Friday, May 28, 2010

Week of 5/23/10 Humane Happenings

Central Bark in bloom

by Eliana Aubin

Birds of Paradise and desert willows in full bloom against barn wood fences and Old Tucson style buildings - song birds nesting in budding mesquite trees - desert sage and greasewood bushes growing in large green clumps along the walking trails – wild flowers everywhere - and up above, the blue New Mexico sky with not a cloud in sight – springtime has settled at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s no-kill domestic animal sanctuary.

Cool Cat Neighborhood in bloom

When mixed with a team of caring folks who want to make a difference, the entire atmosphere at the sanctuary takes on a spiritual feel. Spring at DHAR is truly one of Nature’s wonderlands, and the folks who visit the small sanctuary at this time of the year seem to appreciate it fully. They never fail to comment about it.

“What impresses me the most here is the collective synergy and great cooperation from the entire group” said local resident Steve Spaw on his very first visit to the sanctuary this past Tuesday, accompanied by Freddie Loveless and Reba Wagner as tour guides. “Everyone knows what the mission is and is happy with it. Everyone gets along well and that is also very impressive – a well-run and happy ship”.

This week, the Sierra County Humane Society wishes to thank “the Friends of Blue”, for the generous – and anonymous - donation made recently to Desert Haven in his name. Blue is a dog lost or abandoned in the Elephant Butte area some time ago. Some residents took pity on him and made food and water routinely available to him. Soon, he became known through the small Elephant Butte community as “Blue”. Several times now, anonymous donations to DHAR have been made in his name. What a kind gesture made in the name of a lost or abandoned dog to help other lost or abandoned dogs who find their way to DHAR.

Kudos go to Rod Heier of Caballo Lake RV Park, Don & Barbara Heller of Elephant Butte and Mary Roden of TorC for dropping off at Desert Haven food or money to purchase food for the birds and animals in our care. We also appreciate the recent donations made by John Lyall of Tijeras, NM, Joan Brewer, a former – always remembered with fondness - DHAR work camper who now lives in Connecticut, Mrs Richard Wagner of Elephant Butte in memory of her late husband, Susan Newman of Animas Creek Nursery, Mark Humble of To C. We also wish to thank Cecilia Perez of El Paso who adopted “Chiquita” from DHAR last year and who continues to remember the sanctuary in her charitable endeavors. Large or small, every contribution to Desert Haven is a token of appreciation for all the good work that is done at the sanctuary by a small and dedicated group of animal loving folks who want to make a difference in this world. With many little mouths to feed, the Desert Haven volunteers certainly put every donation to good use. Puppy food and treats continue to be in very high demand at this time.

This week, we especially wish to acknowledge the wonderful couple from Albuquerque who not long ago unloaded at Desert Haven several small and large – brand new - swimming pools for the residents of Dog Town. We set them up in the several doggie play yards this past Tuesday. Some of the little guys in the Pooch Play Yard did not wait long to jump in and wade in theirs as soon as it had been filled with water. They seemed to have so much fun in their large swimming pool that DHAR Animal Care Coordinator, Reba, who was watching them, promised to catch them in action whenever she had her camera handy. Her photos will go on our blog (, and on Facebook ( Interested in volunteering at Desert haven or Paws & Claws thrift shop? Contact us at 575-894-2778, 575-740-4100, or write to us at POB 638, Williamsburg NM, 87942.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Week of 5/16/10 Humane Happenings

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

by Eliana Aubin

Desert Haven received another seal of approval a couple of weeks ago. The former mom of one of Dog Town’s newest residents, a boxer mix named Emma, recently visited the sanctuary with a friend, Yvonne. They wanted to spend time with the dog she had to give up when her living arrangements changed drastically as she started her first semester at NMSU in Las Cruces. Yvonne is a local resident of TorC and a strong supporter of Desert Haven. Seeing Emma settled and happy in her new environment in the company of several constant playmates inspired her former mom to leave a donation to help DHAR cover some of her daily care.

While at the sanctuary, Yvonne questioned Reba, DHAR's Animal Care Coordinator, about ongoing and future projects. When she heard that we had been planning to expand several indoor-outdoor kennels, but the lack of adequate funding to cover the costs of the needed materials precluded us to start on that important project, Yvonne made a donation to help us get it underway.

We have something new and exciting we'd like to share with you! It's the new Sierra County Humane Society toolbar - once added to IE or Firefox, each time you shop at more than 1,300 stores (from Amazon to Zazzle!) a percentage of your purchase will automatically be donated to Sierra County Humane Society - at no cost to you (and you may even save money as the toolbar provides coupons and deals as well!). The toolbar also has a search box and each time you search the Internet, about a penny is donated to Sierra County Humane Society.

And please pass this along to all of your friends. The two minutes it takes to add this toolbar to your browser can make a lifetime of difference!

We continue to need dog food and especially puppy food for the several Aussie mix pups rescued at DHAR a few weeks ago. We are grateful for each and every bag of pet food that kind folks drop-off either at Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe, located next to Family Dollar in TorC, or at Desert Haven on Tuesdays, when the no-kill sanctuary is open for visitors.

We can be reached at POB 638, Williamsburg NM, 87942, also at 575-894-2778, 575-740-4100. Check us out at,,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Week of 5/9/10 Humane Happenings

Morning walk to the Old West Trail

By Eliana Aubin

Spring has arrived in Sierra County, and with it the threats of rattle snake bites. We take rattle snakes seriously at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s no-kill domestic animal sanctuary. DHAR work camping residents Skip Higgins and Helen Hasty, with the help of Stephen Wagner, gave the canines living at the sanctuary their yearly rattlesnake vaccine shot. We started this routine inoculation last year. Even though the cost was significant, we felt that the extra yearly medical expense would further protect our furry little dependents while they lived at the sanctuary.

Twice a day, the dogs of Desert Haven are given the opportunity to exercise and run together in groups outside of their Dog Town play yards. The Old West Trail is their official community playground at the sanctuary and they are walked there on a leash mornings and evenings. Once arrived, they are unleashed and set free to investigate their surroundings, socialize and play there together to their little heart’s content. It’s a fun time for them and we want them to be safe in this desert landscape.

The Old West Trail is an all-fenced patch of land about one acre in size and located inside the Desert Haven property. It is covered with desert vegetation and small bushes. The crew maintains several wide trails throughout the entire fenced area, to allow the dog walkers of DHAR to get as much physical exercise as they wish while they spend quality time with the dogs playing under their watchful eyes. The rattlesnake vaccine protects a dog who is bitten by a rattler and it gives that little guy a fighting chance.

This week, we especially wish to thank Bullocks Grocery store for its on-going support of our organization. Through its “Cash for Clubs” program, Bullocks offers our non-profit organization the opportunity to earn funds when we redeem Bullocks receipts collected for us by customers. We have collection boxes at Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe in TorC, the TorC public library and Williamsburg Post Office. Bullocks also lets Desert Haven pick-up boxes of fresh veggies and fruits every week. Our volunteers serve them every morning, all cut-up and ready-to-eat, to the feathered and furry residents of Birdland & Animal House. All of them have been rescued at some time or another since Desert Haven opened its doors in 2002 and if animals could speak a language we understand, each one would have a sad story to tell. We supplement their diet with alfalfa, bird and sunflower seeds and chicken scratch.

This week’s wish list: small – easy to empty - swimming pools for our resident dogs. We can use seven pools for their seven play yards. The high winds have damaged some of our roofs and if you have roofing material you no longer need, please drop it off at DHAR or Paws & Claws. We have the volunteer manpower, but we need the material to make the needed repairs. Puppy food for the seven furry little guys and girls abandoned at DHAR’s entrance a couple of weeks ago is also a high priority. We can be reached at POB 638, Williamsburg NM, 87942, also at 575-894-2778, 575-740-4100. Check us out at,, and

Monday, May 10, 2010

Week of 5/2/10 Humane Happenings

Old Sophie with her pet parent, Danny

By Eliana Aubin

Sophie came to visit Desert Haven Animal Refuge last week. She was accompanied by her human friend and caregiver, Danny Springer. Danny is a local artist who owns and operates “Floor Covering” in T or C. Sophie is an older dog who has lived most of her life outside and at the end of a chain on someone’s property in Hillsboro. Sophie’s lonely life was doomed to end at the end of that chain, but she had a guardian angel - Jan Haley - also of Hillsboro. Jan rescued Sophie and convinced DHAR, full at the time, to take the older dog in. She promised to contribute to her care, both financially and in person. Jan stayed true to her word and became Sophie’s sponsor and official protector. At the sanctuary, Sophie started a brand new life, never again to be lonely, hungry or lacking loving human attention.

Everyone assumed that Desert Haven would be Sophie’s home until the end of her natural life. Exposed to many cold Hillsboro winters without adequate shelter, Sophie was suffering from arthritis, among other ailments. At DHAR, she now resided in the VIP play yard, connected by a doggie door to Gene’s Dog House, a fully enclosed porch that was reserved for Desert Haven’s special needs dogs. Aside from the sanctuary volunteers’ loving care, Sophie also enjoyed the company of a roommate, another gentle older canine resident. Sophie’s life had finally turned around and good things were happening to her now.

Several weeks ago, Sophie was adopted locally. As she quietly walked from one Desert Haven volunteer to another during her visit that Tuesday afternoon, she was wagging her tail, obviously remembering each and every one of them with fondness. During that time, Danny shared with the group some details of her new life. Aside from fish and rice seasoned with fish oil, one of her favorite meals, old Sophie also appreciates a piece or two of banana bread, to satisfy her sweet tooth. The old girl is indeed living the good life these days and her entire composure shows it. Sophie is now a happy dog.

Sophie and Danny are planning an Art Auction to be held at Ralph Edward Park. The auction is to raise funds for Desert Haven Animal Refuge, to help rescue and provide care for other dogs like Sophie. For more information, contact Danny at 505-203-1241.

Please consider helping us feed and care for the seven very young pups very recently abandoned at the entrance of Desert Haven. They and the other residents at the sanctuary need the on-going support of our animal loving friends. Write us at POB 638, Williamsburg NM, 87942. Call us 575-894-2778, 575-740-4100. Check us out at,,and

Monday, May 3, 2010

Week of 4/26/10 Humane Happenings

Someone decided to discard a litter of seven not-yet-weaned pups this past week-end. They were abandoned at the entrance of Desert Haven Animal Refuge, huddled together in a small cage. When finally discovered, the little ones were very hungry, cold and scared. They look like Aussie mix.

Abandoning an unwanted companion animal is now a crime in New Mexico. Desert Haven is a small sanctuary with very limited resources. Consequently, it is neither physically nor financially able to take in every companion animal some owners refuse to take responsibility for and decide to literally “dump” on the sanctuary’s doorsteps. Every abandoned dog or cat for which we have no room for creates unnecessary hurdles for the crew as well as for the animals already settled there. We cannot possibly take in all the unwanted domestic animals in Sierra County, and we must make difficult choices. If we did not, we would not stay in operation and be able to continue to help the community very long.

Since they have already abandoned one litter of pups, the owners of the female dog who recently delivered them should have her sterilized before she gets pregnant again and continues the tragedy of bringing into the world even more unwanted pups that they will also abandon. Getting their female dog sterilized would finally stop the indiscriminate reproduction of the “factory of unwanted puppies” these folks have created.

The Sierra County Humane society offers rebates to help pet owners with the costs of sterilizing their companion animals. Applications are available at the T or C police station, Desert Haven and also at Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe. Once a month, our animal welfare organization also offers a free Spay to one dog or cat owner, courtesy of our local veterinarian Doctor Cardwell.

Sadly, even in this day and age, unwanted pups are born all the time, from unsterilized females owned by folks who either don’t care or who claim they can’t afford the costs of sterilization. Sooner or later, many of those unwanted dogs and cats find themselves dropped-off at Sierra Animal Shelter, T or C and Sierra County Animal Shelter. The service is covered by the tax payers of Sierra County and is totally free to pet owners. The great majority of unwanted animals are euthanized at the local shelter, because there are not enough homes for them all. Others are literally “dumped” here and there, near the river, the lake, some neighborhood, somewhere in the countryside. They are left to fend for themselves and they die slowly and miserably. How can a dog survive long on his own in this desert? Folks who do not sterilize their companion animals are perpetrating the tragedy that T or C and Sierra County continues to be plagued with.

This week, we are asking our friends who believe in our cause to please consider donating puppy food and some of their time to help us feed and care for the seven new pups abandoned last week-end at the entrance of Desert Haven. We can be reached at 575-894-2778, 575-740-4100 or POB 638 Williamsburg, NM, 87942. Check out our web site at, our blog at, and our Facebook page at