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