Inmates, Kittens, and Lifesaving

by Kimberly Wade

Picture this. A group of male prisoners (big, burly guys) and a group of tiny, tabby kittens (weighing about three ounces), meeting each other for the first time at the Warm Springs Correctional Center. It’s early evening, the sun is setting, and everyone is settling in for the night. It’s calm and quiet.

Suddenly the men are alert, turning all warm and fuzzy, cooing and using baby talk—they are melting at the sight of newborn kittens.

Don’t judge, you would react this way too.

Petey, Piper, Pickles and Pepper are the first ones to participate in INK, Inmates Nursing Kittens, a new program in partnership with the Nevada Department of Corrections and Nevada Humane Society. Through this initiative, Nevada Humane Society furthers its lifesaving mission by gaining much needed help caring for kittens without a mother, readying them for future homes, while the kittens receive round-the-clock love, care and socialization that would otherwise not be available at the shelter. Prospective inmates are specially chosen and must be disciplinary free, as well as pass a rigorous application process to be considered for the program—it’s also good to note that they are all either veterans or senior citizens. Supplies are provided by donors as well as Nevada Humane Society, while training, support and resources are provided by Nevada Humane Society, therefore giving the kittens the best care possible. Both kittens and humans will receive the reward of a better life in the future. 

INK has begun at the perfect time—the beginning of kitten season, which is, as those in animal welfare call it, the time of year (spring through late fall) when unaltered cats are breeding, leading to thousands of kittens flooding local shelters. Many kittens are too young to be put up for adoption, so they are placed into temporary foster homes to grow big and strong, as well as receive critical socialization. While there are many people who offer this volunteer service, there is still a need for even more foster families—and when we saw success with our PUPS Program, then got the approval from the prison, it was a no-brainer to enhance our partnership.

This is lifesaving. This is Nevada Humane Society.

Petey, Piper, Pickles and Pepper have already made a name for themselves. Our shelter director for Carson City said that the men were so ga-ga over the kittens that they literally had to draw names to find out who would get this first group. There is nothing more touching than stories like this. But no need to worry, because soon, many more litters will be on their way to the Warm Springs Correctional Center.

Personally, I love it. It’s a win for everyone. It teaches people to help those who can’t help themselves, it enhances our lifesaving in Carson City and for Northern Nevada as a whole, and it raises awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering pets.

As this is a brand new program we are seeking help to fund it—so we’ve set up a GoFundMe account. Funds will cover special crates for the kittens, food, bedding, toys and more. We can’t unfortunately accept donated supplies for this; only monetary donations (the prison has to approve all items so it’s easier for us to purchase them directly). If you can support us through this online fundraiser, or if you wish to call 775-856-2000 ext. 324 to donate we would greatly appreciate it. You can be proud knowing that not only are you helping the kittens, but you are giving the inmates the reward of a better life too.

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Carson’s Lifesaving Journey Continues

by Kimberly Wade

Last week we began the Lifesaving Adventure of Carson, a handsome, young tabby cat who was hit by a car in Carson City. His injuries were severe—bruising and scrapes all over the body, a broken jaw and two broken front legs. We fixed up his jaw here at our Nevada Humane Society veterinary clinic and then sent him to a local specialist—Sierra Veterinary Specialists (SVS). We told you his outcome was good, but we left you hanging for the next step of his adventure. Well, wait no more.

Carson’s appointment with SVS was about a week ago, and I have to say, we (I took him) were treated like celebrities from the moment we walked in. Everyone had heard of his case already and was excited to meet him. What they didn’t expect was purr-fection. Carson smiled, purred, and stretched his little paws (broken and all) out to greet everyone who he met. He won them over within minutes.

His appointment was straight to the point—he needed help and he needed it fast. We didn’t want to delay any longer because we didn’t want to risk his broken bones healing the wrong way. Carson went into surgery that same day.

Later that night I got an update from SVS. Carson made it through surgery. He was doing well, but the surgery was longer than expected—about six hours. He was badly swollen on both legs, requiring an ice pack throughout the night to lessen the pain. He was groggy and tired. But guess what? He ate like a champ. His strength showed even through his toughest hour. Carson was going to make it.

Carson stayed at SVS in critical care for a couple days and then went home with one of the veterinary staff. She’s fostering him through his recovery and already can see he’s an inspiration to animals everywhere. He made the decision to say “I will get through this” and thanks to a great partnership between Nevada Humane Society and Sierra Veterinary Specialists, he was given that opportunity.

Just a day ago his foster sent me the best photos. Carson sunbathing, with his legs all shaved and soaking up Vitamin D; Carson with a shirt on to protect his incisions; Carson curled up napping; and finally, Carson walking around the kitchen. He’s doing well! He looks fabulous! And knowing what he went through… this is no small task.

Carson will be in recovery for about 8 weeks. He has a long road ahead but seeing him now only reaffirms the doc’s words—that his outlook is good. He still has plenty of exams, x-rays and physical therapy so we are seeking donations to help cover the cost of his care—and if you can help we, along with Carson, will be eternally grateful. To help Carson, donate to Nevada Humane Society’s Emily’s Fund, a fund specifically provided to care for sick and injured pets. Call 775-856-2000 ext. 324 to donate today or mail a check to 2825-B Longley Lane, Reno, NV 89502. In the meantime, be sure to follow Carson on our Facebook Page for even more updates.

P.S. Sierra Veterinary Specialists does big things for our shelter pets. When we need a specialty surgery, we call them for help—and they are always there for us. Join us in saying a big thank you to Sierra Veterinary Specialists!

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A Lifesaving Journey for Carson the Cat

by Kimberly Wade

There probably aren’t many people who value their jobs so much that they look forward to coming to work every day. You know, the people who brag about their work, share unlimited stories of good and consistently make a difference for someone else. Well, now you can say you know one of those people—me.

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to be very hands-on with certain animals—those that need some extra TLC and a marketing push to help them find love. Whether a foster situation for young kittens, a medical challenge, or simply a shy pet, I get to work with those who, in my opinion, are just a little more special. Don’t get me wrong, I love all animals and everyone that comes through Nevada Humane Society is special, but some animals tug at your heart just a bit more than others. Carson the cat is one of those and, well, here we go again. You heard Donner’s story not long ago; now meet our latest Lifesaving Adventure.

Carson, at first glance, is beyond adorable. He’s young, only about two, and buff in color—a very light orange tabby. His acceptance of people is off the charts and he will always make you smile. His purr is constant, and he kneads his paws every time someone looks at him. Everything about him is fabulous except….

Carson was found in Carson City, on the side of the road. Our Nevada Humane Society Animal Control Officers found him and brought him immediately to Carson Tahoe Vet to stabilize him. The next morning, he was transferred to our shelter in Reno, where we have a clinic and full veterinary team. After a variety of tests, radiographs and exams, it was determined that Carson had a broken jaw, bruising and scrapes throughout his body, and not one but TWO broken front legs. His radiographs showed such severe breaks in both legs that we knew he would have to see a specialist. Carson’s Lifesaving Adventure was about to begin. Here’s the best part. Through it all, Carson purred, kneaded his paws, and head-butted everyone. His strength was admirable.

Our very own Dr. Slatin went to work on Carson. His first surgery was to get his jaw wired so that it could heal. I watched it myself—and watching miracles happen is awesome. Carson did great and was ready for dinner later that night, broken jaw or not! He was set up with pain meds and a fluffy bed and began a few days of rest. Step one was complete.

So what’s the next step? Well, he’s got an appointment with Sierra Veterinary Specialists—and his outcome looks good—but you’ll have to wait for Part Two of Carson’s Lifesaving Adventure to see what happens next. What we can tell you is that he is happy, doing well, and his journey has only just begun. Follow Carson on our Facebook Page and offer support to him by donating to Nevada Humane Society’s Emily’s Fund, a fund specifically provided to care for sick and injured pets. Call 775-856-2000 ext. 324 to donate today and don’t worry, we’ll be giving updates on our favorite little kitty very soon!

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