Art and Animals

Mankind and animals have had a special bond since the beginning of time. Artists throughout the ages have always created drawings and paintings of animals. Stone Age men decorated their caves with the images of the animals that they hunted for food.The ancient Egyptian artists depicted many of their gods with the heads of animals.Examples of tribal art from every continent combine animal and human features to symbolize man’s bond with his natural environment. In the Middle Ages, artists used mythical beasts to decorate medieval manuscripts while commonplace creatures often took on secret symbolic associations.

In 17th century art, hunting scenes illustrating dramatic life and death struggles between man and beast was a popular subject.18th century artists chose to celebrate the natural beauty and majestic power of animals in their natural habitats. In the 19th century, Victorian artists painted sentimental pictures of their domestic pets and livestock. The artists of the 20th century explored the entire range of animal genres and invented a few more of their own.

For 16 years, Reno has celebrated the arts during the month of July—officially known as Reno is Artown—creating a climate of cultural rebirth for the area. At Nevada Humane Society, we have declared July as Reno is Petown—a fitting celebration of the arts as it relates to animals.

The Reno is Petown adoption promotion is encouraging residents to adopt their very own “Dog Vinci,” “Cattisse,” or “Petcasso” at a reduced adoption fee. But it is also directly participating with special Artown events. The final event for the month is today—an event called Creative Kids for Critters that combines art, kids, and pets,

At this event, kids willsketch their favorite shelter pet for a chance to win cool prizes or get creative with sidewalk chalk art. In addition, resident cats, kittens and dogs will put their best paws forward and make some unique art of their own—taking animals and art to a new level in the 21st century.

Thanks to Artown, July has always been my favorite time of year in Reno. I personally have already participated in a variety of exciting and entertaining events. As we finish out the month, don’t forget how animals have contributed to the arts over the years and please don’t forget the many homeless pets that are looking for that special new home.

Events that Help Homeless Pets

Reno is Petown through July 31 at Nevada Humane Society. Adult cats and dogs (4 months and older) that have been in the shelter over three months are free. Other adult cats are $25 and other adult dogs are $50. Kittens are just $40. Call 775-856-2000 for more info.

Nevada Humane Society’s Kids for Critters on Saturday, July 28 from 12 noon – 3:00 pm. Kids draw animals for prizes, create sidewalk chalk art. The whole family can watch shelter animals create their own art. Shelter located at 2825 Longley, Ln. in Reno.

Duck Race & Festival to benefit Nevada Humane Society, August 28, 11 am – 5 pm at Wingfield Park. Adopt a rubber duck for $5, help homeless pets, and have a chance to win great prizes! For more information or to adopt a duck, visit

Keeping Kids and Dogs Safe

Most of us who love animals are already convinced that pets are great for children. Now there is a new study out of Finland that shows that babies who live with pets are healthier than babies in pet-free homes.

Dr. Eija Bergroth found that infants with pets in their home, especially dogs, had fewer infections during their first year of life. The researcher offered a possible explanation: dirt and allergens brought in by animals may actually be beneficial to the healthy development of babies’ immune systems. 

As children grow, they also derive many emotional benefits from pets. One of the greatest of these is sensitivity to the feelings of others.

Given all the positive aspects of having children and pets together, it’s easy to overlook the responsibility to ensure the safety of both the kids and the animals.

Recently, a friend shared an online video called “Pug Shares with Baby” in which the baby chews on and takes the dog’s rawhide chewstick. These kinds of images seem cute, at first blush. Unfortunately, they can lull us into thinking it is safe to allow babies and pets to play together without boundaries.

While the dog in the video was tolerant, there is no assurance that the dog will remain patient in the future. Even if this dog continues to tolerate the child’s intrusiveness, the child is learning behaviors that could put her at risk with other dogs.

Dogs growl and use their mouths to let other canines know to back off.  If a dog exhibits these natural dog behaviors to tell a child they need more space, then we have a serious problem. Dogs that bite children often end up being euthanized and the child can be physically and emotionally scarred.

Most dogs give subtle body language signals long before they bite, signals other dogs recognize but we—even people who have lived with dogs for years—can miss. A lick of the lip, turning away, showing the whites of the eyes are some of the signs of stress or anxiety that we can learn to recognize in our dogs.

We can protect children from potentially unsafe interaction with animals by teaching them to respect animals by giving them space and not taking their toys or food.  

The website’s “Learn to Speak Dog” and “Bite Prevention” sections provide helpful information that will help you protect the children and dogs in your life.

Events that Help Homeless Pets

Reno is Petown through July 31 at Nevada Humane Society. Adopt your very own “Dog Vinci,” “Cattisse,” or “Petcasso” at reduced fees. Adult cats and dogs that have been in the shelter over three months are free. Other cats are $25 and dogs are $50. Kittens are just $40. Shelter located at 2825 Longley Lane, Reno.

Meet Joel Silverman

Several months ago, I received a call at my Nevada Humane Society (NHS) office from a very nice gentleman saying he just moved to Reno and wanted to work with our organization. Being a non-profit and always short on resources, my first response to most all offers is “great” and “how can we make it work?” This was no different but little did I know then how rich this offer truly was.

The gentleman was Joel Silverman—Hollywood animal trainer, host of Animal Planet’s Good Dog U, and author of two dog training books, What Color is Your Dog? and Take 2 – Training Solutions For Rescued Dogs.

Joel turned a childhood dream into a lifelong career of training and performing with the animals he so loved. For over 30 years, he has worked behind the scenes training animals for movies, TV shows, and commercials. Joel’s ability to communicate to pet owners in a friendly and gentle manner propelled him into hosting Good Dog U (1999 – 2009), and his new syndicated TV series, Dog & Cat Training with Joel Silverman, that will be airing this spring.

Taking it a step further, Joel created a brand of products called COMPANIONS FOR LIFE™, to help end the needless destruction of hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats in animal shelters across the county, often due to behavior-related issues. This product line’s mission is to show pet owners how to build lifelong, trusting, mutual relationships with their pets and the benefits of adopting a new family member from a local animal shelter.

Joel’s new show features several animals from NHS and much of it was filmed at our shelter. “I wanted to show people that any dog or cat, even if they are from a shelter and their history is unknown, can be trained using the right tools. It may take time and dedication, but basic techniques can help turn a scared, shy shelter pet, into a gentle, loving family pet,” said Joel.

Joel Silvermanwill be offering tips and demonstrations, featuring his celebrity dog Foster, on how to train dogs at Nevada Humane Society’s Doggie Palooza on March 10. He will also be autographing his books, sharing behind-the-scenes secrets of his new show, and selling his products with a generous contribution made to NHS.

Not only did I accept Joel’s offer not knowing it was such a goldmine, but Joel picked Reno not knowing that our community was such a rich animal-loving one. Joel is not only a very talented and knowledgeable man, but he is also a very caring, compassionate man. The animals and our organization are very fortunate to have him as a friend and supporter.

Events that Help Homeless Pets:

Doggie Palooza on March 10, from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm at Nevada Humane Society. Get your photo taken with celebrity dogs such as Hollywood Trainer Joel Silverman’s dog Foster (11:00 am – 5:00 pm) and NHP Trooper Chuck Allen’s dog Dezzie (Noon to 6:00 pm). Shop for dog-related supplies, including art, gifts and crafts. Meet dogs available for adoption such as the Pocket Pups, Fetching Friends, Busy Buddies, Love-a-Bulls, and Older but Wiser. 2825 Longley Ln., Reno.

Adopt a Mini-Panther (black cat) through March 11 for $5 at Nevada Humane Society, 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Open for pet adoptions seven days a week, 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10:00 am on Saturdays. Call 775-856-2000 for more information.

Pledges for Pets Telethon benefits the SPCA of Northern Nevada, March 11, 4:00 to 8:00 pm. Visit for more information.

Blind Dog and His Seeing-Eye Dog Seek New Home

Tito, a little tan-colored Shih Tzu, was probably born blind. He has eyes but you can barely see them and they don’t provide him with any of the visual information about the world that we all take for granted. Fortunately for Tito, he has a seeing-eye dog, really a best buddy named Davo, a sleek black and tan Chihuahua.

When Tito is confused or needs something, he circles and Davo comes to his rescue guiding him to whatever he needs. Davo can be quite protective of Tito, but if you sit on the floor they will both come and get into your lap. They like to play together too, even if sighted Davo tends to get a bit rambunctious at times.

Some people who meet Tito say that they feel sorry for him, for what he is missing, but he does not seem to mind his condition at all. Tito has never known the world differently and he, like all dogs, is blessed with keen senses of smell and hearing.  

Dogs have an advantage over us when it comes to coping with life’s challenges. They waste no time wondering about what might have been or stressing over what others might think about them. They are so much more adaptable than most of us.

Then there is Davo and his impressive devotion to his blind buddy. He is smaller and younger than Tito. No one explained to him that Tito was blind and he had to become his guide; somehow Davo just understood that Tito needed his help and he dutifully fulfills this role.

Now both Tito and Davo need help; they need a new home together. The pair ended up at Nevada Humane Society’s shelter when their person could no longer provide care to these two busy little dogs. Adopting two active young dogs together, especially one who is blind, is not what most people who come in to adopt a pet have in mind. But we are sure that somewhere out there in our community, some big-hearted person who could adopt Tito and Davo is reading their story right now. Maybe it’s you?

Events that Help Homeless Pets:

Super Bowl Adoption Promotion through February 5 at Nevada Humane Society.Adopt a pet and get a “super bowl”—free designer pet bowl—while they last. Most adult dogs $50, cats $20. All pets are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped. Call 775-856-2000 for more information.

The Summit Adoption Center open Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm at 13925 South Virginia Street, Suite 405 between  Hollister and Sunglass Hut, near Starbucks. Variety of dogs, cats and rabbits available for adoption.

Whose afraid of a Little Fungus? Ringworm, No Big Deal

I was bit of a jock in my younger years and spent a lot of time playing sports and using gym showers. It was not uncommon for me or my fellow team members to get athlete’s foot. If you have had it, you will know that it is a fungal skin infection that is not too serious and very treatable. It’s more of an annoyance than anything else.

Contrary to what many people think, ringworm is also just a fungus, very similar to athlete’s foot, and has absolutely nothing to do with worms. It is out there in the environment and it is not unusual for pet dogs and cats to get it. It’s easily treated and goes away within a few weeks without any lasting effect. Even so, many animals, especially kittens, lose their lives at animal shelters across the country simply because they have ringworm. This is sad and unnecessary since it is completely treatable.

At Nevada Humane Society, we value all life and believe that ringworm is nothing more than an inconvenience and certainly not a reason to end the lives of otherwise healthy animals. Instead, we work to ensure that kittens with ringworm get the treatment and care they need so they can go on to have long, happy lives.

Large numbers of kittens arrive in our shelter each week during the summer months. The shelter environment is not the best for young vulnerable animals so we are very dependent upon foster homes.

Finding foster homes for those that have ringworm can be extra challenging since so many people don’t really know what it is and worry about getting it. Actually, just by taking a few reasonable precautions, you can foster ringworm kittens without worry that you or your other pets will get it too.

All you need is:

  • A little extra time to give them their medication.
  • A room that does not have carpeting so it will be easy to sanitize and they can be kept separate from other animals—a spare bathroom works wonderfully or we can loan you a cage. 
  • Disposable rubber gloves and gowns (if desired) can be provided.

Ringworm kitties are exactly like non-ringworm kitties with the exception that they have to be segregated from other pets until the infection clears up. They are cute, play with exuberance, and will amuse you with their antics. We are committed to the care and treatment of all kittens and hope you will be willing to help.

Could you be one of the special compassionate people who will help these kittens? If so, contact Nikole at 775-856-2000 ext. 321. 

Events that Help Homeless Pets

Reno is Petown through July 31 at Nevada Humane Society. Adopt your very own “Dog Vinci,” “Cattisse,” or “Petcasso” at reduced fees. Adult cats and dogs (4 months and older) that have been in the shelter over three months are free. Other adult cats are $25 and other adult dogs are $50. Kittens are just $40. Shelter located at 2825 Longley Lane, Reno.

Nevada Humane Society’s Pawspective Art Show on Saturday, July 14 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm, celebrates local artists, animals, and nature featuring a wide variety of animal subjects, artistic styles, and mediums.

Duck Race & Festival to benefit Nevada Humane Society, August 28, 11 am – 5 pm at Wingfield Park. Adopt a rubber duck for $5, help homeless pets, and have a chance to win great prizes! For more information or to adopt a duck, visit

%d bloggers like this: