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.


Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment »

12 Saves of Christmas

Wobbles and Big Brother Christmasby Kimberly Wade

It’s time. The holidays are upon us, décor is up and the spirit of giving and love is coming out. To some, this time of year is about family and love. For others, it’s about giving back and honoring the less fortunate. For even more people, it’s a mix of everything, kind of like one big celebration. That’s what we do here at Nevada Humane Society—we not only cheer for the animals going home and the families donating time or money, we also recognize and celebrate second chances and the unconditional love pets’ provide to us. We share their adventures and tell their stories. We believe all lives are precious, and sometimes, the more unique of a story a pet has, the more our hearts gravitate towards them.

Our 12 Saves of Christmas is an annual movement where we share a dozen special animals with you—their wins and losses, their hearts and their happily ever after. We showcase these stories through email and on our social media, which means if you haven’t signed up for our email list yet, please do! You don’t want to miss out on these incredible lifesaving stories.

Wobbles and Big Brother will be one of our featured stories. Without giving away too much, we can tell you that they were two weeks old when they came to Nevada Humane Society. They also have Cerebellar Hypoplasia, a congenital, neurological disorder that causes tremors and generally uncoordinated motion. They were too young to stay at the shelter so they went home with our Foster Coordinator, who nursed them back to health and studied their overall quality of life. We wanted to be sure they could get around, use their litter box, and eat on their own—essentially make sure they could be typical kittens. It has taken months, but they are finally ready for a home. We debuted them at our Wags & Whiskers Gala last month…. but they still need a home.

These two are one of many pets who arrive at Nevada Humane Society for a variety of reasons. Whether given up, lost, or abandoned, they come to us. Honestly, it’s a good thing they come to us, because we always work hard to save those who may not be saved elsewhere. We don’t look at a mild injury, or chronic illness or shy personality as a negative. We know they deserve a chance, just like Wobbles and Big Brother. Our 12 Saves of Christmas will share so many of these stories, some already adopted, and some who still need you. I’ve spent time with everyone who will be featured, so they are close to my heart too. Through the 12 Saves of Christmas, my goal is to find them love and hopefully, gain donations that will replenish our special fund that allows us to cover their continued cost of care.

Our 12 Saves of Christmas features animals who really deserved a second chance. The reason is simple. Animals don’t have a voice. We are their voice. Wobbles and Big Brother were given a second chance because we wanted them to get that. This is lifesaving. This is Nevada Humane Society.

To follow our 12 Saves of Christmas, please sign up to receive our emails through our website, (look for the red button on the right) or follow us on Facebook or Instagram. You too, can be a voice.

Featured Pet: We’re Wobbles and Big Brother. Our full story will debut in the 12 Saves of Christmas next week. These are our baby pictures! We’re just as cute now… so please be sure to help us find that very special home in time for the holidays!


Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment »

Unexpected Special Needs

by Kimberly Wade

I feel like I talk about special needs pets on a regular basis. After all, the young, cute, happy-go-lucky and healthy dogs and cats are typically the ones that go home almost as soon as they arrive at Nevada Humane Society. That means the ones that need that added publicity are those that aren’t perfect. We feel that all of them deserve that second chance, but again, because those animals who may have a slight challenge stay at the shelter longer, whether they’re shy, or need to be the only pet, or have a medical need, we talk about them more.

My house, with 3 dogs and 3 cats is far from perfect. We’re in the vet more often than not (our furkids range in age from 1 to 15) and we know with more pets than most, it’s likely we’ll see things arise. However, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that special needs truly hit home.

Barley, my 9-year-old Benji look-a-like terrier, was diagnosed with Diabetes. I knew it was manageable and that he can still have a full, happy life so I didn’t panic. However, I don’t do needles. Not at all. I avoid having my blood taken and can’t watch it on TV. I know it’s not normal but it’s just me. With Barley a new Diabetic, I would now have to give him insulin shots every day. Special needs just got real.

We use acupuncture (and it’s amazing) on our kids and those needles don’t bother me—but they’re also tiny. We got lucky. Insulin needles are just as tiny. Though I was complete mess the first time I gave Barley insulin, he took it like a champ and I didn’t pass out. And yes, it did get easier.

A low-glycemic diet change was also easy. He loves all food. I researched making our own food and high quality brands we could buy, so that he could have a variety. Treats had to go away until we get his Diabetes under control, so he now gets ice cubes. He loves them.

The first week he took the insulin shots no problem. Then he started attempting to bite us or squirm out of reach. He quickly associated the needle with the pinch of skin with the ice cube. More research. I found that many people give the insulin as the pet is eating, when they are focused on something else. Bingo! It worked.

We’ve also had challenges with the units of insulin—we started with one amount and had to drop it because his glucose curve was still high. I’ve heard that is the biggest challenge—finding the right amount of insulin. He’s also switched from a pet insulin to human grade. Starting Monday, we’ll be doing our own glucose curves from home, after some training by our vet. Studies show animals do better if owners can learn how to do everything at home—less stress on everyone. So we’re learning. We’re having to adjust our schedules around his insulin, make sure no one gives him treats, and monitor his water intake, diet, potty behaviors and energy level (we started a journal). It is definitely a big change for everyone but it is manageable and despite the several weeks of ups and downs, it’s easy. As I write this he’s lying next to me on the couch, totally fine, watching GMA.

I can now preach about special needs pets from firsthand experience, and though I always said it was easy, it was scary for me to encounter this. But now I know. And I want you to know. Because when we ask you to adopt a special needs pet, we train you how to care for them, provide any medical supplies and care (for free or at cost), and are here for you anytime you feel overwhelmed. We have a special program for them (Angel Pets) because we want them to go home too. With so many dogs and cats that are also Diabetic at Nevada Humane Society, you can reach out to me personally to ask questions if it will make you more comfortable taking someone home. It may be tough while you all adjust, and yes, challenges may arise, but it’s manageable. If I can do this, you can do this. So, who’s ready to adopt a special needs pet and give someone an incredible holiday wish?

Upcoming Events: Bring your pet for photos with Santa Paws, December 8 from 4 to 6pm, and Saturday, December 9, from 10am to 4pm at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Photos are $10 each and all proceeds benefit homeless pets. Cupcake Day is also on December 9!

Featured Pet: I’m Sebastian, an 11-year-old Diabetic. I appreciate a cozy bed, a good ear scratch and I’m totally laid-back. I’ve been at the shelter much longer than others and really hope Barley’s story will convince you to take me home! Diabetes is manageable, and I’m used to it, so it’s a simple transition to your home. Meet me today!Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society


Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment »

Safely Sharing Thanksgiving With Your Pets

by Kimberly Wade

I think by now you all know that I consider my pets family, as does everyone at Nevada Humane Society. Celebrating the holidays with them is simply second nature—and it should be! We all love to show our pets our appreciation during the holidays, and with Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought it was appropriate for some gentle reminders about keeping our pets safe.

Food Safety

Thanksgiving may be one great meal, but there are certain things you shouldn’t feed dogs and cats:

  • Turkey bones, or other bones that could splinter
  • Onions, garlic, walnuts and macadamia nuts
  • Some mushrooms are bad for pets, though to be safe, avoid all mushrooms
  • Raw bread dough, nutmeg and sage
  • Alcohol and chocolate (most sweets, actually)

On the plus side, what that you can share (in moderation) includes:

  • White-meat turkey (no skin or bones) and mashed potatoes (no butter or gravy)
  • Raw apple slices and corn
  • Cranberries, peas and green beans are excellent for dogs!
  • Pumpkin, plain or cooked, is excellent for both cats and dogs—and has other health benefits when it comes to #2 potty behavior!

Other Holiday Safety Tips

Guard the trash! We know the trash will be filled with all of those no-no’s from above, which means it’ll smell pretty tasty to any animal. Take it out as soon as you’re done with it to prevent any mishaps.

Give Pets a Getaway

Having a house full of guests may be stressful, especially if your pets aren’t super social. Have a private room set aside for them with their toys and beds, calming music or TV.

Check ID

Those same guests may not be familiar with your pets, so not only do you want to be sure they don’t accidently let anyone outside, but be sure your pets are all microchipped (and that the chip is registered with up to date info) and tagged, so that if they do get out, you can easily identify them. You can also do what my husband and I do—the door stays locked and when the doorbell rings, we personally answer the door and hold off our pets until our guests are safely inside. All of our fur-kids are social, so we keep a close eye on humans and pets alike to prevent disaster.

Thanksgiving is meant to be shared among those you love. So go ahead, include your pets, but be safe about it.

One more thing. Nevada Humane Society is closed Thanksgiving Day, so from all of our four-legged family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget about Giving Tuesday, November 28, where we ask that you give back (after a major shopping weekend—that was for you, and this is for the animals) to us, to help our homeless pets.

Upcoming Events: Bring your pet for photos with Santa Paws, Friday, December 8 from 4 to 6pm, and Saturday, December 9, from 10am to 4pm at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Photos are $10 each and all proceeds benefit homeless pets. It will be busy, so patience is key, but we promise it’s a great time! Cupcake Day is also on December 9, where you can sample one or take home a dozen for a small donation.



Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment »

Friends With Benefits

by Kimberly Wade

Social support is essential for our overall well-being, but are people the only source for this? Or could a pet possibly fulfill social needs, adding to your happiness, emotional and physical health? Studies are proving what we already knew—the answer is yes!

As someone with almost 8 years of experience in animal welfare, and a lifetime of being around and caring for pets, I can easily say pets enhance my life on so many levels. From the unconditional love no matter what stressful situation is upon me, to the reminder that physical exercise is needed, to simple cuddles on the couch—there is no doubt that pets bring a sense of fulfillment to my life, the lives of those around me, and even, each other.

Studies show pet owners exhibit greater self-esteem, are more physically fit, are less lonely, more conscientious, more socially outgoing and lived an overall healthier lifestyle. They also show that interestingly enough, pet owners say their pets provide them as much support as their human family!

Even more detail tells us that pets provide a greater sense of belongingness (think about how happy you are to come home to that wagging tail), existence (we are more aware of our surroundings with pets in our lives), control (how many times have you had to curb your liquid intake because you had to be able to drive home and care for your fur-kids?) and self-esteem. Think about it. Pet owners are less likely to be depressed because of that unconditional love and support. If you don’t have a big human social circle, pets still allow you to go out and have fun—with them! And let’s be honest. I know I’m not the only one who has full on conversations with my four-legged family.

The other big piece to the benefits of having pets is an overall reduction of stress. Yes, we all still encounter tough times, but if you had a bad day at work, or fought with your significant other, how often do you turn to your pets? That tail wagging, butt-shaking, goofy smile your dog gives you upon coming home always makes you smile. That fight that brought you down seems a little less when your cat curls up in your lap and purrs, giving you that calming presence you need to get through things. At Nevada Humane Society, we have office cats—and while sometimes their assistance at sending incomplete emails or hanging up the phone on an important donor isn’t appreciated, they always reduce stress levels. They remind us of our lifesaving mission and that the bigger picture is usually more important than the little things. Honestly, my two office cats, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Pati, have been with me for 6 years and I can’t imagine them not being there.

So whether you’re currently experiencing stress, or maybe you’re looking forward to that resolution of getting healthy, having pets in your life will help. So come on down to Nevada Humane Society (two locations—2825 Longley Lane in Reno and 549 Airport Road in Carson City) and meet some of our adoptable dogs and cats. They’ll start by making your current life better, and then add to your future, to give you a brighter, happier, overall sense of well-being.

Upcoming Events: Get your holiday shopping done at the annual Home 4 the Holidays Craft Fair Saturday, November 18 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. It’ll take place at Nevada Humane Society at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno. Admission is free.

Featured Pet: In honor of November being Adopt a Senior Pet Month, I’m Stitch! I’m a big cat with a big personality and a confident character. I have the cutest little meow and if you have a treat, I’ll be by your side in a heartbeat! I know, I could use a hair stylist and exercise, but really, bigger is truly better in my book—don’t you agree? Go big and take me home today!

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment »

Busting the Halloween Myth

by Kimberly Wade

Each year, Halloween puts black cats in the spotlight. There are superstitions that they bring bad luck, and rumors that they possess evil spirits. Some believe that others adopt them to be used in unmentionable cult rituals. As an animal welfare professional, I can assure you that all of that is just talk. It’s no longer the 1600s folks. People are good!

Nevada Humane Society, along with many other successful shelters, see nothing but success with black cat adoptions. We all know that in order to find our four-legged friends loving homes, we need to be professional enough to screen potential adopters and evaluate the home life to ensure the animal is adopted into a great family. I can personally attest to the fact that most people adore animals and deserve a companion. I’ve heard how happy they are, how grateful they are, and how appreciative they are that we helped them find true love. I’ve seen photos and read testimonies of success stories… from all adopters, including those who adopt black pets.

The truth is, there is no hard evidence that adopting black cats around Halloween poses any greater risk than adopting any other time of year. In 2007, National Geographic penned an article that was titled “Ritual Cat Sacrifices a Halloween Myth, Experts Say.” Over the years, experts on Halloween and cults have found “no confirmed statistics, court cases, or studies to support the idea that serious satanic cult crime events exists.” But we all know that myths die hard, especially with impressionable minds and social media.

There is evidence however, that not adopting cats from shelters will cost them their lives—don’t worry, that’s not the case in Washoe County or Carson City. Yet, in cities where there are no lifesaving shelters, when you make the black cats unavailable, you take away their chance to find a home. This can force these cats to end up on a euthanasia list. Hard to hear, I know, but true in many cases (I repeat, not true locally). Wouldn’t you rather give these cats the chance to find love? And why would anyone come to a shelter and pay money to adopt a microchipped pet that we can trace back to them if they really had bad intentions?

Nevada Humane Society is smart. We are professionals. We know what to look for during our conversations with potential adopters. We are never going to just give an animal away or pair a pet with a family that is not going to properly care for them. Our goal is to find loving homes for our animals regardless of whether it is Halloween or any other holiday.

Here’s something else. The truth is that black cats have been viewed as luck bringers and guardians over many centuries and in many cultures. They have been viewed as sacred and are known to bless a home, and to many, black is the color of protection.

The next time that a truism rolls off your tongue in defense, think about whether it is fact or fiction, and think about who you may hurt by simply following the crowd instead of educating them.

*Animal welfare experts include Maddie’s Fund, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society and UC Davis, all of whom have conducted various studies over the years on adopting black cats at Halloween.

Upcoming Events: Bring the kids in costume for Safe Trick-or-Treating at Nevada Humane Society on Halloween Night! Happening at both our Reno and Carson City shelters, this costumed, candy giving event takes place from 4pm to 6:30pm. P.S. If you can donate a bag or two of individually wrapped candy to help us feed the kids, we would appreciate it! Drop off to NHS at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno between 11am and 6:30pm this weekend.

Featured Pet: Billy and Buddy are 7 and 9, and are BFFs. Both are sweet but shy, with a dream of nothing more than curling up on your couch and enjoying a good movie (with dog treats). Buddy was born with a unique paw, and though he isn’t able to fully use it, it doesn’t slow him down. He’s just different, and we know he deserves love too. Won’t you meet this dynamic duo today? They’re available for adoption at Nevada Humane Society in Reno.Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment »

It Takes a Village

by Kimberly Wade

It takes a village. That statement couldn’t be more true these days, for people and pets alike, and it comes at a time when at least for me, I feel like I need reminders that good does exist. I struggle on so many fronts, wondering when society’s morals and ethics will kick back in. We see people giving up pets for reasons that could be helped, people breeding pets when still so many are in shelters, not just locally, but everywhere. We see people hurting people, Mother Nature at her not so finest, and so much more. I wonder if I’m not doing a good job, or if people just want more, or if animals are just brought into situations (no fault of their own) that set them up for failure. End rant.

Things just may be changing.

Last weekend, we brought the community together for the love of pets. It was Nevada’s Super Pet Adoption Day all #ThanksToMaddie where Nevada Humane Society, SPCA of Northern Nevada, Pet Network Humane Society, Canine Rehabilitation Center and Sanctuary, Washoe County Regional Animal Services, dozens of vendors, food trucks and more came together for a common cause—a GREAT cause. We came together to save lives. Nevada Humane Society found PAWsome homes for 13 cats and 36 dogs at the Super Pet Adoption, and when we add in the adoptions at the shelter, we’re proud to say a total of 45 cats, 53 dogs and 3 rabbits went home—that’s 101 homeless pets no more! When you look at combined adoptions for the event, all of us together saved 69 cats and 91 dogs! That, my friends, is good. 1 homeless pets no more!)

Then on Tuesday, a new supporter of ours was in his hometown of Santa Rosa, helping fire victims. He reached out to me to say that an abundance of pet food had been donated to help pets in northern California. Shelters there were inundated with donations (a good thing) and people had also been receiving food donations for their pets (another good thing) so he thought of us. Not only had we recently taken in several dogs from the fire (to make room in shelters for lost and found pets; it’s important to know these dogs that came to us were already available for adoption), but we always need pet food at Nevada Humane Society. We have a Pet Food Assistance program to help people when they are temporarily down on their luck, plus the hundreds of animals in our care every day. He was given the approval to donate the food to us, so we put a plea on Facebook and within 30 minutes had two people who volunteered their time to go pick it up—within 48 hours. The post went viral—and the calls to help came in. People were helping people and pets, in multiple communities, and coming together.

Finally, as we reach out and ask that people foster, to help free up space in the shelter, we also ask people to adopt. We have big and small dogs, active dogs and couch potatoes. We have fluffy cats and tiny cats, senior cats (who may be adopted for free and come with Social Se-CAT-ary to cover any unforeseen health care—think Social Security for cats), and some special pets who need homes with no other pets (hey, they’re allowed to be selfish and want all the attention of their humans). If you’ve ever considered fostering (temporary) or adopting (forever) or maybe you just want to help us make this all possible (donate dollars), we need it. Because we all work together to make lifesaving happen, to bring people and pets together.

It takes a village, this is clear. Look at us. We are all coming together, as a community and more, helping each other. We are not one person making a difference, we are many. We are bonded by our love of pets and we want to set everyone up for success. Giving Tuesday is next month (November 28) and we hope you will consider giving to us. We’re leading and striving for good things. Let’s gather our village and make it happen.

Upcoming Events: The Wags & Whiskers Gala, A Night in Havana, is November 11 at the Peppermill, with Cuban-themed entertainment to include salsa dancers, Congo drums, aerialists, a Ricky Ricardo impersonator and more! Tickets include dinner, unlimited beer, wine, mutt-jitos and meow-jitos. All proceeds benefit our animals. Details:

Featured Pet: I’m Alex, aged three fine years, full-bodied and fabulous! I’m a social fella, chatty and fun-loving. I just love people! I reach out and ask for attention often, and because of this, I prefer a home with no other pets. But who are we kidding, you won’t need them because you’ve got me! Meet me today! NHS is open daily from 11am to 6:30pm.

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Adoptable Pets at Nevada Humane Society

Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment »
%d bloggers like this: