Ten Years of Lifesaving

by Kimberly Wade

Animal welfare is progressive. We know that people come and go, the needs of a community change and life just happens. In 2017, Nevada Humane Society hit a milestone—10 years of lifesaving. Though we originated in 1932, our Board of Directors didn’t move to change the mission to one of lifesaving, creating and sustaining a no-kill community, until 2006. At that point, a new regional animal shelter was already under construction—the one currently on Longley Lane—after the community recognized the need for it. Everyone knew that by bringing Washoe County Regional Animal Services and Nevada Humane Society together under one roof, it would create a better place for homeless pets as well as provide a one-stop shop for people. The shelter opened in 2007, and today, after 10 years of lifesaving, we can say that over 100,000 lives have been saved—a feat that hasn’t been easy but is immensely rewarding.

Over the last 10 years, Nevada Humane Society created programs based on community need. You asked, we answered. With things like progressive adoption campaigns to encourage people to visit the shelter first, before going to a pet store or other means of acquiring a pet; low-cost spay and neuter services and vaccinations; programs for senior people and senior pets; Nevada Humane Society truly created a safety net for homeless pets in this community.

If you had told management at Nevada Humane Society 10 years ago that we would be transporting in animals from other shelters, animals that wouldn’t otherwise have a second chance, we wouldn’t have believed it. If you had told the team that spay and neuter would work, that we would see drastically decreasing numbers of kittens, feral cats and even puppies, we wouldn’t have believed it. The lifesaving mission in 2007 seemed virtually impossible but we were determined.

It’s pretty impressive now to see the difference. Our free Animal Help Desk helps provide people with various resources so that relinquishing their pet to the shelter is their last option. There are temporary food programs if you are down on your luck and can’t feed your pet. There are resources to help you with a dog or cat who isn’t as well-mannered as you would like. There are ways to manage and care for feral cats, keeping the population down yet allowing them to live a healthy, outdoor lifestyle—as they are meant for. There are adoptions! People now can come to a shelter for any pet, any age, breed, look or personality. There are dogs and cats, yes, but also small animals, farm animals and so much more. We have partnered with prisons, allowing inmates to not only better themselves as people, but to also help homeless pets, by training dogs who need basic manners or socialization and caring for tiny, newborn kittens—raising them so that they can then be adopted into loving families.

We have listened to the needs of our community to provide a better life for homeless pets, all while helping people too. We accepted that animal welfare is progressive and always changing—this has allowed us to succeed. This has allowed us to overcome challenges, learn from mistakes and keep moving forward. This has allowed us to hit 10 years of lifesaving, and proudly declare that over 100,000 animals are now in loving homes because of everything we aimed for. To all of you who supported us then and still support us now… thank you.

Events for the Animals: Tickets for Heels & Hounds, a champagne brunch and fashion show, are on sale now! The event celebrates the Year of the Dog and benefits all homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society. Heels & Hounds is on Sunday, April 8. Tickets start at $80. Details: 775-856-2000 ext. 320 or http://www.NevadaHumaneSociety.org.

Featured Pet: We’re Huey, Dewey and Louie, three young and fabulous brothers. We were brought up from southern Nevada to give us a second chance at a new home. We may look alike, but our purrsonalities are very different! Sweet, lovable and curious—we’re the best packaged deal, and our adoption fees are sponsored, so we go home, together, for free! Meet us today!Huey, Dewey and Louie.jpg

 

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Big Hearts, Big Community

29497268_10156700780870656_3645335428949583896_n.jpgby Kimberly Wade

So many good things! I feel like since I author this column I probably see more compliments than most, but the number of awesome things happening for our animals is growing and we are really excited to see so many big hearts in our community.

You are probably aware we’ve been working with other shelters across the state to bring in animals to Washoe County to find them loving homes, animals that wouldn’t otherwise have that chance. Most recently, we brought in about 150 cats from Desert Haven Animal Society in Pahrump. So far over 100 of them have been adopted!

Salon Lux, Raising Canes, Amazon, Silver State Barricade and Sign—there are so many awesome businesses who are partnering with Nevada Humane Society to help homeless pets. These are just a few of our supporters, and recently, each of them took it upon themselves to organize fundraisers and bring in donations for the animals. Seeing everything from monetary donations to Amazon gift cards to sponsored adoption fees—this is our community! Knowing we come together to help when someone needs it, people and pets alike, is something to be proud of!

Here’s something else that was different yet successful. A mother reached out to us on Facebook. She said that her daughter’s 7th birthday was coming up and she wanted to adopt a cat. Mom told her it was a lot of work and responsibility, and that they should go to Nevada Humane Society to work with the kitties for a day to see what the work entails. So they did! The daughter spent time with our staff cleaning cats, playing with them, feeding them, and even followed proper hygiene—wearing rubber gloves! She was very excited and the work didn’t deter her. She fell in love with Chubbs, a big 2 year old who had been lost on the streets, and took him home that day. Not only were we a part of this cool learning experience, but we were able to pair an awesome family with the sweetest cat!

Buttercup is a nearly 18 year old Siamese, whose person had to give her up. Poor Buttercup arrived matted and blind. It wasn’t easy for her to face. She looked rough around the edges, but her personality stood out—so much so the staff took a huge liking to her. We shared her story on Facebook and within a matter of days she had a home—a fabulous young gal came in and wanted to help. She had no other pets so Buttercup would certainly be spoiled with attention. This is the kind of lifesaving that makes us so happy!

This is lifesaving. This is Nevada Humane Society. Going above and beyond for homeless pets. Working with the community to save lives. Reaching out for help when needed (which is always). We are here for the animals, but you are here too—and that’s what makes such big hearts in this big community.

By the way, if you want to help, here are a few ideas:

  • Sponsor an adoption fee! The average adoption fee for dogs is $50 and cats $25. If you sponsor the fee, you or your business will get special marketing and together we’ll get a pet home!
  • Create a fundraising event for the animals and donate the proceeds to us! We’ve got lots of ideas if you need them, but things like this are great for schools and kids!
  • Donate supplies! We have a wish list on our website, but right now our biggest needs are cat and kitten food (dry kibble and canned food; no fish flavors), pet beds and toys. Amazon gift cards are great too!
  • Monetary donations. Funding helps us with everything from medical care to special programs to adoptions. Every penny counts!

We’ll say it again. This is lifesaving. This is Nevada Humane Society. Your awesome stories and partnerships and support make it possible. Thank you and we can’t wait to write more columns just like this!

Featured Pet: Hi! I’m Pauline, age 14. I’ve been at the shelter much longer than others because I’ve got a unique personality. I’m sassy, independent, quiet and prefer to hang out with you… but I’m not a lap cat and I’m slow to adjust to new places. I know I’m different but that doesn’t make me any less deserving. I’ve lived with kids, cats and dogs and I think I would come out of my shell once in a home, so won’t you take a chance on me today?

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Facing Reality

Bby Kimberly Wade

It’s time. I’ve shared so much of my journey with my pets that I know I need to face reality. And every time I share with you, whether personal or related to Nevada Humane Society, you step up. It helps us to relate, to know we are not alone. So it’s time.

I can’t even get the words on paper.

Barley, my best friend, my first dog, my boy, left me two months ago, on December 28. My husband and I didn’t share this with many people; most of you even still ask about him. But it’s time to face reality.

If you were lucky to have known him, you would describe him as the happiest dog ever. Always smiling, always up for adventure. My sidekick. He went everywhere with me. He was my muse. As long as I was there, he would do anything. He visited Nevada Humane Society often, acted as a secondary foster parent to every pet I brought home and loved everyone. He just wanted to be with people—especially me. He would have done anything for me, and he did.

I shared his journey with Diabetes last fall, because I talked about so many animals at Nevada Humane Society that needed special care, just like he now did. I had never faced that journey myself until him.

It was hard at first, but it got easier. From talking with so many of you who adopted special needs pets I knew we could do this. And by no means do I ever want to deter any of you from adopting a special needs pet—because they are amazing, just as Barley was.

His body didn’t accept our help. We tried everything. Traditional medicine, various types of insulin, acupuncture and other holistic supplements. We think he was insulin resistant, that Pancreatitis was the cause and that’s what quickly shut down the rest of his organs.

He wanted to fight. We wanted to fight. I told him so many times that I would do this as long as he wanted it. But it got ugly.

We lost our senior lab, Gilda in the middle of December. A few days later Barley lost his eyesight. A few days later Tito, our Italian Greyhound, chose to leave us. Barley started failing. I almost don’t blame him. His body was a mess, he lost his siblings, and his ability to live life to the fullest was falling apart. Mind you it was also Christmas.

We knew Barley was done on Christmas Eve. He tried so hard to be his normal vivacious, happy self but he was so tired. He couldn’t see. We kept trying. We saw an eye specialist the day after Christmas. The icing on the cake. Normally, even for vet appointments, he loves to ride in the car. He was terrified. We were told one eye had to be removed, and the other, well, even if we fixed it he would likely go blind again. We had to decide on surgery now. Everything Barley was putting out told us he wouldn’t make it through surgery, much less the recovery. So why do it? For us? My husband knew it was time. I had a feeling but wasn’t 100%. I asked Barley to stop being strong for me and to tell me what he wanted. I told him I would fight but if he was done I would let him go. The next morning, as he laid on the couch, he told me. He didn’t want to get up for food, or a ride or anything. He was tired. He was ready. I called my husband. I lost it.

We spent the day watching movies, playing in the yard and with the cats. I was beyond broken. We got Barley a cheeseburger and fries on the way to the vet; he was so happy! His Diabetic diet for the last couple of months wasn’t fun; he’s a foodie.

We got to the vet. Our team is amazing. They were there for Gilda and Tito. They fought the Diabetes with us. They loved all of them too yet it doesn’t make it easier. Barley was scared and trying to be strong for me but I told him I would be fine. He left us on my lap, in my arms, with my husband and our vet team beside us.

Diabetes is manageable. I honestly don’t think I can go through that again, but with so many animals who face medical conditions, they need you. I need you, because I can’t do it. For all of us who lost a best friend, struggled with illness, making the choice to let them go… we are not alone. And that’s why I write this today. Animals are more than my passion. They are my family. Nevada Humane Society believes in family, and hopefully it’s your time to adopt and I hope Barley’s story will make you step up for someone else in need.

To say our home is empty without dogs is an understatement. The cats are trying to fill the void, but it’s so different. We won’t be ready for a long time, but we know we made the right decision letting all of them go and we don’t love any less because of it.

I’ll leave you with this. I needed Barley to send us a sign that he was okay. The vision was immediate. As soon as he arrived at his next destination, he was greeted with his vision, bright green grass and his brother. Tito was waiting for him. Barley looked up at him, knew it was okay and they moved on, together. For me, knowing they have each other and that hopefully one day we’ll see him again, I can grieve. Finally.

 

 

 

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