How One Fire Sparked My Awareness

by Kimberly Wade

Earlier this week I was driving home and as I exited the freeway, I noticed the plume of distant smoke wasn’t actually so distant. In fact, it was too close to home. At a stoplight (oops, don’t tell), I jumped on my phone to search for any news about a local fire. The Mogul fire, as it was dubbed, had just sparked near Somersett, a few blocks from my house. I bypassed my street to follow the firefighters and police. I’ve never seen a wildfire up close. This week, I did. The flames were literally right there.

I’m an East Coast beach baby, born and raised on the water, and I just don’t understand the desert. We had a heavy winter, yet it seems we have more fires than ever. I can empathize with locals who have endured them but I had yet to experience it myself—until now. I was used to hurricanes which offer plenty of time to prepare. Fires, not so much.

I panicked of course, called my husband and asked if I should prepare. Though realistically (I can be dramatic) the fire would have to jump a road and a ravine, it was still too close to home for me. I packed the necessities and got the kids (pets) ready. And that brings me to this—are your pets ready for a disaster?

I had all the kennels lined up with bedding. I had food, supplements and medical items. I even took their toys. Of course they were thinking we were going on an adventure, but I was already imagining loading three dogs and three cats into our cars and finding a place to stay (we would have bunked overnight in my office because I’m lucky enough to work at Nevada Humane Society).

Our cats range from one to three years old, but Maisey has a virus that requires supplements and a carefully monitored diet. Our dogs are all seniors, ages nine to 14. Our lab, Gilda, is incontinent, has hip and knee challenges, and eye issues. Lovingly, I say she’s a hot mess. They too are on supplements, and we have a slew of meds just in case. I recently checked all of their microchips and made sure they were registered and up to date with our contact info, and had all their vet records neatly organized. I was in good shape.

Emergencies come in many forms and can require a short absence from home or a long one. Each type of disaster requires different measures, and so you can prepare, I’m offering this simple advice:

  • Get a rescue sticker for your windows. Make sure it’s visible and includes types and number of pets. If you must evacuate, write “evacuated” on it when you leave so it’s known they’re safe.
  • Arrange a safe haven for your pets. Do not leave them behind! Look now to find boarding or someone who can take them in.
  • Choose a designated caregiver if you can’t get home. Whether temporary or permanent, this will help if you need to separate.
  • Prepare emergency supplies and a travelling kit, including first aid, leashes, collars and items that help keep your pets calm. Make sure their info is up to date—ages, vaccines, any medical conditions. Know contact info for your veterinarian. Get them microchipped and make sure that info is up to date. Have recent photos of your pet available in case they become lost.
  • Think about your home too. If you live in an earthquake prone area, find the safe rooms. I experienced a bad hurricane and I put my cats in harnesses, leashed them to me, and we all rode it out in the bathroom tub—with my roommates.

The three biggest things to be ready for a disaster, natural or not, are to prepare in advance, make a plan for if and when it happens, and stay informed. Take my advice. Don’t wait. Do it now.

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Finding Homes for Everyone

by Kimberly Wade

Summertime is typically the time of year when shelters—Nevada Humane Society included—are seeing kennels fill up and space limitations stretch. Kittens and puppies arrive daily, needing specialty care to help them grow big and strong for adoption, while adult animals sometimes (I said sometimes) are passed over for their younger counterparts. It gets crowded in shelters, and though at Nevada Humane Society our population is still much less than it was a decade ago when we changed the mission to one of lifesaving, we still have plenty of animals that need you and a loving home. That’s why we’re so glad to be participating in Clear the Shelters this weekend, on Saturday, August 19.

NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ Clear the Shelters is a community-driven nationwide pet adoption campaign that seeks to match deserving animals with loving and permanent homes. This year, NBC and Telemundo stations all across the country will join with hundreds of animal shelters, including Nevada Humane Society in both Reno and Carson City, to offer low cost pet adoption fees to help families find and adopt a new pet. Since 2015, Clear the Shelters has resulted in more than 70,000 pet adoptions nationwide and we’re thrilled to be adding to those numbers this year!

PV is an incredibly gorgeous gal (despite the odd name) who is only about a year old. She has these beautiful gray and white tabby markings and the sweetest smile. She’s actually been here longer than most others because of her spitfire purrsonality. Yes, she’s plenty sweet, but she also has a lot of spice to her! She loves to cuddle but now and then gets a little feisty, so she needs a cat savvy family who can read her signals when she’s telling you to back off. She also prefers to be the boss, so for her to be your only pet is ideal, as well as a home with no young kids. She’s one of my favorites and also one who needs some added help finding a home, so we’re hoping during Clear the Shelters she’ll meet her match.

Beltor is a seven year old terrier, part pit bull (ish), part water dog and part lap dog. He thinks he’s puppy size and can fit anywhere but in realty he’s large. He’s distinguished and sophisticated, yet sometimes shy at first glance. He may take a bit to open up to you but once he does, BAM! His personality is out and there is no stopping it! He has the best smile and would do anything to make his person happy. He was actually at our Walk for Animals last weekend and he and I sat in a kiddie pool together people watching. Yes, I’m serious. He too has been here longer than most, and for him, Clear the Shelters is going to change this by allowing him to find his perfect family.

I could go on and on about so many of our animals that have become special to me. There’s Aspen, whose picture is featured. She was briefly in our admin offices to gain back some of her confidence after a slow start at the shelter. Now she’s plenty confident, so much so that she doesn’t necessarily love other cats and would prefer a home of her own. And she has a crooked tail—it may have broken many years ago and was never fixed, so it permanently waves an ecstatic hello to you. Pretty stinking adorable. There’s also Duce and Leo, two brown and white Chihuahua (ish) dogs. They are cuter than anything, all tail wagging, teeth showing smiles. For little guys, they have big personalities and we love to watch them charm the socks off of everyone.

Clear the Shelters is locally sponsored by KRNV News 4 and we know that thanks to them, Petco and so many others that have made this nationwide pet adoption event possible, our animals are going to get lucky this weekend—specifically on Saturday, August 19. We’re open normal adoption hours, from 10am to 6:30pm at both locations (2825 Longley Lane in Reno and 549 Airport Road in Carson). We have already low adoption fees, but certain seniors, dogs that have been here longer than others, and all cats over the age of five are free. All dogs and cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped—so they are ready to hit the ground running with their new families. We hope you’ll help us make Clear the Shelters a big success, because there’s nothing more that we love than seeing empty kennels after a long day.

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One Week Until We All Walk for Animals

by Kimberly Wade

I know I’ve mentioned this once already, but with the countdown on (one week!) I had to mention it again. Our Walk for Animals is back! Next Saturday, August 12, at the Sparks Marina, hundreds (hopefully thousands) of you will be joining myself along with several other NHS staff and volunteers to take the two-mile fun walk around the Marina to raise money and awareness for homeless pets. We can’t wait!

You may remember that our Duck Race & Festival is normally in August, but we were advised months ago by the City of Reno to not go into the water, so we had to quickly cancel that and come up with another fundraiser in its place. To make it easy, we brought back the Walk for Animals. However, many of you have expressed concern with the heat. Well, Mother Nature forced us to cancel the Duck Race and now her heat may also be cause for concern at the Walk. Never fear, we’re pushing forward and we will be there, with plenty of kiddie pools, tents, drinking water, a doggie spa and more (not to mention there’s a big lake to splash in) to keep both humans and dogs cool. We have got to be here for our furry friends at all costs and given we didn’t have a big choice for date or time for this event, we went with it. We hope you will too.

After my article last week about keeping our pets’ safe in the heat, we understand that the Walk for Animals is going to be hot. We’re doing the rain dance to bring cooler weather, but please also know that you don’t have to bring your dogs, and as humans, you can prepare, by bringing water, strapping one of those cool hiking packs on that stays cold, wearing breathable clothing, and yes, getting in the Marina. The event must still be a success, and we’re counting on your help to get us there—because after all, everything raised goes right back to benefit our homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society.

So since you’re ready to tackle the weather, here’s the deal. The event is from 10am to 2pm at Sparks Marina. Festivities include vendors, food trucks, a carnival and more. The Walk itself is at 11am. To participate, simply register online (online closes at 11:59pm on August 10) or in person either the day before, August 11 from 11am to 6pm at Nevada Humane Society in Reno, or the day of, from 10am to 11:30am at the Sparks Marina. Once you register, start fundraising and join us for all of the fun! It may be good to know that we also have a Cat Napper registration for people who want to participate but can’t be there—this allows you to donate to our team of volunteers who will be walking our shelter dogs.

Rain or shine, we are ready for the Walk for Animals. Events like this help all of our animals, from those that need extra medical care or spay/neuter services, to those that need a new home. Events like this provide food, warm bedding, daily TLC and so much more, so that we can be here for our community and our homeless pets. That means when you participate in the Walk for Animals, you too are making a difference. So… will we see you there?

P.S. To register online click here or if you have other event questions please call 775-856-2000 ext. 320.


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Hot Cars and Dogs Don’t Mix: A Summer PSA

by Kimberly Wade

It’s PSA time, friends, so get ready. Last Sunday, I was at Trader Joes and upon leaving I saw a silver Lexus in the space parked right in front. It was nearing 100 degrees, and the windows were cracked. Yup, you know what I’m going to say next. I heard barking.

I glanced at the car to see a mini schnauzer bouncing from window to window, hollering as loudly as he could. The car was in a handicapped space so I was giving the person the benefit of doubt that he or she would be out soon—even though in this kind of heat, we all know soon can’t be soon enough. I tried to assume the car hadn’t been parked long, so I continued on to my car to unload my groceries.

My head and heart got the best of me. I checked on the dog again. Though still going from window to window, his liveliness was relaxing, and all of my emotions came rushing forward as I decided I was going to call Washoe County Regional Animal Services and watch over the dog until help came.

In the time it took Animal Services to get there I watched the Schnauzer go from active to inactive. He got to a point where he stopped barking and just lay down. I was angry, stressed, sad and helpless. I could have broken the windows, but I also couldn’t forget about the laws—though I was willing to do that. I’m also sure another bystander would have done it or we could have pulled him through the window if an emergency arose.

I saw Animal Services enter the parking lot. In the time it took for me to turn my back, a woman come out of the store, with flowers in her hand. I wasn’t next to the car; I was a few doors down and I knew it probably wasn’t good of me to confront her with all the language I was going to use. But flowers? That’s it? I looked at the time. In all honesty, from the time this all started, it had been over a half an hour—and who knows how much longer the woman was in the store before I came out.

She got in her car. Animal Services pulled up behind her, blocked her car and got out, citation book in hand. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I could only imagine what was being said. I later “happened” to follow the woman out of the parking lot. The dog was active, thankfully, but you never know what may happen in this situation.

Here’s the thing. I did my due diligence and asked around but also felt the need to share this lesson in a very public, busy area. I can’t understand how it isn’t common sense that it’s too hot to leave a dog (or a kid) in the car in the middle of the summer. We see news stories about this all too often. Dogs cannot cool themselves as easily as people, and once they overheat, extensive organ damage can occur. It’s a form of cruelty, so here’s what you can do if you see a dog (or a kid) in a locked, hot car:

  • In Washoe County, call 775-322-3647. In Carson City, 775-887-2171. Do not report this online!
  • Get the vehicle’s license plate, pet description and vehicle description.
  • If there is a nearby business, request an emergency announcement or ask around.
  • Go back to the vehicle and wait for Animal Services (it is recommended not to enter the vehicle or confront the owner, but I know my fellow animal lovers have done that).
  • If after hours, call 911.

This schnauzer was lucky but I can tell you that in animal welfare, we see overheated animals arrive at our shelters more often than not. So regardless of how they may react, advise your friends to only take their pets with them if they’re going from point A to point B. Our dogs love travelling and going to the lake and hiking… but let’s be smart about this.

Featured Pet: Howdy! I’m Trooper, the typical hyperactive, happy-go-lucky kitten… with a twist! You see, I know what I want and I go for it! I’m not the most polite (sometimes I use my claws) but as I’m young, I need a patient person and cat-savvy home who understands me and can give me the proper training. I’d do best with no other pets or young kids because of my overly vivacious nature… so are you the one for me? Meet me in Reno today!

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

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Senioritis Strikes Nevada Humane Society

Meow Meow 35680049 and CHarlize 35680032.jpgby Kimberly Wade

Senioritis. Many people remember this as a term used in high school and college, for those seniors who were just done and ready to move on in life. Others think of it in relation to older people—in fact, I actually asked one of our awesome volunteers who loves to pull the “I’m older than you” card how she defines the word. She said, “stupid things older people do or forget.” It made me laugh, and I promise I’m not judging because I’m quoting her (though let’s be honest, as I’m in my thirties and I’m guilty of this).

Urban Dictionary defines Senioritis as a crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include laziness, over-excessive wearing of track pants, a lack of studying and a generally dismissive attitude, with the only cure being Graduation.

I think we can all relate but it got me thinking… what about senior pets? Do they reach a point where they get lazy and just don’t care? I think the answer… is yes.

Right now we have lots of senior pets at Nevada Humane Society. Some are a little gray around the muzzle, others just lay around on oversized beds and some have lost all desire to pick and choose—they just want someone, anyone, to love them—they’re no longer picky about a family. We know senior pets as those that are typically established in a routine, have basic manners and are content to lounge around on your couch watching Ellen or the Food Network. They have less energy and prefer to either spend more time cuddling with you, or just lay at your feet. Fetch? No thank you! Many times they’ll look at you like you’re crazy and make you go get it!

This time of year, because of the high volume of young or baby animals coming into the shelter, the seniors (even middle-aged adults) tend to get overlooked. But we know seniors are the best. They just want to enjoy companionship, and so often, this can be lifesaving for both people and pets. We actually have a program called Seniors for Seniors, where senior humans (age 55 and up) can adopt a senior pet (age 10 and up) for free. In addition, most of our senior pets are fee-waived anyway—all cats over the age of five are free, and those cats over the age of ten are part of a program called Social Se-CAT-ary, where we offer four vouchers to our veterinary clinic just in case something happens in their older years—kind of like social security for humans.

The point is, our seniors are experiencing senioritis. They’re done. They don’t care what they look like, they’re not working hard to get your attention, and they can be lazy. Their goal is to “graduate” from Nevada Humane Society to a home, and we’re really hoping this will motivate people like you to adopt! We’ve got senior dogs and cats, some totally healthy and some with typical old-age challenges, but those are the ones who also receive medical care in our clinic—and we’ll teach you and provide supplies in order to care for them. They just need to be adopted, in a home, sunbathing in the window, as opposed to here. Yes, we provide great care and plenty of love and affection while they’re under our roof, but as I mentioned above, the only cure for senioritis is Graduation, so let’s work to move these guys and gals along into their next journey in life—a new home. #SeniorClass2017


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Kitten Houseguests: Nevada’s Summer Trend

by Jessica Branton

Remember the time that summer meant having ice cream on the porch, playing in sprinklers and chasing fireflies? Yeah, us either.

Now summer means, “Oh my god, you’re SO close to Lake Tahoe! We’re buying plane tickets now…cool if we crash in your guest room?!” Awesome.

So right about now, that feeling of obligation settles in as you give in to your in-laws. And then you get to use some of your hard earned PTO to play host for a week to people who say “Nuh-Vah-Duh.” And let’s be honest, how many times is the baby going to be “sick” before they catch on to your game? Luckily, Nevada Humane Society has a solution for you. Instead of filling your guest room with tourists, fill it with something much cuter—baby kittens.

Every summer, Nevada Humane Society is inundated with kittens—receiving dozens every single day that are too young for adoption and need a place to crash for a couple of weeks. They are the ultimate house guests—providing hours of cuddles and entertainment. And they don’t require stopping at every slot machine in El Dorado to get a picture of Aunt Beth with her mojito. You simply bring them back when they are big enough for adoption!

All supplies are provided to foster volunteers by Nevada Humane Society (with the exception of pool floaties and tacky Tommy Bahama button-ups). All you need to provide is that guest room and an excuse to your in-laws about why you just simply do not have a place for them to stay. I hear the GSR has excellent rates this time of year…

If you’re interested in fostering, contact our Foster Care Coordinator at 775-856-2000 ext. 314. One-on-one training is provided and no experience is necessary. Applications are also available online at

Sign up to foster and avoid those awkward conversations with family members today. After all, who can argue with, “Oh, sorry cousin Sally, but the guest room isn’t available right now because I’m too busy saving lives.”

***Nevada Humane Society fully supports the tourist industry of Northern Nevada. We appreciate all of the out-of-towners who support our economy and share the beauty of our town with us…no matter how you pronounce Nevada.



Jessica Branton is the Volunteer Services Manager for Nevada Humane Society and guest columnist for Animal Files.


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The Walk for Animals is Back!

by Kimberly Wade

You asked, we answered. Remember our Walk for Animals, the event we used to hold at Sparks Marina several years ago, where you (and your pets) would raise money for homeless pets, then join us for a two-mile walk and a fun-filled day? Well, it’s back!

Here’s the deal. Normally our Duck Race & Festival is in August, but due to challenges out of our control (a raging Truckee River), we’ve temporarily cancelled that and brought back the Walk! We’ve coined it #SaveTheDucks and #Walk2017 instead!

The Walk for Animals is on Saturday, August 12 (two months away!) from 10am to 2pm at Sparks Marina. Festivities include vendors, food trucks, a carnival and so much more in addition to the walk. You can’t miss it! It’s easy to participate too—simply register online, start fundraising and join us on August 12 for all of the fun! The other cool thing? You can bring your dogs! Yes, this is one of the few events that is for pets too, so we welcome leashed, friendly dogs or other animals if they would enjoy it! In past we’ve seen everything from cats in strollers, to pot-bellied pigs on leashes, to snakes! Just remember, there will be hundreds of dogs there so if your four-legged BFF doesn’t love the excitement and energy of others, you should probably carry a photo of him instead (we’ve seen this too).

Now for the best part. Dick Campagni’s Carson City Toyota has partnered with us to offer a very lucky someone the very best summer gift… a brand new 2017 Toyota Corolla! We’re raffling off this cool car to help our furry friends, and even though the raffle drawing will be at the Walk for Animals, anyone can get a raffle ticket and win! Raffle tickets are $25, available at either of our shelter locations (2825 Longley Lane in Reno or 549 Airport Road in Carson) and Carson City Toyota on South Carson Street. The winner doesn’t need to be present to win so even if you can’t attend the Walk, you still should definitely get a raffle ticket for the new car!

Many of you know we hold several events every year, from family-friendly events like the Walk to a champagne brunch to an evening gala, plus all of the adoption events. All of this is done to raise awareness for homeless pets, and it’s especially important this time of year, when we see hundreds of kittens and puppies coming into the shelter, unwanted and in need of our help. When you support us at these events, of course you have a great time, but really, you’re standing up for homeless pets in Northern Nevada. We offer low-cost spay/neuter services, vaccines, behavior help and more—pet adoptions are only a piece of it. Lately we’ve been reaching out to our smaller shelters in Nevada too, as well as cities like Las Vegas, who need us. They don’t have the same resources that we do, so we’ve been bringing in animals from their shelters, helping them save lives, while delivering to our local community—because you folks love your pets and just keep adopting—and for that, we thank you.

So join us for the Walk for Animals, or any other event, or just visit us… because truly, you are making a difference.


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