Reservation dogs in N.M. get a helping hand
Dogs can have it rough on Indian reservations, but two women — former co-workers now living 90 miles apart — are doing their best to rescue those in need and find them new homes.
Mary Williams, a clinical nurse at the Crownpoint Health Care Facility in Crownpoint, N.M., has been rescuing dogs from the Navajo reservation for more than three years.
And Luisa Alvarez, a former co-worker of Williams is now operating a similar dog Rescue in Fort Defiance, Ariz., where she started taking in strays not long after moving there.
Both find homes for those dogs they can, and take the others to no-kill shelters in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., and Boulder, Colo.
Between them, the two women have saved more than a thousand dogs and cats, according to an article on Reznet, a Native American news website.
Last year Navajo Nation Animal Control responded to 286 dog attacks and impounded more than 6,000 animals, including cats, said Olin Arviso, animal control manager at Fort Defiance, Ariz. The shelter euthanizes about 80 percent of the animals, according to the article, which noted dogs are far from pampered on the reservation.
“They’re not companions or friends, they’re expected to protect,” said an instructor from the Navajo Technical College. “The dog doesn’t really have any significance. In the Navajo way, a dog is not allowed in the hogan — inside the living quarters.”
On the reservation, dogs are often abandoned in the wilderness, drowned, or left on the highway. Many just roam, attached to no particular owner.
“I believe that every soul … deserves a chance at a good life,” Alvarez said. “There is no reason for the suffering that we see surrounding us.”
(Photo courtesy of RezNet, a project of the University of Montana School of Journalism; by Andi Murphy, a Navajo journalism student at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, serving this summer as editor of the Crownpoint Baahane’, a community newsletter in Crownpoint, N.M.)
Posted by John Woestendiek July 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, andi murphy, animal control, crownpoint, cruelty, culture, dog, dogs, indian, mary williams, native american, navajo, neglect, new mexico, no-kill shelters, reservation, rez, stray, strays