Friday, May 29, 2009

Week of 5/21/09 Humane Happenings

Sophia and her lemonade stand

Nine year old Sophia Nelson of Havelock, in North Carolina, recently held a lemonade stand while her mother and several friends were having a yard sale. Sophia decided that the money collected from her sales would be sent to Desert Haven Animal Refuge, the Sierra County Humane Society No-Kill domestic animal sanctuary. Together with the money, Sophia had placed a handwritten message in the envelope:”Last weekend at Mr. West’s house we had a yard sale. It went very well. I decided to have a lemonade stand to help earn money for Desert Haven. I made 20.50 profit selling lemonade for 25 cents a cup. I am sending the money for Whitney’s new operation.”

Whitney at the vet for her 2nd post-op visit

The words speak for themselves and we at Desert Haven find it heartwarming to see such compassion in such a young child. Whitney is Desert Haven’s miracle little dog whose strong will-to-live helped her beat the odds. Whitney was found wandering in the countryside a few months ago. She was starving, weak and badly injured. It took two costly life-saving operations to repair the damage created either by human hands or a larger dog, as she had been abandoned in the desert to fend for herself. Her story went on the internet, on this blog that Camille Pronovost of Florida started several years ago and continues to maintain. Sophia was moved by it and decided to help.

Whitney with Whitney

Sophia is The Sierra County Humane Society's youngest Life Member. She and her mother lived in T or C when she was a baby and until they moved to NC. Every time they come back to visit their folks, Sophia spends much time at Desert Haven, nurturing her compassion for animals in need. A special little girl indeed! Her mother is also to be congratulated for raising such a caring child.
Whitney roughin' it!

This week’s wish list: Chest freezer for Rainbow Bridge Pet Cemetery - Air powered staple gun – Dog Walkers and Kitty Cuddlers at DHAR – Dog and cat treats - Puppy chow for the seven cuties born at DHAR March 7 of this year and ready to go to their forever home – We also need canned cat food for the thirty felines of all ages and temperaments residing in The Cool Cat Neighborhood, which, according to a former DHAR work camper, is no less than the feline equivalent of a five star gated community – We need helpers at Paws&Claws thrift shop, also someone to help check and display donated tools, electronics and small electrical appliances to be sold. We also could use a grant writer for our animal welfare organization and Desert Haven. Interested in the work we are doing? Visit us on Tuesdays, or check us out at We can also be reached at 894-2778 or 740-0715, and at eliana4pets@gmail. com.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Week of 5/17/09 Humane Happenings

by Eliana Aubin

Jeannette Galliard, a DH volunteer with her two rescued dogs and John, a former volunteer at DH this past winter

Richard and Linda Brook - one native of England and the other of New York respectively - two soul mates, adventurous spirits with a deep love of animals, nature and the outdoors - committed to park their RV and volunteer for a couple of months at DHAR early in the year 2005. To this day, we still remember Linda’s compassion towards all animals and her special love for cats and we can’t forget Richard’s wonderful sense of humor.

A few weeks ago, the Sierra County Humane Society president received a package in the mail – a personal gift from the freedom-loving couple she had enjoyed working with in 2005. Inside the package was a newly printed hard-back book “The Long and Wine-ing Road”, written by Richard himself and published by Authorhouse on 10-7-08. In this witty and easy-to-read book, Richard, an excellent writer by the way, was describing the couple’s “ true life fairy tale” which began in Africa when they met in 1999 and later took them together on their new adventures-on-wheels across America. Richard and Linda had also written about their two months experience at Desert Haven and the surrounding area. How amazing for our small domestic animal sanctuary to be acknowledged in this way! These are your own written words, Richard, as you contemplated your volunteer work at DHAR : “for me, this was a way to give something back without any financial reward: it was a good feeling.” A good man with a good heart!

This week’s wish list: Construction and roofing material - Insulation - Good used chest freezer for Dog Town - Used refrigerator for Birdland’s Snack Shack - Office help at DHAR on Tuesday mornings - Dog walkers and kitty cuddlers. Daily animal care at DHAR starts at 8 AM and ends before 10 AM. It starts again at 7 PM. While many of our local volunteers are either on vacation or taking a needed rest at this time of the year, we need folks to take their place for a while, any day of the week and shift of your choice.

Paws & Claws thrift shop needs volunteers to sort donated items and keep the shop open from Wed through Saturday. The crew is great, the work never boring and as a bonus, the great majority of P&C customers is very appreciative of the community services that we provide. We recycle and make available for sale at a very reasonable price to thrifty-minded shoppers a huge assortment of items, from the routine household wares and furniture to unique works of art and antiques.
If our readers are interested to learn more about our organization and find a way and time to become part of a work of love in progress, call us at 894-2778 or 740-0715. You can also e-mail us at, visit us on Tuesdays, or check us out at Until next time, have a purr-fect week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Week of 5/10/09 Humane Happenings

Butch hauling brush

by Eliana Aubin

Lee and Susan Newman of Animas Creek Nursery deserve the sincere appreciation from all animal loving folks who are also interested in the on-goings at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s no-kill domestic animal sanctuary - owned and operated by The Sierra County Humane Society, Inc.

Lee and Susan’s recent generosity, both monetary and in-kind, is very heartwarming to everyone currently volunteering at DHAR. Thanks to this kind-hearted couple, Desert Haven is now the lucky recipient of several gorgeous rose bushes and a number of potted plants and young trees. As an added bonus, many bags of potting soil was added to the contribution that Animas Creek Nursery Foreman Mike Slater very graciously helped load into the flat bed of DHAR caretaker Gene Wagner, who had visited the nursery with his wife Reba and son Stephen.

Reba, DHAR Animal Care Coordinator, informed the group attending the Tuesday meeting at DHAR that two mature shade trees will also be donated by the management of the Animal Creek Nursery as soon as arrangements are being made to have them delivered and planted.

As Susan was walking around the nursery with Gene, Reba and Stephen while selecting the plants and trees to be donated to DHAR, she told them: “We read the Humane Happenings every week and we appreciate the work that is being done at Desert Haven. We feel that it is a very good cause, so we want to do something to help”. Your kindness and generosity are very appreciated, Lee and Susan!

We certainly hope that the DHAR volunteer crew will soon have the opportunity to share a Tuesday lunch with them, walk around the property and show them first-hand what their contribution is doing to enhance the grounds of the animal sanctuary. Thanks to them and folks like them, and to a dedicated group of volunteers from all over, Desert Haven has become the “ Haven of Compassion in the Heart of Desert Country” that its founder envisioned in May 1999, when the then-undeveloped property was being purchased.

This week’s wish list: good used chest freezer for Dogtown - working refrigerator for Birdland, to store fresh produce regularly donated by Bullocks grocery. Dog and cat treats – no rawhide please. Summer vacations, unforeseen situations and emergencies have now left a smaller than usual crew at Paws & Claws thrift shop and also at DHAR, to care for its non-human residents. Consequently, we hope that local folks will consider donating time as Dog walkers, kitty cuddlers, office helpers at DHAR, or become volunteers at Paws&Claws thrift shop until Summer is over and our long-term crew comes back.

Interested in learning more about our organization? Wanting to check-out our list of dogs and cats for adoption? Contact us at 575-894-2778, e-mail us at eliana4pets@gmail. com, visit us on Tuesdays, or check us out at

Friday, May 8, 2009

Letter from our Animal Care Coordinator

Reba Wagner; DH Animal Care Coordinator

I would like to say 'Thank You' for the warm welcome my family and I received upon our arrival at Desert Haven Animal Refuge from Virginia, last Fall. We came to this area specifically to volunteer at Desert Haven for a just few months. Earlier this year, I was offered the position of Animal Care Coordinator at Desert Haven Animal Refuge. I accepted the position and my family and I made the decision to make this area our home.

The staff of Desert Haven and the Sierra Co. Humane Society played a big part in our decision to stay. When we saw the dedication, the care and love given to all the critters of Desert Haven, we knew this was something we wanted to be a part of. I applaud the work and dedication that has gone into making these two entities what they are today. Founder Eliana Aubin, all the volunteers of Desert Haven Animal Refuge (past & present), and the volunteers of Paws & Claws Thrift Store have worked together, for the love of animals, to create a worthy asset to the local communities.

Also, it is great that the communities of Williamsburg and TorC are so accepting and friendly to new folks arriving here. This is a great area and the residents should be proud of their towns and tttheir people. They make them what they are. We thank them for accepting my family and I into their community.

Reba Wagner (husband Gene, son Stephen)

Animal Care Coordinator
Desert Haven Animal Refuge

Hot Paws

by George Jepson

Steve & Bessie at Desert Haven

Here in the southwest it’s that time of year again: Folks out walking their dogs, mostly small ones, completely oblivious to the temperature of the sidewalks and the asphalt pavement; dogs bouncing along, taking five steps to master’s every one, in an attempt to keep their feet off the hot surface. It is not a test of a dog’s “manhood” to be able to take walking along on pavement that’s 140 degrees.

Let me ask you to do this: take your shoes and socks off and walk along beside your dog on that very same pavement, Hey! If you can take it. But don’t do it for too long because you’ll be asking for second degree burns. If I were to force you to stand on that hot pavement, in your bare feet, I would be charged with aggravated assault. This is serious stuff. Take care of these guys. Large or small, paws are paws and they can be burned and crippled. So walk your dog in the cool of the day. If you’re unsure of the temperature of the pavement, place your bare hand down on it for a slow count of 10. If you can do it then it’s probably OK. Happy walking.

Oh! Same thing goes for making a dog stand on the bare metal of the back of a pickup truck. Man, that surface gets hot.

Sent in by

George Jepson

T or C New Mexico

Humane Happenings

by Dolly Loftus

Eliana, Joy & Dolly in the office

It looks like summer is here. Somehow we missed Spring, at least a gentle Spring. The weather: cold, hot, windy or whatever doesn’t deter our work campers at Desert Haven. The crew is busy with landscaping projects, refurbishing and painting dog apartments and condos, and maintaining the cemetery. All of our work campers lately seem to be coming from Arizona. Patti and Ben from the Phoenix area arrived a week or so ago followed by Bill from Queen Creek. Not to worry. I’m sure there are still plenty of people left in Arizona.

Scruffie’s puppies are now ready for adoption. There are six: three males and three females. They are a terrier mix and will be medium-sized dogs when they are full grown. They will be getting their second set of shots next week. To see a picture of them, check out the blog post below this one. There are many other adoptees in our care looking for a two-legged companion, so come out and pet a few.

As mentioned earlier, summer is here. That means that we have to keep our animals protected from the sun by giving them some sort of shelter when they are outside and to make sure they have enough water. This is not the time of the year to take your dog to the store with you and leave him unattended in the car or truck. In big cities like Albuquerque and Las Cruces, you will get a hefty fine and be totally embarrassed by your negligence.

A big Thank You to our many patrons who continue to give large and small donations of money, turn in Bullock’s receipts, and drop off pet food and treats at Paws and Claws and Desert Haven.

Our wish list for this week is simply dog and cat treats. Reba mentioned that some outdoor solar lights might be nice to accent our recently spruced up landscaping. If anyone has some that they want to get rid of, please give us a call at Desert Haven (894-2778).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Humane Happenings

by Dolly Loftus

Scruffy and puppies
Photo by Skip Higgins; Raskal Photography

Desert Haven Animal Refuge has welcomed a new group of work campers since the beginning of April. We are blessed again to have individuals with all sorts of talents that really make the care and maintenance of our furry and feathered friends a joyful task. Gene, our jack-of-all trades person, has recently built the framework to enable us to attach some netting over the chicken yard. Then we will be able to move the peacocks there, so they will have more room to strut their stuff. Skip, a photography pro, has taken pictures of Scruffy’s seven puppies as a portrait shot. It will be posted on the bulletin board at Paws and Claws sometime soon. The rest of the crew is busy painting and doing other projects to make the refuge nice for the animals and our visitors. We must have a lot of visitors, because our adoption rate is higher than it has ever been. All are great success stories, and the new moms and dads keep in contact with us to tell cute tales about their new companions.

Dolly Loftus recently visited the schools to ask how the children and teachers liked their subscription to Kind News. The response was great, and we made some changes, so that more students were involved, and the reading material was appropriate to their grade level. Distribution of the magazine is an educational project sponsored by the Sierra County Humane Society to teach children and others how to care for animals. From the response that we get at Desert Haven and our Paws & Claws Thrift Store, we know that our community cares about animals.

We are thankful to a handful of new locals who have expressed an interest in volunteering, and there are some new faces from time to time helping out at the thrift store. Since summer and the travel season are coming, we are going to need some extra help when our regulars decide to hit the road. This includes our office staff at Desert Haven. We could still use someone for filing and clerical work with a minimum of computer skills. If you are interested, please call Desert Haven Animal Refuge at 575-740-0715.