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.

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