Thursday, January 31, 2008

Maggie: A success story

We continue to get good reports on the dogs from Shannon Asquith, director of field services, and the EARS volunteer team. Perhaps one of the best success stories they've shared so far is about Maggie.

Maggie was one of the last dogs the team loaded up at the ranch in Gabbs. She actually had to be trapped, because she was so frightened. But even looking at her "before" picture, you can tell what a beautiful and gentle companion she could be.

Well, she is becoming that dog at "Camp Reno."

Look at her showing Lead EARS Volunteer, Janell Matthies, exactly how she should scratch her on the belly! (Maggie is cuddling in the bed with fellow Reno camper Honora.)

This from a girl who just one week ago didn't want to come anywhere near us. Clearly Maggie is almost ready for her new forever home!

Also, yesterday, the dogs received a visit from an old friend -- Linda Bailey,
the neice of the owner of the ranch in Gabbs who was instrumental in getting the dogs moved to a safe place. Pictured here, Linda visits with Charles at "Camp Reno."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PetSmart Reno donates dog beds to “Camp Reno"

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of PetSmart Reno and General Manager Byron Thompson, the dogs of “Camp Reno” all have brand new beds!

EARS volunteer Colleen Hemingway stopped into the store the other day and said, “Well, I just thought I would ask if they could help.” The next day 24 of the 30 new beds for the dogs were donated free of charge. Take a look at our EARS volunteers unloading the massive amount of beds from the back of Colleen’s car.

A big thank you to Byron and PetSmart Reno!

Some of the dogs are not quite sure what to do with the new beds as they have never seen anything quite like it before. Others are settling in nicely. Check back here for photos of the dogs on their new beds.

Meanwhile, R2D2 is working on his socializing skills and thought he would say "Hi" to everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Greetings from “Camp Reno!"

EARS volunteers awoke this morning to five inches of fresh snow, with more still falling! Although all of the current EARS volunteers are from the Sacramento, California area and not used to driving in snow, we all made it safely to the shelter. Thank goodness for four-wheel drive!

We spent time today sitting in the kennels and speaking in soft voices to the dogs. Volunteer Jane Hollingsworth read from her book to Squeaky and Annie. EARS volunteers also gently pet some of the other dogs.

Rosie and I had a nice talk this morning about how nice it feels to be slowly petted with a rubber hand brush.

Here Wilma enjoys keeping warm under her blanket after taking a few hot dogs from Janell and accepting some soft pets.

Kumquat has been seen soliciting attention from the front of her kennel and is seen here showing off her “dreadlocks."

Tonight’s weather is calling for more snow, but the residents of “Camp Reno” are safe and warm and cozy in their temporary home.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Settling in at "Camp Reno"

"Camp Reno," as it was named by local EARS volunteers Scott Carson, was a busy place yesterday!

We're now blending in wet food with dry and have increased feedings to three times per day. We're working out a schedule of cleaning, feeding and going outside for potty breaks in order to help create a sense of routine. We also changed the dog crates into "beds" by taking the tops off. Take a look at Joe settling into his new bed (top photo)!

We also learned that "The Girls" were previously known as "The Nippers" because they didn't know they should take treats gently from your hand. They are pictured learning to be gentle by taking a treat from the hand of Janell Matthies, our EARS Lead Volunteer for this deployment.

Today we'll be working on a more formal routine of socializing. Volunteers will sit inside the kennels with the dogs, talk to them in soft tones, and brush those who may be ready for a human touch.

Stay tuned for more reports from "Camp Reno" in the next few days!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Gabbs dogs have arrived in Reno!

Posted by Shannon Asquith, UAN Director of Field Services, who is on site in Reno.

In the 10 plus years I have worked and volunteered in the animal protection field, I’ve never had a day when I have worked so hard and yet felt so thrilled about accomplishing so much for the animals -- until now!

Having monitored the situation in Gabbs for a few months now, I was more than ready to join the team effort to finally take all of the dogs off of the ranch for good. And what a team effort it was! Yesterday, I joined staff from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the Yerington Animal Shelter, the Nevada Humane Society and the ranch owners to load up and transport a total of 58 dogs.

UAN's Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) team is now caring for 27 of the shyest dogs at our temporary shelter in Reno, in a building donated by the Nevada Humane Society. The other 31 dogs were transported to receiving shelters in northern California, including the Sacramento SPCA, Peninsula Humane Society and Contra Costa County Animal Services, whose staff will coordinate transfers to local rescue groups. A big thanks to Paul Bruce of HSUS for working so hard to coordinate these transfers and the collaborative effort among the groups!

After less than 24 hours in our “new digs," everyone is settling in quite nicely! When we arrived, we placed the crates directly into the dog runs, giving the dogs a nice little place to sleep and feel protected. They also have blankets, treats and plenty of wet and dry food. This afternoon, a Nevada Humane veterinarian checked all of the dogs and gave them rabies and DHPP vaccinations.

Joe, pictured here with me, and his brother Moe are sharing a run and quickly getting used to their new lifestyle. Joe has already had three meals today and was seen by the vet for an injury to his ear that he had when he left Gabbs. The ear is healing fine and I think he is now ready for dinner.

“The Girls," as we have named a gang of three female Lab mixes, are also adjusting quite well. They are always very interested when Lead EARS volunteer Janell Matthies (from Sacramento, California) stands outside their run, anticipating another treat. I will try to post a photo of The Girls tomorrow...

And, by the way, we have no shortage of treats for our friends from Gabbs! The Nevada Humane Society recently received a 53-foot trailer full of donated dog treats and biscuits that they are happy to share with us.

In the same collaborative spirit, Michelle Besmehn, Manager for Best Friends' Dogtown Program, is happy to help our volunteers with their efforts to socialize the dogs by providing over-the-phone behavior consultations to Lead EARS volunteer Janell Matthies. You may have seen Michelle on The National Geographic Channel’s new series, Dogtown.

Thanks to the dedication of UAN's EARS volunteers and others, these very special dogs who have never known the warmth of a cozy bed, the smell of a grass yard or a scratch behind the ear now have a chance at a new life!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We are off to help the dogs from the desert!

Can you imagine living in the desert, with nothing but a makeshift hay hut for shelter? Subject to intense heat and biting cold, without proper food and clean water? Well, that's exactly what 150 dogs have been doing in remote Gabbs, Nevada since last spring.

For several months now, United Animal Nations (UAN) has been working with other animal organizations (including Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Nevada Humane Society, the Yerington Animal Shelter and Dog Town Rescue of Carson City), to figure out how to help these dogs, who had nobody to care for them since their owner died from a heart attack in May.

Now our Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS) volunteers are on their way to help 30 of the most needy dogs.

Most of the dogs have already been transferred to rescue groups and shelters in Northern California and Nevada, where they will await adoptive homes. But the remaining 27 dogs have lacked human interaction for so long, and are so timid and unsure of themselves, that they need special attention and care before they can be made available for adoption.

So for the next four weeks, our EARS volunteers will work with these dogs at a temporary shelter in Reno previously occupied by the Nevada Humane Society. There, they will assess their behavior, socialize them, and give each dog the best possible chance at a positive future.

Today, Shannon Asquith, our director of field services, joined teams from HSUS, Best Friends, Nevada Humane and the Yerington Animal Shelter to move the dogs 150 miles to their new, temporary digs in Reno and get them settled.

We'll post more photos from Reno and updates on how the dogs are progressing under the care of our amazing EARS team!

Photos on this post are courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society. Read more about their efforts to help the dogs in Gabbs at