Yes, Microchipping Does Make a Difference

by Kimberly Wade

Recently, a senior Chihuahua named Dash was reunited with his family—after eight years—all thanks to a microchip. He had gone missing as a pup from his own backyard, apparently spent time with another family in between, then once again wound up lost. He did have a microchip, but his person had moved out of state and reaching her took longer than anticipated. When Washoe County Regional Animal Services didn’t hear back, everyone assumed Dash had no one and he was transferred to us, Nevada Humane Society, to be put up for adoption.

A couple weeks after Dash had arrived, we got a phone call from Dash’s person. She had given up hope he was still even around, and thought the letter was junk mail so it had gone untouched for weeks. When she finally opened it she called us. Lucky for Dash, he had required some veterinary care, so he was still here. Long story short, everything checked out and Dash was on a plane back to his family within a few days—all thanks to his microchip.

So what is a microchip? It’s a tiny device, the size of a grain of rice, encoded with a unique ID number that is assigned to your pet. It’s placed between the pet’s shoulder blades and is quick, easy and virtually painless. It’s important because collars and leashes can break or fall off, and even the most well-behaved pets can disappear—trust me. My fence blew down and all three of my dogs had a 30 minute unsupervised adventure—not to mention that I had to call Animal Services—I, a Nevada Humane Society employee. It was unpleasant to say the least, but thankfully everyone was fine and eventually came running to my incessant yelling of their names as I walked the streets.

The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost (or stolen) in the U.S. every year. A study they conducted revealed that when a pet is microchipped, and that microchip registered, their chance of being reunited with their family is increasingly higher:

  • Only about 22% of lost dogs that entered animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return to owner rate for dogs with a microchip was over 52%.
  • Less than 2% of lost cats who entered a shelter went home, but for those with microchips, over 38% went home.

It’s important to know that a microchip is not a tracking device—it must be read with a special scanner. When an animal is scanned, the number comes up; the finder contacts the microchip company and receives the owner’s information. Any vet or shelter can scan a pet for you—to find out the owner’s info if you found the pet, or, on your own pet, if you misplaced your microchip number and need to know it.

Here’s the other vital piece to microchipping—the chip must be registered (with current info) to the pet owner. You can do that for free, very easily, through the Found Animals Registry. Another great tool is Finding Rover, a website that uses photos of your dog as facial recognition to help find your dog. Finally, if you need a microchip, Washoe County Regional Animal Services offers free microchips. Take advantage of it!

All dogs and cats that are adopted from Nevada Humane Society are microchipped (and spayed or neutered, as well as vaccinated) but let’s face it, some of us acquire pets from friends, or maybe they wander into your yard. The next time you find a pet, take him or her to a nearby shelter or veterinarian to have him scanned for a microchip. It could lead to his return home—and you’ll reap the reward of being a part of that. And if you keep him, well, get him microchipped.

P.S. If you’re interested in Dash’s story, click here for part one, while he was in our care before he flew home, and click here for part two, when he was reunited with his family.


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Rubber Duckie, You’re the One!

by Kimberly Wade

If you follow anything about us you know that right now is duck season. Not real ducks, but little, bright yellow, rubber ducks. 30,000 of them to be exact. Recently, they descended upon Reno and are now completing Duckie Boot Camp as they train for the big day—when they race down the Truckee River to raise money and awareness for homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society. If you haven’t seen this race before, now is the time to get involved because there is nothing, I repeat, nothing, like the sight of 30,000 rubber ducks racing through Wingfield Park surrounded by thousands of pet lovers cheering on their ducks.

Picture this. It’s 6am, the sun is rising, and rubber ducks are taking over Wingfield Park. Staff and volunteers from Nevada Humane Society have been working behind the scenes all year for a day-long festival, culminating in the big race. There is an aura of excitement, anxiety and cheer in the air. It’s the 7th annual Duck Race & Festival to benefit homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society—and those staff and volunteers are asking you to be a part of one very big day.

The Duck Race has actually become my baby, as I oversee our events. So while I love this day, it’s also stressful. Will we succeed? Will we raise enough money for the animals? Will people show up? Will the weather be good? What did we forget? Seriously, event planning, as much fun as it is, is a gigantic job. We love it, I love it, but it’s a lot. Thankfully, I have my trustworthy Michelle behind the scenes to handle a ton of duckie related tasks, guide the duckie sales teams and arrange our duckie partners. Then we have Jessica, who manages our duckie volunteers, Debbie, who keeps our duckie fundraising and finances in check, William who brings our real animals (friends of the ducks) to the event, Sharon who maintains the duckie website, and our intern, Robyn, who has literally been all over the community day after day for the last three months adopting ducks to people like you. We can’t forget Q&D Construction either, whose team is responsible for getting the ducks safely to the river, building our finish line and—wait for it—dumping them into the river from the Arlington Street bridge.

As I write this we are about two weeks away and the usual panic is setting in. That’s why our duckie team needs you. Our goal is to raise $150,000 for the animals. The grand prize for the fastest duck is a brand new, 2016 Toyota Corolla generously donated by Dick Campagni’s Carson City Toyota—plus for even more fast ducks a trip to Vegas, a year of dining adventures, a ride during the Great Reno Balloon Race and of course, a fabulous pet package. But we really hope you adopt a duck for the cause—for the lifesaving efforts we’ve made successful in Washoe County and Carson City. When you adopt a duck, yes, you could win a cool prize, and yes, we want you to be there during all of the event fun, but really, we want you to adopt a duck (or a Quack Pack or a Beak Brigade) to help us save more lives. We make the adoptions easy and then you come down to cheer on your duck(s) as they race down the Truckee—but no, winners don’t have to be present (Yup. That means even if you can’t attend the event you are still required to adopt a duck just to make me (I mean, the animals) happy (and less stressed). And I’ll be the one calling you if you win).

Seriously. #AdoptaDuckSaveaLife #GetYourDuckOn Adopt online, in person at our shelter (one in Reno, one in Carson), over the phone (775-856-2000 ext. 324), by mail or heck, I may even come to your home. That’s how much I love animals and how much I want your help. Ducks are only $5. I know you can do it. Oh! We even have Duck Tail Ale, compliments of Mellow Fellow GastroPub who is selling duckie beer to benefit us!

The Duck Race & Festival is Sunday, August 21 at Wingfield Park from 11am to 5pm. Ducks race at 4pm. Enjoy food trucks, live entertainment, a carnival, pet adoptions, shopping, sunbathing, pet cuddling, photo taking and more. Details at

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We’ve Adopted a New CEO!

by Kimberly Wade

If you’ve followed us at all over the last year, you know we’ve been searching hard for a new CEO. Someone that would help take us to the next level, understand our long-term mission of a no-kill Nevada, and someone with plenty of experience. Well, it’s time to let you know that we’ve adopted a new leader… Kiska Icard!

Kiska is an experienced animal welfare professional with over 20 years of experience leading Bay Area non-profit organizations. She has proven expertise, demonstrated ability of fundraising, and has a desire to be innovative, progressive, and collaborative. Her past roles include Executive Director at Sonoma Humane Society and Director of Programs at the San Francisco SPCA.

“Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working under and with the founders and visionaries of the no-kill movement. I’ve worked in San Francisco’s inner city and Sonoma’s vast agriculture community. While communities vary, the common element that I’ve found in fulfilling our critical mission is that we are all helping people in order to help animals,” she says. “For nearly a decade I’ve watched how you have created a safe-haven for all animals in Northern Nevada. I am honored to continue to build upon the strong lifesaving framework that you have already achieved and take Nevada Humane Society into the future towards a lifesaving state.”

The President of our Board of Directors, Tierra Bonaldi, states, “After a long, thorough, nationwide search, we are thrilled and feel very fortunate to have found such an incredible person as Kiska to lead our organization. She is not only extremely experienced, but smart, thoughtful, passionate and enthusiastic and we are confident she will work with the entire community to ensure northern Nevada is the safest place for homeless pets and continue to elevate Nevada Humane Society to be the model shelter it is recognized for nationwide.”

As we continue to strengthen relationships within Washoe County and Carson City, and extend our reach throughout more of Nevada, it’s important to have someone as our leader that will continue to make a difference. We are excited. Our staff, our volunteers, our animals—we’re ready for change that will lead to even bigger and better. We welcome her to the family, and we hope that you do, too.

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