What If You Could Help Animals In A Single Day?

by Kimberly Wade

If you’ve read any of my articles prior to this you know I’m passionate about the work I—and we as a team—do at Nevada Humane Society. From my animal adventures to my crazy cat lady stories (I’m talking about me not you; don’t get offended) to our amazing events, everyone here—not just me—puts their entire being into working here. We know the animals don’t have a voice therefore we are here for them. Well, today, something else has me pumped.

Nevada’s Big Give.

On March 10, 2016, less than two weeks away, thousands of locals will show their support for their favorite nonprofit during Nevada’s Big Give. It’s 24 hours of unprecedented nonprofit giving—and it’s your chance make a real difference for our animals, right here in our community. On March 10, every donation and donor we get will go further to help us claim our share thousands of dollars in prize money—all of which will benefit pets just like Donner.

Donner’s Lifesaving Adventure will soon go public. This adorable, two month old black lab is facing a serious—and expensive—surgery at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and we need your help to cover the cost. His consultation was this week and as the weeks follow, leading up to his big surgery, we’ll be sharing his story on our social media pages. While you do have to wait to hear about that (we’re such a tease, right?), we can assure you that your donations will truly save lives here at Nevada Humane Society.

What really has me excited is that Nevada’s Big Give is going to be a big event. Everyone will be talking about who they’re supporting.  Think “American Idol” and we’re in the try-outs but need your support to make it to the top.

We need you to help us with these three things:

  1. Mark March 10, 2016 on your calendar and be ready to donate online for the maximum way to contribute (and to help us win other cash prizes).
  2. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and help build the buzz.
  3. Spread the word!  Share this article with family and friends along with a personal note as to why you believe in our work, and why they should give on March 10, 2016.

Will you be our champion and help us see it to the top? We can’t wait to celebrate the difference your generosity will make on March 10, during Nevada’s Big Give!

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PUPS up for Parole

by Kimberly Wade

It’s official. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world—and the things I’ve learned will make a lifelong impact on me. Forgive me because this article will probably be all over the place as I try to find the words to describe one very unique experience.

I recently visited a special group of inmates at the Warm Springs Correctional Center. You see, we have about 18 dogs that are currently living at the prison with thirty something inmates—a program called PUPS on Parole. The overall goal is to help dogs that have behavioral or social challenges receive training so they can be placed up for adoption. Prospective inmates must be disciplinary free for at least a year and pass a rigorous application process to be considered for the program. They are then taught to train the dogs using positive reinforcement methods. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Here’s the thing. I was blown away. First of all, the prison was not at all what I expected. It’s clean, neat, and not at all scary. The PUPS program has a special wing where the inmates and dogs live. The cells are set up like tiny homes and they have their own outdoor park—which is all maintained by the prisoners. They actually laid the sod, set up a garden, an agility course and a play area. The dogs have handlers (their main person) and sitters (a secondary person—someone usually training to be a handler). Each week a trainer works with them—which I witnessed. The dogs far surpass basic commands. They play Tic, Tac, Toe (some dogs sit, some lay, and if they get up from the formation without being told they are out of the game), Duck, Duck, Goose and more. Dogs are presented with a variety of situations to help us learn what makes them tick. Inmates keep a daily journal of the dogs’ activities, including training notes, likes/dislikes and accomplishments. This helps them be a better dog. For example, I mentioned the cells are set up like a home. They have rugs, blankets, pillows—if a dog chews them up, they know they have to work on teaching him not to chew on things. They have kennels—therefore they’re crate trained. They have signs outside of each cell with notes, such as, “Deegan barks at strangers.” This allows the inmate to modify that behavior and tells others not to approach Deegan if they don’t know him; therefore the training is not disrupted. At the end of their journey, each dog must pass a behavioral test and evaluation before being placed up for adoption.

Though my experiences with PUPS is only beginning, already I have seen big things. In interviewing the inmates, I found they all agree that it teaches them better communication skills, respect, responsibility and self-confidence. In addition, they all agreed that it makes them better people and that the dogs’ needs come before their own.

Tyler, an inmate who is training his 4th dog, said, “I accept that I did what I did to get here, but with PUPS, I can do something good for the dog and the community. I can make a difference.” He goes on to say, “It’s not just hanging out with the dog either. We have jobs here, we have to maintain the dog park and care for the dog. This is all volunteer work but I can’t imagine not doing this.”

Adolphus had one of the most memorable, heartfelt statements. He shared, “I’ve been in the program for 12 years. I’m probably not getting out. Before getting involved in PUPS, I watched dogs come in and get second chances. Watching these big, tough inmates meet a dog and melt made me want to be involved. This program has changed my life. It’s taught me responsibility and accountability. We are held at a higher standard than other inmates and we have to set an example. PUPS makes me want to be a better person and to teach others to do the same.” In my opinion, I cast no judgement and I look to the good this program is doing. Everyone has a past, but for this group of inmates to come together for the greater good of our animals… this is lifesaving.

In 2015, 80 dogs graduated from PUPS on Parole, giving them the second chance they deserve. That’s 80 lives saved. That’s impactful.

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Happy National Pet Dental Health Month!

by Kimberly Wade

In honor of National Pet Dental Health month, we’re extending a big thank you to the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry and Dentalaire. Recently, the Foundation began donating time, resources, equipment and expertise to treat shelter animals across the country.  Nevada Humane Society was lucky enough to be part of this nationwide campaign, the “Make Me Smile” project, where a group of dedicated veterinarians and Board-Certified Veterinary Dentists from the Foundation visited us with the goal of ridding shelter pets of dental disease and making them more adoptable. In addition, we received a generous donation of a brand new, state of the art, digital, dental x-ray machine from Dentalaire, along with special training for our staff, and we couldn’t be more fortunate.

Lady, a 7 year old Chihuahua, was one of our first homeless pets to receive a dental examination under the “Make Me Smile” project. She was treated like any other dental patient. Her tiny teeth and gums were examined, radiographed, charted and cleaned. The brand new x-ray machine allowed us to get a closer look too—which then allowed us to treat Lady appropriately, “make her smile,” and send her on her way into a loving, new home.

That’s not all! Thanks to the Foundation, our veterinarians had an in depth course on dentistry with local expert Dr. John Koehm, DVM, FAVD from Sierra Veterinary Specialists and other certified veterinarians from around the country. I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we are honored to have been given this opportunity and to have received such an incredible donation from the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry and Dentalaire.

According to Dr. Barry Rathfon, the “Make Me Smile” project chair, the idea came about to help make animals more adoptable and to reduce the number of pets with dental disease—which affects about 85% of all animals. Did you know that the cause of dental disease in pets is basically the same as in people? The difference is that people take care of their own teeth, usually several times daily. Pets do not, and The American Veterinary Dental Society estimate that 75% of cats and dogs have gingivitis by age 4.

As I just had a dental done on one of my own dogs, and am taking another in later this month, I can attest that everyone will be happier when your pet smiles. It’s good for them and it’s good for you (because really, do you want to them to lick you with their stinky tongue?). And, just as my vet does, many veterinary clinics offer reduced pricing during the National Pet Dental Health Month, so call yours today.

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Monsters Under the Bed

by Kimberly Wade

While many pets only stay at Nevada Humane Society for a short time, some are overlooked and will reside here longer than others. They may be shy or overly energetic, older, a bit sassy, or have a special need, such as a diet restriction or perhaps missing an eye. These pets may be considered Less-Adoptable to some, but to us, and fellow animal lovers, they are considered still lovable! Wouldn’t you agree?

I myself have a senior cat, Bailey, who is considered one of these shy cats. He’ll be 17 in June; I got him as a newborn. When I lived in Orlando, one of my friends fed their neighborhood cat, and we soon discovered she was pregnant. I picked out my little Bailey from day one. He’s a Siamese mix, with dark points, lighter tabby markings, and big blue eyes. Upon arriving at my apartment (after he was weaned, of course), he took on the little brother role to my other cat, Cali (who was one at the time)—but not in a good way. He was all boy! Roughhousing with her, stealing her food, batting her tail. He was quite entertaining for the first couple years; then became a recluse. Maybe my busy lifestyle, working two jobs, going to college, being social, was too much. Whatever the reason, he resorted to laying on the lanai in the sun on his own and no longer prancing around. Over the years, he’s become comfortable keeping to himself, but I’ve never loved him any less. To this day, he stays in the guest room most of the time—even though the rest of our animals are very social—and he loves it.

Charlie Brown and Peppermint Pati, two of our office cats at Nevada Humane Society, arrived several years ago after surviving a house fire. They were never socialized as kittens— not to mention they had been through a scary experience. When they arrived I immediately wanted to help them. They hid under my desk for weeks. I couldn’t touch them. They were scared all the time. I knew they deserved patience and TLC. Months went by before we finally bonded and slowly, they became my cats. They initially took to me, and I began to see their sweet side. I loved them for who they were. Today, nearly three years later, they remain our office cats, and they finally accept everyone. They run around, they love treats, cardboard boxes and they will find anything cozy to sleep on. They steal pens off our desks, accidently send emails and even, from time to time, hang up a phone call. Charlie is very talkative. Pati is a bit of a tease, sashaying her little body down the hall with her tail in the air, then turning around and—I kid you not—winking at you. You can rub their bellies and pet their heads—but they won’t sit in your lap. They are what many people would consider Less-Adoptable, but for us, we consider them still lovable, and our office wouldn’t be the same without them.

Bailey, Charlie and Pati are three of many cats who exhibit a timid personality but still offer companionship and unconditional love to their people. Our current adoption promotion showcases kitties just like this—who need homes just like mine. (Don’t make me adopt another; we already have a full house and my husband may divorce me if I keep bringing cats home.) Think about it. Monsters under the bed? Adopt a shy cat to investigate! Sick of the in-laws? Adopt a sassy cat to stand guard. Looking to feel needed? Adopt a special needs pet and let them lean on you!

We have adorable cats (and dogs) with plenty of unique personalities and the key is being patient while you get to know them and let them settle into your home. After all, these are the pets that will show the utmost appreciation and offer the most unconditional love. They may not snuggle with you on the bed but they will hide under it keeping the monsters away. Won’t you open your heart and home to a pet like this?

 

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