By Diane Blankenburg
I have worked for Nevada Humane Society for almost five years and during that time, close to 50,000 homeless pets have come through our shelter doors. I have been involved in every aspect of the process—from admission, to veterinary care, to behavior evaluation, to day-to-day care, to promotion, and ultimately, adoption.
When I see the hundreds of faces in our shelter, I often wonder what it must be like from their perspective. Were they suddenly uprooted from a warm, loving home because their person died or could no longer afford them? Were they found wandering the cold streets of Reno—frightened and lonely? Were they abandoned in their yard by people who suddenly left town, looking for a new life? Were they surrendered with broken bones or illnesses by people who were unemployed and couldn’t afford veterinary care? Were they given up because of a foreclosure that forced their human family to downsize?
No matter what the situation, it must be confusing and stressful for most and downright terrifying for many. Animals’ senses are extremely more sensitive than humans’ and the mere change in new sights, smells, and sounds can be overwhelming.
But what do they feel when they are uprooted from family, home, and life as they know it? How do they cope with going from sleeping on a cozy couch surrounded by their human family to sleeping alone in a kennel or cage? What goes on inside their bodies and minds when Johnny doesn’t take them out for a romp in the yard? Or Sally doesn’t brush them as they curl up on her lap? What do they sense when visitor after visitor passes them by and chooses some other dog or cat to adopt?
We are blessed with wonderful no-kill animal shelters in our community, but shelters should definitely be a last resort. For homeless pets, they are lifesavers, and we all do our best to make their stay as comfortable and comforting as possible as they wait for a new, loving home.
We can never truly know what it is like to experience a shelter from the eyes, ears, noses, and hearts of homeless pets. But on December 17, local celebrities and volunteers will experience spending the night In Their Paws at the Nevada Humane Society shelter. Guests will curl up in dog kennels and cat colonies overnight with the hopes of bringing more awareness and raising funds for shelter animals. They will truly know what it’s like to be In Their Paws—at least for one night and better understand how important it is to find them Homes for the Holidays!
Events that Help Homeless Pets:
Home for the Holidays Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society through January 2. Special adoption fees: $45 for most adult dogs, $10 for adult cats, $30 for kittens. Visit nevadahumanesociety.org or call 775-856-2000 for more information.
Home for the Holidays Festivities at Nevada Humane Society. December 10 from 11 am-5 pm. Local school choir performances, animal-related book signings, and holiday goodies. Shelter is located at 2825 Longley Lane, Reno.
Older but Wiser Cat Adoptions on December 10 & 11 at PetSmart on S. Virginia. Nevada Humane Society and SPCA of Northern Nevada host a special pet adoption event for mature cats that often get overlooked in shelters. Pets available for adoption from 11am – 4pm.
Lights of Love Tribute at Nevada Humane Society through January 2. A $10 contribution will light a white light for each pet you wish to remember or a colored light for each pet you wish to honor. Lights on display in the NHS shelter and illuminating 20-foot trees at The Summit and Siena Hotel Spa Casino, compliments of Christmas Décor and Reno Lawn & Landscape. Great gift idea! For more info, call 775-856-2000 or visit nevadahumanesociety.org.
The Summit and Franktown Corners Pet Adoption Centers are open Saturdays and Sundays from 11am – 5pm. The Summit center is also open Fridays for the same hours—both through December 31. Variety of dogs and cats available for adoption.