Lights of Love

by Diane Blankenburg

It’s amazing to me how fast this year has passed and we are once again embracing the holiday season. It’s a time to celebrate life with loved ones. It’s also a time to give thanks for what we have and give back in appreciation.

I’m in my senior years now and unfortunately, so many of my human loved ones are no longer with me, making my furry family  extra special to me. In the past two years, I have lost two very dear dog companions, Lady and Marshall, which I miss very much. I also have gained two new wonderful canine friends that I cherish in an equally deep, but different way—Boomer and Beignet. I will once again hang stockings in memory of those that have passed and in honor of the ones that still light up my life.

Nevada Humane Society offers a unique way to celebrate these special lives—the Lights of Love tribute. In its sixth season, it’s a way for us all to acknowledge our four-legged loved ones, past and present, and help homeless pets at the same time. The NHS shelter will be illuminated in their honor and two fifteen-foot Lights of Love trees will be on display at The Summit and Legends at Sparks Marina malls.

You can help light up the lives of homeless animals in our community through a $10 contribution per light that celebrates each pet you cherish. This also makes the perfect gift for your animal-loving friends and families who already have everything they need.

So this year, I give thanks for all the pets that have walked through life with me over the years and for the pets that currently give me such unconditional love and pure joy. I celebrate life to the fullest with all those I care about—human and canine alike. And I graciously give back, helping homeless pets that cannot help themselves by commemorating my beloved pets past and present.

This holiday season, my four-legged friends will shine brightly along with thousands of other pets that had or still have loving homes during the holidays. How fitting that they will help illuminate the shelter where each year thousands of orphaned pets come so that they, too, can find homes for the holidays. There is no better tribute!

Events that Help Homeless Pets

Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Drive at Nevada Humane Society aims to find homes for 1,200 orphaned pets by the end of the year. Adoption fees are $45 for adult dogs, $10 for adult cats and $30 for kittens. Open 7 days a week for pet adoptions at 2925 Longley Lane, Reno.

Lights of Love Tribute at Nevada Humane Society through January 1. $10 contribution lights a white light for each pet remembered or colored light for each pet honored. Sponsored through Christmas Décor by Signature Landscape. Great gift idea! For more info, call 775-856-2000 or visit nevadahumanesociety.org.

Jolly Holly Paws Fundraiser to benefit Shakespeare Animal Fund. November 30, 6pm at Grand Sierra Resort. Silent auction, great food, pet photo contest, and other fun activities. For more info or to buy tickets, call 775-232-7753 or email theshakefund@aol.com.

Music for Your Pets

by Bonney Brown

You only need to hear a few chords to recognize a favorite song and in seconds the tones can transport you to a different time or place—producing emotions far removed from what you were thinking about just moments before. Music can be calming or stimulating for us and some experts even feel that music has health benefits. Research has demonstrated that music, virtually any kind, stimulates growth in plants. So it is no surprise that animals may benefit from music, too.

Humans tend to like music that falls within our vocal range and with a tempo similar to that of our heartbeats. Most people tend to consider music outside these parameters to be grating.

Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has done research into the musical preferences of animals says that they prefer “species-specific music” with tones and tempos that are familiar to them.

Dogs and cats hear a broader range of sounds than we do especially higher pitched sounds. Their heart rates, at least for smaller animals, tend to be faster than ours.

Snowdon has worked with cellist and composer David Teie to create music to suit the preferences of animals. Their Music for Cats, which you can listen to online, is designed to appeal to felines based on their resting heart rate and the natural range for cat vocalizations. There is other cat music available too; most of it seems to incorporate sounds of nature or purring with classical music.

Through a Dog’s Ear is one of the companies producing music for dogs. Based on classical music, including selections from Bach and Vivaldi adjusted for a dog’s hearing range and heart rate, it has been shown to have calming effects on dogs in animal shelters and vet clinics as well as home environments. They offer special music collections designed to sooth senior dogs and to calm dogs that are stressed by car rides.

There are many samples of music for pets that you can listen to online with your dog or cat. I have enjoyed watching animals respond to it and the music seems to have a nice relaxing effect on humans, too. So the next time you and your furry friend are feeling a little stressed, you might both enjoy kicking back for a little easy listening.

Events that Help Homeless Pets

Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption Drive aims to find homes for 1,200 orphaned pets by the end of the year. Adoption fees at Nevada Humane Society are $45 for adult dogs, $10 for adult cats and $30 for kittens. Open 7 days a week for pet adoptions at 2925 Longley Lane, Reno.

True Grit

By Diane Blankenburg

Mary Harrison recently showed up at Nevada Humane Society with several large bags of crocheted cat beds. They were so beautiful and so appreciated. Imagine my surprise to learn that they were made by men who were part of the Knitty Gritty Kitty Committee at the Northern Nevada Corrections Center in Carson City. Yes, men, yes, inmates, and yes, for cats—crushing many stereotypes at once.

Mary is the Volunteer Program Administrator for the center’s True Grit program where 135 geriatric inmates participate in physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual activities to help with their rehabilitation and re-entry into society. It’s a program supported totally through donations resulting in no extra cost to the state.

The Knitty Gritty Committee was formed as part of this program and is made up of 18 senior men who work 9-11 hours a day on crocheting, knitting, and needle point projects. I was so impressed with this program and the quality of their work that I wanted to know more.

Last week, I visited the facility and observed the inmates in action. A band practiced for a concert, a group of veterans met for a discussion on post-war issues, and the  Knitty Gritty guys were hard at work in a  room filled with supplies, projects in progress, and finished works of art—afghans, berets, scarves, statues, etc.

“I first told them they were all sissies,” said Don, 63 “but now I have been doing it for three years and it is so relaxing.” Bob, 60, has only been part of the Kitty Gritty group for four months and said that he “really enjoys it and it has made a big difference for him.”

Not only are the men committed to their crafts, they are committed to giving back to society. The group donates all of their products to local charitable organizations. Bill, 74, summed up what it meant to him. “My health and spirituality are important to me. This work is meditative, allows me to use my energy with a sense of accomplishment while being in service to others.”

The program has helped prisoners successfully re-enter the community. Since 2005, 91 True Grit participants were released through parole, compassionate release, or completion of sentence.

I was truly inspired by Mary, who very generously and compassionately gives her time to make this program successful, and the Dons, Bobs, and Bills who have taken advantage of a program to make their lives more meaningful, while at the same time giving back to the world. From the staff and, most importantly, the cats of Nevada Humane Society, a big thank you to True Grit and their Knitty Gritty Kitty Committee!

Events that Help Homeless Pets

Adopt Your Favorite Re-PUP-lican or Demo-CAT at Nevada Humane Society. Adult cat and dog adoptions are free. Kittens are $40. All candidates are spayed or neutered,  vaccinated and microchipped. Call 775-856-2000 or come to NHS at 2825 Longley Lane between Rock Blvd. and Mira Loma Dr. in Reno. Open daily for pet adoptions!

Jolly Holly Paws Fundraiser to benefit Shakespeare Animal Fund. November 30, 6pm at Grand Sierra Resort. Silent auction, great food, pet photo contest, and other fun activities. For more info or to buy tickets, call 775-232-7753 or email theshakefund@aol.com.

Living Up to the Trust Pets Put in Us

By Bonney Brown

This past weekend I was at the No More Homeless Pets Conference in Las Vegas with over 1,400 other animal sheltering professionals and advocates. To say that it was inspiring to be among so many dedicated people would be a vast understatement. You could feel the energy and enthusiasm!

Jackson Galaxy, AKA Cat Daddy, of Animal Planet’s  My Cat From Hell  and Sherry Woodard of National Geographic’s Dogtown  shared their top animal behavior tips to help pets in shelters. Elizabeth Doyle, author of many romance novels  now turned animal writer, shared how we can write more effective profiles to get pets adopted. Joyce Briggs of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs shared the next generation of birth control methods for pets. I was honored to have the opportunity to talk about our work here at Nevada Humane Society in hopes that some of the programs that have worked for us can help animals in other communities.

 At the conclusion of the conference, Julie Castle of Best Friends Animal Society talked about what we have achieved for homeless pets and about the model that animals provide for our work. Julie said that while Fido is the best known of all dog names, she had never met a dog named Fido—come to think of it, neither have I. While Fido has fallen out of favor as a dog’s name, it seems to have permanently entered into our language. Fido, Julie explained, is Latin for “I am faithful.”  Suddenly, Fido meant more than a generic name for dogs; it became an added inspiration for our work on behalf of the animals.

Those of us who care for animals strive to honor the trust they put in us and the responsibility we have by virtue of their dependence–through doing the very best we can for them.  It gave me renewed appreciation for all of you who have supported our efforts to save homeless animals. You have made our lifesaving work possible by volunteering, donating, and adopting pets. Gandhi said that a community and “its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  Immanuel Kant wrote that “we can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”

The citizens of this community can feel proud of the way homeless dogs and cats are treated here and what that tells the world about us.

Events that Help Animals

The Race for the Right House is on! Adopt Your Favorite Re-PUP-lican or Demo-CAT at Nevada Humane Society. Adult cat and dog adoptions are free. Kittens are $40. All candidates are spayed or neutered,  vaccinated and microchipped. Call 775-856-2000 or come to NHS at 2825 Longley Lane between Rock and Miraloma Blvd. in Reno. Open daily for pet adoptions.

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