Monday, January 31, 2011

Week of 2/1/11 Humane Happenings

By Eliana Aubin

A kitty recently "dumped" by her owner, photographed through a sliding glass door while she comes for food put out by a compassionate animal lover. We're calling her "Pumpkin" for the color of her fur.

The past year has been a really tough one for many in Sierra County, including homeless dogs and cats. The economic crisis has taken its toll on people, but also on their companion animals as they are becoming innocent victims of the current difficult times. Now more than ever, people are often tempted to look the other way, or they give up in despair when they come across a non-human in distress. Fortunately, Compassion compels some of us to act when others would not have. Every life has value. Because of all the kind folks who help our non-profit volunteer animal welfare organization in many ways, we continue to make a difference in this area of New Mexico.

Jeff, a volunteer at Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe, cleaning the front windows.
The Sierra County Humane Society is a no-frill organization. We do not have an expensive office by any means. We do not pay any salary. Even the President of the organization is a volunteer. The duties of Executive Director of Desert Haven Animal Refuge and those of Manager of Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe are also performed on a strictly volunteer basis. As in many other worthwhile organizations in the community, our crew of volunteers is very limited and this is obviously a fact – sad as it may be - that we always must take into consideration in whatever we decide to do within the entire organization.

For the year 2010, only 4% of the budget of the Sierra County Humane Society went towards office expenses and supplies. The remainder funded projects and programs that benefit companion animals in Sierra County. The SCHS Spay-Neuter and Spay-a-Stray programs were by far the most costly. Medical expenses for unwanted and abused dogs and cats taken in at Desert Haven also came with a high price tag.

Desert Haven is sanctuary to over two hundred (200) non-human creatures which at one time were unwanted, neglected or abused. As we routinely adopt out dogs and cats at Desert Haven, we take in others down-on-their-luck. It breaks our hearts to turn away any animal in need for lack of resources. But again, taking in more animals than we can provide for would jeopardize the ones we have already rescued. We are often forced to say: “sorry, we cannot take in anymore”. Some folks understand, others get very angry with us and call us names. It’s something we accept as part of dealing with the “takers” of this world.

This week’s wish list: dog and cat food, sunflower and bird seeds, also rabbit pellets – Interested in becoming a member of the Sierra County Humane Society? Do you want to help us in some other way? Contact us at 575-894-2778. Write us at POB 638 Williamsburg, NM 87942. Visit us at Meet us at www.Facebook/com/deserthaven.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Week of 1/23/11 Humane Happenings

By Eliana Aubin

Mattie Ganos with sign honoring Leonard Bullington
The Sierra County Humane Society, Inc. will hold its Annual Membership Meeting in February. Directors for vacant and expiring positions will be elected at that meeting. The SCHS Board of Directors also governs the operations of Desert Haven Animal Refuge, Sierra County’s No-Kill companion animal sanctuary. Please contact us at 894-2778 or 894-2639 for more information or to be placed on the 2011 ballot.

Some weeks ago, Mattie Ganos, who work camps at Desert Haven with her husband Denny, designed and painted several large Old West Style signs that were proudly hung in their respective places on several buildings around the sanctuary. We now have a sign on the Desert Haven workshop that honors the man who contributed greatly to our organization: Gene Trelewicz. Gene no longer lives in Sierra County, but he is remembered fondly by everyone who knows him and worked with him at Desert Haven.

Leonard Bullington is being honored also, and rightly so. Leonard is a retired cowboy who used his lifelong experience and skills to help the very first crew of volunteers who cleared the undeveloped parcel of land and then started to build the sanctuary, one project at a time. Among several large projects, Leonard completely revamped a small building in the Old West Style. A large, colorful and very attractive sign “Leonard’s Mercantile”, created by Mattie, was recently hung on that specific building – a fitting bit of recognition for an “Old Cowboy”, as Leonard often calls himself.

Last Tuesday, the crew erected another very meaningful sign, also designed by Mattie. The sign honors Ardell, a Charter member of the Sierra County Humane Society and one of its strongest supporters from way back. Back in the “Old Days”, Ardell owned and operated a small rock and antique shop in Northern New Mexico. Over the years, she had decorated the entire front yard of her shop with artistic and unique compositions of colored glass bottles and containers. That “Glass Garden” became such a tourist attraction that an Albuquerque TV station ran a story in the 1980’s on “Ardell’s Glass Garden”.

Ardell’s 21 years of support of our animal welfare organization deserves recognition. What more fitting than to honor this amazing pioneer lady by creating a small - very small - “Ardell’s Glass Garden” at Desert Haven, a place she has given so much of herself over the years and in so many ways. Do you have colored bottles and containers you wish to donate to help us get this meaningful project off the ground? Let us know. Interested in learning more about us or helping us in some way? Contact us at 575-894-2778. Write us at POB 638 Williamsburg, NM 87942. Visit us at Meet us at www.Facebook/com/deserthaven.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Week of 1/17/11 Humane Happenings

By Eliana Aubin with photos by Dennis Gano, except "Lucky" by Teddi

Basket of doves

The year 2011 is unfolding and Desert Haven is entering into the 10th year since the very first non human residents arrived at the sanctuary – a flock of domesticated ring neck doves relinquished by an older gentleman who could no longer care for them in the outdoor aviary he had built for them many years before. Then several guinea pigs followed – a young boy had gotten tired of feeding and watering them every day and he often forgot they were even here, huddled all together in their small cage inside his mother’s garage. Soon after, several no-longer-wanted Easter rabbits joined the group.

Guinea pigs enjoying fresh veggies

Then in 2002, a mother cat about to deliver was dropped-off in a box because she was pregnant - the man did not want kittens. Lucky, the sanctuary’s first dog arrived some months later. Someone had found the pup one afternoon, wandering the solitary stretch of HWY 195 between TorC and E.B. At the time, the facility was still in the process of being built, one habitat at a time and according to long-range plans outlined some time before.

Lucky; first dog rescued by DH

Today, Desert Haven provides sanctuary to over two hundred (200) fur and feather creatures. It is tailored to available resources, such as manpower and funding. The road is not easy, but with the on-going help of our members and supporters, we have accomplished nothing short of miracles along the way. Membership forms are available at P&C thrift Shoppe and DHAR. You can also contact Freddie at 575-894-2778 for more information.

Rooster at Desert Haven

For many months now, Diane Bellack of Hillsboro has sorted, tagged and priced all donated craft and sewing items to be displayed and sold at Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe in TorC. Diane is no longer able to help our cause in this way, at least for some time, and we are going to miss her help terribly. If any of our craft oriented Readers wishes to help us get those items readied to sell at P&C, contact Eliana at 575-894-2639.

Our Desert Haven peacock

This week’s wish list: dog and cat food, also sunflower seeds - carpet pieces – wood and plywood, even small pieces to be used for smaller projects such as bird houses, trail signs and pet grave markers. We need construction and roofing material –large plastic containers – exterior white latex paint. If you are computer oriented and enjoy working with numbers, we need your help for a couple of hours on Tuesdays.

Write us at POB 638 Williamsburg, NM 87942. Visit us at Meet us at www.Facebook/com/deserthaven. Desert Haven is open to the public every Tuesday and anyone interested in adopting a dog or a cat is welcome to visit the sanctuary on that day.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week of 1/10/11 Humane Happenings

By Eliana Aubin

Gunner at the campground before being rescued
At this time of the year, we see the worst in Human Nature…dogs and cats abandoned or left outdoors, even at night, in the freezing weather. Dogs especially- short hair dogs and very small dogs too - left out-of-doors in their yard in below freezing temperatures - no shelter available, their water bowl is frozen. Many of them are tied or chained – yes, chained - outside in the freezing cold. Our organization receives calls every day about dogs left outside in these extreme temperatures. What’s wrong with some people?

This time, this article wishes to share a heartwarming story of a stranger who went way out of his way to save a cat from certain death, a cat he didn’t even know. Yes, there IS hope for the Human Race.

In a campground in Santa Rosa, in Northern New Mexico, a man is taking a break from work and spending a few days of R&R in his RV. The ground is frozen and the campground is sparsely occupied at this time of the year. Something catches the man’s attention early one morning: a little ball of fur, all curled-up on the cement floor outside of the campground's restroom. It’s a small cat. He is very skinny under that dirty matted fur- and he is very scared. He hisses every time the man attempts to get closer.

The man is patient and he has a good heart. Within a couple of days, the little fur-guy has furtively investigated the RV and hesitantly accepted the man’s caresses and food. The man knows that his lifestyle and work habits do not allow a companion animal, even a cat. Some folks may have just left the animal to his fate – block one’s mind and ignore the animal altogether. The man chooses to go the compassionate way. He contacts sanctuaries and no-kill shelters in communities around the campground. No luck, no room for another cat anywhere. In a last attempt to save the little guy before moving on, the man e-mails Desert Haven, located half- way across the state. Here at Desert Haven, we weigh the situation and decide that we simply can’t turn our back on the man’s plea and on the helpless little fur-guy. If the man cares enough to deliver the cat to Desert Haven, we will make “room at the Inn”.

Gunner at Desert Haven, feelin' the love from Reba's ear scratches!
It takes several hours for the man to bring the cat all the way from Santa Rosa, and several more hours for him to return back to his RV in Santa Rosa campground, which he does right away so he can be back home to his RV before night. A remarkable story – a remarkable man. We call the little fur-guy “Gunner”. It’s the man’s last name.

Recently two DHAR resident dogs were taken to a veterinary hospital for emergency lifesaving surgeries. We are asking our animal loving friends who can do so to please help us cover the medical costs that are prohibitive for our small sanctuary. Make a donation via credit card easily by visiting our "Causes" page at We can be contacted at 894-2778 or 740-4100 for more information.

Write us at POB 638 Williamsburg, NM 87942. Visit us at Meet us at www.Facebook/com/deserthaven. Desert Haven is open to the public every Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Week of 1/2/11 Humane Happenings

by Eliana Aubin
Denny Gano with Isis, our newest rescue

The year 2010 went out with a bang, as the dreaded cold front finally hit our area with a vengeance. It’s been very cold at Desert Haven the past few nights and all the volunteers caring every day for the animal and bird residents of the no-kill sanctuary deserve a special pat on the back. Freezing weather or not, all the fur and feather guys and girls get hungry every morning. Even before the Arctic weather hit this part of Sierra County, the volunteer crew had insured that the Kitty Motel, Feline Dorm, Cat Condos and Kitty Igloos were revamped with even more warm comforters, fleece blankets and large fluffy pillows.

At Dog Town and inside the Inn, nothing was left to chance either. As more rugs and carpets were laid over the cement floors inside the individual sleeping areas, every dog house was being refurbished to provide enough warmth for all the little fur-guy and girl residents during this especially cold front. The smaller breeds were fitted with snug doggy sweaters. At Birdland & Animal House, the guinea pigs, rabbits, doves, peacocks, roosters and hens received extra straw to keep them warm. Come on down, Old Man Winter, Desert Haven is ready for you!

Denny installing insulation

Denny Gano deserves special recognition. Denny and his wife Mattie are work camping at the no-kill domestic animal sanctuary this winter. Among other qualities and skills, Mattie is an accomplished artist and Denny, a contractor by trade, can build anything. Recently, Duke’s Pet Parents, some of Desert Haven’s strongest and most generous supporters, offered to cover the costs of the insulation material for the entire roof of the Inn at Dog town, if someone at Desert Haven would install it. Denny volunteered his personal time to do the project and last Tuesday afternoon, he had completed it. What a difference it makes inside the building!

Mattie Gano with one of her custom made signs
 A well deserved “thank-you” is in order to everyone who made this happen. Duke’s Pet Parents wish to stay anonymous. Their very generous contributions since they visited Desert Haven for the first time last July are in memory of Duke, their beloved black lab. Duke passed away at 13 years old last June. Thanks, Duke.

This week’s wish list: aside from volunteer help at Paws&Claws Thrift Shoppe and Desert Haven, we need large storage containers, carpet remnants, Odorban cleaning detergent, hand and floor brushes and squeegees, also two heavy duty filing cabinets. Do you have a scroll saw and would like to help out, directly from your home workshop? We have a project for you. Of course, catnip and pet food, including sunflower seeds, is always on our list. If you would like to help in some way, contact us at 575-894-2778, 740-4100 or 894-1694. Write us at POB 638 Williamsburg, NM 87942. Visit us at Meet us at Desert Haven is open to the public every Tuesday.