Animal Files: Fostering Hope One Animal At A Time

Hope 188031(2)sWorking in a shelter setting, I am privileged to regularly see the unconditional love animals provide and the unbridled compassion of everyday people. Just this past week I was again reminded of these truths.

My phone rang late in the day on Tuesday afternoon; our partners at Washoe County Regional Animal Services had just received a young dachshund mix who had been hit by a car and left by the side the road. Injured and scared, she needed urgent medical intervention if she hoped to live. As we rushed her to our clinic I was stuck by—overcome even—by the mere juxtaposition of this tiny girl versus an automobile. How did she even survive? Glancing down at her paperwork, I noticed that under “Name” it simply read “Stray.”

Our clinic was already busting at the seams with animals awaiting, undergoing, and awaking from spay or neuter procedures. Our dedicated veterinarians and staff were moving deftly between surgeries, appointments and the 100 other things demanding their attention. The veterinary team had already provided treatment for 80-plus animals that day.

Our clinic stretched to accommodate “Stray,” now called Hope, and began working to stabilize her. Her injuries were immediately recognized as serious, and the doctors and their support staff knew they’d have to plan for a late night. A sacrifice, after a grueling day, that they were all happy to make.

Hope was hit squarely by the car; both of her hind legs had serious fractures. That said, considering her size and the size of the object she had rumbled with, she was in remarkably decent shape. Work has begun on addressing Hope’s medical needs and she will undergo a number of surgeries before she is fully healed. Her prognosis is good, her road to recovery long, and her spirit undiminished.

Hope’s medical journey does not end once she leaves the NHS clinic—she will become one of the thousands of animals NHS places in foster care every year. NHS has over 2,600 foster families, people that open their hearts and homes to animals like Hope. We depend on the compassion of people just like you to provide loving, relaxing spaces for animals to convalesce. This home away from home (before pets find their forever homes) is essential to the healing process.

Hope and hundreds of animals like her will depend upon our foster network to get back on their feet (all four in Hope’s case). Yet not all of the animals NHS places in foster care are medical cases. Some need a little extra love, some are babies, and some just need a break from the stress of shelter life. All of them need a second chance, all of them need you. Contact Nevada Humane Society to become a foster parent today.

Events to Help NHS:
Super Bowl Adoption Promotion
: The cats and dogs at Nevada Humane Society are gearing up for Super Bowl XLVIII with adoption fees representing the opposing teams! Adopt an adult cat for just $3 in honor of the Seattle Seahawks Quarterback, or adopt an adult dog for just $18, in honor of the Denver Broncos Quarterback. The starting lineup includes a variety of breeds and personalities, and all dogs and cats are competing for the MVP, with the prize being, of course, a home of their very own.

Furry Speed Dating: Looking to meet your match made in heaven? Visit Nevada Humane Society’s Furry Speed Dating event on February 14 to meet the most eligible dogs and cats. From 12 Noon to 3:00 pm, pets will put their best paw forward and try to impress prospective adopters who will meet multiple eligible furry bachelors and bachelorettes with the goal of falling in love.

Beat the Heat and have your female cat fixed for just $20 at Nevada Humane Society all February long. Call 775-856-2000 ext 333 for an appointment. Beat the Heat is generously sponsored by PetSmart Charities.

Senior Dogs are Extra Special

by Diane Blankenburg

Beaumont, one of my labs, just turned eleven. As I look at him in his mature state with greying muzzle and slower pace, my heart melts. He is so unassuming and accepting—bringing such a sense of peace and harmony to my household (especially in comparison to my younger, more energetic labs). I will never forget his young, happy-to-do-and-see-everything years, but the senior ones are even more special, providing a comfort that is indescribable.

Don’t get me wrong, Beaumont lives up to the lab reputation. He gets into playful trouble when I’m not looking and shows bursts of energy in wrestling with his canine siblings. He still alerts me when FedEx arrives and attacks his food with the vigor of a pup. But his favorite spot is “his” end of the sofa and he now waits to follow me until he is sure my new location will be held for some period of time. He no longer demands attention but when I return from an out-of-town trip, he gently approaches me, wedging his head into my lap for a gentle ear rub while he moans in ecstasy.

Having known this special bond with a senior dog, my heart is particularly heavy when I see the eyes of senior animals in shelters. I wonder how hard it was on them to give up a comfortable home and family for a lonely kennel. It’s even tougher to watch potential adopters pass them by for younger, more chipper animals. I so want to help others know the same deep connection that I have felt with my own senior pets.

The advantages of adopting a mature dog are immense. They have mellowed and are much easier to handle. They tend to be house-trained, generally know some commands like sit and stay, are content to lie by your side (more or less), and don’t seem to require as much exercise as a puppy or teenage dog. But they have every bit as much (maybe even more) unconditional love to give.

My Beaumont is lying at my feet as I write this column. He is not worried about a thing except being near me and I am so touched by his mere presence. To use an old saying, “try it, you’ll like it.” I know that in a very short time after adopting an older dog, you too won’t be able to imagine life without him or her by your side.

Events that Help Animals

Year of the Cat Adoption Promotion at Nevada Humane Society. Adopt your “good luck” cat through January 21. Cats over three are free; other adult cats are $25 and most adult dogs are $50. Shelter open every day at 2825 Longley Lane, 11:00 am to 6:30 pm and an hour earlier at 10:00 am on Saturdays.

Senior Dog Adoption specials offered all year long at Nevada Humane Society. Senior dogs ten and up are $25 and people 55 and older can adopt a dog over six for free.

Beat the Heat and have your female cat fixed for just $20 at Nevada Humane Society all February long. Call 775-856-2000 for an appointment.  Beat the Heat is generously sponsored by PetSmart Charities.

Older Cats Offer Many Rewards

by Bonney Brown

When I first noticed Mogli, he was sleeping on his back on a cushy bed in the “older but wiser” cat colony room which he shared with several other senior cats. I was not looking for a cat to adopt, but I was drawn to this happy gentleman with his old battle scars and charming demeanor.

Mogli, it seems, lived most of his ten years on the streets of Sparks and was, therefore, really enjoying the warmth and generous food supply in the shelter. Many senior pets arrive at a shelter after years of a comfortable life with a person they loved. They may have spent quiet days lounging in the sun and enjoying the company of their special person and find the hustle and bustle of the shelter to be stressful. In some cases, their person has died or can no longer care for them. Your heart goes out to these felines in their loss, but you also cannot miss their hunger to give and receive love again. Cats can live well into their teens and I have known several cats that have lived happily to the ripe old age of 23.

Mogli’s introduction to my home and other pets was the easiest ever. He is calm, well-mannered, affectionate and a delightful companion.  Many people who adopt senior pets report similar experiences. They talk about the gratitude and affection they receive and the benefits of maturity. You know what you are getting when you adopt a mature pet while kittens have a lot of growing to do and may develop into an adult that is very different from what you expected.

In spite of the many benefits of older pets, they can wait in the shelter for many weeks before someone who can appreciate the beauty of a mature soul arrives to take them home.

While mature pets may have known a loving home and the pain of losing it, unlike humans, they do not dwell on the misfortunes of the past. Living in the moment, they take great joy in their new-found human family. Their happiness is part of what makes adopting an older pet so fulfilling, but it is also just plain fun and rewarding to adopt a loving, furry senior companion with which to share your life.

Nevada Humane Society and other shelters in our community have great older cats waiting just for you!

Events that Help Animals

Beat the Heat: Get your female cat spayed for just $20 this February at Nevada Humane Society. Call 775-856-2000 extension 333 for an appointment.

Happy Neuter Year!

By Kevin Ryan

I don’t know about you, but I like numbers.

I like the way information is expressed when done numerically. I like descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, trend analyses, percentages and I like graphs. I am a nerd.

In animal welfare, we collect a lot of data. We analyze it and look for successes to celebrate and where to seek improvement. At Nevada Humane Society (NHS), we continually search for ways to expand the impact of our mission.

Many organizations operate like this, from national organizations to local nonprofits like NHS. Sometimes data leads us toward the idea that a local problem requires a specialized solution. Sometimes data suggests a universal fix for a widespread issue. I use the word “fix” somewhat tongue-in-check as it leads me to my point.

I know spaying/neutering works. It is the most profound and substantiated way to end the overpopulation of companion animals.

For me, the most poignant numerical reality is this: as noted on the ASPCA’s website “every year, 3 to 4 million rejected cats and dogs—of all ages—are euthanized in the U.S. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.” It’s that simple. (At NHS, we save all healthy and treatable animals.) Only 10% of animals received by shelters are spayed or neutered.

There is any number of powerful reasons to spay/neuter your pet. It reduces the risk of your pet developing uterine or ovarian cancers, pyometritis, and testicular or mammary cancers. It can reduce marking behaviors, fighting, the likelihood of contracting communicable diseases, and decreasing the urge to roam or runaway. Yet, for me, the best reason is simple: it saves lives.

In Washoe County, our reality is far different than the national experience. Last year, our community saved more than 93% of the animals that entered our shelters.

There are a host of reasons why we are able to save so many and many people work diligently to make it that way, though unquestionably one of our most powerful interventions has been our spay and neuter efforts.

The data is clear: Both nationally and here at home, spay/neuter programs are essential to reducing pet overpopulation.

Please get your pets spay/neutered, urge friends and family to spay/neuter their pets, engage in feral trap/neuter/return programs. In short, be part of a simple solution to a heartbreaking problem. Call your veterinarian, NHS, or the SPCA of Northern Nevada today.

Happy Neuter YearStart your pet’s year right! Get your male dog or cat fixed for just $20 this January at Nevada Humane Society. Unplanned litters create millions of pets with no place to call home—during Happy Neuter Year Nevada Humane Society will help you get your male pet neutered for a special, reduced fee! Book your appointment today at Nevada Humane Society by calling 775-856-2000. Happy Neuter Year is funded by PetSmart Charities.

Beat the Heat Get your female cat fixed for just $20 this February because unplanned litters create millions of pets with no place to call home. Cats can have litters 3 times a year. Call Nevada Humane Society at 775-856-2000 ext 333. Funded by PetSmart Charities.

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