Time to Shine

by Diane Blankenburg

Nevada Humane Society is a no-kill shelter by the standards of our industry, but the terminology may be a little misleading. It does not mean we never euthanize an animal but rather that we make these decisions based on what we believe is the most humane and responsible thing to do. Specifically, this means that we do not euthanize for time or space as do many traditional shelters, but only when there a medical problem with a poor prognosis of recovery to a quality life or an aggressive dog that is deemed too high a risk to place back into the community.

So we are committed to taking care of all other animals in our shelter until we can find them the right home. This means that some of them stay in our care longer than others. The average stay at our shelter is actually very low—about 22 days for cats and 16 days for dogs. Some pets go into homes on the first day they are available for adoption, while others take longer to find their new home.

Even though we have a wonderful shelter, homeless pets deserve a loving home of their own. It’s certainly not their fault they are in shelter nor is it their fault that they are overlooked—maybe because they are little shyer, a bit older, unremarkable in appearance, or sometimes for no apparent reason at all.

We thought it was time to draw attention to those that get overlooked and make it their time to shine. Perhaps only you can see the diamond in the rough—the hidden beauty behind the plainness or the sparkling personality under the apparent shyness. Through January 29, you can adopt one of these Shining Star Pets at Nevada Humane Society and all adoption fees will be waived.

It has been proven to me over and over that this is one of the most compassionate and loving communities when it comes to homeless pets and I hope you all can once again open up your hearts and homes to a wonderful homeless dog or cat that others have overlooked. They truly deserve a loving home just as much as any other pet! You will have the deep satisfaction of knowing that you gave them a chance when so many others did not and the warm feeling of unconditional love that comes back a hundredfold.

Events that Help Animals:

Adopt a Shining Star at Nevada Humane Society with Waived Fees through January 29. Other adult dogs are $50 and adult cats are $35. NHS is open for adoptions seven days a week from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10:00 am on Saturdays. Located at 2825 Longley Lane, Reno.


Become Your Pet’s Best Friend

by Bonney Brown

It’s great  fun watching Joel Silverman with animals because he has such a marvelous connection with them. His latest TV show, Dog & Cat Training with Joel Silverman, helps the rest of us communicate more effectively with our own pets.

Silverman, a Hollywood animal trainer and Animal Planet star, has just started filming the second season of his show which airs in cities across the country and internationally. The show is filmed, in part, right here in Reno at Nevada Humane Society.

“Animals from shelters make some of the very best pets,” said Silverman. “I believe that they know that we are doing something for them when we adopt them. As a movie trainer, I can tell you that every mixed-breed pet you see on television came from an animal shelter. Even many of the purebred dogs you see come from shelters and breed rescue groups.”

In this second season Silverman will be following some of the adopted dogs and cats he worked with at Nevada Humane Society last year. He will also feature several local animal lovers adopting pets with his expert guidance in selecting a dog that will be an ideal fit for their personality and lifestyle. (Casting will start soon, so if you always wanted to adopt a dog on TV this could be your chance to live that dream!)

Silverman’s work is motivated by a worthy goal; he aims to “decrease the number of animals turned into animal shelters.” Daily, we see the sadness and confusion dogs and cats experience when they are left at the shelter, so I was delighted to hear that we shared the goal of helping pets stay in their homes.

I asked Silverman for his top tip for training animals and he did not hesitate for a moment:  “It’s about that bond, the trust we build with them. The most important thing you can do is become your dog’s best friend.”

Dog & Cat Training with Joel Silverman airs on our local FOX affiliate KAME, but you can also see clips online at http://www.companionsforlife.net. If you prefer books, Silverman’s What Color is Your Dog? is one of my favorites.

Silverman’s enthusiasm for the joyful bond we can share with animals is contagious and you cannot help but feel inspired to clicker train your cat or teach your dog a new trick!

Events that Help Animals

Adopt a Shining Star ― Fees waived on selected pets through January 29. Nevada Humane Society (NHS) is open for adoptions seven days a week from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10:00 am on Saturdays at 2825 Longley Lane, Reno.

Cat Convention February 9 at Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. Meet Joel Silverman, shop the cat marketplace, adopt a cat, free admission.

Dressing Up Your Pets

by Diane Blankenburg

As a kid, I had a variety of pets and one my favorite things to do was dress them up in clothes. They were like dolls, but oh so much more fun. I’m not sure if it this urge came from my motherly instinct or just my basic mischievousness. Either way, it was great entertainment for me but got mixed reviews from the recruited participants.

Having now worked at Nevada Humane Society for six years, I have participated in many events that included shelter animals dressed to match the theme—from the Mardi Gras parade with its King and Queen to dozens of Chihuahuas marching in the Cinco de Mayo parade to Talk Like a Pirate Day where furry mates decked the pirate ship to Halloween with animals donning a variety of costumes.

The main thing that I learned through all of this is that some animals hate dressing up and others love it. Unlike many people, pets will let you know immediately if this is not their cup of tea. Others will politely tolerate and for shelter animals, it’s almost like they know if they do the ridiculous, it might help them meet their new family. But some will shine as if they were born models. One of our volunteer photographers dresses up her cats for every occasion and it’s quite apparent that they fit into the “love it” category. They primp and pose like the superstars they know they are.

January 14 is National Dress Up Your Pet Day that was founded in 2009 by celebrity pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist, Colleen Paige, and sponsored by the Animal Miracle Network as a fun way to celebrate our beloved pets. So here is your opportunity to have fun and show off your dog or cat—just be sure they are willing participants.

Here are a few things to consider. It’s fun to pick outfits or costumes that match your pet’s personalities but you also want to make sure they are safe and comfortable. Do the outfits allow your pet to move easily and see and hear properly? Are they weather appropriate? Do they have parts that are easily chewed off and swallowed?

This is the day to go styling with your classy dogs and cats. Will yours be the most stylish on your block?

Events that Help Animals:

Adopt a Shining Star at Nevada Humane Society with Waived Fees through January 29. Other adult dogs are $50 and adult cats are $35. NHS is open for adoptions seven days a week from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10:00 am on Saturdays. Located at 2825 Longley Lane, Reno.



Pets Could Help Us Keep Our New Year’s Resolutions

by Bonney Brown

The latest feline internet sensation, Henri Le Chat Noir, had something to say about New Year’s Resolutions on his website:  “My resolution is to continue to lend zero credence to contrived attempts at self-betterment.”

Henri tends to be pessimistic, but in this case he is not far off. 88 percent of people who make resolutions give up on them, most within one month.

But I have a suggestion that can help you make your New Year’s Resolutions stick this year: partner with your pets. Studies show that people who partner with someone else on a goal are much more likely to succeed. The idea is that when you forget or don’t quite feel like it, your partner will remind you or inspire you to action. Your pet could be just the partner you need.

The top resolution for 2013 is losing weight and developing a healthier lifestyle. Your dog is the ideal partner for this goal because he or she will happily remind you to get out there to walk or run if you just get them used to a routine. If you are more of a cat person, consider yoga—cats are natural yogis.

Saving money is a popular goal this year too. Your pet does not need dinner at a fancy restaurant or expensive gifts to adore you. They offer both companionship and entertainment at bargain prices.

Enjoying life more is also high on the list of top resolutions this year. Just being with your animal friend can lower your blood pressure.  Their antics bring humor to the day and they live in the moment as only the most disciplined of Zen masters can.

Perhaps you don’t have a pet. In that case, volunteering to help animals in a shelter can help you achieve two resolutions at once. Take dogs for walks or share a little love and playtime with a cat and you can reap the same benefits of pet ownership while getting the added bonus of your altruistic action. (Volunteering to help others is another common New Year’s goal.)

So, as you are contemplating how you will keep your New Year’s Resolutions this year, take another look at your animal companions for inspiration.

A Time to Reflect

by Diane Blankenburg

At this time of year, we gather with family and friends to show our love and appreciation. It’s a time to forgive those that have been hurtful and to show compassion to those that are without.

As I sit down to write this column, I keep seeing visions of a small town in Connecticut. The horrific and senseless tragedy that hit Newtown last week will never be understood—the angelic faces of 20 children and heroic stances of 6 adults will never be forgotten.

But amidst the tremendous pain and suffering came amazing generosity and compassion. Two particular situations boldly stand out to me. A young couple who had lost their precious daughter, Gracie, stood up to the world and said there is no room for hate. With their little girl as their model, they were determined to let her light and love shine through them by forgiving the unforgivable.

Then there was the group of ten volunteers who drove their beloved golden retriever therapy dogs for 900 miles from Chicago to Newtown to help ease the town’s pain. Comfort dogs, as they are officially called, are specially trained to comfort people when they are suffering. How nice to watch the dog hugs bring a smile back to the community’s grief-stricken faces.

Both of these acts brought light into my heart and brought back hope that had been so violently shattered. Hope that we can love in spite of hate; hope that we can forgive while still hurting; and hope that we can keep on giving no matter how desperate.

Nevada Humane Society has thousands of volunteers that regularly give their time and efforts to help homeless pets. They come from all walks of life and give back in a variety of ways. On December 14, the same day as the Newtown tragedy, we held a holiday party to honor and thank these generous volunteers. While reflecting on great moments throughout the year, one young mom stood up and said how much she appreciated the program and how proud she was of her teenage daughters who are also devout volunteers. She said that it is our duty to bring up a new generation of compassion and giving—a generation that is the foundation for the hope of our future.

So this week, I am spending family time with my brother and his wife who I love dearly. I am visiting a kind, generous friend for fun and relaxation. And I’m hugging my three precious Labrador Retrievers who regularly bring a smile to my face. I still wrestle with the why of Newtown—but am hopeful that love, compassion, and generosity will shine bright and true in the days to come.

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