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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Happy Birthday to Charlie and Pati!

by Kimberly Wade

You’ve probably heard me mention, whether through this column or my personal and our Nevada Humane Society social media, a couple of kitties who have really touched my heart—Charlie Brown and Peppermint Pati. Next Wednesday, June 7, is their birthday, so I wanted to share their unique journey and ask if you’d donate to us in their honor—because since then, we’ve saved so many lives that came from similar circumstances.

I had been with the organization for about a year when our Operations Director, Denise, and our Cat Care Manager, Vonice, went out to rescue some cats. They were called after a home in Reno caught fire (Truth? This is awful, but a meth lab blew up, causing the home to explode) and burned to the ground, because nearby residents kept hearing cats meowing from within the debris. It was sad, unfortunate, and frustrating all at once. The cats appeared to be somewhat feral, not socialized to humans, and scared of what had happened. It wasn’t clear if they lived in the home or roamed the neighborhood, but no one claimed them, and no one cared. No one, that is, except Nevada Humane Society.

Denise and Vonice went out to the home and found several cats. Mama, a beautiful calico, was easy to get—she pranced her way right into a humane cat trap seeking food. Her kids, who we now know as Charlie Brown and Peppermint Pati, were a bit harder, but after several hours we were able to get them, together, also in a humane cat trap after bribing them with stinky tuna. The three of them were brought back to Nevada Humane Society, covered in dirt and soot from the fire, a bit underweight, and not quite sure what to do with us humans.

I was actually one of the first people to meet them because it was my job to get to know them, take some photos and start to promote them to the public. Luckily none of them had injuries or sustained severe smoke inhalation, so they were able to be overcome their adventure quickly. Mama kitty was the first to be adopted, but Charlie and Pati were not very social. They were about four months old so we put them into a foster home to see how they did with people and other cats. They remained there for about six months. As the foster had a full home and we wanted to try to find them forever homes, they came back to the shelter.

We knew putting them in a kennel wouldn’t cut it, so we put them in our admin offices to give them space and more contact with humans. I immediately volunteered my office, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Charlie and Pati stayed hidden in my office for months. It took a year before they really began to come around. We knew they weren’t the typical affectionate, friendly cats and therefore knew it would take a special person to adopt them. We also knew we didn’t want to put them into our Barn Cat program, because to be honest—they didn’t seem to have the street smarts other outdoor kitties did. So they stayed with me and became our office kitties.

Several years later, during a special adoption event, Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, I made it official and adopted them. They reside with me still today, and let’s be honest, I spend more time at the office than I do at my home so they probably see me more than my own pets!

Today, six years later, Charlie and Pati are finally social(ish). Though they may not be lap cats, they throw themselves against my shoulder, or my face, begging for attention and treats. They have cat trees and water fountains and toys and cat grass and so much more. They are spoiled, on so many levels, not just by me, but by everyone else whose hearts they have stolen. They even have their own Instagram, the NHSBossCats and their duties are to supervise us human servants, making sure we are at their beck and call every day.

I adore these two, with their unique purrsonalities, introverted quirks and simple beauty. Office pets, as many of you know, are a benefit in the work environment. They relieve stress, keep things fun and assist with sending emails before your message is complete and hanging up on VIPs. Looking for an office pet? Adopt!

In honor of Charlie and Pati’s 6th birthday, would you donate to all of our pets who still need homes? We have about 200 cats and 180 dogs in our care (not including foster homes) and they need you. When you donate, the funds go to providing care to those like Charlie and Pati, who came out of a tough situation and need help. Donations may be sent to 2825-B Longley Lane, Reno, NV 89502 or called in to me at 775-856-2000 ext. 324. Thank you for celebrating Charlie and Pati’s 6th birthday by giving back to those that need it.IMG_5137

P.S. Speaking of feral kitties, we’ve enhanced our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program thanks to funding by PetSmart Charities. We now offer more TNR in Washoe County (775-856-2000 ext. 200 for details) and have kicked it off in Carson City (775-887-2171 for details) to stray and feral cats in the community. We’re here to spay/neuter and vaccinate to keep them healthy and to humanely reduce the pet population.

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Little Nugget’s Foster Journey

by Kimberly Wade

Though we always expect it, we can never predict when emergency situations will happen—though it often seems to happen early in the evenings. Nugget’s story is no different. A woman arrived with a female cat who was pregnant and in distress. The woman had exhausted all of her resources and had nowhere else to turn. She knew the kitty needed medical care so in an act of selflessness, she surrendered her companion to Nevada Humane Society.

The cat was rushed to the clinic and five kittens were delivered via c-section. The veterinarian team worked tirelessly on the entire litter trying to save their lives but sadly, the kittens were stillborn. All of them that is, except baby Nugget, whose will to survive was incredible.

Nugget, a tiny, gray kitten, was no bigger than a couple ounces in size. We warmed her, fed her, and sent her home with our foster coordinator, Tara, who is well-versed in emergency kitten care and known for going above and beyond for the tiniest of lives. From the moment Tara held her on her chest, keeping her close to her heartbeat so that baby Nugget would know someone was there, she thrived.

Over the following weeks, we quickly learned that Nugget was always ahead of the curve. Tara fed her day and night, every two hours (Yes, Tara had dark circles under her eyes). She was a fast learner, quickly discovering her tail and paws, learning to eat on her own and soon, playtime. Nugget, despite a rough start, was going to be just fine. Mom, by the way, recovered from her surgery, was spayed, and went back to her human home.

Today, Nugget is five weeks into her young life. Her tiny teeth are coming in nicely, her eyes are still blue (did you know that all kittens are born with blue eyes, and they start to change color around the seven week mark?) and she is getting more active and playful every day. She’s had a tiny stuffed tiger with her from day one, and she’s finally equal to him in size! Nugget is charming, sassy and incredibly cute.

We decided to follow Nugget’s entire journey on Facebook, starting with the first 24 hours of her life. We’ve been posting photos and sharing her adventures. Our goal is to show people how rewarding it is to be a foster parent to orphaned kittens, and to teach the importance of spaying and neutering. Every year during Kitten Season, we see thousands of kittens arrive at the shelter, many with tough stories just like Nugget’s, and others, happy and healthy and almost ready for adoption. Fostering saves lives. It gives all of these neonatal kittens a chance that they wouldn’t otherwise have. Not all of them are hand raised by a bottle like Nugget; many arrive weaned and already well-versed in litter box training. Some may be a little shy and need socialization but others are already purrfectly content with human and animal interaction. Fostering allows kittens to grow up in a home environment, keeping them out of the shelter, which is risky because it can very easily compromise their tiny immune systems. Truly, if you can provide a foster home for a few weeks, we can find them homes for life.

You too can follow Nugget’s journey on our Facebook Page, as we’ll be posting weekly about her. She’s still in foster care with Tara and doing well—she even often comes into the office so we all get to visit and watch her grow. We can’t wait to find her a family of her own—and already have someone in mind! Follow Nugget’s Foster Journey online and as always, we’d love to hear your stories too.

Interested in fostering? Visit our website at or call us at 775-856-2000 ext. 314.

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Mother’s Day: It’s not just for Humans

by Kimberly Wade

Mother’s Day is nearly here and I bet before I even begin this you can guess what I’m going to write about…. and you’re right! Here’s the thing. Just because I, along with many other women out there, don’t have human kids, it doesn’t make me any less of a person. In fact, we’re all moms too—to kids of the four-legged kind.

Yup, I went there. I know however, others feel as I do on this subject as you will read below.

People are always asking me when I am having kids. It went from being sweet to funny to irritating and sometimes uncomfortable. Most people don’t seem to respect that it’s a very personal decision, not to mention you never know what a woman may be facing physically. It took me some time, but I finally decided to ignore the questions or comments and instead embrace the reality, I am a mother.

At Nevada Humane Society we consider pets family. So do many of you, so what’s to take away from the fact that we, as humans, are parents to them? My husband and I have six, yes, six, animals. That is just as much work (sometimes more) than a child. Seriously. Especially given they range from one year to almost 15 years old! Pet lovers know that young animals are typically bouncing off the wall no matter what time of day, and that seniors can be prone to the normal aging challenges. Pets require care and attention and love just like human kids do. And the coolest thing? Pets offer unconditional love! That means unlike the human teen who demands independence and locks herself in her room, or gets mad because she can’t use her cell phone at dinner, pets love you all the time, no matter how busy you are or how little you have. They just want you, a warm bed, a healthy diet, and maybe some toys. It’s that easy. Plus, you can kennel a dog if they’re acting up during your dinner party—you can’t really do that with a kid (though I do know of kids who sleep with the dog in his kennel).

Though this article is meant in good fun, I do honestly consider myself a mom, as do 99% of the people around me who have pets. Our four-legged babies are our kids. We are proud to show off photos of them on our phones, spend thousands in pet supplies, and even travel with them. We often spend more in veterinary care on our furry children than we do on ourselves. They are treated like family, because they are family.

Last year my husband brought me home flowers for Mother’s Day…. flowers from our animals. It was beyond fabulous and it honestly lifted my spirits and made me very happy. He’s right. I’m a mom, he’s a dad. So are all of you.

So no matter what form your children take, here’s to a wonderful Mother’s Day with your families. Whether you share an ice cream with your human kid or your dog, or enjoy a glass of wine with your cat (there is such a thing as wine for cats; Google it), remember, we’re all Moms. So go pet your cat, play fetch with the dog, or take your human to the movies and be proud to celebrate Mother’s Day.


Kimberly Wade is the Communications Director for Nevada Humane Society. She has been with the organization for 7 years but her passion for animals began as a child. Kimberly lives with her husband, 3 cats (one pictured) and 3 dogs.


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