Saturday, July 26, 2008

Humane Happenings

by Dolly Loftus

Robbin - Our "certified" groundskeeper at work

Life at Desert Haven continues to be good despite the monsoons and short-handedness among the animal care givers. One reason is Molly Williams, a special education teacher, who year round does the laundry for our critters.

The beautification of the grounds continues with donations from locals and also people who read our website and blog. The donation is usually in memory of a loved one, either animal or human who has passed away. Trees and statuary are the most popular items. We have two statues of St. Francis: a large one donated by Ardell Scartaccini and a smaller one donated by the family of Amanda Parks in her memory. There are many memorials to Jerry Aubin, co-founder of the organization, and Sally Schnetzer, a long time board member. They are mostly trees and benches which make it nice to sit and view the spectacular Caballos.

Walkway to the Cool Cat Neighborhood

Jerry Aubin's bench

Sgt. Maj. Dominic Zito and his wife Barbara donated a large hand-sewn flag in memory of Jerry which flies over the grounds on special days. The Soil Conservation District donated trees which serve as a wind break in the pet cemetery. C. J. Ellis of Caballo RV Park donated picnic tables for the RV sites and picnic area.

"Central Bark" in summer bloom

We have also received other decorative items, such as, bird baths, wagon wheels, bird houses and other decorative yard art. We can always use more; we have some very creative workcampers.

We extend a special “thank you” to Cindy and Bob Gabriel for their very generous donation in memory of Annie, Eliana’s precious dog who died accidentally several weeks ago.

The Cash for Clubs program will end, as it does every year, at the end of July; consequently, we urge anyone who has been saving Bullocks receipts to bring them as soon as possible to Paws & Claws, so we can tally them and redeem them before the deadline. Bullocks receipts received by us after the deadline can not be redeemed and will be discarded.

This week’s wish list: volunteers to help a few hours a week at Paws & Claws thrift shop, Dog Walkers and Kitty Cuddlers at Desert Haven. The kitties are in need of a good brushing. We have plenty of brushes on hand. Pet food and treats, in particular, dry and canned cat food. To contact us, please call 575-894-2778, 575-894-1694 or visit us at

Friday, July 18, 2008

Week of 7/1/308 Humane Happenings

Deb & Judy share kitchen duties

Bullocks receipts continue to be collected for the Sierra County Humane Society and Desert Haven Animal Refuge. They can be dropped-off at Paws & Claws thrift shop across the alley from Family Dollar in T or C, at the Williamsburg Post Office and at the T or C Public Library.

Our 501-C-3 organization receives $ 1 for every thousand dollars of the total amount of receipts collected by folks who spend their grocery dollars at Bullocks, and each and every year, the money that is redeemed is used to cover some of the costs of both the SCHS Spay-Neuter and the Spay-a-Stray program. We are very proud of these two programs, as they help curb the domestic animal overpopulation in Sierra County, as each sterilized companion animal no longer adds to this real tragedy.

Special thanks are due to Josephine Varnum for handling the Cash-for-Clubs program since it started a number of years ago, also to all the folks who collect Bullocks receipts for us, especially those who make it a point to collect them for us by the bag full, from neighbors, friends and relatives. For more information on the program, contact us at 575-894-2778.

The Cash for Clubs program will end, as it does every year, at the end of July, consequently, we urge anyone who has been saving their Bullocks receipts for us to bring them as soon as possible to Paws & Claws, so we can tally them and redeem them before the deadline. Bullocks receipts received by us after the deadline can no loner be redeemed and consequently will have to be discarded.

Our organization also collects aluminum cans, and the bags of empty cans can be dropped off in our Can Corral at the corner of the old Paws & Claws location on First Street. They can also be brought in person to our new store location. The Cans for Critters program also helps cover some of the costs of the Humane Society Spay-Neuter program. Our sincere thank-you goes to Deb Peters, for loading and transporting the empty aluminum cans in her truck to the recycling drop-off point on Third Street in T or C. Deb came to us many months ago from New Hampshire, and she settled as a work camper at Desert Haven Animal Refuge. Through the many, many months that we have known Deb, her love for all animals continues to be evident, as is her willingness to make a difference in our little corner of the world, while she helps care for the unwanted domestic animals who live at the no-kill sanctuary. Over time, Deb became the Supply Manager at DHAR, in charge of sorting and keeping track of all the tools stored at the facility. When we moved to the current Paws & Claws location, Deb took on the new responsibility, together with Ron Djurovich, of checking and pricing all incoming electronics and electrical appliances before displaying them on the shelves at the new store. Several months ago, Deb relocated from DHAR into her new home only a mile away. Still, she continues to stay very active at the sanctuary and in our animal welfare organization. We know that we are very fortunate to count Deb Peters as an integral part of our long-term volunteer crew.

This week’s wish list: volunteers to help a few hours a week at Paws & Claws thrift shop, Dog Walkers and Kitty Cuddlers at Desert Haven. Pet food and treats. To contact us, please call 575-894-2778, 575-894-1694 or visit us at

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Week of 7/6/08 Humane Happenings

Central Bark in bloom

The summer rains have arrived in Sierra County as the folks who had to cross Ash Canyon last Tuesday after work were clearly made aware of. For over 3 hours that evening, they had to wait on one side of the wall of water rushing across HWY 51 and towards the lake further below, before they could even get to the other side and to their respective homes. Some miles away at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s no-kill domestic animal sanctuary, the human residents who are carefully keeping the new plantings watered could expect Mother Nature to finally do her part and share in the process.

Desert Haven is starting to actually look like the Oasis in the middle of the Desert Southwest that its founders envisaged some years ago. On May 14 1999, the papers were signed and the property was purchased by the Sierra County Humane Society, Inc. For those local folks who seem to continue to be confused about this, Desert Haven does not belong to any individual in particular. It belongs entirely to the Sierra County Humane Society. The volunteers who work very hard there year after year are not doing so for personal gain but, rather, because they believe in a cause they have embraced. Their only reward is the knowledge that they are doing their part to help make their corner of the world a better place to live for all creatures.

This week, “hats off” are in order to Erin, Deb, Linda, Freddie, Dolly, Jerry, Ron, Terry & his wife Sharon, John and his wife Kathryn, Jeanette and also Eliana. Everyone was involved in the huge job this past Tuesday as the small building where the thrift shop used to be located was in the process of being emptied.

Crew at Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe

It’s been time-consuming and very tiring, but over the last few weeks, the crew has done wonders to insure that the job stays on track. At the same time, they also focus on getting new items displayed from Wednesday through Saturday, when Paws & Claws is open for business at its new location across the alley from Family Dollar.

Rufus, a very gentle one-year old black lab mix who also loves children, is the newest resident of Dog Town at DHAR. His military family moved away but could not take him along. If interested in a great companion animal, contact us at 575-894-2778.

Five terrier-mix puppies are also in need of a new home. While they could not be taken in at the facility, they are available through the SCHS Adopt-a-Pet referral program that Stan Brodsky is handling. He can be reached at 895-5551.

Bill and Mary Jane Clellan came through again this time, with their monetary donation to purchase much needed cat food. Pet food is always on top of the Wish List at DHAR, which this week also includes carpet remnants. If some of our readers are able to do so, consider volunteering at the new Paws & Claws thrift shop a few hours each week – We very much need your help this Summer.

For more information, please contact us at 575-894-2778 or visit us at

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Week of 6/29/08 Humane Happenings

Book and antique section at Paws & Claws Thrift Shop. Jerry Andrus checks out some fine antique china from Bavaria while Sharon looks on.

This week, we wish to remind the supporters of the Sierra County Humane Society that the Cash for Cubs program will be over at the end of July. Consequently, we ask our supporters to bring their Bullocks receipts to Paws & Claws thrift shop, to the SCHS Cash-for-Clubs container in the T or C library or the Williamsburg Post Office before July 30, to allow Josephine Varnum to tally them in time. Bullocks receipts help cover some of the costs involved with our organization’s comprehensive Spay-Neuter program. Last year, we received over $3,250 from the Bullocks receipt - over 1/3 more than the largest other non-profit recipient. Our spay-neuter expenses are growing every year, and amount on an average over $8,000 each year – a huge amount for a small organization like ours, to handle year after year.

Now that the relocation of Paws & Claws thrift shop is almost completed, the new shop is now open for customers and we have received many compliments already over the way the new space is being utilized. On Tuesday afternoon, the Desert Haven Animal Refuge crew gathers at the new location to handle the finishing touches of a move that was started several weeks ago. Rick and Terry have already hung the large sign to the side of the new building. Erin, a painter by trade, and Sharon, her dedicated helper, will soon be completed with the painting of the inside walls. The bright and cheery color is very attractive.

This week, we wish to thank DiAnna Schnetzer who, with her husband George, continue to be some of Desert Haven’s most dedicated supporters. They moved out of Sierra County several years ago, but they remain strongly associated with our organization in any way that they can. DiAnna continues to supply us regularly with hand-made string labels that we use for the great majority of the items on display in our shop. Not only her gesture is very appreciated, but also it gives us a good feeling to know that even though this wonderful couple is no longer living in Elephant Butte, we and the animals we help out about are still very much in their thoughts.

Stan, Karmalita & Emmy

A huge pat on the back goes to Stan Brodsky of Hillsboro, for doing such a great job with the Petfinder web site that he took over only several weeks ago. Recently, several dogs were adopted in a row: Lance, Emmy, Zip, Karma, Anabel, Tinkerbel. Good work, Stan!

Dog and cat food are still by far the greatest staple items needed at DHAR. Your donated bags of pet food and treats can be dropped off at the new Paws & Claws location across the alley from Family Dollar. Other donations, especially furniture pieces, should also be dropped off during business hours at that new location. Unless some of our crew members are able to secure them soon after drop-off, unscrupulous individuals continue to help themselves to anything that is not secured, including bicycles, furniture, boxes of household items, etc. For more information on Paws & Claws thrift shop, DHAR and our organization, please contact us at 575-894-2778 or visit us at

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Week of 6/22/08 Humane Happenings

Linda Estavillo with Rocky & Tinkerbel

The “Farm Visit” made last week to Desert Haven Animal Refuge by local veterinarian Dr. Cardwell went well and the medical records of the resident dogs of the no-kill sanctuary are up-to-date once again. Kudos to Linda Estavillo and her crew for doing such a wonderful job with keeping the DHAR non-human residents so well taken care of and, as importantly, the facility so clean all the time. Linda came over two years ago from Oregon with her husband David and son James, to make DHAR her home, and she works very hard to keep all the DHAR habitats very clean and in good state of repair and everyone working well together for a common cause. Good job, Linda, and good job everyone!

If you let the world get you down occasionally in these times of uncertainty, and your Faith in Humanity becomes shaky, consider visiting DHAR on a Tuesday morning, and it will revive as you watch a group of hard working kind-hearted folks pulling together to help the cause of animals who often are betrayed by those they trust and rely on.

This week, we thank Diane Bellack and Ellen Morehead for taking charge of the craft section at Paws & Claws thrift shop. While Diane handles the pricing and presentation of craft materials and fabrics from her home in Hillsboro, doing a superb job with carding the buttons by the way, Ellen concentrates on miscellaneous pricing as well as displaying the priced items on the shelves at the shop. So nice to have you both on board, Diana and Ellen!

We thank Mike Slater of Animas Creek Nursery and CJ Ellis of Caballo Lake RV Park for donating containers for houseplants, succulents and cactus to be sold at Paws & Claws. A pat on the back to Eliana Aubin and Robbin Brodsky for supplying the shop with miscellaneous home grown plants as needed. If you have houseplants or containers you wish to donate to benefit our cause, please drop them off at the shop when it is open. We can certainly use different varieties. The shop is open from Wednesday through Saturday and the hours are posted at the window.

We always need local volunteers to help at Paws & Claws thrift shop, located across the alley form Family Dollar in T or C. Extra volunteer help is critical in Summer when some of our long-time helpers leave on vacation. Consider visiting Paws & Claws and see for yourself - surely you can find your niche in our store. The work environment is great, volunteers are very helpful and our customers are friendly.

This week’s wish list: dry dog food and treats, and especially cat food. We collect Bullocks receipts and aluminum cans. To contact us, please call 575-894-2778, 740-0643 or visit us at