Canine Influenza: How We Are Helping

by Kimberly Wade

Two weekends ago, there was an article in RGJ which mentioned both Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA of Northern Nevada. It specifically referred to our collaborations with other shelters and rescues across the state as we transport homeless pets to Washoe County to provide them with a lifesaving opportunity through our organizations—therefore saving more lives statewide. The concern was making sure the animals that are being brought in and adopted out are healthy.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the canine influenza, or dog flu, is highly contagious. Dogs of any breed, age, sex or health status are at risk of infection when exposed, and infection can occur year round. Almost all dogs exposed will become infected and the majority of them develop flu-like symptoms. It is not contagious to people. Supportive care should be provided to keep the dog comfortable and medications may be necessary but most dogs recover within a few weeks.

In the last two months, within the Reno area, there have been 80 new cases of canine influenza reported. We don’t want to scare you, but ultimately there are pet-related businesses that are choosing to temporarily shut their doors or not accept new clients. So what are we doing about it, especially since, as it was pointed out, we are bringing in animals from other areas?

At both Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA, best practices are in place for the safety of the dogs and our community. Both shelters have full-time veterinarians and clinic staff. There are strict protocols in place to ensure that any sign of illness is immediately reported, then dogs are quarantined and examined by a veterinarian. All dogs are vaccinated for canine influenza (as well as other illnesses) at the time they arrive at the shelter and receive the appropriate boosters.

Both shelters also offer the canine influenza vaccine (among others) at weekly vaccine clinics for the general public. Nevada Humane Society has a low-cost vaccine clinic every Saturday from 9am to 11am; the SPCA has a low-cost vaccine clinic the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 5pm to 7pm and every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.

Nevada Humane Society and the SPCA take any pet-related illness seriously. We work diligently to protect homeless pets and owned pets. When we take in pets from other shelters or rescues, we quarantine animals if we feel they may be contagious—and many times they are quarantined regardless if they are from specific regions where any illness is prevalent. We also do this with kittens and puppies—especially if they are too small to be vaccinated—in both the shelter and foster homes. If animals are surrendered, we have a thorough discussion with their owner to determine if the dog could have been exposed, and we work with them to try and keep the animal out of the shelter until a quarantined period has passed.

So what can you do? Learn the basics about the illness and how to protect your dog:

  • Canine Influenza is spread primarily through the air, so coughing and sneezing even 20 feet away can cause infection
  • It can spread by people moving between an infected dog and uninfected dog or contaminated objects (bedding, food bowls, etc.)
  • Signs of the illness range from mild to severe
  • Symptoms include coughing, possible nasal or eye discharge, lethargy, reduced appetite and fever
  • Secondary bacterial infections can also occur if not handled in a timely manner
  • Talk to your vet (establish a relationship with a full-service, private vet if you don’t already have one) and see if the vaccine is right for your dog
  • Wash your hands between dog-to-dog contact, and if you don’t have to, avoid petting other dogs
  • Avoid dog-friendly places, such as parks, daycares or other areas dogs may gather, as the virus can live outside of the host for up to 48 hours

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Featured Pet: Hi, I’m Queenie! I know, my looks get your attention, and hopefully my purrsonality will too! A little sweet, a little shy, I’m the kind of gal who needs someone to be patient with me and let me warm up to them slowly. Change is a big adjustment for anyone, but I work hard at letting my affection show! Just know I’m charming, friendly and curious and meet me today!

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A Forever Valentine

by Kimberly Wade

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and with all of the promotional products being featured everywhere, it’s hard not to think about it! But as we know, flowers wilt, candy gets eaten and gifts can be tossed away after time. So what about considering a forever Valentine? Don’t laugh, you knew that’s where I was going with this—because when you adopt, that’s what you get.

Valentine’s Day aside, there’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. Unconditional love. I know I talk about it all the time, but it’s true. I’ve been under the weather this week and a head cold is never fun, but I’ll tell you what, my cats are there for me. They know when I need a distraction from the discomfort, a cuddle to help me sleep and playful antics to make me smile. They don’t run for fear of catching my cooties but rather they stick around and do what they do best—offer unconditional love.

Over the holidays, when we lost our dogs, the cats grieved too. They roamed the house, crying out, looking for their doggie siblings. They went in to their bedroom, sniffing around and wondering why there wasn’t this lumbering old lab or our Italian Greyhound, who used to make them chase him every morning. I’ve seen species grieve for the same species, but it was interesting to see different species grieve for each other too—and heartbreaking. But despite their confusion, they knew we, as mom and dad, were in more pain, so they stepped up their game. Newton, our cat who is known for loving everyone you meet and truly the most affectionate cat in the world (no joke, but that’s another story), didn’t leave us alone. It’s as if he knew we needed him. Maisey, our goofy, playful, ride on my shoulders Siamese, spent more time cuddled with me than normal (and that’s a lot). Even Saia, our shy little one, came out of her comfort zone to be a part of the family.

Last year, during several stressful situations we endured, our animals were there for us. It’s funny—it’s as if they don’t want to add to that stress so they behave the best they can be. They know that it’s not the time for knocking half full glassware off the counter or making a mess with their toys (sometimes our living room looks like a giant playpen). They simply are there for us, bringing us comfort and unconditional love.

Even when they do something they shouldn’t, like sneaking food off our plate or accidently deleting an email off the laptop, they know they made a mistake but they still offer unconditional love.

I think animals are probably one of the most selfless beings on the planet. OK, maybe dogs and cats, because let’s be honest, the rabbit digging up your backyard doesn’t really care, but dogs and cats, they are here for their people. When you treat them right, give them the best life they deserve, rescue them, ADOPT them, they know. They just know. They know it’s meant to be and they know that you are their person. And the cool thing is that I’ve had more people tell me that the pet (or pets) they adopted from a shelter or rescue are the most appreciative and offer the most unconditional love.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches, love your pets too. Consider adding to the family by visiting Nevada Humane Society and adopting. Because unconditional love is real, and there won’t be a day that will go by that you don’t see that. And right now, Nevada Humane Society has some of the most adorable dogs and cats looking for love… a forever love, not just for Valentine’s Day, so I really hope you give a new relationship a chance. You won’t regret it.


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A Positive Future Ahead

by Kimberly Wade

2018 is going to be a big year for Nevada Humane Society, as lots of positive growth is on the horizon—something all of us as animal lovers are excited about. For me, as I’ve shared so much of my journey over the last couple of years that I’ve fulfilled this column, there are also big changes, and I wanted to share it with you.

I’ve been in the marketing role from the beginning, initially hired as the Foster Coordinator but moving into marketing within a few months of my start date. The role quickly evolved to best fit my skillsets and for the needs of the animals, and over the last 8 years, I’m very proud of everything I’ve accomplished as well as how the organization has grown. I can honestly say it’s a job that has bettered me as a person, changed the lives of those around me and made me fall even harder for homeless pets—if that was possible!

Recently, I was presented with an opportunity to join a new team, with Humane Network (many of you remember Bonney Brown and Diane Blankenburg, who began this column), who was chosen by Maddie’s Fund to lead efforts in creating a no-kill Nevada. This goal is something that will allow all of the lives of healthy and treatable pets to be saved, to revolutionize the status and well-being of homeless pets, and to provide access to care for so many of those in need in rural areas. In essence, I will be helping an awesome group of individuals save more lives not just in Washoe County, but all across the state—and that, my friends, is huge.

Despite taking on such an amazing role, you can’t get rid of me that easily. I’ll be continuing all of my marketing efforts for Nevada Humane Society, sharing lifesaving stories, promoting our fun-filled events, and of course, writing this column. I know from the volume of comments I receive that you all love hearing about our adventures at Nevada Humane Society (and yes, even my crazy personal pet stories) so now you get to hear more—because you’ll be helping me save lives statewide.

Though our initial efforts will be in Las Vegas, a big part of lifesaving is transporting animals to shelters who have added resources and a higher volume of adoptions—hence, Nevada Humane Society, and our fellow groups among the north. Over the last month, we’ve collaborated with the SPCA of Northern Nevada to bring in dozens of dogs and cats from other places who need help—and watching those animals find love and go home right here in Washoe County is heartwarming. We don’t know where you’re putting these animals, but keep doing it, because you’re bringing so much love and support to the table that we can’t imagine not having you!

And that’s the thing. I love writing this column, sharing my journey, the good and the bad. It’s not always easy to share heartbreak, but knowing that we are all here for the animals and that I can work to bring even more people and pets together is huge. So for your support, for Nevada Humane Society and lifesaving across the state, thank you.

You can continue to reach me at or by mail to NHS, at 2825-B Longley Lane, Reno, NV 89502, and I still hope that you share your stories and photos—because I’ll certainly be sharing with you.

By the way, little Meringue, who I shared a couple weeks ago? She was given the all clear by our veterinary team, and is now just packing on the pounds so that she is big enough to be spayed. I’ve found her the best family, with humans and another little dog named Bella, and they adore her already. Thank you for helping her find love!Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Featured Pet: Yuki is 12 years old, stunningly beautiful and a mix of sweet and shy. Her person passed away a year ago, and though she was adopted, most recently she ended up at Animal Services, her person nowhere to be found. She’s quiet and reserved, so would do best with a cat person who understands she needs time—but she deserves love like anyone. Will you help her find a family today?


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Saving Meringue

by Kimberly Wade

Every now and then someone special touches your heart. Right now, that someone is Meringue.

She arrived at Nevada Humane Society barely a week ago, less than 32 ounces in size, fitting in the palm of your hand. She was fighting for her life and she was in shock.

Meringue had wounds all over her head and neck. It wasn’t pretty. There was swelling and blood. Puncture marks made it clear she was more than likely attacked. Her eye was swollen shut and she was struggling to breathe. Not knowing how deep the wounds in her head were and what kind of permanent damage was already setting in, she was rushed to Nevada Humane Society’s veterinary clinic.

The tiny puppy was placed under anesthesia so we could get to work. Her fur was shaved, wounds flushed and cleaned and IV fluids given to help her fight off dehydration. She had radiographs of her head and neck. Her eyes were thoroughly examined. She was given pain medications, an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. Finally, Meringue was set up to rest on a warm heating pad, surrounded by constant TLC from staff to help guide her out of the woods.

Meringue went to foster care that night for more round the clock care. She received a gentle compress every few hours, to eliminate the pain in her head and neck and bring down the swelling. She still wasn’t right. She wanted no human contact and she seemed to stare off into space—but we weren’t giving up.

It took several days but Meringue began to come around. The pain lessened, her wounds began to look better, and her swollen eye slowly opened. Though her medical journey is far from over and it’s not clear if her eye sustained permanent damage, her passion for life is now clear. Meringue was choosing to fight.

Today, she’s in foster care with me, doing well, healing nicely and acting like the typical puppy—she chews on the bottom of my pants and chases me around the room. There is no doubt she is going to be fabulous in a new home.

It seems more and more animals are arriving like Meringue—facing a dire medical need. It’s our job to give them the best chance they can get, to go above and beyond to save lives. This is what we are here for. This is what we do best. And for me, this little gal gives me hope and reassures me that I too, and doing what is right by helping others.


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New Year, New Goals

by Kimberly Wade

We may be nearly two weeks into 2018 but resolutions are still going strong. We work as humans to better our lives; how many of you do the same for your pets?

New Year resolutions are a long tradition. Most people are guilty of not stick to them but studies show that promises made are best accomplished when done with someone—so why not with your pets? Think about it. Your pet will never flake on you, or say they’re too tired, or too busy. Your pet has more time for you than anyone else—so let’s do this!

First, make time for exercise. We all know this is the most common goal, but seriously, it’s a good thing. Whether you add in daily walks with your dog, a sprint in the park, or even at home yoga, where Kitty can participate, it’s good for everyone. Exercise stimulates our brain and offers enrichment for our pets. It strengthens your bond and—let’s be honest—is entertaining. Who doesn’t laugh when your agile cat climbs onto your back to share the downward dog pose?

Next up is diet. Yes, it’s another popular one, but diet and exercise will only set you and your pet up for success. Many people know me as a dessertaholic but I’m also pretty healthy. My husband and I make everything from scratch to eliminate processed foods and chemicals, and we eat in moderation—this way we can enjoy things like dessert on a regular basis! With our pets, it’s the same. While I’m totally guilty of giving them a nibble of approved table scraps, we also keep them on a healthy diet, with all natural ingredients, one that is low-glycemic with no fillers or by-products.

Looking for fun in the New Year? Try a new activity with your pet! Bring your dogs along on outdoor adventures (heck, cats too if they are leash trained) or maybe visit an agility course! For cats, yes, yoga is great (they’re natural yogis) but what about using interactive TV? I found an awesome cat channel on Amazon and they get to chase and watch the red dot, balls of yarn and squirrels—all on TV. They love it! If you’re artistic, set up a painting area with pet safe paints and let your dog or cat create a masterpiece.

Get in the habit of regular grooming. Though many of us bathe our pets at home, we also need to remember to trim their nails, brush their fur, clean their ears and more. Grooming keeps everyone happy and healthy, and when you allow a professional to do this, they even take care of those hard to reach spots—which we all know is not fun for us as their people!

Be sure to regularly visit your veterinarian too. This can help prevent future challenges and allow the vet to become a less scary place for your pet. Be open to a mix of traditional medicine and holistic care. My pets have had instant results from things like chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture and cold laser therapy, as it works well on everything from inflammation of the muscles to allergies to inappropriate elimination. At Nevada Humane Society, we’re also working these holistic methods into our care for homeless pets, and there are several pet already benefitting from this—it’s an incredible thing to see!

Finally, consider getting involved with a local shelter. Nevada Humane Society is always in need of dedicated volunteers! From fostering to answering the phone to walking dogs, volunteers are a big help. All that’s required is a general orientation, then various handling classes (which you can do all in one day) so that you can work directly with the animals. Fostering is vital to lifesaving too—foster families allow various pets into their homes temporarily to provide care and socialization until an animal is ready for adoption.

2018 is New Year, a new slate, a new beginning. It’s time to look at the bigger picture, not just ourselves. Spend more time with your pets, your family and your friends—because you never know how long they’ll be with you. Keep a positive attitude. Be open to change. Love. Oh, and Happy New Year!

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Featured Pet: Queen of the Jungle, that’s me! I’m Bindy Ballou, a confident, outgoing gal who likes to spend her time with women. Yes, I’m picky about the company I keep: children, cats, dogs and men are off my list. I want you all for myself! I’m also an Angel Pet for hyperthyroidism, so my adoption fee is waived and all vet care pertaining to this, as well as medication and food is provided by NHS. Ask about me today! I’m available at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno, open daily for pet adoptions.


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Berg’s Story

by Kimberly Wade

Berg (2)

Berg, an abandoned, neglected and scared white poodle had seen better days. He clearly had been on the streets for quite some time, but his story ran wild on social media as the community and animal welfare organizations came together to help him.

For at least a month, concerned residents continued to follow Berg with the unified goal of bringing him to safety, and to the shelter for warmth and a good meal. He teased people, making them think they could get close, then would run away. Animal Services was called to try and humanely trap him, but he kept avoiding the trap. People would sit outside day and night, enticing him with treats. Berg wanted nothing to do with anyone.

Finally, Berg got tired and wandered into the trap.

Berg was transported to Animal Services. He had no microchip, so he would more than likely be transferred to Nevada Humane Society for us to find him a loving home.

In the interim, Berg needed some care. Our veterinarian team worked quickly to help him. He was severely matted all the way down to his skin, with dreadlocks hanging all over his entire body. He had foxtails in his ears. He was hungry and terrified of everything. He was estimated to be around the age of one and was small in size.

Berg had to be shaved down to his skin in order to remove all of the mats. We treated his foxtails and an ear infection. He was neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. Once he was cleaned up and had food, a warm bed and a sweater, he very quickly took to human attention. His true colors began to shine through, revealing sweet and shy traits, with a dash of gratefulness and love mixed in.

As we thought, no one came forward for Berg, so we knew we had a big goal of finding him the perfect home. After all, he deserved it.

The day he was transferred to Nevada Humane Society a woman reached out to us. Turns out she was very active in keeping an eye on him while he was on the streets, and helped to bring him to safety as well. Her name was Valerie, and she wanted to adopt him.

Valerie sat down with me and revealed so much from little Berg’s story. She was amazed at all he went through and would be proud to take him home to a family of two other dogs, two cats, and two humans.

Today, Berg, whose new name is Audie, is home. Valerie tells me he’s a sweetheart, and that it’s unbelievable what he went through and how he’s taken to his new life. She also said he’s the best Christmas gift ever.

Berg brought together a community. Knowing that local residents, Animal Services and Nevada Humane Society all came together for the lifesaving difference of one animal speaks volumes… and this is what do all the time. We save lives. Together.

At Nevada Humane Society, we cannot thank you enough for enabling us to be here for Berg and so many others. Donations from kind individuals, like you, make it possible for us to collaborate with others, provide immediate veterinary care, and find homes for our homeless pets. Thank you so much for your fabulous lifesaving generosity over the past year, and thank you, too, for your compassion and your willingness to take action on behalf of the animals.

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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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