|Blackhat Humane Society||
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Kira's journey to her forever home was a long one both physically and metaphorically.
In early June, our president, Chris was coming home from a transport when, high in the Chuska Mountains, she saw a dead dog lying next to a discarded bag of trash.
Dead animals aren't an uncommon sight on the roadways of the reservation. She kept driving.
But something about the situation made her turn around. As she approached the dog, a chihuahua mix, her little head poked up. Chrus had hoped to thin out her foster population with the day's transport, but she was not about to leave the little dog there, miles from the nearest house. She was sure coyote bait.
So it was back to Gallup for our diminutive heroine. But not for long. Sarah, a foster volunteer in Boulder, Colorado, offered to foster her. It was back north for Kita, first to Chinle and then Durango, where Sarah and her boyfriend Chris picked her up.
After a month or so, Sarah and Chris got a call on Kita. It sounded like a great home ... except it was all the way in Minnesota!
Kita got lucky again. The adopter, Sue, had a friend who is a social worker on the Jicarilla Apache reservation, and she was headed home to Minnesota for the summer. Back to Durango went little Kita, to spend the next few weeks with Blackhat volunteer Eric Swanson to await her ride.
July 28 was the fateful day. Eric handed the confused but good-natured pooch to transporter Cheryl. After an overnight at a motel in Denver, it was straight through Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota to Kita's new home in Twin Valley, Minnesota with Sue and her teenage daughter.
The duo is delighted with their new pet, who they report already knows "sit" and "shake hands." Cheryl reports she was an awesome traveler.
As fantastic as Kita's journey has been so far, we predict the best is yet to come!
It was cold. Really, really cold. A night in January-bound to be freezing. I had been making one of my runs to Gallup from Chinle for groceries, civilization, and the such. I ran into McDonalds before I lost my signal while I was speaking to my mom on the phone. My SUV was full of groceries, animal food, and other stuff I would need for the next two weeks. And there she was with another dog, bullying her in the parking lot. This just could not be. I was not worried for him. She just pulled my heartstrings for some reason. After seven months on the Rez, I had become somewhat hardened to the plight of the animals. She just for some reason spoke to me. I texted Cindy from Blackhat. I didn’t know what to do. I was determined to corral this little girl. She had an old but puppy look at the same time. I just couldn't decide if she was pregnant or aged. Truly, I was puzzled. Whatever, she was not staying. I shooed off the aggressive male. Finally, I removed my belt. And lassoed her rather clumsily with Cheez-its for bait. Many cheez-it. Ok. Many, many, cheez-it. When I got her in my vehicle, she curled up around my neck, and I resembled Igor from Young Frankenstein. I finally peeled her from me and she went among the groceries and settled for the ride.
When I got her back to teacher housing, she darted under my porch and stayed there for a day. She was not at all happy with my Golden Retriever, Rory. Day #2. I dragged her into the house into the crate provided by Blackhat. She went in and out once and decided that this inside living was pretty nice. After that, she became “Sunshine” after the cracker company. Sleeping on he furniture became second nature. Sleeping under the porch became passé. We discovered when having her spaying and health check that she had survived distemper. She was not pregnant, but infested with worms. She became much thinner after worming, but her teeth were not great.
Sunshine was good to go for an adoption event after this. A totally sweet dog. Walked on a leash. Great with cats and dogs. We went to Flagstaff. No takers. Back home. After that, I left the Rez for Texas, and was able to take Sunshine with me along with my kitty rescue Suki, and Rory. She is loving grass, runs on 5 acres daily and plays with 3 dogs and many cats every day. She is a healer through and through. If there is an animal to be herded, she will herd. I had never had a better dog. Just don’t tell Rory.
Nuzzles & Co., a wonderful rescue in Park City, Utah, has become a great resource for our rez dogs, largely thanks to the Navajo on their staff, Darrell McCurtain.
They have taken five or six animals from us before, but July 11, a whopping 51 animals — dogs, cats, puppies and kittens — were transported from the reservation to Nuzzles' gorgeous rescue ranch. Sixteen of those were Blackhat animals!
Funded by a private donor, the Nuzzles vans, full of crates and caring volunteers, motored into Kayenta on July 10 and stayed overnight. The next day, Maggie and Chris met them with our pets, and the Kayenta Animal Shelter loaded up the rest of the van space! As of mid-July, the animals were being vetted up and readied for the adoption floor, having left the triple-digit desert heat for the cool confines of a Utah ski town!
Noted Nuzzles volunteer (and Blackhat adopter) Tara Moreland of Salt Lake City on her Facebook page: "Rescue is so hard, but so worth it! This trip was full of such sadness (injured dogs, hungry and homeless dogs, homeless horses, dying baby birds, the death of a puppy we were desperately trying to save) but full of such highs too (people coming together to save 51!!!! animals from a very uncertain future on the reservation."
This was quite possibly the biggest transport of reservation animals ever, and the great thing about Nuzzles is they understand that some of our animals, despite our best efforts, are going to have parasites and medical issues that need treating. They are also one of the very few rescues we work with that takes adult animals.
We are hoping to continue to work with Nuzzles in the future, and you can help by donating for a future reservation transport! Check them out at Nuzzlesandco.org.
It was a first for Blackhat ... an airlift of four puppies and one adult dog to the prestigious Aspen Animal Shelter, courtesy of our friends at Telluride Animal Foundation!
Josh, Katja and volunteer Maureen touched down at the Chinle air strip on July 8, where they were met by the pups and their foster families.
A couple of hours over beautiful red rock and breathtaking mountains, and the dogs were in the cool of Aspen. The four pups were adopted almost immediately and the adult is still waiting for his forever home.
"Working together really kicks butt and helps so many more animals," posted Telluride Animal Foundation on its Facebook page. We couldn't agree more.
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Navajo hosted its first ever pet carnival on June 13th, including contests and a cake walk-like "pet walk" for pets and their people. Prizes for the cutest and most obedient pets were handed out, as well as information about being a responsible pet owner.
The goal of the event, according to organizer Prestene Garnenez, was to celebrate the many positive aspects of pet ownership and to help community members understand the need to license and care for their pets according to local laws. Navajo Nation Animal Control officers participated in the day to help deliver the messages.
About 40 people attended the carnival and 10 four legged critters. Everyone enjoyed being active and seeing the animals have fun and interact with each other instead of being tied up. Organizations and individuals supported the event with donations of food, toys and other supplies.
Although the turnout was modest, Garnenez felt it was good for the community. The member of the Red Lake-Navajo Community Action Group explained that the organization's mission is to make the area a better place to live--for people AND pets.
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