By Keely Biggs
This month I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Nichole Wagner. Your pet can meet Dr. Wagner if you happen bring him or her by the Heaven Can Wait Spay and Neuter Clinic on a Tuesday. She also participates in our monthly Feral Cat Clinics. In addition, Dr Wagner is a full time veterinarian at the Mountain Vista Animal Hospital, under Dr. Taylor.
A rare native Las Vegan, Dr. Wagner graduated from Clark High School’s Math and Science magnet program and entered the University of Nevada Reno’s Pre-veterinary Medicine program. She then went on to Colorado State University. While at CSU she participated in a rotation with the Denver Dumb Friends League, which is a shelter where she met her next animal companion; a Labrador mix named Sally Jane. She also worked with the Larimer County Humane Society performing spays and neuters.
During her sophomore and senior year, Dr. Wagner did an internship at the Argus Institute, which is a teaching hospital at CSU that focuses on “veterinarian-client-patient communication” and teaching compassionate communication to veterinary professionals. While interning there she helped start up their Pet Hospice Program which focuses on peaceful, dignified “end-of-life care for pets. There she was awarded the “Outstanding Senior Award”. Her work at the institute sparked a passion in pain management and end-of-life care. Dr. Wagner also became certified in Veterinary Acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
As if that wasn’t enough, she was the president of a group called “Students for Human Animal Relationship Education (SHARE) where members went out to elementary schools to educate students on pet overpopulation and dog bite prevention. Dr. Wagner graduated in 2006 with her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and came back home to work for the Mountain Vista Animal Hospital.
In 2008, after two years of practicing, she decided to take the advice of her boss and colleagues to try her hand at Heaven Can Wait. She volunteered for one feral cat clinic and was immediately hooked! When asked about whether she thought they were making progress on the pet overpopulation problem she cited data from Keith Williams of the Community Cat Coalition of Clark County (C5). She says according to surveys, the numbers of cats euthanized yearly are decreasing.
After being with Heaven Can Wait for four years, Dr. Wagner says she wouldn’t be able to leave. She credits Heaven Can Wait for bringing her focus to pet overpopulation. She says she feels like she is making an impact and this is her way of giving back to the community. Along with that, the mentoring she has received from Dr. Henderson and his colleague, Dr. Olsen of the College of Southern Nevada, has been invaluable.
Dr. Wagner lives with her boyfriend, her dog, Sally Jane, and three cats; Hank, Maya and Simon. All of which are rescues… with the exception of her boyfriend of course! In her spare time Dr. Wagner enjoys spending time outdoors, especially hiking.
It is clear Dr. Wagner was the perfect fit for Heaven Can Wait by her long history of being involved with spay and neuter and educating the public before she had even graduated. We are truly lucky to have her on our team. If you haven’t already, make sure to visit Dr. Wagner to have your pet spayed or neutered. The Heaven Can Wait low cost clinic is open Monday through Thursday, 9 am to 5 pm. You can make an appointment for your pet by calling (702) 227-5555 ext. 203 or by going to www.hcws.org and filling out the clinic registration form.
Filed under: Programs Tagged: | animal rescue, animal welfare, feral cat clinic, feral cats, HCWS, Heaven Can Wait, Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, Heaven Can Wait Spay & Neuter Clinic, Spay and Neuter, Spay and Neuter Clinic