Facebook Isn’t Just for People

by Diane Blankenburg

I consider myself a “techie” person and rather computer savvy. I minored in computer science and my first professional job was as a software engineer. That said, I have not been a huge fan of Facebook—I just cannot imagine that anyone would care about what I had for dinner and I’m a bit reserved when it comes to posting the details of my life online. But social media is now a way of life and to be successful in any venture, it is a necessity. In my work in animal welfare, it has become a powerful tool in so many ways, ultimately even saving lives.

At Nevada Humane Society (NHS), social media has helped find foster caregivers for kittens who need to be bottle fed with no time to spare. It has helped raise funds for emergency veterinary care. It has been a source of sharing ideas that have made programs better or helped animals get adopted faster. It has rallied the troops for legislative hearings. And it has even reunited lost pets with their families.

Samson, a young tabby cat, accidently escaped while his family was moving from Reno to Pennsylvania. They could not find him even after postponing their move. After reaching their destination and notifying NHS, they sent a shirt from a family member and a tape recording with their voices calling his name. After the shirt was placed in a humane trap and the recording was played nearby, he was caught—six weeks after he went missing. Unfortunately, Samson was a bit underweight and suffered from a kitty cold and also a broken leg endured from living on the streets. After surgery and TLC, he was finally ready to fly home.

NHS asked for help on Facebook and a Southwest Airlines employee offered her employee credits to cover the cost of the flight. Earlier this week, she flew from Oklahoma City to Reno, met an NHS staff person with Samson in tow, and flew with Samson to Pittsburgh, before flying back to her home in Oklahoma. The Southwest crew said he was the most well-behaved kitty they’ve ever transported and now he is happily reunited with his family.

So if you are a reluctant Facebook person like I was, I hope this encourages you to reconsider. Please visit and “like” Nevada Humane Society’s Facebook page and stay in touch with how you can help save lives. Even though Facebook participation is not a natural activity for me, I truly understand its value—especially when it comes to making lifesaving differences for animal welfare groups and the homeless pets that are in their care. 

Events that Help Animals

Adopt your very own Dog Vinci, Cattisse or Petcasso during the Reno is Petown Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Cats: $10; dogs: $50; kittens (under 4 mos.): $35 or two for $60. 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Open Sunday – Friday, 11:00 am – 6:30 pm and Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm. More info at NevadaHumaneSociety.org.


Protecting Pets during Heat Wave

by Bonney Brown

The record setting heat we’ve been experiencing this summer is hard on everyone, including animals. Here are just a few steps you can take to help your pets stay safe and healthy this weekend and throughout the summer.

Heat stress poses a risk for any pet, but very young or old animals, snub-nosed, heavy-coated breeds, and overweight animals are especially at risk. Even with emergency treatment, heatstroke can be fatal, so prevention is important. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your pets safe:

  • Keep pets indoors and be sure that any outdoor animals have access to shade.
  • Avoid exercise and walks on hot pavements during the heat of the day.
  • Provide fresh water at all times.
  • Many dogs enjoy a plastic kiddy pool with fresh water.
  • Never leave your pet in the car, not even for a few minutes.
  • If you see a pet in a vehicle during hot weather, call Animal Services right away so that an officer can come to their aid. (Washoe County Regional Animal Services dispatch is 775-322-DOGS)

Be alert for the warning signs of heat stress which may include panting, glazed eyes, unsteadiness, unresponsiveness, vomiting, or collapse. If you see any of these signs, get the pet to a cooler area right away. Decrease the pets body temperature with towels soaked in cool, but not cold water. If the pet is able, they may drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. Your pet may respond quickly, but their body temperature could suddenly soar again, so seek the help of a veterinarian right away to prevent potential longer term health problems.

Though fur offers some protection, pets can also get sunburn. Fair skin and light colored fur offers less protection. Sunburn in animals can cause pain and eventually skin cancer as it can for humans. Sunscreens that are formulated especially to be safe for pets, combined with keeping pets out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm is the best way to prevent sunburn.

By taking just a few simple steps you can help ensure that the current heat wave will be nothing more than a minor discomfort for your pet.

Bonney Brown is the president of Humane Network and a consultant to Nevada Humane Society.

Events that Help Animals

Adopt your very own Dog Vinci, Cattisse or Petcasso during the Reno is Petown Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Cats: $10, dogs: $50, kittens (under 4 mos.) $35 or two for $60. 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Open Sunday – Friday, 11:00 am – 6:30 pm and Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm. More info at NevadaHumaneSociety.org.

Creative Kids for Critters Saturday, July 27 12 noon – 3:00 pm. Official Artown event where children can draw animals for prizes, and create sidewalk chalk art. The whole family can watch as animals create their own art. Admission is free. Nevada Humane Society, 2825 Longley Ln. in Reno.

You Can Help Tide the Kitten Storm

Spring is known as “kitten season” at Nevada Humane Society as it is prime time for homeless, unspayed cats to have kittens. Summer should be called “kitten typhoon” as litters are storming into Nevada Humane Society. On average, the shelter is taking in eight litters (15-30 kittens) each day.

Kittens arriving at the shelter are a bit like children attending kindergarten for the first time; their immune systems are not yet fully developed making them especially vulnerable to colds and other infections. Foster homes give tiny kittens the best possible start in life, helping them to stay healthy and teaching them how to live in a home with people and other pets until they are old enough to be spayed/neutered and adopted.

Little Orange Dude and his siblings were just four weeks old when someone scooped them up and brought them into the shelter without their mother. Foster mom Lisa Smith volunteered to take them. She acknowledged that taking care of a litter of kittens is a lot of work, but “more rewarding than words can express. After I feed them, they climb into my lap and go to sleep purring. In that moment, they are completely content and all is right in their world. And as I look down on them sleeping in my lap, all is right in my world, too.”

Foster caregivers like Roz Zimmerman not only care for these helpless adorable critters, but they often get the word out themselves to promote their charges’ speedy adoption. Here is one of her recent pleas: “Well, kitten season is far from over for Nevada Humane Society and I am fostering this wonderful, huggable ball of fur. He is all alone and really lonely for that perfect home. He weighs about a pound now and when his is two pounds, he will get fixed, microchipped, vaccinated and be ready to go home. Please see if you have a place for him in your heart and home or forward this so we can get him adopted soon. Many thanks for your help and loving support.”

Foster homes free up limited space at the shelter so that more homeless animals can be saved—ones that are ready for adoption. The need for new foster homes during the busy summer months can really strain the very dedicated volunteer corps of caregivers. Although there are also foster needs for puppies and special-needs adult animals, the greatest need lies with kittens. There is no fee involved and a starter kit of supplies is provided as needed. Please consider becoming a foster caregiver today, have a fun and rewarding experience, and take a personal role in saving lives!

For more information about fostering, please call Nevada Humane Society at 775-856-2000 ext. 321.

Upcoming Events that Help Animals

Adopt your very own Dog Vinci, Cattisse or Petcasso during the Reno is Petown Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Cats: $10, dogs: $50, kittens (under 4 mos.) $35 or two for $60. 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Open Sunday – Friday, 11:00 am – 6:30 pm and Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm. More info at NevadaHumaneSociety.org.

Prepare to Protect Pets during Wildfire Season

by Bonney Brown

Our animal friends live in the moment and it is one of their most charming qualities. It also makes them entirely dependent on us to look out for their well-being, especially in the event of a natural disaster. In this beautiful high-desert environment wildfire is the most common natural hazard we face.

While all of the usual preparations – such as maintaining defensible space by removing vegetation that is close to your home — are important, including animals in your family’s disaster plan can make a life or death difference for them. The FEMA website offers clear advice concerning pets: “If you evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind!”

Federal law requires that community emergency plans include pets; however, resources are usually stretched so thin during a disaster that we each need to have our own plan for evacuating with our pets.

If you have a friend or relative who will welcome you and your pets in the event of an evacuation that’s ideal, but there are also many pet-friendly hotels and pet boarding facilities.

At the very first sign of a wildfire or other potential disaster, bring dogs and cats indoors. Animals instinctively hide when they are frightened and you want to be able to find your pets quickly. Even a calm pet may panic and try to run away during an evacuation, so be sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness on hand for each of your pets. To receive emergency notification you can register your cell phone number or e-mail address online at www.washoecounty.us/em/alert.html and www.AlertID.com.

Have identification on each animal in case you become separated. A tag on a collar is important, but a microchip is the most reliable identification for your pet. Be sure your current phone number is on the tag and on file with the microchip registry. Take a photo of each of your pets with your cell phone camera as proof of ownership.

Enlist a willing and trusted neighbor or friend to assist your pets in case you are not home when disaster strikes. This person should be familiar with your animals and have a key to your home.

Having a plan to safely evacuate your family, including your pets, will give you peace of mind and help ensure that everyone will be safe.

Upcoming Events that Help Animals

Adopt your very own Dog Vinci, Cattisse or Petcasso during the Reno is Petown adoption promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Cats: $10, dogs: $50, kittens (under 4 mos) $35 or two for $60. 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Open Sunday – Friday, 11:00 am – 6:30 pm and Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm. More info at NevadaHumaneSociety.org.

Pawspective Art Show on July 13, 4:00 to 7:00 pm, at Nevada Humane Society featuring local art and crafts with nature and animals as the subject. Wine, appetizers, live music. Admission is free. Call 775-856-2000 for more info.

How to Avoid Leaving your Dog in Your Car

by Diane Blankenburg

Last Friday was the official first day of summer. It’s very exciting to me as I love our summers—the dry heat of the day, the refreshing afternoon breezes, and the perfect cool evenings. But with three big dogs who love to go anywhere and everywhere, the warm weather makes me pause and rethink my doggie car trips.

Most people just don’t realize how fast the inside of a car can heat up, even on relatively cool days. And in the summer, the internal temperature can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with the windows partially open. This escalation—combined with the fact that dogs have a higher internal body temperature than humans—is enough to cause serious medical problems and even death.

Keys and leashes are immediate stimuli for my canine clan and the drooling, whining, and full-body wags are non-stop. It’s very hard to resist outings that obviously give them so much pleasure, but I also want to keep them safe. I recently read a set of interesting alternatives for safe dog outings published by Petfinder.com; so next time your dog starts the “I wanna go” dance, consider these:

  1. Use the drive-through options for errands whenever available.
  2. Bring a friend along who can play with your dog outside while you run your errands.
  3. Shop at pet-friendly stores where your dog is welcome to browse with you.
  4. Eat at an outdoor café where you dog can sit with you.
  5. Leave your dog at home where it’s cool and safe.

A good rule of thumb is to never leave your dog in a car for even a short period of time. But this becomes even more critical as we maneuver the Reno hot summer months—with record breaking temperatures predicted in the coming days, reaching as high as 104 degrees.

Reno is a very dog-friendly kind of town and I think you can find many ways to accommodate your dogs without having to leave them in your car. On the other hand, I know that my dogs so live in the moment that they will quickly forgive me if I decide it is best to leave them at home.

Upcoming Events that Help Animals

Pets and More Arts & Craft Fest,  July 6, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Scolari’s Shopping Center, Pyramid Hwy/Holman Way, Sparks. 20% of proceeds will benefit Nevada Humane Society.

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