Maddie's Pet Project

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The Purr Cure
There is nothing quite like the sound of a contented cat purring. Their unique and beautiful sound has always seemed soothing to me, dating back to when I was a little girl and I would put my ear against our tolerant cat’s side to enjoy the sound up close.
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Resource Guarding
We have all heard the expression “possession is 9/10ths of the law,” which means that ownership is easier to maintain if one is in possession of something. Well, this philosophy is certainly true when it comes to dogs.
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Barn Cats
If you have issues with mice chewing up your car’s wiring or creating havoc in your garden, you should consider a low-cost, non-toxic option: Adopting a feral cat, or preferably two – and they look fabulous lounging in the sun!
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Chewing Tips
Chewing is a natural behavior in dogs. They chew when they are bored or anxious but they also just enjoy the activity. If a dog is not provided with appropriate chew toys and encouraged to use them, this natural behavior often results in damage to household and personal items. Puppies who are teething can be especially destructive. Providing your puppy with plenty of chew toys and properly supervising him will help save your furniture, shoes, and other precious possessions.
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Cats Can Go Out
We all know how nice it is to get outside on a beautiful sunny day. There’s just nothing better than taking a nice walk in the park – breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sunshine on your face, smelling the scent of the trees, and watching the squirrels play and scurry among the leaf litter. Well, your pet cat has the same desire to experience the wonders of the outdoors as you do.
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Let Them Lick!
I was recently at a Nevada animal shelter where the volunteers want to bathe the cats available for adoption. The idea seemed bizarre to me. I’ve had cats since I began walking, and I can count on two fingers the number of times I’ve bathed one.
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Where is that cat?
Anyone who has shared their home with a cat knows that cats love to hide. They love to tuck themselves into small spaces in your closet, under your bed, or in a cardboard box or paper bag left lying on the floor. Sometimes it can take a long time and a keen eye to find your cat when she is hiding.
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CBD for Dogs
As the list of claimed benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) for dogs continues to grow, my skeptical radar lights up. A few of the canine health claims for hemp-based CBD include helping with seizures, nausea, stress, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, stomach issues and cancer symptoms.
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From Lost to Found
In the blink of an eye, your pet can become lost. It’s very distressing, but Kat Albrecht, a pet detective, says there is good reason to be hopeful if you follow her advice.
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It's Barking Season
Summer often brings more visitors over for gatherings, more walkers past your house, and more BBQs in your neighbor’s backyard. All of these great summertime activities can trigger your dog’s barking behavior if you have a dog who tends to bark.
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Pet expressions are the cat’s pajamas
Our dogs and cats certainly brighten our lives, so when I came across a list of common phrases I probably should not have been surprised to see the number of sayings involving pets. The actual words of the phrases are often not to be taken literally; instead they have come to mean something completely different, giving us more colorful ways to express ourselves.
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Why Free is Good
A huge pet adoption event involving 58 animal rescue groups and shelters across Nevada was put on June 14-15, when more than 1,500 animals were adopted out to people for free. This last word – “free” – causes concern for some. I understand those concerns – I used to have them myself, as did many people in the animal sheltering and rescue world.
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Wildfires: Plan for your Pets
Our pets depend on us for their wellbeing all the time but they are especially dependent in an emergency situation, such as a call to evacuate your home during a wildfire. Including them in your family’s disaster plan can make a life or death difference for them. The FEMA website offers clear advice concerning pets: “If you evacuate your home, do not leave your pets behind!”
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New Studies on Health
It’s well-known that pets can be great for your health. The usual reasons cited are that having a dog inspires people to get more exercise because of the need for regular walks, and that petting an animal has been found to decrease cortisol levels, which decreases stress.
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Nevada animal welfare leaders find inspiration at Las Vegas conference
With animal welfare, the secret is an open mind,” said Joe Elmore recently to a gathering of animal welfare leaders from shelters and rescue groups from across Nevada. “When we come together there is nothing like it – the power is unstoppable.”
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Why cats scratch furniture and how to stop them
One of the most common complaints about cats is that they scratch the furniture with their claws resulting in a shredded mess. Why do they insist on ruining your stuff?
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A Gathering of Compassion
A standing-room-gathering of Pahrump area animal rescue groups took place earlier this month to share ideas about how to best help the community’s dogs and cats.
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Want your dog to live longer? Studies give hints
A pair of recent peer-reviewed studies confirm common opinions about why some dogs live longer: Being slimmer is healthier, getting spayed or neutered helps, mixed breeds live a bit longer than purebreds, and dental cleanings are worth considering.
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Prep your pets for arrival of a new baby
If you have a dog or a cat who is currently your “baby” but you are now expecting a human baby, it’s important to prepare your furry kids for what is about to happen in their lives. A new baby in the house changes so many things for your pets - from walking schedules to sleeping arrangements. You really do need to prepare them for what’s to come.
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‘Stay’ and ‘Come’ are Two Behaviors That Will Save Your Dog’s Life
I believe that the two most important behaviors to teach your dog are “COME” and “STAY.” These behaviors can literally save your dog’s life.
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Make your garden safe for pets and other animals
Our pets are a lot closer to the ground than we are. They sniff everything, lay around on the grass, roll in the dirt and then groom by licking themselves. It’s easy to overlook the fact that while they are enjoying the warm weather while around the yard and garden, they may be exposed to chemicals we use to keep it looking nice.
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What to do if you find a baby rabbit or bird
There is nothing cuter than baby animals and, with spring here and summer on the way, this is the season for babies.

Each year as the weather warms, animal services agencies and animal shelters get many calls from people concerned about a baby bird or bunnies they have found.
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Director of Washoe animal services shares vision about pets
Shyanne Schull is the director of Washoe County Regional Animal Services. I had the opportunity to ask Shyanne about her work. - Bonney Brown
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Help kittens by becoming a foster caregiver
“Fostering [kittens] for me has been life changing. I started on a whim but after a year of doing it I knew I had found my niche.” Those words are from Savannah Bowers, a foster caregiver for Nevada Humane Society. She isn’t alone. Many people begin fostering not knowing what to expect, and it becomes a calling once they see the lifesaving impact it has on homeless pets.
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Lovelock Dogs Get Needed Care
Forty-five dogs from Lovelock, where no veterinary services exist, were transported recently to the Nevada Humane Society clinic in Reno to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped.
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$2.5m given to 52 animal groups in Maddie’s Pet Project’s first year
As we approach one year since the Maddie's® Pet Project in Nevada campaign launched, we wanted to share some of what we’ve done so far in collaboration with existing shelters, rescue groups, and other animal supporters to help cats and dogs in the Silver State.
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27 rural feral cats get surgery as part of new effort at Nevada Humane Society
As part of a new program to provide veterinary services in underserved areas, 27 feral cats were taken March 31 to the Nevada Humane Society clinic at its Carson City shelter.
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3 animal websites that will add value to your life
Finding animal stories I like to read online can be a challenge. Often they are too cutesy, seem to be promoting a product, or are horrific. All of those types of stories have their time and place, but with my busy day, I'm picky. Below are three I find consistently valuable – please share with me animal blogs or sites you like, and I'll consider them for a future column.
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Kristen Ivey of CRCS transforms dogs with behavior issues
Kristen Ivey’s passion for helping dogs led her to create Canine Rehabilitation Center and Sanctuary, which launched in 2011. Located in Washoe Valley, the group aims to help dogs who need it most – those with behavioral issues who end up in animal shelters.
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Help homeless pets with your Facebook page
Want to help pets in need but cannot take anymore yourself? Got 15 minutes to spare? We’ve got a challenge for you.
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What to do when your dog pulls on leash
The most common problematic behavior for which dog owners ask advice is pulling on the leash. When your dog pulls on his leash, the walk becomes unpleasant and this leads to fewer and fewer walks. This is sad for the dog and you as a nice walk is enriching exercise for you both.
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Reno pet cremation from goldfish to tigers
Steve Woods recently told me about a woman who had her goldfish cremated. The goldfish had been 20 years old. “She said ‘good morning’ to it every morning and ‘good night’ to it every evening,” he said.
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Declawing -- Why It’s Not Good for Your Cat
Maisey, one of my cats, rides around the house on my shoulders. She loves it and will happily do so as often as I let her—until I begin to feel her little claws kneading into my skin.
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Photo tips for animal shelters and rescue groups
This guide is intended to help volunteers and staff members take effective photos of animals and events to help promote your organization’s good works.
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Tahoe shelter director: My vision is to make Nevada no-kill
By Bonney Brown: I recently talked with Jason Stipp, executive director of Pet Network Humane Society. Pet Network is an animal shelter founded in 1991 and located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe
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Free daylong fundraising seminars in Las Vegas
Maddie’s® Pet Project in Nevada is offering two free seminars for all Nevada-based animal welfare organizations March 7 and 21 at the Orleans Hotel, 4500 W. Tropicana Ave. in Las Vegas. Lunch will be provided.
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Tips to help your dog be home alone
Those of us who share our lives with dogs know how amazing it is to be on the receiving end of the unconditional love they give us. Dogs are extremely social animals and, through the process of domestication, we humans have become their social group. Many dogs would rather be with their people than with their own species. But this intense need for our companionship can be problematic when the dog cannot handle being left alone when we go off to work or play.
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Rules for playing tug-of-war with your dog
In another column, I’d mentioned making a dog toy by putting an empty plastic soda bottle in a sock and then playing a bit of tug with it to signal to the dog it’s a toy. Dogs like the crunchy noise and sensation of a plastic bottle inside cloth.
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Not all ‘pet safe’ ice melt is OK for your pet
Earlier this month at our house, we finally broke out the ice melt when a washing-machine repair person visited. We know where all the hazardous spots are and avoid them, but we couldn't count on a stranger intuiting them.
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How do I get my dog to stop jumping on people?
Our dogs do not come to us knowing which behaviors we humans find acceptable and which we don’t. In fact, sometimes we confuse dogs by rewarding a behavior that at other times we don’t like. And there are even times when we inadvertently reward a behavior that we are trying to get rid of. Both things happen when it comes to jumping.
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Simple ideas to improve your cat or dog’s quality of life
One of the key phrases at our house is “quality of life.” It’s the deciding factor on many purchases as well as actions that involve our animals. Whenever we get a new species (there are about 10 at our house!), we try to figure out what would do the most to increase their quality of life.
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The Pet Tech Trend
It’s a new year and that means new trends for our furry family, and these days, human trends and pet trends are coming together. A survey by Michelson Found Animals Foundation, a nonprofit social enterprise committed to saving pets and enriching lives, revealed that as we better ourselves, we are also doing the same for our pets.
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Northern Nevada’s Oldest No-Kill Animal Shelter
The SPCA of Northern Nevada is the second largest nonprofit animal shelter in Washoe County. It was founded in 1997 as the first no-kill animal shelter in the community. I recently had a chance to talk with its executive director, Jill Dobbs, about her work there.
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Christmas Gifts for Cats
It’s only fitting that I’m writing about holiday gifts for cats, especially as I’m shopping for my own (all adopted) and sharing photos on their Instagram with captions like “Meowy CATmas.” The number of people that I know who include their pets in holiday festivities is off the chart, so here are some fun gift ideas for your feline family.
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OUCH - My cat must think I’m a giant mouse
Cats love to play and it’s fun to watch their antics, and sometimes we can become the target of that play. Some cats play by jumping out from behind a dresser to swat your leg as you walk by or pouncing on your feet as they move under the covers at night. Many people think this type of play is fun but others might be upset being on the receiving end of feline play, especially if it results in a bite or a scratch. Regardless of how you feel about this behavior, it’s important to understand it.
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When your pet dies
Every morning Minerva, one of our pet Nigerian Dwarf goats, would come bounding out, eager to gobble down a Fig Newton followed by a breakfast of hay. Suddenly this past weekend, Minerva seemed a bit off, she was not eating as well and the next morning she was dead. It was both shocking and horribly sad.
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Help! My cat keeps doing bad things to my bed
A reader named Arthur wrote: “I enjoyed your article in RGJ [Our Nevada, “4 things to consider if cat stops using litterbox”] and am dealing with a slightly different problem with my two 14-year-old sister kitties. They have always been very dependable in the usage of their litter boxes and have been indoor cats their whole lives. Within the past few months, one has had occasional diarrhea and at those times has decided that my bed is the place to defecate! As a result, I’ve had to start closing the bedroom door and she returns to the litter box usage. Any ideas as to why and prevention tactics other than closing off the room all day (which I hat doing, since they both like to curl up on the bed throughout the day). Thank you.”
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6 pawsome gift ideas for the dog lover in your life
At our house, dogs always get presents at Christmas. They probably love ripping open the packaging more than the present itself, but what can you do?
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Are pets OK as gifts? Sure, with common sense
With the holidays coming up, some animal groups will be promoting pets as great gifts while other places will say this should never be done. These contradictory messages can be confusing.
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It takes a village to help Nevada’s pets
It takes a village. This statement couldn’t be truer for people and pets alike, especially this time of year, as people are more focused on giving back and coming together. It’s also appropriate as Maddie’s Pet Project in Nevada is wrapping up five big events that brought communities together — events that helped elevate the status of dogs and cats and raise awareness that we’re doing something big in Nevada.
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Saving Lives at Washoe County’s Largest Nonprofit Animal Shelter: An Interview with Greg Hall of Nevada Humane Society
Greg Hall recently took the helm of Nevada Humane Society (NHS) as its CEO. I had a chance to catch up with him and ask him about his goals and plans.
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Spay/neuter of 142 pets Wadsworth shows need in outlying areas
Vinton Hawley commented that he sees stray dogs and cats roaming around Nixon, Wadsworth and Sutcliffe. They are three communities inside the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s reservation where Hawley is chairman.
“We look forward to a big turnout,” Vinton Hawley said before a free spay/neuter clinic Oct. 12-13 in Wadsworth for the tribe’s members. The turnout, indeed, was big. People were lined up outside the clinic’s doors that first day, and it only got busier the next day.
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Facial recognition technology could save your lost pet Facial recognition technology for dogs and cats may sound far-fetched, but it’s a reality now and in use in Nevada’s major metro areas.
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Does your dog feel guilt for being naughty?
There are many myths about dogs but I think one of the most common is that dogs know when they have done something “wrong” and show guilt when they are confronted about a misdeed that happened in the past.
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Kids, Two and Four-Legged Alike
Kids and pets are a natural combination, but there are also some things you can do to help ensure that the relationship is rewarding and safe for both parties. Even if you don’t have a pet or children, basic skills for kids and pets interacting are important.
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Q&A: Litter Box Woes
•  Question: My cat is no longer using the litterbox. What do I do?
•  Answer: This is an important problem to know how to solve because some people “solve” it by taking the cat to the nearest shelter, which will have a hard time finding a new home for a cat labeled as having litterbox issues. This is best corrected in the cat’s current home. A vet visit may be needed, but here are five things you might consider first.
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Nevadans Love Cats and Dogs
I sat with a national expert for veterinary issues recently going over 2018 survey results about Nevadans and pets. He was astonished at the answers on where we get our cats and dogs.
“Those are way above the national average,” said Mark Cushing, a Veterinary Innovation Council board member.
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Older Pets Give and Need Love
When I first noticed Mogli, I was not looking for a cat to adopt, but I was drawn to this happy gentleman with his old battle scars. Mogli, it seems, spent most of his 10 years on the streets of Sparks, but most older dogs and cats arrive at a shelter after years of a comfortable life with a person they loved. The reasons vary, but often they are there because their person has either passed away or can no longer care for them.
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Cat Lounge Comes to Reno
A Cat Lounge in Reno? Yes, please! For the past few years, cat cafes have been popping up across the country. It’s unique because not only does it promote aspiring entrepreneurs, but it offers a place for homeless cats until they find a loving family of their own. A personal fan, I’ve been following several cat cafes and enjoy watching their success—so will Reno embrace the trend?
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How to protect your pet for July 4th
One of our goals at Maddie's® Pet Project in Nevada is to keep pets out of shelters and in their existing homes—and July 4th is perhaps the riskiest day of the year for them to escape because of stress brought on by fireworks and their loud noises.
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Kitten covered in Liquid Nails gets help thanks to Nevada connections
An elder in the Yerington Paiute Tribe found a kitten underneath her house last week covered in Liquid Nails and an infection on top of that.
Animal control officer Tommy Guttierez contacted Maddie's® Pet Project in Nevada about finding someplace that could help the kitten. We found an organization that agreed to provide veterinary care: Nevada Humane Society.
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Inspiration at the First Saving Nevada’s Pets Conference
For people in animal welfare, time for networking with peers can be hard to find. So we were pleased that more than 70 people from across Nevada and five invited speakers joined us June 5 for the first Saving Nevada’s Pets Conference in Las Vegas. Top leadership of the state’s largest humane societies and SPCAs, as well as directors and managers of animal services agencies, nonprofit spay/neuter clinics, rescues, and TNR groups large and small, came together from across the state for a day of networking and inspiration.
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Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days locations
Animal shelters and pet rescues all over Nevada will offer free pet adoptions for dogs and cats Friday and Saturday April 27-28.
The event is sponsored by Maddie’s® Pet Project in Nevada and made possible by Maddie's Fund® and the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation. It’s part of Maddie’s® Pet Project’s goal to increase the chances that cats and dogs in Nevada shelters will find good homes.
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Governor Sandoval proclaims April 26 to be Maddie’s Day
Gov. Brian Sandoval has proclaimed April 26 to be Maddie’s Day at a ceremony at Nevada Humane Society in Reno.

The proclamation kicks off a two-day event starting Friday called Maddie's® Pet Adoption Days that features free cat and dog adoptions from shelters and rescue groups across the state.
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Nevada shelters team up to find homes for 49 cats, 6 rabbits with transport to Reno
When animal lovers work together, there is not much that they cannot accomplish. This is one of the underlying beliefs of Maddie’s Pet Project in Nevada. So when we spoke to the team at The Animal Foundation in Las Vegas, the largest animal shelter in Nevada, and they said they could use help with cat placement we made a connection with Nevada Humane Society in Reno. There are times of the year where shelters in Washoe County are low on cats, and they were happy to help out.
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Connecting human and pet health at Las Vegas event
Making sure Nevadans have access to veterinary care for their pets in underserved areas is one way Maddie's® Pet Project in Nevada is creating a safety net for cats and dogs.

To do this, we are connecting animal welfare groups with human services organizations. These partnerships may take place in rural, tribal, or low-income urban areas within Nevada.
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