The Season of Giving and Love

by Kimberly Wade

As I write this last column before Christmas, I know I’m supposed to be full of holiday spirit but I’m going to get personal. The last two weeks have been challenging. It’s making me struggle to find the meaning of this season. So I ask for your help despite the fact you may need to break out the tissues.

Two weeks ago we lost our senior lab, Gilda, who we took in after my husband’s grandfather passed four years ago. She was 15.

Yesterday we lost our Italian Greyhound, Tito, who was also 15.

Both of them had internal challenges that seem to come naturally with aging. It never makes the decision any easier, even if we knew we were doing the right thing.

Barley, our 9-year-old Benji lookalike, was recently diagnosed with Diabetes. The lifestyle is a big change for all of us, but we’re doing it. What we didn’t expect was such a tough time in getting his insulin regulated, which ultimately led to an even worse scenario. Last week, overnight, he lost his sight. We’ve started acupuncture and herbal treatments. He has an appointment with the eye specialist next week. We’re more than fighting for him. But it’s heartbreaking. He lost two siblings and his sight and you can only imagine the human words he would utter if he could speak. Heck, me too but I’ve got to be professional.

There are so many holes in our little family. How are we supposed to be feeling joy and love and the desire to give back this Christmas? At least our cats, despite also grieving, are trying. They’re more snuggly and decided to hold off on scaling the Christmas tree for our sanity.

Grief makes me doubt being a pet owner. Doubt that I’m doing a good job in my career. Doubt that I’ll be able to put up a strong front for my husband, our furkids and my colleagues this season.

But through all of this I’m trying to focus on the fact that Gilda and Tito had amazing lives. Barley is going to still have an amazing life. Animals are resilient. They want us to be happy, focus on the good moments and move forward. So here’s my ask for you. Give to our homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society. They don’t have a home. They have lots of TLC, love and joy from our staff and volunteers, but as good as their lives are in the shelter, it’s not a home. I want you all to consider giving them the second chance they deserve.

If you gave even $10 this Christmas, or adopted or fostered a special needs pet, or referred a friend to us you’ve made a difference. This one small gift by you will show me that what we’re doing is worth it. It will show me that even among loss, there is good. That we stand up for the animals.

This wasn’t meant to be sappy so my apologies, but I also know from so many of your comments that you appreciate my honesty and personal stories. We’ve all been there. What I want to reach is the positive. Turn grief into giving back. So please, in honor of mine and for everyone at Nevada Humane Society, donate, adopt, foster and let’s all save lives. Let’s give everyone the chance at a family they deserve.

I’m taking a couple days off so be patient with me, but you can call us at 775-856-2000 ext. 324 to donate or visit us to adopt (we’re open daily from 11am to 6:30pm except on Christmas) or foster. Share your stories with me. I want to hear that good! My email is or our address is 2825 Longley Lane, Reno, 89502. Thank you in advance for sharing your good.

P.S. Recently we featured Stitch, a senior kitty, and Archie, a long-term resident and cancer survivor. Both went home! In fact, many of our animals with medical needs, or look a little different, or who have been at the shelter longer than others, have gone home! Cracker, an Airedale who lost his person, and Dixie, a little Beagle, were on Facebook—I’ve never seen so many people want to adopt! Businesses are sponsoring adoption fees, which means you adopt for free. This encourages us to keep doing what we’re doing.


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