Caring for Our Four-Legged Friends

October 4 was World Animal Day, which prompted us to reflect on the animals we care for with our reservation partners. For centuries, dogs have played an important role within many Native American cultures. Their responsibilities included hunting, guarding, even pulling travois (sleds) and these valued animals were an integral member of the tribe.

Caring for Our Four-Leggeds - puppyToday, Native American people continue to love and value their dogs and cats as much as you do. However, many tribal communities often lack the resources needed to manage the overpopulation of stray dogs and cats and care for orphaned animals on the reservation. According to one estimate, the Navajo Nation alone has as many as 6,000 stray dogs and cats roaming their tribal lands, and other reservations face a similar challenge.

Many animal welfare donors, such as Phyllis Deal of New Jersey, feel a strong connection to the animals themselves. “I love animals, and it was difficult to see miles and miles of nothing on the Navajo Reservation, and then to see the animals living in conditions that just break your heart,” says Phyllis. “They need us. They cannot create better situations for themselves. So it’s important that we do what we can to help.”

PWNA partner McKinley Gallup Humane Society & MAC rescue/rehab animals in need

PWNA partner McKinley Gallup Humane Society & MAC rescue/rehab animals in need

Ensuring the well-being of animals not only protects the animal itself—it supports healthy, safe communities as well. That is why Partnership With Native Americans actively works with animal caregivers on the reservations, providing food, leashes, collars and bowls to address the immediate needs of overpopulation and strays. We also help fund mobile spay and neuter clinics, essential vaccinations, rehabilitation of orphaned animals, all to support placement of animals into foster care or adoption into loving, forever homes—where they belong!

“As a child, I had a puppy, and animals just have to be in my life. Animals make life better for everyone,” says donor Joyce Dobbert. “I support PWNA’s reservation animal rescue program because they relieve the suffering of animals, plain and simple.” Through our 25-years of continuous service, PWNA is proud to have supported the rescue, rehabilitation and placement of 182,000 animals in foster or forever homes.

If you are like Phyllis and Joyce and feel a similar connection to the work we’re doing with animals, we encourage you to participate in our 100-day supply drive before November 6, 2015. Collars and leashes are the most critical items needed at this time to further #NativePartnerHope.

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  1. Stacey E.
    Posted October 20, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been through the reservations across Arizona and across New Mexico and the dogs are just wandering close to major highways and just wandering in general. The tribe that lives in [one] casino area leave their dogs to wander in the snow out by a major highway. We were eating at the casino on Christmas and about 4 dogs ran past the window we were sitting near. It’s upsetting that there’s such a lack of regard for their lives. I drove past one house with a dog laying in the yard and about 8 hours later passed the same yard and the dog hadn’t moved. He was clearly dead. Caring for an animal means not putting it in constant danger. I drove through the reservation last night and there were dogs wandering the streets and two puppies standing in the middle of a fairly busy road. I don’t care how poor a person is, if they can’t afford proper care, don’t make an animal live with you.
    If you can afford to buy useless things for you and your kids, you can afford the relatively low cost it takes to get a dog fixed.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      Stacey, you seem to animals you’ve seen roaming the reservation are pets. Most likely, they are strays. That’s the point. There are so many stray animals in some reservation communities that it’s a real concern for the animals as well as humans. These animals are often diseased, injured, or rabid and, while they need help, they also represent a health risk to humans. Many reservation famliies are unequipped to deal with this. Typically, families are living with multiple generations in overcrowded, substandard housing. One in four families is struggling with food insecurity, nearly one in two Native American children are living in poverty. and unemployment ranges from 35% to 85%. There’s a lack of available jobs and even among those employed, 29% still fall below poverty level. It would be a luxury for any family living under these conditions to take in these animals or pay for veterinary care. It does not mean they don’t care. In addition, and animal medical care on the reservations is sparse, sometimes hours away. PWNA is supporting animal welfare groups on the reservations because it’s the best way to ensure that one by one these animal are being rescued, rehabilitated, spay/neutered and placed in foster care or forever homes.

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