Mother Nature, a CATastrophe

by Kimberly Wade

Let’s be honest. Everyone was talking about Hurricane Harvey, and now they’re talking about Hurricane Irma. A Florida gal myself, I’ve been lucky to only experience one major storm, but I feel for my family and friends back east right now—and the animals are also weighing heavily on my mind.

One of my girlfriends in Texas, Sarah, shared videos of herself literally wading through waist deep water in the streets. Shocking as that was, it was watching the dogs (and cats, believe it or not) swim alongside her. It really made me think. Are these stray pets who have no one and are now looking for that new shelter, with food and warmth? Were they wondering what the heck was happening and where they would go next? Or were they someone’s pet, lost, alone, and pushing forward until they found help? The stories on the news and social media say so much about the animals, and I am so impressed and proud of so many people stepping up to help—because for me (and most of you), our animals are family too.

Sarah found a sweet little pit bull after Harvey hit. Whether he was left behind or his people couldn’t get back to him we’ll never know. But she chose not to judge and instead, save. She took him home and spent the next week caring for him while she looked for his family. He wasn’t microchipped, and his collar had no tags. He was social, affectionate and in good shape—it was obvious he belonged to someone.

Her landlord saw him and told her he needed to go—she can’t have a dog where she is currently living. She wanted what was best for him—a home—so she took to social media.

It only took a couple of days. The owner saw her Facebook post and contacted her. The dog, known as AJ, had family in a nearby city so she hit the road to deliver him home. She told me that as she drove up, three men came running out to her car, shouting, “That’s him! That’s him!” AJ was also beside himself, and as soon as she stopped the car, he jumped out and ran to his people. One of the men picked him up and carried him like a baby—AJ was home. Sarah told me it was bittersweet (she would have moved in order to keep him had she not found his family) but she was so happy knowing he was back with his family.

As pets are still being reunited from Harvey, I have no doubt Irma will have the same results—even in the wake of disaster and uncertainty. But just as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, being prepared for any kind of disaster is key—especially remember to microchip your pets and register the chip! Washoe County Animal Services offers free chips (there’s no excuse not to do it), then you just need to register your pet with the chip company or on the Found Animals website. Make sure your contact info is up to date too!

Finally, let’s keep those around us, those braving hurricanes, wildfires and other unfortunate circumstances, in our thoughts. We’re supposed to all be on the same side, to not judge, and to just love… so let’s do that, in the wake of all of this. Oh, and get your pets microchipped. AJ could have been home much sooner if he was chipped—he was one of the lucky ones.

Events: Don’t miss The Wags & Whiskers Gala, A Night in Havana, on November 11 at the Peppermill! We’re transporting guests all the way to Cuba for A Night in Havana, complete with Cuban-themed entertainment, unlimited Mutt-jitos and Meow-jitos and hand-rolled Cuban cigars. From salsa dancers to bongo drums to aerialists, sights and sounds of Cuba will be in the air! Tickets: 775-856-2000 ext. 320 or

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