Monday, February 25, 2008

A few final stories from Camp Reno!

Although Camp Reno officially closed its doors last Friday, I want to share a few more nice stories about some of the dogs who were transferred to other facilities last week.

Wednesday proved to be a busy day as Steve Markwell from The Olympic Animal Sanctuary arrived to pick up five of our more socially challenged dogs. His facility is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Forks, Washington, and specializes in working with dogs who have lived on the streets -- including those from fighting bloodlines and those who have generally been abused.

Steve works slowly and methodically with each dog to gain his or her trust and help rebuild their confidence in people. Steve is in the process of filming a documentary about the sanctuary, so he brought along a film crew to capture his experience at Camp Reno. Here you can see Steve getting to know Dixie a little better and acting submissively to gain her trust while the film crew captures the moment on film. Below, Steve and EARS volunteer Janell Matthies load up the dogs and prepare for the long journey to Washington. For more about The Olympic Animal Sanctuary, please visit

Just as Steve and the film crew were breaking for lunch, Kris and Anna arrived from Placer County (CA) Animal Services to transfer dogs to their facility. Kris had explained prior to coming to Camp Reno that the support provided to their facility by the Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation (WARF) has given them the flexibility to take a few Gabbs dogs. WARF has an extensive foster system that allows some dogs the extra time they need in a home before going up for adoption.

Above you can see Kris and Anna giving Winnie a ride to the truck, and here, Apple is ready to make the short drive to the shelter in Tahoe Vista. Kris and Anna took an extra liking to Apple; I think Anna is winking at him! To learn more about Wylie Animal Rescue Foundation (WARF) please visit

And, last but not least, Jane Hollingsworth, EARS volunteer and foster volunteer for the SPCA of Northern Nevada (shown here with her yellow Lab, Manny) came to pick up Annie, the black female border collie mix she will foster and eventually place for adoption with the SPCA. Manny had also been coming to Camp Reno with Jane to visit with Annie and the other dogs. They both took a liking to Annie and are happy to temporarily share their home with her.

Thanks to all of the rescue groups, foster families and shelters who took in our Camp Reno alumni! We look forward to hearing of their continued success and eventual adoption into permanent homes.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Camp Reno closes

Yesterday only four dogs remained at Camp Reno. Two of them, Byron and Honora, were transported to the Santa Cruz SPCA; the remaining two dogs will stay temporarily at the Nevada Humane Society until they can arrange transport to Best Friends Animal Society, probably early next week.

Read more about Honora and Byron in this Santa Cruz Sentinel article.

More details and updates coming soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A day at the park

Today we received a wonderful update from EARS volunteer Ashley Dunleavy, who arranged for Gabbs dogs Maggie (top) and Windy (bottom) to be fostered through the Yolo County (California) SPCA. Just look at how happy and healthy these once-frightened dogs look!

Ashley writes:
"Look how fantastic and happy Windy looks at the park today!!! She is even going potty when we go on walks. Maggie is almost perfect. She does great with her leash now!"

To get an idea of just how far these dogs have come since arriving at "Camp Reno" on January 23, compare the above picture of Windy in the park to this one, taken a couple of weeks ago when she was still at the shelter. What an amazing transformation!

Thanks to Ashley and all of the EARS volunteers who worked with the dogs over the last few weeks to help them get used to receiving love and a kind, human touch!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From socialization to relocation

The dogs are truly doing so well these days. Even Nosey, the shyest of them all, is out and walking around, visiting the volunteers and his dog friends, and getting brushed and petted. They have all come so far!

This means that things at Camp Reno are moving rapidly from "socialization" to "relocation." Our kennels are emptying as rescue groups arrive to bring our furry friends to their new living situations -- and one step closer to being adopted into loving, permanent homes.

The best news today is that new arrival Eddie and Kumquat are going to the Humane Society of Tahoe-Truckee this afternoon! You all know about Eddie's antics, and Kumquat is a sweet girl who has stolen the hearts of many EARS volunteers and UAN staff members. We're sure they will make wonderful pets for some lucky families very soon. (Eddie is pictured here arriving at Camp Reno after being caught on the Gabbs ranch this weekend. Read more about that in the post below.)

If you or someone you know is interested in adopting Eddie or Kumquat, visit the Humane Society of Tahoe-Truckee Web site at

Tomorrow we are expecting Steve Markwell from Olympic Animal Sanctuary in Washington State to arrive for a few more of the dogs, along with some other groups.

We're also hearing some great news about how the Camp Reno alumni are doing in their new situations. For example, Greg Gibbs and Robin Baizel of The Canine Club of Reno, pictured, picked up Rosie yesterday, and Robin reports that Rosie already "has exceeded my expectations."

This is part of what Robin wrote to UAN's Director of Field Services Shannon Asquith today:

"I don't know how much work was done with her last week... but I was amazed at how her whole demeanor lightened up and she started to offer some playful body language to Chilly [Robin's dog]. She not only allowed me to pet her, but relaxed her whole head into my hands and let me support her and rub her cheeks. She even came to me more than once when I called her over for petting! The volunteers working with her last week did a wonderful job with her. The change from the last time I had seen her at Camp Reno was amazing. Her prognosis is excellent at this point."

We also got a report from EARS Southern California State Coordinator Norma Rodriguez, who visited Allie and Betty (a.k.a., "The Girls") at the Seal Beach Animal Care Center yesterday.

Here is what Norma reported to Shannon:

"Visited our 'girls' this afternoon and am confident they will have 'forever' homes soon. Betty is a changed dog! She was so docile and comfortable. Allie is doing quite well also. She took treats from me and licked my fingers. Still shy about petting. They are going to have some pretty intensive leash training and have a nice, big play yard where I hope they will learn to play fetch. I will visit them at least a couple of times a week and will keep you posted on their progress."

Don't forget, you can find out more about adopting Allie at Betty from Seal Beach Animal Care Center at

Monday, February 18, 2008

Eddie is in the house!

You may remember that when the team originally went to the ranch in Gabbs on January 23, we were unable to catch one dog. Eddie was running loose and eluded us by staying far away while we were on site. He only came to take shelter in the out-buildings when he saw that we were long gone.

Well, Eddie was caught yesterday on the ranch in Gabbs and brought to Camp Reno! According to EARS volunteer Janell Matthies, he is safe and sound and settling in nicely. He ate his dinner and was asleep in his bed when the volunteers left last night.

Pictures and the full story on Eddie's rescue will follow later today. If you or anyone you know is affiliated with a rescue group and is interested in transferring Eddie or any of the other Gabbs dogs to your organization, please e-mail me at

Arnie and Tara transferred to Grateful Dogs Rescue!

Arnie and Tara left for the Bay Area yesterday bound for foster homes with Grateful Dogs Rescue of San Francisco. EARS volunteer Caryn Franson will foster Arnie and Donna Fyfe will foster Tara.

Here you can see Janell Matthies helping to load Arnie, and EARS volunteer Caryn Franson looking on while her husband Paul and Janell load Tara into the back of the SUV for the ride to the Bay Area.

Interested in giving Arnie or Tara a loving, permanent home? Visit Grateful Dogs Rescue to find out more!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Allie, Betty and Red are off to southern California!

Fantastic news from Camp Reno! Allie, Betty and Red left Camp Reno a short time ago for Southern California!

Awesome EARS volunteers Lynn and Al Frischmann answered the call this week when we were looking for volunteers to drive three of our Gabbs dogs to Southern California.

Al is a long-haul trucker by trade and he and Lynn regularly volunteer their time to transport animals throughout California. After Hurricane Katrina, they helped transport animals from Louisiana to as far away as Minnesota. In all, they have transported more than 250 animals. Here, Al is pictured with EARS volunteer Jane Hollingsworth loading the dogs for the ride to Southern California.

Allie and Betty’s destination is Seal Beach Animal Care Center, where they will receive further socialization and eventual adoption. Red will be picked up by his new mom, Lynda Graham. Here are Allie and Betty ("The Girls") all set for their ride to Seal Beach. Good luck girls -- we hope you enjoy the warmth and sunshine of Southern California. You deserve it!

As you can see this photo, Red is a little sad to leave his friends at Camp Reno but soon he will meet his new mom Lynda and start his new life! We'll miss you, Red!

If you're interested in adopting Betty or Allie, or know someone in Southern California who might be, please visit the Seal Beach Animal Care Center for more information.

A big, big EARS thank you to Lynn and Al Frischmann for making this connection a reality!

Meanwhile back at Camp Reno, Lead Volunteer Janell Matthies reported that the dogs had quite a play day! By closing the gates to the outside areas of the kennels, many of the dogs were able to come in and out of their kennels freely to visit with the other dogs and their friends from the ranch. “We were able to tell right away that many of the dogs knew each other and were happy to see each other again.” For example, Apple and Honora wagged their tails and got along like old friends.

The dogs also spent more time on their leashes and out of their kennels with the volunteers.

Two more Camp Reno residents are scheduled to leave tomorrow, bound for the Bay Area. Stay tuned!

And don't forget -- if you or anyone you know in Southern California is interested in adopting Allie or Betty, please visit Seal Beach Animal Care at

Friday, February 15, 2008

An extra-special Valentine’s Day

Posted by UAN Program Coordinator Cristina Stoyle

Yesterday I took a Valentine’s Day trip to Camp Reno to see how the Gabbs dogs were doing. As UAN’s program coordinator, I manage all the logistics for the EARS workshops where we train new volunteers. As a result, I’m very familiar with “how it begins” for our volunteers, but I’ve never participated in a deployment. Having the opportunity to go to Reno and see our wonderful volunteers in action was great because it helped me to “complete the circle” of what it means to be an EARS volunteer.

When I arrived, EARS volunteers Jan Gates and Caryn Franson were already working with the dogs, trying to get them used to leashes—things they never saw before coming to Camp Reno. I was told that a few of the dogs have successfully gone on walks in the past couple of days! I was impressed at this incredible progress, considering how little human contact these dogs received until a very short time ago. Kumquat, pictured here with Jan, tolerated the leash being put on, but was not up to being walked yet, so Jan left the leash on and just comforted Kumquat so she would get used to the sensation of wearing leash on. It’s a slow process, but with time each of the dogs will learn that the leash means a good thing—going outside for a walk!

As Jan and Caryn introduced me to the 26 dogs still in UAN’s care, I was amazed at how well they knew each one, including each of their quirks. But, as I learned by the end of the day, you quickly pick up on each dog’s personality after spending a little quality time with them.

One of my favorite duos was Daisy and Polly. Nervous Daisy would pace around her cage every time someone came near while Polly cautiously watched from the safety of her crate. But as soon as someone came in with food they quickly perked up, as you can see in this picture of the two with Caryn. When I sat with them later, Polly showed me that if I wasn’t quick enough with the treats she was not shy about taking them herself!

Later in the day, Caryn encouraged me to visit a gorgeous yellow dog named Arnie, telling me that if I brought treats he would gently take them from my outstretched hand then move his muzzle up to let me scratch his chin. Needless to say, I quickly fell in love with sweet Arnie as he drifted to sleep while I scratched the scruff of his neck. Don’t tell my resident pup Cooper, but yesterday Arnie was my very special Valentine!

It was a long, but rewarding day, and even after cleaning dishes, I was happy I made my way over the mountains to give a little extra Valentine’s Day love to the Gabbs dogs. Thank you to the volunteers who also spent Valentine’s Day with the dogs: Jan, Caryn, Lloyd Strong, and Jane Hollingsworth (cleaning the dishes with me in the picture). The dedication and hard work of our EARS volunteers never ceases to amaze me, and yesterday was no exception!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day at Camp Reno!

Jack Cumbra, training technician for High Sierra Animal Rescue, arrived today to make Wilma and Melinda Sue his Valentines! Having just met Jack, they were both a little shy and unsure of him. Wilma warmed up with a few pieces of fresh chicken and also let him lead her on the leash for a short bit. Melinda Sue will be getting to know him and other staff and volunteers at High Sierra once she settles in at the shelter in Portola.

Here are Wilma and Melinda Sue with Jack saying goodbye to EARS volunteers Caryn Franson and Jan Gates.

Within a few days, Melinda Sue and Wilma will head to High Sierra Animal Rescue foster homes to continue on their path to becoming more social and adoptable dogs. We wish Wilma and Melinda Sue all the best at High Sierra Animal Rescue and with their new sweetheart, Jack!

If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting Melinda Sue or Wilma, please contact High Sierra Rescue at

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Update on Cutie and more!

Today, we received an update from Janell Matthies, the EARS volunteer who is fostering Cutie, a female black Lab-German shepherd mix for the City of Sacramento Animal Care Services. Janell and Cutie are shown here leaving Camp Reno last Sunday.

Cutie has settled in comfortably on Janell’s screened-in back porch, her new home for now. She is nice and warm with a heater, her cozy bed and stuffed animals. She's very interested in Sam and Hana, Janell’s two dogs, and came right out of her crate to say “Hi!" 

For now, Cutie is mostly content to sit in the corner and watch the family interact. Stay tuned for more on how she is getting to know Sam and Hana and letting them teach her how to be part of the family.

Meanwhile, back at Camp Reno, Kumquat was feeling a bit rambunctious today and decided to slip past our EARS volunteers while they cleaned her kennel. She headed straight for the crate loaded with all of the extra stuffed dog toys. Well, she ended up settling in quite nicely and as you can see, decided she liked the company. We couldn’t resist letting her stay there with all of the cuddly toys for a while!

The best news of the day is that two more rescue groups are scheduled to come to Camp Reno tomorrow to possibly transfer some of our special friends. Check back tomorrow for more details!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Moe and Joe transferred to Pet Network today!

This afternoon our very sweat Lab-Dalmatian mixes, Moe and Joe, were transferred to Pet Network of Incline Village, Nevada. When Susan Paul called me yesterday asking about Joe, I mentioned that he had a buddy Moe, who might be his dad. We had hoped they could go to rescue together. "Of course we’ll take both dogs!” Susan said.

Here are Moe and Joe together with some of their EARS volunteer friends, new friends from Pet Network and Paul Bruce from HSUS.

A big thank you goes out to not only Susan Paul and Pet Network, but also to Karen DeSouza of who helped connect Moe and Joe with their new friends.

Our collaborative effort continues on behalf of the dogs from Gabbs! If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting Moe and Joe, please visit

Stay tuned for more good news from Camp Reno!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big adventures at Camp Reno!

It was a big weekend at Camp Reno with lots of EARS volunteers coming to socialize our very special dogs!

Some of the dogs took trips out of their kennels, taking walks on their leashes and having other adventures. Here, Maggie visits the front office area where Southern California State EARS Coordinator Norma Rodriguez makes a few phone calls. Maggie thought she would sit alongside her and say "Hi," too!

Meanwhile, Wilma is investigating all the bags and cans of donated dog food stored in our make shift front office. “Wow, there is a lot of food here... Take a look Maggie!”

The best news of all this weekend was that both Maggie and Cutie went to their new foster homes!

Maggie is settling in quite nicely on the couch at EARS volunteer Ashley Dunleavy’s house. Ashley is the canine foster coordinator for the Yolo County SPCA in Woodland, California, and will socialize Maggie in her home along with Windy, whom she took home to foster last weekend.

Cutie is being fostered by EARS volunteer and City of Sacramento Animal Care Services volunteer Janell Matthies. A big thank you, not only Ashley and Janell for brining these very special dogs into their homes, but also to the Yolo County SPCA and the City of Sacramento Animal Care Services for supporting Ashley and Janell and helping the dogs from Gabbs.

We have a few more rescue possibilities in the works this morning and hope to have more updates posted very soon!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Best Friends posts article about "Camp Reno"

Today, Best Friends Animal Society, which has also been instrumental in helping the Gabbs dogs, posted a great story on its Best Friends Network about "Camp Reno."

Please check out the article and forward it to your friends!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

EARS volunteers bring experience, kindness, to Camp Reno

Posted by Alexis Raymond, UAN's director of communications. 

As the director of communications at UAN, I'm always looking for a good story. Something that will let you, our supporters, know how much we care about the animals and how hard we work to bring them out of crisis situations.

So today I paid a visit to "Camp Reno" to sniff out the latest news about our 27 canine friends and the wonderful Emergency Animal rescue Service (EARS) volunteers who are helping them get used to human companionship -- something they didn't experience during all their long years in the Nevada desert.

The first thing you have to understand about the shelter we are operating for the dogs from Gabbs is that it isn't like most animal shelters you've been in. It is very quiet. The dogs don't bark much. They don't need to be walked, taken out for a game of fetch, or taught how to "sit" and "stay." They simply need to learn to trust humans, and to get comfortable being around us. 

But that doesn't mean the job is any easier for our EARS volunteers. In fact, it requires lots of patience, kindness and compassion. We are lucky to have an amazing team of volunteers working with the dogs right now. 

Deb Anderson is from San Jose, California, and this is her first EARS response. She has been spending a lot of time getting the dogs comfortable taking treats from her hand. As you can see from the video below, she has had great success with the dogs everyone calls "The Girls."

Lynn Frishmann of Los Gatos, California, is a veteran EARS volunteer who has deployed three times is the last 2 1/2 years alone. She has really taken to Race, a handsome boy who likes to eat peanut butter off her finger. In this picture, you can see Lynn and Race enjoying the sunshine in the outside portion of his run. 

Colleen Hemingway is another experienced EARS volunteer who lives about an hour from Reno. She was at Camp Reno last weekend, but she missed the dogs so much she came for a short visit this afternoon. Here she is sitting with pretty Kumquat, who was very receptive to Colleen's gentle petting and conversation today.

I didn't get a photo of Susan McLaughlin, but she is a veteran EARS volunteer from Sacramento who is spending the week here at Camp Reno. Susan told me she likes learning the techniques for socializing extremely shy dogs. 

Our EARS team has been at Camp Reno for two weeks, and now we are starting to plan for when we're scheduled to close the shelter down on February 20. Some dogs, like Maggie (seen here sampling the treats I brought from Sacramento) are growing more comfortable and confident every day and will be ready for adoption soon. But others will probably need more time in foster homes where they can continue getting one-on-one attention from experienced and patient dog handlers. 

Right now we are looking for established rescue organizations that could take a few dogs and place them in their foster care systems. If you represent such an organization, please contact Shannon Asquith, director of field services, at (916) 216-3677.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Windy leaves “Camp Reno” for Yolo County SPCA!

Yesterday our shy, but sweet Windy previously known as Wind Talker, left Camp Reno with Ashley Dunleavy, trained EARS volunteer and canine foster home coordinator for the Yolo County SPCA in Woodland, California. Ashley just spent three days volunteering here at Camp Reno and really fell for Windy. “She was one of the dogs who was more timid and would hide in the back of the kennel," she said. Ashley will foster Windy until she is ready to be adopted into a forever home.

Last night, Ashley called and said that Windy had settled in and was comfortable being in her home and around her resident dog. She hid under the coffee table for a while, but after Ashley left the room, Windy ate not only the canned food she had left out, but two bowls of dry food as well! Then she settled into her crate and fell fast asleep. Ashley plans to keep us posted on Windy’s progress, including when she finds her new forever home!

Meanwhile back at Camp Reno, EARS volunteers are continuing to work with our current residents. Deb Anderson, an EARS volunteer from Cupertino, is seen here with Wilma sporting the latest in EARS “camo-wear." Available at most military surplus stores, “camo” is a great addition to our official EARS t-shirts and as Deb reports, “with all the pockets, is quite functional."

Sunday, February 3, 2008

"Chicken Soup for the Moe"

When EARS Southern California State Coordinator Norma Rodriguez arrived at “Camp Reno” a few days ago she noticed that Moe, a male Dalmatian and Pointer mix, was not eating much. We explained that he had not been feeling well and that Dr. Landon of the Nevada Humane Society had given him a prescription of antibiotics for a possible infection. He was perking up some, but still not eating very much.

But Norma knew just the thing to help his appetite. “Chicken soup,” she said. “Chicken soup?" I asked skeptically. “Yup, he needs chicken soup.” So off we went to the store for low-sodium chicken soup for Moe.

Well, Norma was right; it was just what he needed. The next day she reported that he had eaten all of his chicken soup and was on to pieces of cooked chicken and even some dog food. Here he is taking some cooked chicken from the hand of EARS volunteer Becky Correia. EARS volunteers are reporting that Moe’s appetite is really starting to come back and he is eating double portions of dog food in the morning and afternoon.

Good for Moe!

Meanwhile, Felix is still trying to figure out how to use his new bed. He isn’t quite sure which end goes in first. Itzy on the other had has taken to it quite nicely!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Residents of Camp Reno receive "TTouch" therapy!

Melissa Hardy, Reno resident and TTouch Practitioner of 15 years began volunteering at Camp Reno yesterday, using her skills to help the residents to feel better and become more social. TTouch is a method based on circular movements of the fingers and hands all over the body. Using a combination of specific touches, lifts and movement exercises, TTouch helps to release tension and increase body awareness. This allows animals be handled without provoking typical fear responses.

Melissa first heard about the Gabbs dogs while attending a TTouch workshop at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary last fall. She's been following the story ever since and is excited about applying her skills to help the needy dogs. Melissa will also be teaching other EARS volunteers some basics of TTouch to apply to the dogs. Take a look at Wilma receiving her first TTouch session! More information about TTouch can be found at

Meanwhile, when Linda Bailey, niece of the owner of the dogs came to the shelter yesterday to visit them, she noticed Edgar -- a raven with an unrepairable broken wing who had been my buddy in the makeshift EARS office since we arrived. Nevada Humane had been looking for a rescue or sanctuary for Edgar, but had been unsuccessful until now. It turns out that Linda volunteers with Eastern Sierra Wildlife Rescue in Bishop. She called the center and received approval to transport Edgar there, where he will reside with other rescued ravens.

What small circles we all move in! If it weren’t for the dogs from Gabbs, Linda would not have had a reason to be at Nevada Humane ... and Edgar would never have found his way to Eastern Sierra Wildlife Rescue. Best of luck to my buddy Edgar!