An Update on Dave the Dog

Six months ago Nevada Humane Society saved a special little dog named Dave. Many of you read about Dave through NHS’ Facebook page, email correspondence, and website. A great number of you donated towards Dave’s care and to NHS’ fund for animals in need of profound medical assistance, Emily’s Fund. First, thank you. The special folks of this community often stand up for animals in need and lead the nation in adopting from shelters—demonstrative of this community not just talking the talk, but indeed walking the walk.

I have often been awed by this community’s generosity of spirit (adopting special needs and older animals), generosity of time (NHS boasts over 8,000 volunteers and 2,400 foster families), and generosity of resources (as NHS has saved more lives, this community has invested more resources). Yet, the outpouring of love that Dave received truly blew me down. Thus, I thought I owed you a Dave update.

Dave is thriving. First thing, out of the gate, you deserve to know that. Briefly, I will rewind the tape and remind you who Dave was when he arrived at NHS before illuminating who he is now, post-recovery. Dave came to NHS with multiple injuries and a very sad story (it took everything I had not to say a very sad “tail”). Dave was just a baby, 6 months old, when he was struck by a car. His owner witnessed the accident, but turned a blind eye as Dave dragged himself back to his own yard. Dave was left there to die.

Dave suffered two broken legs and a shattered pelvis, but fortunately he also experienced one lucky break—he made his way to Nevada Humane Society. Through whiz-bang medical intervention (courtesy of NHS’ amazing medical team and Sierra Veterinary Specialists) bolstered by the outpouring of love Dave received, he underwent corrective operations and began his road to recovery. Dave was given state-of-the-art care including physical and hydro therapy.

Dave is now… well, Dave is a dog. He can run and play, snuggle and cause mischief. He has been given a new leash on life and though his young life began in a dark place, it’s all sunshine from here on out. NHS even went the extra mile to provide Dave with some training classes—he spent much of his developmental period confined to cage rest so this special step just further ensures his life will be, as my grandmother use to say “nothing but beer and skittles”.

Dave is but one of the ten thousand animals who come to NHS in search of second chance. As a result of your support, your love, and your homes they find a shelter where tomorrow is not something to fear but the day they’ll find their forever home.

Dave is far from the only animal currently benefiting from the miraculous power of Emily’s Fund. A cat caught in a leg-hold trap errantly left in public space is slowly recuperating. Hundreds of dogs suffering from Parvo are pulled from the brink and given lifesaving care. A little dog thrown from a car, while sporting two casts, is quickly returning to health. A pet living with ataxia has been fitted for a wheelchair. A dog who was left injured in a field, forced to chew of his own leg, is now bounding around his new home, with three legs but a new family. The list goes on and on. Emily’s Fund changes lives because you care enough to support it.

Thank you for being the change that helps these animals move beyond their pasts and embrace their bright futures. I am confident that I can speak for all of the families that have made these “forgotten pets” members of their families – thank you, not just for changing the lives of these pets, but for changing our lives as well. Speaking for only myself, I’ll never forget these pets or what you and Nevada Humane Society did for them.

P.S. Notice our “Pet of the Week” and join use TOMORROW in Wingfield Park for NHS’ Annual Duck Race & Festival! Adopt a Duck and Save a Dog like Dave.

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Saving Feral Cats in Sparks

Once again, the issue and validity of Trap, Neuter, Return, Monitor programs in our community are on the front page of our civil discourse. Of course, in this case, I can assure you most of the discourse is far from civil and far from honest. In this column I recently laid out the facts of TNRM and urged each of you to visit www.nevadahumanesociety.org to view an exhaustive, referenced answer to questions related to this life-saving, population-reducing, and scientifically-proven animal welfare best practice. So I won’t do that again. Yet, the advocates of “catch and kill” sometimes make it seem as though this is a controversial practice; it is not. We in the animal welfare and management profession are united—as you can see from this letter composed by nationally-celebrated Best Friends Animal Society:

Trap-Neuter-Return: The proven method for managing community cats Nevada Humane Society CEO Kevin Ryan is exactly right when he warns of the risks associated with a proposed zoning change that would effectively prohibit the management of Sparks’ community cats by way of trap-neuter-return, or TNR (“Animal Files: Ban would make feral cat problem worse,” July 27). Through our partnership with PetSmart Charities, Inc.™ and various local municipalities, Best Friends Animal Society operates more large-scale community cat programs than any other organization in the country. As such, we are in a unique position to comment on the positive impact such programs have not only on the cats, but on animal shelters and the communities they serve. And the successes we’ve seen, both in our own programs and others, echo the findings of numerous research studies demonstrating both the effectiveness of TNR to stabilize and reduce the population of cats at a local, or “colony” level, and TNR’s broad public support. Sound policy requires sound science, and the science is quite clear: there are only two ways proven to reduce the population of community cats: intensive TNR efforts or intensive eradication efforts, such as those employed on small oceanic islands. Given the enormous expense and horrendous methods employed in successful eradication projects, this option is unlikely to attract much support. As a policy decision, then, TNR is the obvious choice. To consider anything else would, as Ryan notes, mean a return to the Dark Ages for Washoe County, when killing with no end in sight was standard operating procedure. As a pioneer in the No Kill movement, this community knows—and deserves—better. Peter J. Wolf Cat Initiatives Analyst Community Programs and Services Best Friends Animal Society  

It is not just Nevada Humane Society and Best Friends Animal Society who are united in this cause. National groups like the ASPCA and local, Washoe County animal organizations such as the SPCA of Northern Nevada, Pet Network Humane Society, CRCS and so many more are all in agreement that TNRM is the only solution to the problem of free roaming cats and any movement away from the program that has led to a 37% reduction in cat population is a grave and consequential mistake. Yet again, it’s not just animal organizations, it’s you. A Harris Interactive poll found that over 80% of Americans support TNRM rather than the alternatives. We want a compassionate and humane approach to feral cat management.

I write about this topic again because it is so very important. Just this past Thursday our community made another top 10 list—WalletHub named us one of the Top 10 “creature-friendly” cities. This is added to a long list of accolades we have received as a result of our innovative and proven animal care strategies. This is a nice recognition, but its more than that. This type of national accolade matters; it speaks to our quality of life. Almost 80 million American households have a pet—people look to live in pet-friendly communities.

TNRM is about effective population reduction, it’s about humaneness, it’s about public safety, it’s about compassion, it’s about quality of life, it’s about economic development, it’s a reflection of this community, it’s what we want. It’s what we need.

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The Ducks are Coming!

What is the value of a rubber duck? I suppose intrinsically a couple of bucks. Yet, if Ernie, of Burt and Ernie, has taught us anything—the true value of a rubber duck is incalculable. Recall his immortal words, “rubber ducky, you’re the one” and know that all of us at Nevada Humane Society couldn’t agree more!

Those of you who are now concerned that I have lost my mind, fear not, I am just geared up for NHS’ Annual Duck Race & Festival. On August 23rd in Wingfield Park, 30,000 rubber ducks will float their way down the Truckee River (perhaps not as quickly as in years past but swim they will) racing towards the grand prize of a brand-spanking new Toyota Corolla donated by Dick Campagni’s Carson City Toyota Scion. Prior to great duck dump (courtesy of Q & D Construction) Wingfield Park will be jumping with carnival games in the midway, food and drink vendors, live music, and so much more!

Let us return to the question of the value of a rubber duck. To adopt one of the ducks for NHS’ Annual Duck Race & Festival is just $5 but the power of that adoption and the accumulative muscle of this yellow armada is truly profound. These silly yellow ducks sporting sunglasses help raise much needed funds for NHS’ lifesaving mission. Every duck adoption helps NHS better meet its mission, expand its reach and continue to make Washoe County and Carson City two of the safest places to be a dog or cat in the nation.

These ducks will help NHS treat 16,000 animals this year alone, will help bring spay and neuter operations to the community, will help provide food bank assistance to 2,600 families every month, will help expand our outreach efforts to underserved populations, will help support the PUP’s prison program, will help fund G.I. DOGS, will help us continue to save 94% of our communities homeless animals and so very much more.  By adopting a duck you can help save a life.

As Nevada’s only open admission, no-kill shelter, Nevada Humane Society depends upon the generosity of our community and your participation in events like our annual Duck Race & Festival.  Since 2007, you have helped save over 75,000 animals—but we are far from done. There is still so much yet to be done, so many animals in our community still need help, and we refuse to step backwards in this community—we always look to save more lives! Please help us achieve all we strive for and help our community remain a no-kill community where every animal has an opportunity for a second chance. Adopt a duck. Save a life! #GetYourDuckOn #DuckRace

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