Rubber Duckie, You’re the One!

by Kimberly Wade

If you follow anything about us you know that right now is duck season. Not real ducks, but little, bright yellow, rubber ducks. 30,000 of them to be exact. Recently, they descended upon Reno and are now completing Duckie Boot Camp as they train for the big day—when they race down the Truckee River to raise money and awareness for homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society. If you haven’t seen this race before, now is the time to get involved because there is nothing, I repeat, nothing, like the sight of 30,000 rubber ducks racing through Wingfield Park surrounded by thousands of pet lovers cheering on their ducks.

Picture this. It’s 6am, the sun is rising, and rubber ducks are taking over Wingfield Park. Staff and volunteers from Nevada Humane Society have been working behind the scenes all year for a day-long festival, culminating in the big race. There is an aura of excitement, anxiety and cheer in the air. It’s the 7th annual Duck Race & Festival to benefit homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society—and those staff and volunteers are asking you to be a part of one very big day.

The Duck Race has actually become my baby, as I oversee our events. So while I love this day, it’s also stressful. Will we succeed? Will we raise enough money for the animals? Will people show up? Will the weather be good? What did we forget? Seriously, event planning, as much fun as it is, is a gigantic job. We love it, I love it, but it’s a lot. Thankfully, I have my trustworthy Michelle behind the scenes to handle a ton of duckie related tasks, guide the duckie sales teams and arrange our duckie partners. Then we have Jessica, who manages our duckie volunteers, Debbie, who keeps our duckie fundraising and finances in check, William who brings our real animals (friends of the ducks) to the event, Sharon who maintains the duckie website, and our intern, Robyn, who has literally been all over the community day after day for the last three months adopting ducks to people like you. We can’t forget Q&D Construction either, whose team is responsible for getting the ducks safely to the river, building our finish line and—wait for it—dumping them into the river from the Arlington Street bridge.

As I write this we are about two weeks away and the usual panic is setting in. That’s why our duckie team needs you. Our goal is to raise $150,000 for the animals. The grand prize for the fastest duck is a brand new, 2016 Toyota Corolla generously donated by Dick Campagni’s Carson City Toyota—plus for even more fast ducks a trip to Vegas, a year of dining adventures, a ride during the Great Reno Balloon Race and of course, a fabulous pet package. But we really hope you adopt a duck for the cause—for the lifesaving efforts we’ve made successful in Washoe County and Carson City. When you adopt a duck, yes, you could win a cool prize, and yes, we want you to be there during all of the event fun, but really, we want you to adopt a duck (or a Quack Pack or a Beak Brigade) to help us save more lives. We make the adoptions easy and then you come down to cheer on your duck(s) as they race down the Truckee—but no, winners don’t have to be present (Yup. That means even if you can’t attend the event you are still required to adopt a duck just to make me (I mean, the animals) happy (and less stressed). And I’ll be the one calling you if you win).

Seriously. #AdoptaDuckSaveaLife #GetYourDuckOn Adopt online, in person at our shelter (one in Reno, one in Carson), over the phone (775-856-2000 ext. 324), by mail or heck, I may even come to your home. That’s how much I love animals and how much I want your help. Ducks are only $5. I know you can do it. Oh! We even have Duck Tail Ale, compliments of Mellow Fellow GastroPub who is selling duckie beer to benefit us!

The Duck Race & Festival is Sunday, August 21 at Wingfield Park from 11am to 5pm. Ducks race at 4pm. Enjoy food trucks, live entertainment, a carnival, pet adoptions, shopping, sunbathing, pet cuddling, photo taking and more. Details at

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We’ve Adopted a New CEO!

by Kimberly Wade

If you’ve followed us at all over the last year, you know we’ve been searching hard for a new CEO. Someone that would help take us to the next level, understand our long-term mission of a no-kill Nevada, and someone with plenty of experience. Well, it’s time to let you know that we’ve adopted a new leader… Kiska Icard!

Kiska is an experienced animal welfare professional with over 20 years of experience leading Bay Area non-profit organizations. She has proven expertise, demonstrated ability of fundraising, and has a desire to be innovative, progressive, and collaborative. Her past roles include Executive Director at Sonoma Humane Society and Director of Programs at the San Francisco SPCA.

“Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working under and with the founders and visionaries of the no-kill movement. I’ve worked in San Francisco’s inner city and Sonoma’s vast agriculture community. While communities vary, the common element that I’ve found in fulfilling our critical mission is that we are all helping people in order to help animals,” she says. “For nearly a decade I’ve watched how you have created a safe-haven for all animals in Northern Nevada. I am honored to continue to build upon the strong lifesaving framework that you have already achieved and take Nevada Humane Society into the future towards a lifesaving state.”

The President of our Board of Directors, Tierra Bonaldi, states, “After a long, thorough, nationwide search, we are thrilled and feel very fortunate to have found such an incredible person as Kiska to lead our organization. She is not only extremely experienced, but smart, thoughtful, passionate and enthusiastic and we are confident she will work with the entire community to ensure northern Nevada is the safest place for homeless pets and continue to elevate Nevada Humane Society to be the model shelter it is recognized for nationwide.”

As we continue to strengthen relationships within Washoe County and Carson City, and extend our reach throughout more of Nevada, it’s important to have someone as our leader that will continue to make a difference. We are excited. Our staff, our volunteers, our animals—we’re ready for change that will lead to even bigger and better. We welcome her to the family, and we hope that you do, too.

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Adopters—The Superheros of Animal Welfare

by Kimberly Wade

Recently, one of our directors was travelling and saw a fun billboard (on the east coast, not local) advertising superheros. It gave her an idea. She came back to me and we began to brainstorm. Superheros can be from any walk of life, have any personality, and be any age. Superheros, in modern fiction, are described as costumed characters who possess supernatural or superhuman powers and who are dedicated to fighting for good. We joked that adopters are superheros—without the tights—and then we realized that it wasn’t a joke. Truly, our adopters are superheros, because every day they are fighting for the lives of homeless pets. Their ammunition comes in the forms of donations, volunteering their time, becoming a foster family or the big one, adopting. As a community we know it takes a village for such successful lifesaving, so wouldn’t you agree that all of you are the superheros helping us fight this battle to save even more lives every single day?

Superhero Story #1. A gentleman from Vegas has been following us for years, watching our success, even trying to mimic it. He took in a large number of cats (for a variety of reasons) and wanted to help all of them. Things got a bit out of control, and as he hit troubled times that he couldn’t dig out from under, he called us. Within days, he was driving from Vegas to Reno with his cats, giving them up because he knew he could no longer care for them and he knew that we would. That takes a lot, owning up to mistakes or maybe not so great decisions. Giving up your family—really, these cats are his family. And then knowing that you probably won’t see those cats again—that’s tough. We consider him a superhero for recognizing what was good for the cats, and now, as they are being adopted into our community, you are the superheros as the adopters.

Superhero Story #2. Herman, a horse, was not being properly cared for by his person. He’s a mustang, so those of you that know horses, well, you know Herman is special. He needs some socialization, some work, and some time. He was given up because again, the person recognized that he wasn’t able to care for Herman, and the horse wound up in our care. Several of our staff, along with several staff from Washoe County Regional Animal Services, have been giving Herman the TLC he needs for the last several months. It’s a superhero partnership! Finally, Herman was given the all clear that he was ready for adoption, and we posted his handsome face on Facebook. Within minutes, we had a phone call, and within two days, that call turned into an adoption. Herman is going home next week to be with his new family—who, we may add, have another mustang and are well-versed in horses. Herman had several superheros in his story, from his current caregivers to his new family.

Superhero Story #3. Kona, a stunning, eight-month-old Golden Retriever. She’s the most well-behaved, sweetest little thing. Her challenge? She’s been diagnosed with a serious heart condition. We tried to be her superhero, hoping surgery would make things better, but she’s not a candidate. So for us to be her superhero, we need to find her a home. She needs a very calm, quiet home, with someone who understands she can’t really do typical dog things. She can’t get excited or go swimming or for runs. She needs to be a couch potato. As we talk about how all of you have been, and continue to be, such superheros to our homeless pets, is there anyone who can step up for Kona? We know you are out there, but maybe together, we can find just one more superhero to make a difference.

If you’ve ever wished that you could be more like a superhero, now is the time. Share those photos of adoptable pets, donate your time (and dollars) to help be the voice of the voiceless, tell your friends about the cute kitten you saw while visiting the shelter, and help nus find a home for Kona. Superheros are all around us and don’t ever doubt you aren’t a part of this movement—because you are. We’re all superheros—without the tights—and we deserve to be recognized.

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Hot Cars Are Not Cool

By Kimberly Wade

We may have seen a brief cool down this week but ultimately the heat is still upon us and that means you need to think carefully before bringing your pets with you. Don’t get me wrong; I, as much as anyone, love bringing my dogs with me to dog-friendly places—not to mention they love car rides. Barley, my little terrier, would go everywhere with me if he could! But in this heat, if I know I can’t keep the car cool or will be running errands where I can’t take him, he stays home.

Just the other day one of our Animal Control officers in Carson City called our Operations Director. He found a cute, little pup locked inside a car and had no choice but to break the window. He had searched for the pet parent and asked around to no avail. When the dog began showing signs of distress, he knew he had to intervene. He broke the window, pulled out the dog, offered a cool compress and water. Luckily, this time, the dog was okay, but many times dogs are not that lucky. Dogs can’t cool themselves down as easily as people, and once they overheat, they can suffer extensive organ damage… or worse.

We’re not here to judge or to say anything about this incident other than to let it serve as a reminder—and to tell people that good pet parenting is essential to having a pet. Dogs love to tag along with us, but in the extreme heat (which is seriously over 70 degrees) and the extreme cold, leave them at home. We know you want to have fun in the sun but if you’re going to do that, start your car and let it cool down before putting Fido in, and then go directly to your dog-friendly destination. Then, repeat the cool down process before you head home.

We know it’s unfortunately inevitable that it will happen, so if you see a pet in distress, in a hot car, here’s how you can help:

  • Call Animal Control or the Police; inform them if the pet appears to be in distress.
    • If you’re in Washoe County, call 775-322-3647 (DOGS).
    • If you’re in Carson City, call 775-887-2171.
  • Try to find the pet parent.
  • Note the vehicle info (license plate, color, model etc). Alert nearby businesses.
  • Keep an eye on the car until an officer or the parent arrives.

In Nevada, per NRS 574.195, a person shall not allow a cat or dog to remain unattended in a parked or standing vehicle during a period of extreme heat (over 70 degrees) or cold. An Animal Control Officer may use any force that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to remove a pet from a motor vehicle. If you leave a pet in a hot car, this is considered animal cruelty and a misdemeanor. I repeat. This is cruelty and a misdemeanor.

Want some quick facts about pets in hot cars? According to the ASPCA, hot cars are NOT cool:

  • 75 degrees can become 100 degrees in ten minutes. 85 degrees can become 100 degrees in eight minutes. In 30 minutes, both of these vehicles would reach 120 degrees.
  • Cracking windows does not stop the heat from rising inside a vehicle.
  • Dogs can succumb to heatstroke even in the shade if the temperature is still hot.
  • Signs of heatstroke: excessive panting, lethargy, weakness, drooling, staring or anxious expression, unresponsive, dark red gums, collapse, rapid heartbeat, warm skin, vomiting and collapse.

I’m not here to bring up touchy subjects or sob stories, but rather to inform, because we know this happens. We see dogs in distress arrive at our clinic and others around the region. It’s not always a happy ending. Please, while you can of course enjoy summertime with your dogs, think twice before you take them everywhere.

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The 4th of July is Not a Celebration for Pets

By Kimberly Wade

*If you are missing your pet in Washoe County, please contact Animal Services at 775-353-8900. They had nearly 50 dogs arrive at their shelter on July 5. If you are missing a pet in Carson City, please contact Nevada Humane Society at 775-887-2171.

The 4th of July is upon us and like many, you’re probably planning a festive weekend with a mix of people and pets, because if you’re like me, pets are family too. The trouble is, that on the 4th of July, every year animal welfare groups stress that pets do not like fireworks. Despite this, people still celebrate with their pet—when in reality, this is the time to leave your pet at home, where they are comfortable and safe from everything that can go wrong. I’m here to preach the same thing.

Normally your pets may love camping, swimming and family gatherings. But on July 4th, it’s too risky if you are in the vicinity of a fireworks show. Pets don’t associate noise and flashes of light or strange things whizzing by with celebrations. Instead, they are terrified and they often panic and run away—even the most well-behaved or trained pet.

According to the American Humane Association, July 5th is the busiest day at animal shelters nationwide because more pets run away during firework celebrations and find themselves lost on the street, injured, or worse. Those that are lucky enough to be picked up by animal control or brought to a shelter by a kind person are still stressed, because now they don’t know where they are, nor is their person guaranteed to come by the shelter to look for them.

Prior to the 4th of July, prepare for your pet possibly escaping with these simple tips:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and registered with current information. Registration is easy with the Found Animals Registry, a free service, and Washoe County Regional Animal Services offers free microchipping to local residents.
  • Make sure pet collars are secure and that tags are up to date.
  • Register your dog with Finding Rover, a website that uses photos as facial recognition to help find your dog.
  • Have recent photos of your pet in your phone or on your computer so you can easily make lost pet flyers.

During the 4th of July celebration, if you are near a big fireworks show, keep your pets safe!

  • At dusk, bring your pets inside your home. Even if they are usually fine outside, there is a reason so many pets end up running away on the 4th of July.
  • Don’t take your pet to parties. If you are hosting your own party, keep your pet in a crate or other small space that is secure (keep windows closed too). Startled pets have been known to break through screens and push doors open, so locked doors and windows are best. This also prevents people from opening doors and letting your pet out.
  • Turn on the TV or calming music. It helps relieve stress and lets them focus on something other than the fireworks.
  • Engage them with a special toy or long-lasting chew treat. This works well for food motivated dogs even in stressful times!

Washoe County Regional Animal Services and Nevada Humane Society Carson City will be working hard this weekend, reminding people to keep pets safe and working round the clock as pets arrive at the shelter. But in the case your pet isn’t safe, remember to check all nearby shelters for many days after the 4th so that if your pet ends up there, you can bring him or her home. Lost and found pets may be posted and viewed online at but please do your best at keeping your pet safe. We promise they will be much happier being left at home during this big holiday weekend.

For more services for Washoe County Animal Services, please call their dispatch at 775-322-3647 (DOGS) or for services in Carson City please call Nevada Humane Society at 775-887-2171.

Happy 4th of July and please, keep your pets safe!

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Free Adoptions Pair People and Pets Together June 25

By Kimberly Wade

It usually happens once a year—a big, community wide, fee-waived pet adoption event. The goal? To get a large number of animals into loving homes all at one time while freeing up much needed space in the shelters. Not only have we done this here in Washoe County, but shelters all across the nation have hosted free pet adoption events—and all of us have the same success, which is a win for everyone.

This Saturday, June 25, for one day only, Washoe County shelters have teamed up for Community Adoption Day with the goal of pairing people and pets together—so come one, come all! For this one day, pet adoption fees will be waived on all dogs and cats. Yes, that means puppies and kittens too! Our community has told us that you want this—that you know that working together we can save even more lives. Community Adoption Day on June 25 is for you.

Once it was conventional wisdom that fee-waived adoptions were bad for shelter pets—many in the animal welfare community were concerned that doing this may devalue pets in the eyes of the adopter, compromise their care and reflect badly on their shelter. In 1998, shelters—including us—began to see the real facts—that there were more animals being killed than saved. It was then that communities decided to make a difference, so fee-waived adoptions were introduced. The result? Success. Animals are going home faster, therefore making room for other pets in need. As more studies highlight the success of fee-waived adoptions, we find that they have the same outcomes as for-fee adoptions and are the right thing nationwide—and we are big believers.

Studies by Maddie’s Fund and ASPCA Professional reveal some interesting details:

  • Waiving adoption fees does not devalue an animal in the eyes of the adopter
  • Free programs dramatically impact the lives of thousands of shelter pets who would otherwise reside there for long periods of time or possibly be euthanized
  • Multiple high-profile shelters have implemented fee-waived adoptions successfully
  • A fee-waived adoption does not equal giving away a pet to just anyone; adoption standards are not lowered and the same process as regular adoptions is implemented

So if you’ve been considering adding to your family, now is the time. Community Adoption Day is this Saturday, June 25—all dogs and cats are free! Nevada Humane Society, the SPCA of Northern Nevada, Pet Network Humane Society and Canine Rehabilitation Center and Sanctuary (CRCS) are participating. Between us, hundreds of pets are waiting for you. You’ll find all ages, personalities, looks and traits—but we know you will find someone! See you at our Community Adoption Day!

For specific details about each participant and adoption requirements, please contact them directly:

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What Makes an Angel Pet Special?

by Kimberly Wade

Wanted: A family, made up of one human or several, who will provide unconditional love, support and care, as well as a comfy bed, toys, yummy treats and unlimited belly rubs (and the occasional long walk on the beach).

Alexia is a medium sized, two year old (practically a pup) with a black, shiny coat and big amber colored eyes. Her smile is infectious, her dream job is to be a professional Frisbee golfer and her inspiration comes from watching Olympic athletes on TV. She’s 45% lap dog, 15% road trip buddy, and all goofball (seriously, you’ll never meet a more butt-wiggling, happy-go-lucky dog). Alexia is an Angel Pet.

Petunia is pushing 11, with golden brown tiger stripes and eyes showcasing a deep love and appreciation. Her dream job is a massage therapist which stems from her love of belly rubs and ear scratches. She spends 45% of her time seeking attention from humans, another 20% as a yoga instructor (have you seen a cat stretch?) and the remaining time proving she’s a graduate of charm school. Petunia is an Angel Pet.

Right now, there are about two dozen Angel Pets at Nevada Humane Society—dogs and cats with unique conditions. We’re highlighting them because they are in need of loving homes even more than anyone else—plus their adoption fee is waived and the vet care associated with the condition is covered by the Nevada Humane Society vet clinic. Their conditions range from diabetes to kidney disease to overactive thyroid glands—chronic but treatable and manageable medical conditions. Alexia has a heart murmur, managed by daily medications and a really lazy lifestyle. Petunia’s kidneys no longer function like they once did so she needs daily medications and a special diet to remind them who’s boss.

You know that we feel that all homeless pets deserve love and second chances, but these guys and gals, just like Alexia and Petunia, carry an even bigger need which is why we’re raising awareness for them. 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 daily 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 customers that 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 the Alexias and Petunias deserve a home.

If you have 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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