Adopters—The Superheros of Animal Welfare

by Kimberly Wade

Recently, one of our directors was travelling and saw a fun billboard (on the east coast, not local) advertising superheros. It gave her an idea. She came back to me and we began to brainstorm. Superheros can be from any walk of life, have any personality, and be any age. Superheros, in modern fiction, are described as costumed characters who possess supernatural or superhuman powers and who are dedicated to fighting for good. We joked that adopters are superheros—without the tights—and then we realized that it wasn’t a joke. Truly, our adopters are superheros, because every day they are fighting for the lives of homeless pets. Their ammunition comes in the forms of donations, volunteering their time, becoming a foster family or the big one, adopting. As a community we know it takes a village for such successful lifesaving, so wouldn’t you agree that all of you are the superheros helping us fight this battle to save even more lives every single day?

Superhero Story #1. A gentleman from Vegas has been following us for years, watching our success, even trying to mimic it. He took in a large number of cats (for a variety of reasons) and wanted to help all of them. Things got a bit out of control, and as he hit troubled times that he couldn’t dig out from under, he called us. Within days, he was driving from Vegas to Reno with his cats, giving them up because he knew he could no longer care for them and he knew that we would. That takes a lot, owning up to mistakes or maybe not so great decisions. Giving up your family—really, these cats are his family. And then knowing that you probably won’t see those cats again—that’s tough. We consider him a superhero for recognizing what was good for the cats, and now, as they are being adopted into our community, you are the superheros as the adopters.

Superhero Story #2. Herman, a horse, was not being properly cared for by his person. He’s a mustang, so those of you that know horses, well, you know Herman is special. He needs some socialization, some work, and some time. He was given up because again, the person recognized that he wasn’t able to care for Herman, and the horse wound up in our care. Several of our staff, along with several staff from Washoe County Regional Animal Services, have been giving Herman the TLC he needs for the last several months. It’s a superhero partnership! Finally, Herman was given the all clear that he was ready for adoption, and we posted his handsome face on Facebook. Within minutes, we had a phone call, and within two days, that call turned into an adoption. Herman is going home next week to be with his new family—who, we may add, have another mustang and are well-versed in horses. Herman had several superheros in his story, from his current caregivers to his new family.

Superhero Story #3. Kona, a stunning, eight-month-old Golden Retriever. She’s the most well-behaved, sweetest little thing. Her challenge? She’s been diagnosed with a serious heart condition. We tried to be her superhero, hoping surgery would make things better, but she’s not a candidate. So for us to be her superhero, we need to find her a home. She needs a very calm, quiet home, with someone who understands she can’t really do typical dog things. She can’t get excited or go swimming or for runs. She needs to be a couch potato. As we talk about how all of you have been, and continue to be, such superheros to our homeless pets, is there anyone who can step up for Kona? We know you are out there, but maybe together, we can find just one more superhero to make a difference.

If you’ve ever wished that you could be more like a superhero, now is the time. Share those photos of adoptable pets, donate your time (and dollars) to help be the voice of the voiceless, tell your friends about the cute kitten you saw while visiting the shelter, and help nus find a home for Kona. Superheros are all around us and don’t ever doubt you aren’t a part of this movement—because you are. We’re all superheros—without the tights—and we deserve to be recognized.

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Hot Cars Are Not Cool

By Kimberly Wade

We may have seen a brief cool down this week but ultimately the heat is still upon us and that means you need to think carefully before bringing your pets with you. Don’t get me wrong; I, as much as anyone, love bringing my dogs with me to dog-friendly places—not to mention they love car rides. Barley, my little terrier, would go everywhere with me if he could! But in this heat, if I know I can’t keep the car cool or will be running errands where I can’t take him, he stays home.

Just the other day one of our Animal Control officers in Carson City called our Operations Director. He found a cute, little pup locked inside a car and had no choice but to break the window. He had searched for the pet parent and asked around to no avail. When the dog began showing signs of distress, he knew he had to intervene. He broke the window, pulled out the dog, offered a cool compress and water. Luckily, this time, the dog was okay, but many times dogs are not that lucky. Dogs can’t cool themselves down as easily as people, and once they overheat, they can suffer extensive organ damage… or worse.

We’re not here to judge or to say anything about this incident other than to let it serve as a reminder—and to tell people that good pet parenting is essential to having a pet. Dogs love to tag along with us, but in the extreme heat (which is seriously over 70 degrees) and the extreme cold, leave them at home. We know you want to have fun in the sun but if you’re going to do that, start your car and let it cool down before putting Fido in, and then go directly to your dog-friendly destination. Then, repeat the cool down process before you head home.

We know it’s unfortunately inevitable that it will happen, so if you see a pet in distress, in a hot car, here’s how you can help:

  • Call Animal Control or the Police; inform them if the pet appears to be in distress.
    • If you’re in Washoe County, call 775-322-3647 (DOGS).
    • If you’re in Carson City, call 775-887-2171.
  • Try to find the pet parent.
  • Note the vehicle info (license plate, color, model etc). Alert nearby businesses.
  • Keep an eye on the car until an officer or the parent arrives.

In Nevada, per NRS 574.195, a person shall not allow a cat or dog to remain unattended in a parked or standing vehicle during a period of extreme heat (over 70 degrees) or cold. An Animal Control Officer may use any force that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to remove a pet from a motor vehicle. If you leave a pet in a hot car, this is considered animal cruelty and a misdemeanor. I repeat. This is cruelty and a misdemeanor.

Want some quick facts about pets in hot cars? According to the ASPCA, hot cars are NOT cool:

  • 75 degrees can become 100 degrees in ten minutes. 85 degrees can become 100 degrees in eight minutes. In 30 minutes, both of these vehicles would reach 120 degrees.
  • Cracking windows does not stop the heat from rising inside a vehicle.
  • Dogs can succumb to heatstroke even in the shade if the temperature is still hot.
  • Signs of heatstroke: excessive panting, lethargy, weakness, drooling, staring or anxious expression, unresponsive, dark red gums, collapse, rapid heartbeat, warm skin, vomiting and collapse.

I’m not here to bring up touchy subjects or sob stories, but rather to inform, because we know this happens. We see dogs in distress arrive at our clinic and others around the region. It’s not always a happy ending. Please, while you can of course enjoy summertime with your dogs, think twice before you take them everywhere.

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The 4th of July is Not a Celebration for Pets

By Kimberly Wade

*If you are missing your pet in Washoe County, please contact Animal Services at 775-353-8900. They had nearly 50 dogs arrive at their shelter on July 5. If you are missing a pet in Carson City, please contact Nevada Humane Society at 775-887-2171.

The 4th of July is upon us and like many, you’re probably planning a festive weekend with a mix of people and pets, because if you’re like me, pets are family too. The trouble is, that on the 4th of July, every year animal welfare groups stress that pets do not like fireworks. Despite this, people still celebrate with their pet—when in reality, this is the time to leave your pet at home, where they are comfortable and safe from everything that can go wrong. I’m here to preach the same thing.

Normally your pets may love camping, swimming and family gatherings. But on July 4th, it’s too risky if you are in the vicinity of a fireworks show. Pets don’t associate noise and flashes of light or strange things whizzing by with celebrations. Instead, they are terrified and they often panic and run away—even the most well-behaved or trained pet.

According to the American Humane Association, July 5th is the busiest day at animal shelters nationwide because more pets run away during firework celebrations and find themselves lost on the street, injured, or worse. Those that are lucky enough to be picked up by animal control or brought to a shelter by a kind person are still stressed, because now they don’t know where they are, nor is their person guaranteed to come by the shelter to look for them.

Prior to the 4th of July, prepare for your pet possibly escaping with these simple tips:

  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and registered with current information. Registration is easy with the Found Animals Registry, a free service, and Washoe County Regional Animal Services offers free microchipping to local residents.
  • Make sure pet collars are secure and that tags are up to date.
  • Register your dog with Finding Rover, a website that uses photos as facial recognition to help find your dog.
  • Have recent photos of your pet in your phone or on your computer so you can easily make lost pet flyers.

During the 4th of July celebration, if you are near a big fireworks show, keep your pets safe!

  • At dusk, bring your pets inside your home. Even if they are usually fine outside, there is a reason so many pets end up running away on the 4th of July.
  • Don’t take your pet to parties. If you are hosting your own party, keep your pet in a crate or other small space that is secure (keep windows closed too). Startled pets have been known to break through screens and push doors open, so locked doors and windows are best. This also prevents people from opening doors and letting your pet out.
  • Turn on the TV or calming music. It helps relieve stress and lets them focus on something other than the fireworks.
  • Engage them with a special toy or long-lasting chew treat. This works well for food motivated dogs even in stressful times!

Washoe County Regional Animal Services and Nevada Humane Society Carson City will be working hard this weekend, reminding people to keep pets safe and working round the clock as pets arrive at the shelter. But in the case your pet isn’t safe, remember to check all nearby shelters for many days after the 4th so that if your pet ends up there, you can bring him or her home. Lost and found pets may be posted and viewed online at but please do your best at keeping your pet safe. We promise they will be much happier being left at home during this big holiday weekend.

For more services for Washoe County Animal Services, please call their dispatch at 775-322-3647 (DOGS) or for services in Carson City please call Nevada Humane Society at 775-887-2171.

Happy 4th of July and please, keep your pets safe!

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