Monday, December 28, 2009

Week of 12/27/09 Humane Happenings

Bootz, Desert Haven volunteer, and her rescue dog, Poncho

by Eliana Aubin

This time of the year is a time of giving and sharing. Animal loving folks, local and from out of state, are remembering the Sierra County Humane Society and Desert Haven in many generous ways. Last Tuesday, the crew sharing the Christmas pot luck lunch at the sanctuary was treated to a scrumptious rum cake from Becky Porter of Hillsboro, the new pet-parent of Samson, recently adopted from the sanctuary. How good it feels to find out that many folks from the community and beyond care enough about what our organization does for the animals of Sierra County that they show their appreciation in their own special ways, most especially at this time of the year. Letters and card from all over the US have been pouring in at Desert Haven this Holiday season, all of them showing their gratitude for what we do at the sanctuary.

Virginia Nylen of Hawaii, who volunteers at DHAR every time she visits this area, writes: “I am making this donation in the name of several friends, rather than buy Christmas gifts for them this year”. Her letter ends with “Eliana and Freddie, your devotion to this project is most admirable”. Janet and Nick Chubb of TX, Arnie & Kitte Gold, Chris & Judy Bush & Geri Bush of CA donated this year in honor of former Desert Haven work campers Bill and Sue White of Rockwall, TX. The list goes on, the message is clear. We are told over and over again:“Thank you for all that you do for our beloved, four legged animals.”

This week’s wish list: canned dog food, wild bird seeds, rabbit pellets, used towels, blankets, bleach and heavy duty cleaning detergent.

Now that Dolly Loftus decided to bring her dream of RV’ing across the US to reality, Desert Haven lost, from one week to the next, a dependable and qualified administrative person. Her DHAR volunteer position is still vacant. Does anyone have at least a couple of hours every Tuesday to give to a worthwhile cause? Perhaps you enjoy working with numbers or you prefer handling paperwork and files. If so, consider visiting Desert Haven on a Tuesday, share lunch with the crew and find out from deep into your heart if volunteering at Desert Haven is right for you. Our current crew is dedicated; the folks enjoy working together and most of all, their love of animals is evident. Everyone volunteering at DHAR at this time will go the extra mile to insure that each and every non-human resident receives the compassionate care that makes Desert Haven the very special place that it is.

For more information, contact us at 575-894-1694 or 894-2778 or visit us at You can also check out our web site or our blog at

May the brand new year be filled with Peace and Compassion for all living creatures.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Week of 12/20/09 Humane Happenings

This past week-end, the entire Desert Haven Animal Refuge crew of volunteers participated in the Luminaria Beach Walk at the Elephant Butte State Park as representatives of Sierra County’s No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary. While enjoying the festivities around the Desert Haven bonfire, our volunteers offered not only homemade cookies but also fresh homemade apple cider, made especially for the occasion by DHR Animal Care Coordinator Reba Wagner. The hot homemade apple cider was such a huge success that folks kept raving about it. Many of them asked for the recipe. For those who would like the recipe, it is being made available at Paws & Claws thrift shop.
Reba Wagner

The year 2009 is drawing to a close and as we look back on it, local animal loving folks have many reasons to be thankful. Generous local businesses, organizations and local and out-of-state individuals continue to support our animal welfare organization in many ways. Paws & Claws thrift shop is the major income producer for the Sierra County Humane Society & Desert Haven Animal Refuge. Without it, Desert Haven could not operate and the local humane society would not be able to offer either its Spay-Neuter and Spay-a-stray or its Adopt-a-classroom program. Even with our lack of an adequate volunteer crew to keep it running as we would like to, we are very thankful that P&C thrift shop is most certainly one of the busiest shops in town, with good recyclable items being donated on an on-going basis and, as importantly, nice customers patronizing it on a regular basis. It takes a lot of efforts to keep P&C open for business. With over 3600 square feet of store space and boxes full of donations being dropped off all the time, Paws & Claws thrift shop always needs extra manpower, to sort and tag incoming items or to replace sold pieces of furniture by other pieces ready to put on display. If you believe you can help in some way, visit Paws&Claws from Wednesdays through Saturdays, when it is open for business. The floor supervisor on duty at the time will give you the information you need. By the way, did you get a chance to check out the ‘OPEN’ sign for P&C thrift shop? We owe this great looking, new sign to the generosity of Reba and Gene Wagner.

This week, the “Kind Kids” public recognition is due to two local second grade classes. These young folks and their teachers very recently delivered to the domestic animal sanctuary several boxes of doggie and kitty toys and accessories, including many cans and several bags of pet food. It is very heartwarming to know that s in our community, under the capable guidance of dedicated teachers, young students are taught to care about animals they share the earth with. Someday these young folks will have grown up to become caring adults.

Our wish list: canned dog food, wild bird seeds, rabbit pellets, used towels, blankets, bleach and cleaning detergent. We also need a good used chest freezer for Rainbow Bridge Pet Cemetery and also a refrigerator for Birdland.

We also need volunteers to help the DHAR crew with daily animal care and also every Tuesday, in our administrative DHAR office. For more information, contact us at 575-894-2778, or visit our web site at

Merry Christmas from our animal loving families to yours.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Haven on Earth

contributed by Annie Kile

One of my best friends in the world is my dog. Mac was named after a hamburger. Our neighbor found him as a few months old puppy eating out of an overflowing garbage can at Mac Donalds’s. We have never been able to definitively identify his breed(s). Our vet’s opinion was part Rottweiler, part German Shepherd, and we think maybe a little Hound Dog thrown in for good measure (judging by how his nose is always to the ground when we take him for his walks).

Mac, winking

That was eleven years ago and we can’t imagine life without Mac in our home and our hearts.

But there are millions of Mac’s out there – along with millions of homeless, hungry cats and other innocent animals guilty of nothing more than the fact that they exist.

I know I cannot save them all, but I was lucky enough to find a place where I could make a difference for many dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and chickens who would otherwise be either struggling to find something, anything to eat and somewhere (anywhere) to shelter themselves from the elements. The idea that these animals are routinely “put down” simply because no one cares enough to actually provide care for them is just tragic.

The place I speak of is Desert Haven Animal Refuge right here in beautiful Williamsburg New Mexico. When I decided to volunteer, my main concern wasn’t whether I would like working “for” the animals, it was what would I do if I got there and the animals were not well cared for?

I need not have been concerned.

Animal care takes place twice a day. During this time animals are fed, fresh water is provided, pens are cleaned, and animals “get loved on”. The dogs are walked up
the hill twice a day and allowed to socialize and run free in a safe, large, fenced area. Our “kitties” are able to meet their “own personal needs” be it to visit with other cats or find “a spot of my own”. Every week each and every habitat is deep cleaned in addition to our “daily’s”.

And what can I say about the doves who laugh at me in the morning when I greet them? Believe me; this brings a smile to my face like nobody else can. And then there is Domino the rooster, so kind to wake me up each morning with his crow in order I’m there on time to feed him (and let me tell you his favorite treat is sliced cucumber!)

I am so pleased – and proud – to be a part of how Desert Haven Animal Refuge meets their mission. As I said, I know that I cannot save every animal abandoned and/or abused. But I can guarantee you that, for the animal that finds themselves safe, sound, and loved here at this refuge that Desert Haven truly is “Haven on Earth”.

-Annie Kile
Desert Haven Volunteer

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week of 12/14/09 Humane Happenings

Gene, sleeping with Luna, who was adopted from Desert Haven

Desert Haven Animal Refuge is a small, peaceful rural domestic animal sanctuary in the heart of Desert Country. It is also full of positive energy that visitors from all over continue to comment on as they witness, first-hand, the safe and nurturing environment that is offered all its non-human residents. The animals we rescue have suffered neglect, abuse, abandonment and sometimes, even torture. We heal each rescued animal, emotionally and physically. In the safe and loving environment we provide for them, we rebuild their self-confidence and their trust in human beings. We find homes for some; Others remain with us to guarantee their life-long care. We give each animal a chance for a new life, safe and well cared for by folks who love them as their own.

Remember Whitney? This little dog came to us not so long ago, seriously injured with no chance at survival without a costly major operation to repair the damages most probably caused by a human. Whitney has now recovered from, not one, but two life-savings surgeries and is living the good life in her foster home, surrounded by several playful little dogs.


And there is Luke the teenage kitty, who came to us with a very distorted and very cumbersome hind leg that he drug behind him like a heavy weight. The surgery to remove the leg, coupled with much loving care from DHAR entire staff, was a life-changing experience for Luke. After convalescing at Desert Haven, Luke was transformed into one of Desert Haven’s Cool Cat Neighborhood’s most cuddly and loving kitties.


And now, we have Snoopy, whose story came out in last week’s article. Snoopy came to us emaciated and with a broken jaw, a severe injury inflicted upon the small dog by a human. He is now convalescing at the home of DHAR Animal Care Coordinator Reba Wagner, husband Gene and son Stephen.

It’s because of a wonderful team of dedicated volunteers and also with the support of local residents and businesses, together with our generous animal loving friends from all over, that we are able to accomplish small miracles at Desert Haven. This week, we wish to thank the folks who have been dropping off warm used blankets and bags and cans of pet food at Paws & Claws thrift shop. We especially wish to thank Mary Jane Clellan for her generous donation towards the costs of Snoopy’s surgery and also Susan Newman of Animas Creek Nursery for remembering DHAR every month with a generous contribution.

For more information on our organization, contact us at 894-2778, visit us at,, or at

Beware of Certain Cat Litters

submitted by Adrianna O'Neill

Dear Eliana:

Recently my darling very healthy 11 year old indoor cat (who I've lived with since she was 4 weeks old) developed a sneeze and slight cough.
She has never been sick or had to go to the vet for anything other than her vaccinations.

I thought and thought about what was new and different in our home environment.
Finally it occurred to me. A week or so prior to her "cold" symptoms, I purchased liter that I thought was natural, not perfumed. The packaging said 'natural odor control' but it was not.
It had a perfumed odor and she smelled of that perfumed odor after using it.

I purchased new liter that very day and what a relief it was for both of us.
Within a day or so, she stopped sneezing and coughing, and I was able to breath better also.

A friend of mine recently told me about declawing her cat. The vet recommended a special liter as the cats paws were now more sensitive. Her cat has been using the special liter and has had no problems with it.

This is to say that sometimes the simplest solution is the right one. Using common sense to figure out the problems of our pets can save them from experiencing uncomfortable symptoms that can quickly escalate into trips to the vet.

Beware of certain litters as the dust and odors they create can be harmful to your cat and yourself.

Adrianna O'Neill

Week of 12/8/09 Humane Happenings

by Eliana Aubin

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

This week, we wish to extend our sincere appreciation to the local media for the support our organization has received over the years. The weekly newspaper "The Herald" was the very first local business entity to use to search the internet, and specifying our organization as the recipient for any money earned in the process. We value the Herald's commitment and the trust its staff hold in us. "The Sierra County Sentinel", Sierra County's other weekly newspaper, has printed our "Humane Happenings" article every week since the organization began in 1989. It's a long-term commitment that those of us still involved in the organization have not forgotten. Thanks to the generosity of the local media, the Sierra County Humane Society's weekly "Humane Happenings" article allows us to spread our animal welfare organization’s news as a public service announcement. Our small organization has limited financial resources and in no way would we be able to cover the printing costs of a weekly article. We thank all of you at The Herald and The Sierra County Sentinel, for your on-going support.

Our readers who love animals and appreciate the good work that we do, can do their Christmas shopping on-line and generate a donation to the Sierra County Humane Society at the same time. Before you visit your favorite store’s web site, log onto Good Search/Good Shop at Find the “Who do you support?” box and type in “Sierra County Humane Society”. Next, find discount coupons for Walmart, Petsmart, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Amazon and a thousand other stores that have agreed to donate a percentage of your purchases to the charity that you have designated. Finally, shop by store name, merchandise category, or browse the most popular stores. Once your order is processed for payment, the merchant will make the donation to SCHS. It doesn’t cost you anything to help us in this way. Imagine - if our supporters did just a fraction of their Christmas shopping through the Good Shop portal, we could raise much needed funds for the Humane Society and Desert Haven Animal Refuge.

You can continue to help generate donations to our cause by downloading the Good Search/Good Shop toolbar for your IE or Firefox browser. It just takes seconds.

1. Download the toolbar at

2. Search the web directly from the built-in search box. Each search generates a donation (about a penny per search) for our cause!

3. Shop online as you normally would at any of our 1,300+ participating stores including Gap, PetSmart, Dell, and Staples. When you're at the store's website, our toolbar will automatically light up displaying the percentage donated and any available coupons. With our new toolbar, your purchases will generate donations even if you forget to start your shopping at GoodShop!

There's no easier way to help Desert Haven Animal Refuge. Please spread the word! For information on our organization, contact us at 575-894-2778, or visit our web site at

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Week of 12/1/09 Humane Happenings

Thanksgiving lunch 2009

by Eliana Aubin

Thanksgiving was celebrated early at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, the Sierra County Humane Society no-kill domestic animal sanctuary. The crew enjoyed a turkey meal with all the trimmings, together with good conversation and laughter that went on through most of the afternoon on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Desert Haven is truly a special place for animal loving folks. There, they can find peace and fulfillment in being an integral part of a network of caring and kindness whose value extends far beyond the simple care of the animals.

Do you sometimes wonder why some of us continue to give so much of ourselves to help at Desert Haven and also Paws & Claws thrift shop, Desert Haven major fundraiser? Why do we give up the comfort of our homes, especially during the holidays, to help care for the animal at the sanctuary? Why do we give so much of our time to help insure that Desert Haven continues to be there for animals in need? So many domestic animals in our area have been abandoned with nowhere else to go. Where would they go if Desert Haven did not exist? Why do we do it, will you say, day after day, year after year? What drives us?

Here is one of the most recent reasons: little Snoopy. A small male Pekingese was recently seen wandering a busy street in T or C. He was picked up, skinny and very dirty, and brought to DHAR. We called him Snoopy. It was soon discovered that the little guy had a broken jaw. The veterinarian who gave him a check-up confirmed our suspicions that no one else but a human could have inflicted such a blow to the little dog, a blow so hard and so senseless that it had broken his jaw, leaving him badly injured to wander the streets of T or C, aimlessly and with nowhere to go.

Snoopy underwent surgery, courtesy of The Sierra County Humane Society. His jaw reconstructed, he is now convalescing at Dog Town. We often wonder what would have happened to this little guy if we had not discovered him in time. How much more suffering would he have gone through before he eventually died of starvation and exposure, or perhaps of another blow to the head?

Snoopy is the most recent reminder, to all of us who volunteer at Desert Haven and also at Paws & Claws thrift shop, of why we do what we do, without expecting anything in return, except the inner satisfaction that we are doing something good for the soul.

At this time of the year, we are appealing to our animal loving friends and supporters to consider donating old recyclable blankets for the thirty-three kitties, residents of the Cool Cat Neighborhood. With winter weather already here, we are insuring that all the kitty condos continue to be lined with dry, extra warm and comfy blankets and it takes many blankets to keep them warm. We need volunteer helpers at DHAR and P&C thrift shop, canned dog and cat food, also harnesses and coats for our smallest dogs to give them that extra warmth. If some of our readers wish to help us cover the cost of Snoopy’s surgery, we can be reached at POB 638, Williamsburg, New Mexico, 87942. For update on Snoopy, call us at 423-243-6530. You can also contact us at 575-894-2778, visit DHAR on Tuesday or check us out at or at

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week of 11/15/09 Humane Happenings

Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe - photo by Charles Nissen

This past Tuesday, after the volunteer crew had finished caring for the furry and feathered residents of Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary, everyone congregated at Paws & Claws thrift shop. While a crew sorted through the bags and boxes of recyclable items that are dropped-off at the shop on a daily basis, another concentrated on getting out of storage all the Christmas items donated throughout the year. We will soon have a fabulous display of new and old Christmas things, some of them very old indeed, many of them one-of-a-kind. When you visit the shop on a Friday, consider checking out “Stephen’s Electronics Unlimited”, Stephen Wagner’s “special project”. Stephen took it over some Fridays ago and he has completely revamped it. What a transformation! Everyone acquainted with the shop has commented very positively on it. Good work, Stephen!

This very pleasant, well mannered and hard-working young man arrived to DHAR last year with his parents, Reba and Gene. Planning on a temporary stay at the sanctuary, the family enjoyed life at the sanctuary enough to instead make DHAR and Sierra County their home, with the blessings of the DHAR management. Reba Wagner is DHAR Animal Care Coordinator and also an integral part of the Adoption Team. Since former Work Camper Coordinator Dolly Loftus decided to leave her volunteer activities at the sanctuary behind to start traveling in her newly acquired RV, Reba now coordinates the work camping program, together with Eliana Aubin. Reba’s husband, Gene, is DHAR caretaker. Among other projects, he handles routine repairs and maintenance throughout the property. Thanks to his efforts and good planning, the water pipes did not freeze when temperatures plummeted the past few nights.

Two small dogs are available for adoption through our adopt-a-pet referral program: Baxter is 20 lb, black, 3 years old neutered male. His buddy Sammy is a black, one and a half years old neutered male. Both are housebroken, loving, and they know basic commands. Call 744-4198 or 740-1898.

We need help in the DHAR office on Tuesdays, either morning or early afternoon - for light paperwork, including filing and writing thank-you notes. Some computers skills are a plus but not necessary. If you enjoy working with numbers, we have another volunteer slot for you – also for about two hours every Tuesdays. Surely some local animal loving individual will hear our plight for help and answer the call. A strong office staff is important in any organization, and ours is no exception. Call Freddie at 894-2778.

We continue to need canned dog and cat food, metal trash containers, good used chest freezer, also dog walkers and kitty cuddlers at Desert Haven. Animal care starts at 8 AM and again at 4 PM. Contact Reba at 423-243-6530, or Freddie at 894-2778.

Visit DHAR on Tuesday or check us out at, or at

“The question is not, 'Can they reason?' Nor, 'Can they talk?' But, 'Can they suffer?'”

Friday, November 6, 2009

Week of 11/1/08 Humane Happenings

by Eliana Aubin

A sincere thank-you goes to Linda Christopherson this week, for her very generous donation to the Sierra County Humane Society of an absolutely gorgeous queen size quilt that she made by hand and for which she received First Price at the Sierra County Fair in 2008. The money to be generated by the sale of this very beautiful quilt will benefit Desert Haven Animal Refuge and its feathered and furry residents. Linda has been good to our organization through the years and we appreciate her on-going support. We are also very grateful to an anonymous couple who drove to Desert Haven this past Tuesday and donated dog bed, blankets, and dog food for our little ones at Dog Town.

Because of the generosity of the Moose Lodge who some years ago donated a sizeable number of insulated pre-fab dog houses for every indoor-outdoor kennel at the Inn at Dog Town, also because of the thoughtfulness of local and out-of-state folks, together with the creativity of an always resourceful DHAR crew, all our thirty-one Desert Haven canines have their very own comfy “pad” to call their own. We are now ready for the cold winter nights when each one of them will need lots of warm bedding. Also in Winter, we feed our canines twice a day – a mixture of dry and canned dog food. Canned dog food ( and cat food of course) is always on our wish list, especially as we enter the colder months.

This past few Tuesdays, several local and out-of town visitors were treated by DHAR seasoned Tour Guide Freddie Loveless to a walking tour of Desert Haven. The comments made by them during and after the tours were extremely positive. What impressed them most, they said, was the spiritual quality and the overall feeling of Peace felt as they walked throughout the property. They commented on the kindness of the crew towards the non-human residents, also on the cleanliness of the grounds and various habitats. They also mentioned the Old West charm of the entire sanctuary. We wish to thank Chet, one of the visitors who wishes to stay anonymous, for his generous donations to DHAR.

Contrary to comments made by uninformed folks, The Sierra County Humane Society and even Desert Haven Animal Refuge receive NO government support, local or otherwise. Our humane society, just as all animal welfare organizations in the entire nation, stands totally on its own. Its only connections with larger and national animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society of the US or the ASPCA is through the yearly membership fees that our organization sends to them as a goodwill gesture towards all animal in need. Also contrary to popular belief, the local humane society - a non-profit 501-C-3 all-volunteer animal welfare organization, is not part of local businesses Hot Springs Animal Clinic or Sierra Animal Shelter. For more information on the SCHS, DHAR and also Paws & Claws thrift shop, contact us at 575- 894-2778 or 423-243-6530, visit DHAR on Tuesday, or check us out at and at

Monday, October 26, 2009

Week of 10/25/09 Humane Happenings

by Dolly Loftus

Reba (center), DH Animal Care Coordinator, supervises the guinea pig bathing/medical check round-up

It’s that time of year when Sunday drives in the country seem in order. This past Sunday found us traveling to Chloride, a picturesque retirement community a few miles from Winston. Dona Edmonds of Chloride gave a wonderful tour of all things interesting to the Desert Haven Work Camp Coordinator and one of the Desert Haven work campers from Buffalo, New York. Ms. Edmonds always treats our work campers special, and Sunday was no exception. We toured the saloon which has been turned into an art co-op for thirty-some talented local residents. The general store, which is now the museum, brought back many memories for the visitors. We got a glimpse of the first house in Chloride; it has been completely restored by Don Edmonds and is now a two bedroom guest house available to tourists. There is even a back porch to sit on and wait for the deer to come and feed. Finally, we got to see the restored bank building which may eventually house a restaurant. Everything was a Kodak moment, even though it was trying to rain. Don and Dona Edmonds are frequent contributors to the Sierra County Humane Society, Desert Haven Animal Refuge and Paws & Claws Thrift Store.

Tuesday is the best day to come out to Desert Haven and check out our new additions. Reba Wagner and Freddie Loveless do an admirable job of keeping track of the comings and goings of our four-legged residents that have boundless energy. One recent addition is a red four-year-old min-pin named Sally, who is a little bit shy. She came to us from the local shelter, because her owners moved and didn’t want to take her with them. Initially, she was very scared, but now with the love and attention she is receiving from all the volunteers, she has come out of her shell and blossomed into a sweet little dog that yearns for a gentle hug and a lap to sit in. She is just one of the many dogs and cats that you are welcome to get to know.

Tuesday is also the day that we do office work, and once again, we are asking for volunteers to do filing, note-writing, and computer work. There are no special skills involved except patience and a willingness to help and to learn. If you are interested, please call Dolly at 575-740-0715.

We also need volunteers at Desert Haven to help with the animals and at Paws and Claws to sort and tag all of our wonderful donations. For more information on the Sierra County Humane Society, Desert Haven and also Paws & Claws thrift shop, contact us at 575- 894-2778, visit DHAR on Tuesday, or check us out at or at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week of 10/18/09 Humane Happenings

by Eliana Aubin

Joe Pack

This week, The Sierra County Humane Society and Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary, wish to acknowledge William Holland of Elephant Butte for becoming the organization’s newest Life Member.

Our appreciation also goes to all the animal loving folks who responded so positively to our latest newsletter. We are very grateful for the show of confidence that we received from many caring folks, either local and from out-of state, as some of them started new memberships while others renewed theirs, or just donated to our animal welfare cause.

Desert Haven was very busy again this week. Several out-on-their-luck dogs were taken in. Two small, young females Manchester terrier mix, a frightened little girl-dog named “Ruffles”, because of the Mohawk style patch of fur on her shoulder blades, and outgoing and loving little “Annie Oakley”. Their pet-parent passed away and these little balls of fur are adapting to drastic changes in their short lives. We also have “Ash”, a young, medium sized, gentle Setter mix who came to us very emaciated and with a large deep and also very infected gash on one of his hind legs, seemingly made by a sharp tool. Here at Desert Haven, we were surprised that Ash kept his gentleness and his trust of people after the ordeal he obviously went through before being rescued at the sanctuary.

This week’s wish list:

Dog Food, canned and dry, is once again the high priority item at Desert Haven. Twenty-six healthy and active dogs eat a lot every day. We appreciate every bag and every can, either large or small, of dog food (no rawhide please) that is dropped-off at Paws & Claws or at Desert Haven. Interested in connecting with companion animals without the responsibility of owning one? Become a dog walker and join our crew one morning or two each week. Not only it’s good exercise, but it also allows you to enjoy the company of the canines of your choice (remember, we have 26 dogs of all sizes to choose from) as you walk on a leash some of the smallest dogs or you take the larger ones to the Old West Trail and let them play in small groups.

If you prefer to spend quality time with the kitties, we have thirty who love the extra attention every morning. Morning care starts at 8 AM and last two hours or so. If you are not a morning person, how does five o’clock in the evening sound to you? If interested, contact Desert Haven Animal Care Coordinator Reba at 423-343-6530, or Freddie at 894-2778.

We also need someone to help in the office for a couple of hours on Tuesday mornings. Our office is very busy every Tuesday morning and an extra helper or two is always a plus. For more information, contact Dolly at 740-0715.

For more information on the Sierra County Humane Society, Desert Haven and also Paws & Claws thrift shop, contact us at 575- 894-2778, visit DHAR on Tuesday, or check us out at or at

Eliana Aubin

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Week of 10/11/09 Humane Happenings

by Eliana Aubin

Luke after amputation

Life is never boring at Desert Haven, Sierra County’s No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary. In the past several weeks, Dog Town has become a very busy place. Fourteen medium to large canines and twelve small furballs of all temperaments are enjoying life in a safe and loving environment, in groups of similar size and temperament. Here are the most recent arrivals: Sparky is a very loving four years old Pekinese who recently lost his beloved pet-parent. There is also Angel, a 3 years old blue heeler who loves to please. Zig is an 8 lbs two years old Manchester terrier with the manners of a perfect little gentleman.

And there is also little Sally. It’s very sad what happens to dogs when they are abandoned by their owners, and some dogs are more affected than others. Sally is a vivid example. She is a two-year old miniature pincher mix, recently relinquished at the city shelter. This sudden and difficult change in her life became very traumatic for her and she became fearful of everyone, acting like a little “tough guy” to protect herself. This was making adoption less and less an option for this otherwise sweet little girl-dog. As soon as her plight was discovered, Desert Haven took her in. With love and attention from the DHAR volunteers, Sally is slowly becoming herself again – a playful little girl-dog with a lot of love to give. This is what Desert Haven is about – giving companion animals out-on-their-luck a new chance at the life they deserve.

Good news on little Whitney, Desert Haven’s “Million Dollar Dog”. Whitney is now making up for lost time when she came to the sanctuary as a very sick puppy with no chance of survival, unless she underwent a difficult – and costly - surgery to repair a ruptured diaphragm. Two successful surgeries later, Whitney is now fully recovered and available for adoption into a very special home.

Remember Luke? This kitty was recently relinquished to DHAR with a grossly distorted and lifeless back leg. Soon after Luke’s arrival at the sanctuary, the DHAR staff decided that amputation was necessary, to help give him a normal life. The surgery went well and he is fully recovered now. Luke loves his new life a at The Cool Cat Neighborhood as DHAR’s three-legged kitty.

This week’s wish list: DHAR’s high priority item on the list is dog food – dry and canned. Twenty six dogs eat a lot every day and we sincerely hope that our animal loving friends will help us take care of this important expense. We also need a good used chest freezer.

For more information on the Sierra County Humane Society, Desert Haven and also Paws & Claws thrift shop, contact us at 575-894-2778, visit DHAR on Tuesday, or check us out at, or at

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Week of 9/27/09 Humane Happenings

by Eliana Aubin

Sophie with her new owner

The property that is now Desert Haven Animal Refuge was purchased by the Sierra County Humane Society in May 1999. In 2001, while the sanctuary was being built, one project at a time, the first residents arrived – a large number of domesticated ring-neck doves relinquished by an older gentleman who cared enough about them to give them up when he realized he could no longer take proper care of them in his backyard aviary. The sanctuary volunteers built a temporary aviary for the doves. These first residents were soon followed by a family of guinea pigs, taken in the early part of 2003. From then on, and as the sanctuary continued to be built, several orphaned baby rabbits who had outlived their usefulness as Easter Bunnies were accepted at the facility and they became the guinea pigs roommates. An abandoned pregnant kitty arrived soon afterwards, followed by Lucky, a young pup found by a traveler, as he was wandering on a highway between T or C and Elephant Butte some Saturday morning. Lucky became DHAR’s very first canine resident, until he passed away from an aggressive for of lymphoma at the sanctuary in 2007.

Nine years have passed since the SCHS Board of Directors signed-off on the purchase of the Desert Haven property. The sanctuary is now completed. Built out of donated barn wood, it has an Old West charm of its own that many visitors find attractive. Desert Haven is an inspiring and a very peaceful place for humans and non-humans alike – a homelike environment for unwanted feathered and furry creatures who find a haven there until they are adopted into a loving home or to the end of their natural life.

It takes many volunteers to keep a facility like Desert Haven open and also thriving. At this time, we especially need dog walkers and folks to help care for the kitties during animal care, which starts every day at 8 AM and also at 5:30 PM. Contact Reba at 423-243-6530, or Freddie at 894-2778.

We need help at Paws & Claws thrift shop, operated by our animal welfare Society. Contact Eliana at 894-2639. We also need office help every Tuesday morning. Dolly Loftus, Freddie Loveless and Joy Arnold are part of the office crew. They would be thrilled to train someone interested enough to give a couple of hours each Tuesday morning, when they are all in the office. For more information, contact Dolly at 740-0715.

This week’s wish list: dry and canned dog and cat food, dog and cat treats. Metal trash containers, chest freezer.

Visit DHAR on Tuesday, or check us out at or at

“ Be the change in the world you want to see”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Week of 9/20/09 Humane Happenings

Janelle and Eliana at Paws & Claws Thrift Shop

Two absolutely adorable little dogs have become the newest residents at Desert Haven, the Sierra County Humane Society owned and operated domestic animal sanctuary. They are 18 months old - brother and sister – about 8 lbs each - shiatsu poodle mix. Now groomed, they will soon get their shots and be sterilized. We will be looking for a very special home who will take both of them, as they have been together since birth and are very attached to each other.

Our animal welfare organization wish to thank a mystery benefactor: often, a $$$ deposits shows up into the Sierra County Humane Society account at Sierra Feed in T or C. Since we can’t thank that special individual by name, we want to express our gratitude through the media for her wonderful generosity which allows us to purchase needed feed for the furry and feathered residents of Birdland & Animal House. Women of the Moose, your generous response to our organization’s yearly request for donations to go towards specific needs at Desert Haven is also very appreciated.

This week, we wish to congratulate the “unsung heroes” of Paws & Claws thrift shop: its dedicated volunteers. These folks are special: all of them donate their time, from Manager Eliana Aubin to Diana Bellack who sorts and prices all sewing and craft material from her home and to Jan Haley who serves as the liaison between her and P&C, 35 miles away. Everyone works together for a very honorable cause: help run a very busy shop, all the profits of which benefit the animals of Sierra County and the entire community.

Even the customers are making comments: Last Friday, a local shopper told the volunteers that someone relatively new to town had recently come to his place of business, mentioning having stumbled across P&C thrift shop by accident some Friday, as she was checking out the local stores in T or C. She told him “ Everyone is joking and smiling and so helpful, it’s a great atmosphere”. (Janelle Clasen, Ellen Farrester AKA Bootz, John Jamiesen, Linda Clayton, Diana Rivera, Bill Gwynn and Eliana Aubin are the Friday crew). The gentleman added: ”I usually go directly to the book section - so many interesting books in there, and good prices too!” (Dolly Loftus prices the books and keeps the book-nook well organized and inviting). The newcomer to town had also mentioned the great selection of designer clothes and their “very decent” prices (Estella Groff, Linda Clayton, Janelle Clasen and Diana Rivera handle the clothes and shoes section and Freddie Loveless prices them.)

Not mentioned here but just as valuable to the smooth running of the shop are: Jody Koch, who continues to be an inspiration to all of us who know her, as she does not let her confinement to a wheel chair keep her from volunteering. Jody is the wife of Reverend Frank Koch and she is also raising two boys.

P&C also acknowledges Stephen Wagner and Bill Gwynn who sort, check and price the electronics and electrical appliances, a section they took on recently and completely revamped. Last but not least, our Stand-by cashier member: Joy Arnold, and Spencer who helps wherever needed and when he is in the area.

This week’s wish list: Dog and cat treats ( no rawhide please) - Metal garbage cans, any size. Volunteers interested in getting their “Puppy Fix” for a couple of hours each week ( or more often if they prefer) are needed to help walk the small dogs at Dog Town. Animal care starts at 8 am and until 10AM, and also at 5:30 PM. For more information, contact Animal Care Coordinator Reba at 423-243-6530.

For more information on our organization, contact us at 894-2778,visit us at, or at

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cedar Cove RV Park Newletter

Desert Haven was honored with a feature in the September issue of the Cedar Cove RV Park newsletter. On page 6, read "Cheryl's Corner" and the story of Parker, a dog who found his forever home through residents of Cedar Cove and Desert Haven. There's a great photo of blue-eyed Parker too!

Thank you Bev & Bob! And thank you, Cheryl, for sharing this heart-warming story with your readers!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Week of 9/9/09 Humane Happenings

Sprinkles with her new family and her new home!

Desert Haven Animal Refuge, owned and operated by the Sierra County Humane Society, is home to 22 dogs at this time. It is the largest number of furry residents at Dog Town for many months. They come in all sizes and temperaments and each one knows that he or she is very important to all of us who care for them. With all these fur-balls living at DHAR at this time, there is a good selection for potential adopters and pet-sponsors to choose from.

The newly arrived doggie-troups consist of 10 lbs, one year old rat-terrier with personality we call Tootsie. Now comes 7 lbs one year old miniature black poodle mix: Obie. We also have 5 years old fox-terrier Oscar who learned a lot of good manners along the way. Little Maggie is a 5 lbs, 2 years old tiny Chihuahua, who not long ago, was found dehydrated and starved on someone’s doorsteps. This little tea cup size Ball o’ Fur was recently brought to DHAR and we felt so sorry for her that we took her in, even though we were full to capacity at that time. After all, what could another 5 lbs of fur-ball add to our already full Dog Town and Inn at this time? Lots of smiles and good feelings, that’s for sure. Now comes Bubba, the dashound ( mom) Chihuahua ( dad).. If you love little dogs, we have plenty at Dog Town to make you smile and warm your heart.

At Desert Haven, we are very careful when we adopt out any of our dogs and cats. We screen the household, and when there is a potential adoption taking place locally, we make visits, before and after the adoption is finalized. After all, each one of the little furry guys and girls is a beloved fur-ball of ours, and we want to make sure that the little one goes to a very special forever home. If, after a few days, weeks, even months, the adoption is not what it was planned to be, Desert Haven always leaves its doors open for the little one to be returned - no questions asked.

Then there is Luke, the newest of the fur-ball group. He now lives in the Cool Cat Neighborhood, “The Neighborhood “, for short. He is a cuddly one year old Siamese mix Kitty-With-Spunk. Little Luke had to have spunk and a strong will to live to make his mark in a world that shuns handicapped animals. Luke will soon undergo an operation, courtesy of the Sierra County Humane Society, to remove a cumbersome back leg that was turned the wrong way as he came out of his mother’s womb. We could not shut our doors on the little guy, so we took him in at Desert Haven.

Visit Desert Haven and see for yourself that all the doggies and kitties have plenty of food, a warm and cozy place to stay, and most of all: LOVE. They have it all, except perhaps a lap to lay on as one watches TV, or a human bed to sleep in during the coldest of the cold winter nights.

This week’s Wish list: doggie and kitty treats, metal garbage cans. Your donations can be dropped off at P&C when we are open for business on Wed from 1 to 4, Thursday and Friday from 10 to 4, also Saturday from 10 to 3PM. For more information on our animal welfare organization, or to volunteer in any capacity, contact us at 575-894-2778. You can also check us out at or at

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Dr. Martin Luther King.

Week of 8/30/2009 Humane Happenings

Frankie (above) & the Cat Patio (below)

This week, a huge pat on the back goes to Bar- 2 Sand and Gravel. In a phone conversation to DHAR CEO Eliana Aubin, Bar-2 representative - Jerred - told her:”Times are tough, but we love our little animals, and you take good care of them, so we are going to donate two trucks loads of crusher fine”. Both truck loads were distributed to Desert Haven Animal Refuge this past Tuesday, courtesy of Bar-2. Thank-you for your show of trust, Jerred. We will make good use of the crusher fine.

The crew of volunteers at Desert Haven Animal Refuge was busy recently with the summer 2009 newsletter that was sent to the members and supporters of the Sierra County Humane Society, Inc. While 300 copies arrived in the mailboxes of Sierra County animal loving folks interested in what we are doing, more than two hundred more copies went to members and supporters from around the US as they continue to follow our progress. Certainly not a bad report card for our animal welfare organization, who does not receive government tax dollars, local or otherwise.

If you have not yet renewed your 2009 membership, please consider doing so now. We continue to need YOUR support. If you received the summer 2009 newsletter in duplicate, please contact us at 740-0715 to help us correct the error. In the meantime, please pass the extra newsletter along to a friend and introduce him or her to Sierra County’s no-kill domestic animal sanctuary.

Carman Delviso, who work camps at Desert Haven, visited the Veterans Home this past week, accompanied by Oreo, one of Desert Haven’s young dogs. Carmen is a veteran who served four years in the Air Force, two of them between 1967 and 1968, while stationed South of Saigon in Viet Nam. He then continued on as a Reservist. The visit was very good and little Oreo seemed to love the attention from the folks who wanted to touch, feel or hold him. Thanks, Carman for taking the time to visit the veterans.

Anyone interested in giving a good home to a Maccaw? Please check us out on or contact 894-5943 for more information. We have several newcomers at DHAR, little girl and guy-dogs who need a very loving forever home. Call Freddie at 894-2778 to find out more about them. You can also visit Desert Haven on a Tuesday and check on the dogs and cats available for adoption.

This week, Joe Pack added several 4” to 6” wide plastic pipes to the DHAR wish list of insulation, roofing and construction material. Joe Pack and his wife Joy are newcomers to this area who became involved with DHAR soon after settling down in T or C. Joy is DHAR’s Administrative Assistant while Joe Pack works on Tuesday projects. On request and as needed, he also searches the internet for specific information. Joe is currently revamping Miss Piglet’s Boarding House, home to almost two dozens female guinea pigs, and new plastic pipes are being included in the upgrade. It’s great to have you aboard, Joe and Joy.

For more information on the Sierra County Humane Society and Desert Haven, also on Paws & Claws, we can be contacted at 894-2778 or 894-2639. Visit us at, or at Saving a life is a beautiful thing – sponsor a pet today.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Week of 8/23/09 Humane Happenings

Scruffy - still in need of a forever home!

The leadership of Moose Lodge 2050 deserves a show of gratitude from all animal loving Sierra County residents for the very generous donation made recently to the Sierra County Humane Society & Desert Haven Animal Refuge. When Ron Alleman, Moose Lodge 2050 secretary, handed an envelope to Eliana Aubin, SCHS President and DHAR CEO, who was volunteering at Paws & Claws thrift shop that day, she realized that, this year again, MOOSE Lodge 2050 had come through for the animal welfare organization she has been heading since 1989. After glancing at the amount on the check, she and every volunteer at Paws & Claws thrift shop that afternoon were moved by the Lodge’s generosity. Through the years, Moose Lodge 2050 continues to be very generous to good-will projects and local non-profit causes such as the Sierra County Humane Society. A heartfelt “Thank-you” is in order to every Moose Lodge member and leader involved in contributing to our cause this year.

Skip Higgins and Oreo recently visited animal loving residents at the Veterans Home last Friday. Oreo is one of the last of Scruffy's puppies residing at Dog Town. Little Scruffy was rescued at DHAR several months ago, starving and also very much pregnant. The Veterans Home visit went so well that Skip has been asked to return every week with a companion animal from DHAR.

This week’s kudos go to Mary Cwerenz of Winston for the substantial donation of dog food for DHAR that she recently dropped off at Paws & Claws thrift shop. Kudos are also due to Jan Haley of Hillsboro who not only regularly contributes time and money to our cause, but she and two friends, Steve and Becky, also volunteer with animal care at DHAR one morning a week. Jan recently accepted to become the new liaison between P&C thrift shop and Diana Bellack who lives on the other side of Hillsboro. Since the thrift shop moved last year to more spacious quarters across the alley from Family Dollar in T or C, Diana tags and prices all the craft and sewing items for sale at Paws&Claws thrift shop. This very nice lady takes a lot of pride in lovingly preparing them for display in the shop’s craft section.

Welcome back, Diana Rivera, from your long well deserved R & R ( Rest & Recuperation). After over 5 years of faithful volunteer service at P&C thrift shop, your friendly face and pleasant personality have been very much missed at the shop the past few months. Great to have you back!

This week, a very special thank-you goes to the entire Friday Paws&Claws crew. While some handled the more-than-usual number of incoming donations, others cleaned-up and revamped the storage and work area reserved for small appliances and electronics. Great job, Crew! Bill Guynn of TorC is now ready to take charge of the electronic and small appliance section at the shop. We continue to need volunteers willing and able to give at least two hours at P&C thrift shop, to help sort and tag donated clothing and other items. We can be contacted at 894-2778 or 894-2639. Visit us at, or at

Eliana Aubin

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Week of 8/16/09 Humane Happenings

Pat & Mosey (who still needs a "forever" home) in the Old West Pavilion

It was business as usual this past Tuesday at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary, which is owned and operated by the Sierra County Humane Society. Sunny, a female terrier-poodle mix rescued at DHAR last Tuesday morning, is now adopted by a couple who came all the way from Las Cruces after seeing her on the Petfinder web site. It was very heartwarming to observe how well she took up to them and them to her. By the end of Tuesday afternoon, Sunny was happily traveling to Las Cruces to start her new life in a spacious home with a large enclosed yard to explore and a green lawn for her to roll on.

Stan Brodsky handles the Petfinder web site from his home outside of Hillsboro and he keeps it up to date, together with photos and animal profiles sent to him regularly by Animal Care Coordinator Reba Wagner, who lives at DHAR. Stan, who can be reached at 575-895-5551 (a local number by the way) also handles of the SCHS Adopt-a-Pet Referral program, which allows folks to adopt animals directly from their owners. Our organization serves as a referral agency. We are very grateful to Stan and to Reba for keeping the program up-to-date.

This coming week, the SCHS & DHAR summer newsletter will be sent to the members and supporters, locals and out-of state - of our animal welfare organization. Animal loving folks who wish to become an integral part of our organization are reminded that it is because of their continued support that the SCHS can best serve Sierra County. Our volunteers, through Paws & Claws thrift shop and also Desert Haven and the Society’s programs, are very productive on behalf of the animals who otherwise would have no one to protect them and speak out for them.

This week, we thank the management at Foxworth in T or C, for the business’s in-kind donation that will be well utilized at DHAR. We also wish to thank Skip Higgins for the many attractive book marks that are being offered for sale at Paws & Claws. The book marks are photos of our dogs and cats and each one is unique. Skip is also working on individual name tags with photos for the DHAR and Paws & Claws thrift shop volunteers. Skip and his charming wife Marge have been a wonderful addition to our DHAR family for several months now, and when they leave the sanctuary grounds to new RV’ing adventures at the end of next month, it will be sad for the rest of us who have gotten to know them and appreciate them and count them as friends.

There are many ways for animal loving folks to help us help the companion animals of Sierra County. For any information, contact us at 575-894-2778. You can also check us out at, or at

Friday, August 21, 2009

Week of 8/9/09 Humane Happenings

A little snack for a guinea pig

Desert Haven Animal Refuge, the Sierra County Humane Society owned and operated no-kill domestic animal sanctuary, is open to the public every Tuesday. Animal loving folks interested in learning more about what DHAR is all about are invited to visit the facility and its residents as early as 8AM, when the day starts at the sanctuary. Every Tuesday is always very vibrant with activities and folks who love animals are most welcome to take part in any of them. The crew is warm and caring and its members also get along well with one another, which makes for a great environment all around.

Animal Care starts at 8 AM every day, including Tuesday. As the volunteers get busy setting up the food stations in each one of the habitats, we can hear joyous animal and bird sounds coming from everywhere. They know Breakfast is about to be served and they express their pleasure in their most vocal way. It’s a lot of fun to be involved with the morning feeding of the residents at the sanctuary - quite a heartwarming experience to know that we are making a difference in their lives. We can’t save all the unwanted, abused or neglected domestic animals in Sierra County but we certainly are saving the ones that we routinely rescue at Desert Haven. We are pampering them and loving them and giving them the life that they deserve. It makes it all worthwhile to us.

Together with doves, peacocks and miniature chickens, there are also 36 male and female guinea pigs and several rabbits at Birdland & Animal House. Every morning, they wait impatiently for their scrumptious cut-up fresh veggies, served on beds of lettuce in large, shallow stainless steel pans. Boxes of vegetables are graciously donated by Bullocks grocery store in T or C and picked-up several times a week from the store’s produce Department.

This week, we wish to thank Mark Humble and Barbara & Bob Barth of Elephant Butte, Theresa Perez of El Paso, Texas, also Kirikos Family Funeral Home in T or C, for their recent generous donations – in kind and otherwise. We also very much appreciate the kind folks who drop-off dog and cat food and also bags of pet treats at Paws & Claws thrift shop during business hours. The residents of Dog Town are very lucky! There are always tasty treats handy for the volunteers to give to them. Kitty treats are less often donated for the felines of Desert Haven, and around the kitty-round-table at the Cool Cat Neighborhood, rumors have it that the dogs get more treats than they do, and they would like to change this trend a bit. Can YOU help?

We can be reached at 575-894-2778. You can also check us out at, or at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Week of 8/2/09 Humane Happenings

View of Central Bark from the Pooch Play Yard

by Eliana Aubin

It was a typical summer week indeed at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s no-kill domestic animal sanctuary. Desert Haven (DHAR) is owned and operated by the Sierra County Humane Society (SCHS), which is governed by a board of directors elected by the members for a term of three years. Elections for empty or expiring directorships are held during the SCHS Annual Membership meeting in February. The five officers, including the president, are elected by the members of the board at their March meeting. Board members and officer serve in a volunteer capacity.

The DHAR semi-annual guinea pig round-up took place this past Tuesday, with most of the volunteers involved. The guinea pig round-up ( no lasso or spurs, please) is a time for each and every guinea pig to receive special individual attention from the volunteers, including a thorough check-up and also a bath, which is a real treat for them in this hot weather. At the same time, their living quarters, a 10 by 30 ft habitat for the males and another one just as spacious for the females, together with their cubbyholes, ramps, feeding stations and tunnels, is thoroughly deep-cleaned and sterilized, above and beyond the deep-cleaning performed every Tuesday, when the crew is at its largest.

Want to run with the pooches? Take a dog on a jog! The dogs of Desert Haven are waiting for you. We have the space and the trails, and you can pick your favorite four-legged companion who will happily tag along for as long or as short a walk that you choose it to be. All we ask from you is that you come down during the time that is reserved daily for animal care, which at this time of the year is at 8 AM and also at 6 PM.

For more information or to confirm your arrival on a specific day, call us at 894-2778. You can also drop in at DHAR on a Tuesday, visit with the animals and the folks caring for them, share our pot luck lunch and get a better idea of what we are all about. If you love animals and want to spend time with them but without the burden of a long-term commitment, Desert Haven is the place to be on Tuesdays.

Jeanette Galliard of Albuquerque continues to donate to our sanctuary bales of much needed alfalfa for the rabbits, doves, chickens and for the many guinea pigs living in Birdland & Animal House. This week, she and her son Timothy added several bales of straw to the pick-up truck load of alfalfa that they donated and personally drove to the sanctuary all the way from Albuquerque. The straw makes great bedding material in Birdland & Animal House, as well as in the large dog houses that our DHAR canines use during the daytime hours throughout the Winter. Jeanette has been a strong supporter of Sierra County’s no-kill domestic animal sanctuary over the years. Everyone who knows her appreciates all that she has contributed to the sanctuary, while she spent her R & R week a month at Caballo Lake RV park. Even though she no longer comes down as often to her former vacation spot, she has not forgotten the Desert Haven furry and feather inhabitants and their need for alfalfa and straw. A pat on the back is in order this week for Bruce & Donna Ayers, also Lois and Phillip D’Andrea, for their donation of dog food and bedding.

This week’s wish list: canned pet food - treats ( NO rawhide please) - Plywood, roofing material, fencing, and construction material.

If interested in joining our cause, networking for us or helping in some other way, call us at 894-2778 or visit Paws & Claws thrift shop ( next to Family Dollar) and connect with Eliana on Fridays. You can also check us out at,, or at

Until next time, have a purr-fect week.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Week of 7/26/09 Humane Happenings

This month’s Adoption Option Booth, manned by Reba Wagner and Marg Higgins together with their furry helpers Oreo and Shasta, was held this past Saturday in front of “Red Bone”, a gift & collectible shop located in Downtown TorC. When you visit Red Bone, please make it a point to thank Kevin for his kindness in letting The Sierra County Humane Society set-up booth under the shade of his shop’s overhang.

Reba is Desert Haven Animal Refuge Animal Care Coordinator and Marg is work-camping this Summer at DHAR with her husband Skip. Oreo and Shasta stole the show and helped recruit John Jamieson, newcomer to the area, who is already starting to involve himself at the no-kill domestic animal sanctuary. An Atta-boy is in order for John who signed up to bring the main dish for next Tuesday’s pot luck. Skip, a professional photographer by trade, took the beautiful photos of the feathered and furry DHAR residents that went into creating, among other projects, the adorable bookmarks displayed at the booth last Saturday. They are now available for sale at Paws & Claws thrift shop. You can also visit Skip’s web site at to admire some of his work.

Thanks to the generosity of Gene Wagner, Desert Haven’s caretaker, we now have the use of a small and very handy trailer to pick-up large items on Tuesdays, when we also have the manpower to do so. Contact us at 894-2778 for more information.

A word of caution: when you plan to donate some of your most interesting treasures, also furniture pieces and large items to our thrift shop, please consider dropping them off at the shop during business hours - from Wed through Saturday. This way they won’t be picked-up by unsavory individuals who feel no shame in stealing from volunteer non-profit organizations such as ours.

This week, our special thanks go to CJ Ellis of Caballo Lake RV Park. CJ stopped at DHAR last Tuesday, with items for Paws & Claws thrift shop, but also with her arms full of ice-cold soft drinks to distribute to the crew. CJ has been a staunch supporter of our efforts over the years. Her thoughtfulness in bringing the volunteer crew enough soft drinks for everyone on a hot day like Tuesday was a very special gesture that each and every member of the crew appreciated.

If interested in joining our cause, networking for us or helping in some other way, call us at 894-2778 or visit Paws & Claws thrift shop and connect with Eliana on Fridays. You can also visit us at or at

Saving just one pet won't change the world

but, surely, the world will change for that one pet .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Week of 7/19/09 Humane Happenings

Marge & Reba

Saturday July 25, between 10 AM and 2 PM, several Desert Haven Animal Refuge volunteers set up an Adoption Option booth in front of “Red Bone”, an animal-friendly business located downtown TorC. This is the first DHAR Adoption booth in several months, and animal loving folks who were shopping downtown TorC on that day visited our booth which was fun and interesting. They also had the opportunity to check out our literature and last but not least, to pet the several pups that “helped” keep the booth lively and full of surprises. We have wonderful little girl and boy-dogs at this time, and anyone interested in a cuddly lap dog should consider checking them out at Desert Haven.

Orio and Shasta

If you can’t visit Sierra County’s No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary on a Tuesday, the day it is open to the public, contact us at 894-2778 for an appointment. If you wish, you can also be taken on a tour of the facility as well. If you like cats, The Cool Cat Neighborhood will catch your imagination. Several years ago, it impressed visitors from Florida enough that they named it “the feline equivalent to a 5 star gated community”. There is also Birdland & Animal House, home to a large flock of white and ring-neck doves, several rabbits and many guinea pigs. Adjacent to Birdland, Birdland-2 houses a number of miniature roosters and hens. A few weeks ago, the Desert Haven peacock population moved from their former home in Birdland to their new, recently completed “Peacock’s Place”, an all-enclosed, 1600 square ft area with peacocks-approved amenities.

Bullocks receipts earn $$$ for The Sierra County Humane Society and Desert Haven Animal Refuge. The receipts are being collected until the end of this month, when the program ends for the summer to resume the first of September. They can be dropped-off at the TorC Public Library, Williamsburg Post Office and Paws & Claws thrift shop in TorC. Please bring your Bullocks receipts to us before the first week in August, or they will no longer be redeemable and of no value to anyone.

This week, we wish to thank Ray & Kay Steinline of TorC for their generous contribution to Desert Haven, also “Lady Bug Pest Control” for dropping-off pet food donated by Sean Hoyt of Champagne Hills. A very special thank-you goes to long-time supporter Gretchen Tatsch of Las Cruces for her on-going support through monetary and in-kind contributions as well as kind words she continues to have for DHAR and all of its volunteers.

We do have a great crew of volunteers in our organization. Our work campers come from all over the country to help us operate the sanctuary on a daily basis. Several local folks also help with the daily animal care from one to three days each week. We sincerely could not do without them at this time of the year. We certainly can use more dog walkers and kitty cuddlers during morning and evening animal care, at least until our winter work camping crew arrives in the fall. Paws & Claws thrift shop needs helpers. If interested, call us at 894-2778. Our animal loving readers can learn more about us by visiting
Saving a life is a beautiful thing - sponsor a Desert Haven companion animal today.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Week of 7/15/09 Humane Happenings

Desert Haven Animal Refuge is home to abandoned, neglected, mistreated and unwanted companion animals who, safe and wanted at last, finally find their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So is the story of Sprinkle, one of the six remaining puppies born in early March to Scruffy, a small and very loving terrier-mix rescued at DHAR while very much pregnant. See the photo on our masthead above taken by Skip Higgins.

Sprinkle was adopted Tuesday evening by a young family who came all the way from Los Alamos, NM, to visit DHAR with the intent to adopt, for their very young daughter, “a black puppy with white markings” that reminded the mom of her own companion animal from years back – a black puppy with white markings given to her by her own parents when she was her little girl’s age.

Since six black puppies with white markings were still available for adoption at DHAR, the choice was there and obviously worth the long trip for that family. Adoptions like this one have become more and more the norm at the sanctuary, thanks to the common efforts of a friendly and cohesive volunteer crew.

Meet the crew: Stan of Hillsboro routinely updates the DHAR list of animals on the Petfinder web site. It can be reached by clicking on, as well as on, which is maintained by Camille of Florida. Freddie and Reba, who both reside on the premises, handle all dog and cat adoptions. Their responsibilities involve keeping veterinary visits and medical attention up-to-date. They also do home visits prior and after adoptions whenever feasible. While Freddie handles DHAR visits for adoption purposes, either on Tuesdays when the sanctuary is open for visitors, or by calling her at 575-894-2778 for an appointment, Eliana and Reba keep-up with all e-mail correspondence related to adoptions. All intakes of unwanted animals and birds are handled by Freddie and Reba, who take into consideration the sanctuary resources, such as availability of space and volunteers at that specific time. Day after day, the entire DHAR crew, together with several local volunteers, keeps the non-human residents in good physical and mental condition and their living quarters clean and attractive. Thank-you all!

This week, we call on our computer oriented friends in the Sierra County Humane Society and DHAR, to support us as they interact with other animal loving friends on Facebook. If you are not already a member of Facebook, it is free and anyone can join at for a wonderful tool for networking with family and friends. We have two pages on Facebook. The “Sierra County Humane Society” has a “Group” page and can be found by doing a search in the box of the upper right hand corner of your main Facebook page. The SCHS group page has a wall where you can post about your experiences with us or start discussions about relevant topics. We would love to hear your adoption story and see photos of your pet in his or her new home. Are you a volunteer? Share your story about why you work with us or tell something funny or touching that happened at Desert Haven or Paws & Claws.

If you are able to support us financially, we also have a “Causes” page for Desert Haven Animal Refuge. You can donate on line through the non-profit organization, Network for Good, which process credit cards for us. You may join the cause without making a donation but still express your support for our work. There is also a tool to send invitations to your friends and families to join our cause and help us spread the word about Desert Haven in order to help save the lives of more homeless pets. If you have any questions or are unable to find our Facebook pages, please write to our web master, Camille Pronovost, at or

Week of 7/5/09 Humane Happenings

Brad, after hanging the sign made by Bootz

“Hot” is the key word at this time of the year in this part of New Mexico, and “humid” is also very much on everyone’s mind as well. The Dog Days of Summer are here, and our DHAR dogs are certainly enjoying them to the fullest. DHAR is still home to the six remaining puppies from Scruff’s litter. On March 7 of this year, Scruffy, a 18-20 lbs terrier mix with long, mostly back hair, gave birth soon after her rescue at DHAR to seven healthy puppies who are looking more and more like their mother.. Until they find their forever adoptive family, Peppey, Orio, Sampson (Sammy for short), Sprinkle, Chrissy, Zorro and Trixie are very content to spend their daylight hours exploring their special gated domain at Dog Town.

The Pooch Play Yard has a lot of amenities. There is an adjacent indoor dormitory with private fluffy beds and condos, available to the puppies all day long. There is also The Puppy Club House, a brightly painted two-story wooden structure built in the middle of the play-yard with energetic and inquisitive puppies in mind. The Puppy Play Yard is one of the most exciting places to be when you are a puppy at Desert Haven.

Hardy, a tiny, cute-as-a-button long-haired Chihuahua, shares the puppy housing with the six siblings and there is nothing more enjoyable for the volunteers who help with animal care on any given day, than to watch puppies at play. Whitney, who lives with her foster mom at DHAR campground, joins the playful group every Tuesday. Whitney is DHAR “Million Dollar Dog”, a name she received soon after undergoing two life-saving – and expensive – operations to repair some of the internal damage she sustained before being rescued at the sanctuary. If you are interested in adopting a companion animal, even a puppy or a small dog, visit DHAR on Tuesday or call us at 894-2778 for an appointment. We certainly have plenty for you to choose from.

The volunteers at DHAR are very appreciative of our readers who make it a point to help with our wish list. Large or small, cash or in-kind, any contribution is put to good use and goes for the intended purpose. This week, Desert Haven especially needs canned cat food, cat treats and dog biscuits.. Paws & Claws thrift shop needs helpers.
To keep-up with repairs, maintenance and also upgrade of the facility, we continue to need wood to work with- also a roll of welded wire fencing - a miter saw - a router with bits - a portable table saw - air nails and an air staple gun - drill bits - power or battery operated hand tools.

To learn more about Paws & Claws, The Sierra County Humane Society, or Desert Haven Animal Refuge which we operate under its umbrella, contact us at 894-2778 or 740-0643. You can also visit our very informative web site at Until next time, we wish all our readers a purrr-fect week.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Week of 6/28/09 Humane Happenings

Juicy & Rufus

by Eliana Aubin

It is that time of the year, when the Cash for Clubs program is about to end for the summer, to start again in September. The program was generously initiated some years ago by Bullocks Grocery store (Shur-Sav) in T or C, to help non-profit groups benefit financially from the folks who patronize the store and at the same time who wish to help their favorite charity benefit from it. Animal loving folks can save their Bullocks receipts and collect those from friends and relatives, then drop them off either at Paws&Claws thrift shop, the T or C public library, Desert Haven Animal Refuge, or at the Williamsburg Post office. Josephine Varnum handles the program and has set up in those locations boxes specifically designated for that purpose. When redeemed ($1 for every $1,000 redeemed goes directly to our organization.) the $$$ generated from the receipts help fund the Sierra County Humane Society Spay-Neuter program which has an average annual price tag of$8,000 and continues to grow every year.

Our organization’s Adopt-a-Pet Referral program is successfully handled by Stan Brodsky, a Sierra County Humane Society volunteer who lives near Hillsboro. Folks who wish to give up a companion animal but who are reluctant to relinquish that animal to the city shelter have the opportunity to contact Stan at 575-895-5551 (a local call by the way) who will help them find that animal a new home. Stan keeps a current record of all domestic animals referred to us through that specific program. He also places them and their profile – including photos if available - on the SCHS Petfinder web site, which is visited daily by folks from all over New Mexico and neighboring states.

On the other hand, anyone interested in adopting a companion animal directly from his owner can also contact Stan and look for any specific type, breed, etc, available at the time. The Adopt-a-Pet Referral program is provided courtesy of the Sierra County Humane Society, inc. and is free of charge to anyone interested in giving up or adopting a companion animal.

This week’s wish list: Dog biscuits - kitty canned food and treats - Puppy chow for seven growing puppies - Dog walkers and kitty cuddlers at DHAR- Volunteers at Paws & Claws thrift shop – Used lumber – Insulation - Roofing material, etc.
Interested in the work we are doing? Visit us on Tuesdays, or check us out at
This blog at is updated weekly by our wonderful webmaster and animal loving volunteer Camille Pronovost of Florida, with current photos of Desert Haven and of our volunteers at work. We can also be reached at 894-2778, or email eliana4pets@gmail. com.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Humane Happenings

Dog walking - Sparky & Sophie

by Dolly Loftus

A Tale of Tails. That sounds like a good name for the log that our animal care coordinator Reba uses to keep track of our adoptees. Tuesday morning at the work campers’ regular meeting, Reba brought us up-to-date on how our furry friends were doing. It turns out that our friends have ventured near and far from Desert Haven. Two have gone with snowbirds to Canada and Michigan, but will be back when their weather turns cold. Some like Noah, Monty and Crystal are as close as Elephant Butte and T or C. Reba mentioned that some dogs’ names have been changed and told cute stories relayed by the animals’ present companions. Landscape work continues as cuttings from the Virginia creeper are planted. The light rain made working outside a pleasure.

We have a new dog that will be up for adoption soon. She’s a long-haired Chihuahua about two to three years old with honey-colored fur named Sara. She was found in Elephant Butte some weeks ago. The lady who rescued her went to great lengths to find the owner, but the consensus is that she wandered off from some Memorial Day campers. If Sara doesn’t sound like the pet for you, check out our website for more dogs and cats.

Our thrift store Paws and Claws continues to thrive with your generous donations. We always need more volunteers to help sort clothing and other items. At the present time, we are looking for someone who is free on Friday to test electronics to make sure they are in working order. We would prefer a gentleman, because some things are heavy and awkward to handle. If you are interested, please call 894-2778.

Our wish list for this week includes cat treats, dog treats, and cat toys. Remember to visit Desert Haven Animal Refuge on Tuesday when we are open to the public, and join us for lunch. Paws and Claws is open Wednesday through Saturday.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Humane Happenings

photo by Charles Nissen

Desert Haven Animal Refuge is living up to its name more and more every day. Just recently we have taken in Hardy, a long-haired blond Chihuahua/ mix, about two years old. Another dog that we have given refuge to is Oliver, a black/brown colored Chihuahua/Daschund mix, about six months to a year. For over a year, people have been telling us that they want to adopt smaller dogs and puppies. Now, we have both in good supply. Trixie, one of Scruffy’s puppies, was adopted this week. There are still six squirming little bundles of joy left. These dogs can be viewed on or by coming out to the refuge, either on Tuesday when we are open to the public or by appointment.

Freddie Lovelace, our refuge tour guide and adoption chief, mentioned that people have been asking about Whitney, our million dollar dog, who was so badly abused and went through two expensive surgeries. We are happy to report that Whitney believes that she was a jack rabbit in her previous life and is delighted to show off her jumping and leaping skills to anyone who cares to watch. Not only is she healthy, but she is full of energy.

Now that the peacock courtyard/meshed enclosure is complete, thanks to the hard work of Gene, Skip, Stephen and Ben, the peacocks are strutting their stuff. We actually have a year old male that is up for adoption.

Ginny Nyland, one of our wonderful office personnel who help out whenever she’s in town, gave us a generous donation this week. Ginny is leaving to go traveling again; in fact, she has her travel agenda complete until May 2010. Thank you for your generosity and have a great time on your travels.

We also want to thank, once again, the wonderful people who drop off donations to Paws and Claws. The thrift store has too many items to mention; some are vintage collector’s and others are everyday things that are essential to our lives. Stop by. Maybe you’ll find something that you can’t live without.

Please visit our beautiful desert-blooming refuge and our happy furry friends. Become a volunteer and have fun serving your community.