Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Week of 8/26/07 Humane Happenings

Midget, Frankie, and a tail!

This week, The Sierra County Humane Society, Inc. wishes to congratulate Celeste Rich of Celestial Creations for becoming its newest business member. A very special thank-you also goes to CPA James Bagwell for handling, free of charge, the filing of the 2006 taxes for our all-volunteer, non-profit animal welfare organization.

Our animal loving readers who wish to learn more about Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary, but who have not had the opportunity to visit the facility in person, should check out our Desert Haven blog at Past and current visitors to our sanctuary and RVing volunteers from all over have written about their experience while at DHAR. The blog is updated each week by our web master, Camille Pronovost, a former work camper, and we have received many compliments on it since she started it last year. Thank-you for your fantastic work of love-in-progress, Camille. In it, along with photos of the facility and of its residents, both human and non-human, you will find interesting comments made about our organization, from local and out-of-the-area visitors.

Jessie, the little rat terrier rescued several weeks ago, is now adopted, along with four of her five tiny pups. In this area, it’s obvious that small dogs are more easily adopted than larger ones. Large dogs don’t find homes easily in Sierra County, and they are most often doomed from the start of their life – born to die indeed. Allowing large dogs to reproduce is a tragedy, as there are not enough adoptive homes available and willing to adopt large dogs. Our organization has been helping dog owners for years now, with spay-neuter rebates of $30 for male dogs or cats, and $40 for females. Applications can be obtained at the T or C Police station, El Rancho Poodles, and at Paws & Claws thrift shop.

We continue to collect aluminum cans that we store in our Can Corral, located next to Paws & Claws thrift shop. Walt Allen transports all the cans regularly and they are redeemed to benefit the Humane Society Spay-Neuter program. Thanks, Walt.

Wish List: Moist and dry dog and cat food - someone at Desert Haven to help with office work for a couple of hours every Tuesday morning - Dog walkers and kitty cuddlers. Two hours of your time, once or twice a week, would be appreciated, and you may enjoy the positive energy that one feels working with animals and our very special Desert Haven crew.

Contact us at 505-894-2778 or visit us on Tuesday. You can also check it out at

Letter from a Visitor/Volunteer

Volunteers Larry & Mavis work on "the Penthouse"

August 13, 2007

For the blog.
From Jim Minarchio

I live in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico – elevation 4200 ft., population 8,000. This small southwestern town, seemingly forgotten by Father Time, is located a couple of miles away from Desert Haven Animal Refuge, which I understand is the only No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary in this area.

Over the past couple of years, I have paid regular visits to the Refuge and it’s inhabitants, both human and non-human, and I am always really pleased to see the facility to be so clean and it’s animal population, mostly dogs and cats, to be so healthy and always in good spirits.

What I appreciate as well is the spirit of teamwork and of genuine friendship that everyone shares - from the founder of the small sanctuary, Eliana Aubin, to all the volunteers, either seasonal or long-term. When I share the Tuesday meal with them, I can feel the good vibes that come from the entire group – it feels great to be part of this strong and caring group.

It’s so refreshing for me to know that in these days of competitive minds and cut-throat attitudes, a small group of folks (who come from various walks in life and from all over the US) can work closely together as a team, for a common goal and without expecting any monetary reward. No one, even Eliana, receives any salary. From what I can witness, each one of these kind folks is making a difference in the lives of domestic animals down-on-their luck, and most certainly in his or her own life as well. I salute all of them.

If I were a dog or a cat, Desert Haven is where I would like to wake up, under the care of all the wonderful and selfless volunteers who work there.

Keep up the good work, people, you are appreciated.

Jim Minarchio
1201 Caballo Rd
T or C NM 87901

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Week of 8/12/07 Humane Happenings

"I knew you were in there!"

Volunteering is alive and well in Sierra County. The Sierra County Humane Society and Desert Haven Animal Refuge are a living example of what a small group of volunteers can do to improve their corner of the world. The sense of pride and accomplishment one experiences when giving back to Society by donating time and energy to a chosen cause is something very special. The on-going support of animal loving folks from all over is crucial as well and our organization values each one of them.

We appreciate the thoughtfulness of Gilbert and Barbara Papay of Ohio, for their recent donation in memory of Don “Doc” Gisler who passed away some months ago. Don, a retired veterinarian accompanied by his wife Denise, work-camped at Desert Haven soon after the small sanctuary opened its doors. They both were well liked and much appreciated for sharing their energy and their knowledge with the rest of the crew.

We wish to thank Jerry Holt & Carol Staggs, also Lee Garner, Lee & Ruth Ann Bell and Glen & Joan Johnson for their donation of pet food or cash contributions to purchase pet food. Dog and cat food, sunflower and birdseeds, rabbit pellets, chicken scratch and alfalfa are the main staple on the menu of the sanctuary’s residents and they are an important Budget line item.

A special thank-you goes to Mickey Sidoli for donating towards Lance’s and Livia’s care. Lance is a partially blind cocker spaniel recently rescued from a busy street after he was shot in the face with shotgun pellets. Livia, a terrier-yorky mix, was discovered tangled-up in a creosote bush with a chain. She could not move around. The traumatized little dog also had a wire tied very securely around her neck. Had she not been discovered in time, she would have probably died of lack of water in the desert heat, or of slow strangulation. Thanks to the loving care and patience of dog trainer Al Wilkinson and each member of the Desert Haven crew, including Mollie Williams who bathed and groomed the little girl-dog at her home, Livia is now available for adoption. Also available: female Chihuahua Penny - males Chihuahua Eddie and Pierrot – females terrier-mix Bell and Jessie and the remaining two out of five of Jessie’s seven-week old pups - also Blue heeler Indy - Rhodesian Ridgeback-mix Mosey, heeler-mix brothers and sister Scotty, Bud and Bessie – Boxer-mix Vickie – also shepherd–mix brothers Marshall & Maxwell. Last but not least, Lucky, "Deputy-Dawg of Dog Town".

If you are partial to cats, at this time, we have 26 beautiful felines of all temperaments and types, all healthy and ready to move in with their special person. Contact us at 505-894-2778 or visit us on Tuesday. You can also check us out at

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Week of 8/12/07 Humane Happenings

At this time of the year, The Sierra County Humane Society is receiving a larger than usual number of phone calls regarding pet owners who wish to give away their unwanted companion animals, including entire litters of kittens or puppies. “Free to good home” dogs or cats often end-up in not-so-good homes, perhaps because they don’t represent a financial investment and consequently are disposed of in the same spirit as any unwanted household item, unless they can be used for less-than ethical purposes. Consequently, our organization is urging pet owners ready to give away their unwanted litters, to insure that they don’t help perpetrate the tragedy of the multitudes of unwanted domestic animals in Sierra County by giving them away to the wrong people.

Dog fighting - the sport of savages - is alive and well in Sierra County, although successfully concealed. Anyone with information regarding either dog or cock-fighting, or dog breeding for the purpose of fighting, should connect with the Humane Society of the US, at 1-202-452-1100. The identity of the caller will be protected on request. Tips that lead to the bust of an animal fighting ring are rewarded with up to $2,500 by the HSUS. You can also contact us at 505-894-2639 or 894-1694. Our District Attorney’s Office has committed to work with The Sierra County Humane Society to help eradicate this savage blood sport in our County.

This past week, the Desert Haven crew gathered for lunch to enjoy Lois DiAndrea’s finger-licking BBQ. It was shared with several visitors including Jim Minarchio of T or C and Jane Duncan of Texas. Jane used to be one of our most active volunteers until she moved to Texas last year, to be close to her family, and it was a real pleasure to visit with her again at the facility.

With school now open, we have lost a dedicated local volunteer: Molly Williams, who teaches locally. She will be sorely missed until she returns during school breaks.

We continue to need a volunteer administrative assistant to help our office team for a couple of hours every Tuesday morning. Computer skills are a plus but certainly not required. We always need helpers at Paws & Claws and Desert Haven. We are looking for a small travel trailer to be used as sleeping quarters for one of our DHAR human residents. If you have one to either donate or lend us for a while, please contact us at 505-894-2778.

For more information on how to volunteer or support our organization in other ways, contact us at 894-2778. You can also check-us out at

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week of 8/5/07 Humane Happenings

This week’s accolade goes to the following: Dan Mason of Turtleback Pest Control, Sierra Feed, Vicki & Fred Sorg of ALCO, Bill & Mary-Jane Clellan, Barbara Dreyfus, Ginny Shannon, and Annie Millard. These folks (and others who choose to remain anonymous) donate canned and dry dog and cat food, rabbit pellets, and birdseed and sunflower seeds to help feed the non-human residents of Desert Haven Animal Refuge. We at DHAR have a soft spot in our hearts for Annie Millard: for several years now, Annie remembers our organization each month, through a pledge that goes into purchasing food for the residents of Birdland & Animal House. We also appreciate George & DiAnna Schnetzer who routinely donate cash to DHAR to help purchase pet food as needed.

Folks often ask us what we feed our dogs. We purchase high protein food, such as Pedigree, Happy Pets, and Puppy Chow. Beneful is also an integral part of their daily diet. We also purchase Purina, 9 Lives and Alley Cats for the residents of the Cool Cat Neighborhood. The food donated by local animal loving folks is routinely mixed with what DHAR purchases.

Adoptions: While Suzy-Q and Taco moved to their adoptive home two weeks ago, three of Jessie’s five pups - Fritzie, Tatiana, and Freckles - were adopted last Tuesday.

Lance and Livia are now the newest additions to Dog Town: Lance is a young, well-mannered - almost blind - blond cocker spaniel, rescued from a busy street, soon after being shot in the face by shotgun pellets that punctured one of his eyes.

Under the loving care of the Desert Haven volunteers, Lance is recovering from his wounds.

Livia, a very traumatized terrier-yorky mix female, also joined the DHAR canine gang recently.

A terrified little dog at the time of her rescue, Livia would not let anyone approach her, not even to take off the chain hanging on her neck. It took another couple of days to discover, under her long hair, that someone had tightly secured a wire hanger in lieu of collar around her neck.

Lance and Livia are vivid reminders of why Desert Haven exists in this area, and why all our volunteers give so much of themselves, both personally and emotionally, to do what they do, day after day. We are able to curb, in some small but crucial way, the cruelty and ignorance of too many members of the human race.

Wish List: Canned dog and cat food, doggy and kitty treats.

Desert Haven is open for visitors every Tuesday. For more information, contact us at 505-894-2778. You can also check- us out at

Featured Pet - Mosey

Mosey is very personable and friendly - She adores walking on a leash and is very smart. She is eager to learn and has done well in beginning obedience.

Mosey was saved off "death row" and dreams of a forever home where she can play and cuddle. We believe she was abused due to the scars on her body. She came to us emaciated and extremely timid. Her eyes reflected so much trust and warmth that we could not resist giving her another chance at a good life.

• Breed: Rhodesian Ridgeback, Staffordshire Bull Terrier [Mix]
• Sex: Female
• Age: Young
• Size: Medium

Mosey is up to date with routine shots and has been spayed. For more information about this beautiful girl, please call Desert Haven at 575-894-1694 or email

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Letter from a Volunteer

Jeanette (center) with the kitchen crew

Jeanette Galliard is an Albuquerque resident and a nurse by trade who spends her R&R at Caballo Lake RV park for several days each month. During that time, Jeanette volunteers each day at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, helping wherever there is a need. She prepares the Tuesday main dish for the Pot-Luck lunch shared by the DHAR crew of work campers and local volunteers. Through the year, Jeanette also supplies the Refuge with fresh alfalfa and bales of straw that she brings from Albuquerque for the non-human residents of the sanctuary. Alfalfa and straw, especially, are difficult to obtain in Sierra County, where Desert Haven is located.

With Jeannete's permission, we are pleased to share a letter that she recently sent to us.

“July 2007 is my one-year anniversary of my volunteer work at Desert Haven Animal Refuge in Williamsburg, NM. This year brought many changes - staff, on- site campers, decorative ground enhancements, and a lot of adoptions of the residents “pets”.

What has remained CONSTANT is the wonderful care of the animals. That statement includes many things: dog training by Al Wilkinson which provides every dog with basic manners, so important as they enter a new home with an adoption. Another constant is the good food served that includes special treats. The Refuge is grateful to the donors of food that supplement what the Refuge provides: High protein food is every day nourishment. The “Old West” Trail is now fenced as a huge exercise area for the dogs. They can run twice daily most of the year here.
Current staff are devoted to the needs of all the animals; remembering that Desert Haven provides a home to peacocks, doves, chickens, rabbits guinea pigs, dogs and cats.

Executive Director Eliana Aubin, Facilities Manager Linda Estavillo, and Operations Manager, Frederica Loveless work together like a well-oiled machine to achieve the goals of the DHAR and of The Sierra County Humane Society. As a team, they are not only involved in the management of the facility, but, alongside the volunteer crew, they also actively participate in the care of the non-human residents as well as in the upkeep of the entire property.

The most important commodity at Desert Haven is the caring attitude towards the animals by the staff. Excellent animal care is first and foremost with each staff member and the reason I continue to volunteer. There IS Team Spirit but it is more than spirit that keeps it working. Each person has sincere respect for the other worker.

I have been asked by family and friends around the world to describe Desert Haven.
Desert Haven Animal Refuge is a piece of the Old West in Southern New Mexico. There is no pretense at elegance but a rustic atmosphere among the cacti and greasewood. There are six work-campers campsites with full hook-ups, all spacious enough to easily accommodate today’s large RVs. There is a picnic area which is covered for all to enjoy. There are three animal care living areas. “ The Cool Cat Neighborhood”, “Dog Town” and “Birdland & Animal House”(which includes the guinea pigs and rabbits.

Dog Town now has cement indoor/outdoor areas provided by a wonderful couple – George & DiAnna Schnetzer of Los Lunas, NM - who donated the funds to build them. Our dogs are kenneled indoors during the winter nights plus they all have their own dog houses indoors and outdoors. The Cool Cat Neighborhood has large bushes and wonderful “hiding places” to snooze in the sun or investigate. The Staff provides one-on-one attention to all the animals and everyone is encouraged to sit and play anytime.

I have spent over 40 years in the nursing field with our human kind. I’ve rescued many cats and dogs and it is a pleasure to spend time with other folks who share the love of animals and give the time to these delightful animals.

Respectfully Submitted.

Jeanette Galliard
Albuquerque, NM

Jeannette with Tripp, adopted from Desert Haven