Northern Nevada to bring in dozens of dogs and cats from other places who need help—and watching those animals find love and go home right here in Washoe County is heartwarming. We don’t know where you’re putting these animals, but keep doing it, because you’re bringing so much love and support to the table that we can’t imagine not having you!

And that’s the thing. I love writing this column, sharing my journey, the good and the bad. It’s not always easy to share heartbreak, but knowing that we are all here for the animals and that I can work to bring even more people and pets together is huge. So for your support, for Nevada Humane Society and lifesaving across the state, thank you.

You can continue to reach me at or by mail to NHS, at 2825-B Longley Lane, Reno, NV 89502, and I still hope that you share your stories and photos—because I’ll certainly be sharing with you.

By the way, little Meringue, who I shared a couple weeks ago? She was given the all clear by our veterinary team, and is now just packing on the pounds so that she is big enough to be spayed. I’ve found her the best family, with humans and another little dog named Bella, and they adore her already. Thank you for helping her find love!Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Featured Pet: Yuki is 12 years old, stunningly beautiful and a mix of sweet and shy. Her person passed away a year ago, and though she was adopted, most recently she ended up at Animal Services, her person nowhere to be found. She’s quiet and reserved, so would do best with a cat person who understands she needs time—but she deserves love like anyone. Will you help her find a family today?


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