Desert Animal Companions is a resource for information about individuals and groups working in partnership to better the lives of people and companion animals on the Navajo Reservation.
The primary purpose of this site is to raise awareness, connect people who wish to contribute with people providing services, assist networking and partnership among concerned individuals and groups, and ultimately to relieve the suffering and misery of companion animals living on the Navajo Reservation.
Companion animal overpopulation and the inability to pay for veterinary services is a huge problem on the Navajo Reservation. The Navajo Nation, encompassing 26,000
square miles in three states (Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah), is home to an estimated 160,000 stray dogs and cats. The sheer expanse of the Nation presents a challenge in terms of providing services to tribal members, and animal problems on the Nation are growing.
[ Updated August 30, 2013 ]
- Another rescue group working to help animals on the Navajo Nation and adjacent areas is Good Dog Rez-Q. The group is made up of many long-time rescuers, and they could use your support.
- Update on the Navajo Nation Veterinary & Livestock Program: Article in Navajo Times, Veterinary Program Moves into New Digs, schedule of summer 2013 spay/neuter and low-cost vaccines program, and schedule of Navajo Nation Animal Control "surrender" program. Here is more information about the Task Force working to address the rise of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever on the Navajo Nation.
- Spring, 2013: Find free or low-cost spay/neuter services: check the Soul Dog Rescue schedule and also, in Tuba City, check with Dr. Carol Holgate, who with Tuba City Humane Society who has some grant funding, will be providing $45. spay/neuters until the grant funding runs out. Also, Navajo Nation Veterinary and Livestock Program acquired a spay/neuter van, in an attempt to eliminate or reduce Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and they are planning to be in these locations.
- Tuba City Humane Society and Dr. Carol Holgate, veterinarian in Tuba City, AZ, are trying to raise funds to help pay for extra veterinary expenses on some rescued dogs being treated for parvo, mange, and canine transmissable venereal tumor. You can see photos of these dogs, find out more, and click on the chip-in on the Tuba City Humane Society web site. Thank you for caring about rez dogs!
- Read an update from Tuba City Humane Society, with photos, and a link to an article on Best Friends Animal Society web site about the work that Tuba City Humane Society is doing on the Navajo Nation.
- Dr. Holgate, a veterinarian from Tuba City, AZ, will be providing mobile subsidized low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics in Kayenta this fall, starting on Tuesday, September 11. Download the flyer.
- Tuba City Humane Society participated with Best Friends Animal Society in receiving a HUGE donation of dog, cat, and puppy food from the Blue Buffalo Co., which was distributed to humane societies and rescues across the Navajo Nation and northern Arizona! See photos and find out more here.
- University of Georgia Christian Veterinary Fellowship is providing discounted veterinary services in Window Rock including $25. spay/neuter surgeries for cats and dogs, July 27 - August 2, 2012. Appointments are needed. Contact Kendra Wapaha at (928) 871-6615. Download the flyer.
- Best Friends Animal Society is subsidizing low-cost spay/neuter services for animals of residents of The Gap, an area on the northwestern Navajo Nation. The services are delivered through the Tuba City Humane Society, with veterinary services by Dr. Carol Holgate in Tuba City, AZ. Download the flyer here.
- Spay/Neuter clinic in Chinle on June 23-24, sponsored by Soul Dog Rescue, $5 minimum donation. Starts at 8 a.m. at the Chinle High A/B Building (across parking lot from Aquatic Center). No food or water for 8 hours before the clinic. Email your name and phone number along with name, approximate age,
weight and breed of dog or cat to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Navajo Nation has issued a proclamation of Animal Control Measures in conjunction with education regarding Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever prevention, and the Navajo Nation Veterinary and Livestock Program has issued the schedule for tick dipping and low cost vaccinations and deworming. Please help spread the word.
- There is a rising prevalence of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) in people in Arizona. RMSF can be carried by the Brown Dog Tick, which rez dog strays may carry. It is so very important to use flea and tick prevention on dogs that are your own or those you rescue, be aware of ticks and keeping them off of you and your family members and pets, become familiar with early symptoms of RMSF, and tips about the safest methods of removing ticks. Find out more info here and at the Arizona Department of Health Services, including statistics by county, and another good article here. Dr. Carol Holgate is promoting a "Massive Tick Attack" day dedicated to flea prevention and tick dips in Tuba City on May 19 from 9-5 at the empty lot south of Louise Yellowman's Park, and the NNVLP generally also offers tick dips in many of the Navajo Nation housing areas. Monthly flea and tick prevention is also crucial over the summer months.
- Crownpoint Mutt Show takes place at the OLD Crownpoint Community School Housing on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. Download the flier. See photos from a previous year on the Blackhat Humane Society web site.
- Dr. Carol Holgate, of Tuba City, AZ, will be offering subsidized spay/neuter and vaccination clinics in Shiprock on April 7 and 21, and in Kayenta on April 17, May 1 and May 15, 2012. Download a flier for Kayenta clinics. Call her at (928) 283-6184 for a surgery appointment.
- Soul Dog Rescue is going to be sponsoring some spay/neuter clinics on or near the eastern Navajo Nation:
March 9, 10, 11 - Shiprock and Towaoc
May 4, 5, 6 - Shiprock and Towaoc
May 19 & 20 - Towaoc
June 22, 23 & 24 - Crownpoint and Chinle
Find out more at their web site or on their Facebook page.
- Western States No-Kill Conference in Albuquerque, NM, on March 24, 2012. Find out more info here.
- An article on the Navajo Nation Puppy Program was published in the Navajo Times on February 16, 2012. See it online here.
- Thank you to the Colorado Animal Welfare League (CAWL) for providing a high-volume, high-quality spay/neuter mash style clinic in Chinle, November 19-20, 2011!
160 animals received services on that weekend. Find out more about the very imporant and needed services and education that CAWL is bringing to several communities including Shiprock and Chinle by reading this article on the CAWL web site. Here is another article from the ASPCA web site about the same program. Thank you veterinarians, donors, and volunteers!
- Here is Dr. Holgate's schedule for subsidized spay/neuter and vaccination clinics taking place in Kayenta this fall.
- There are a number of places where veterinary care for animals is available in 2011. Here are some:
Dr. Carol Holgate
Desert View Veterinary Clinic
web site: http://desertviewmobileveterinaryclinic.vpweb.com
Dr. Adrienne Ruby
Pinon, Dilkon, Tuba City, Kayenta
find out more on Dr. Ruby's Facebook page, where she usually posts her calendar/schedule.
Follow Blackhat Humane on Facebook to get updates of current clinics.
Follow Navajo Nation Puppy Program on Facebook, to find out more about outreach and puppy foster programs.
- Photographer Stephen Sable is showing a series of his photographs entitled Rez Dog Biographies at the new Kayenta Animal Care Center building in September. Volunteers from Blackhat Humane will also be on hand. This event takes place in conjunction with the Monument Valley Film, Blues and Arts Festival. Find out more about this event on the Kayenta Township blog.
- Dr. Carol Holgate, a Navajo veterinarian from Tuba City, AZ, will be providing a series of low-cost mobile veterinary clinics in Kayenta in September and October, 2010. Download the flyer for more information.
- There is some fine rescue, fostering, and humane education happening in Monument Valley. They have managed to also have one vaccination and spay/neuter clinic. Find out more at their Facebook page: Monument Valley Rescues.
- Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, UT, in collaboration with the Bodaway-Gap Chapter, and the Navajo Nation, provided an annual free spay/neuter/vaccination clinic at the chapter house, using volunteer veterinarians and technicians. Read an article written by Cindy Yurth, published in the Navajo Times on July 8, 2010.
- Dr. Carol Holgate, a Navajo veterinarian from Tuba City, AZ, will be providing a series of low-cost mobile veterinary spay/neuter and vaccination clinics in Kayenta in Spring, 2010. Dr. Holgate will also be providing clinics in Shiprock on May 1, June 5, and June 19, 2010. See the Kayenta clinics flyer for Dr. Holgate's contact information.
- Come to the Rez Dog Rendezvous, a evening of good food and music, in support of Blackhat Humane, taking place in Chambers, AZ, on April 24, 2010. Download the flyer here.
- Come to the Crownpoint All-Mutt Dog Show in Crownpoint on April 17th. Download the flyer here.
- Read an article on Reznet about two committed rescuers in Crownpoint and Fort Defiance, and how they are helping animals in their communities.
- Read an article in the Gallup Independent about the Crownpoint All-Mutt Dog Show, which took place on Saturday, April 18, 2009. This community event is the brainchild of Mary Vitt, an audiologist and photographer who also fosters for Blackhat Humane, and has lived in Crownpoint for eight years.
- Dr. Carol Holgate, a Navajo veterinarian from Tuba City, AZ, will be providing a series of five mobile veterinary clinics in Kayenta in spring, 2009, with subsidized low-cost spay/neuter and vaccinations for dogs and cats. Find out more info an download the flyer here.
- In 2005, Dina Huntinghorse created a film called Rez Dogs, about the situation of the stray dogs on the Navajo Nation. You can view it online here.
- See the progress report on subsidized low-cost spay/neuter services delivered to Kayenta in 2008 by Dr. Carol Holgate, Tuba City veterinarian, and subsidized by the Pegasus Foundation, Foundation for Protection of Animals, Best Friends Animal Society, and Hampton Inn and Burger King of Kayenta. Find out more here.
- Join us at a fundraising event to benefit Blackhat Humane Society, on Saturday, September 27, 2008, from 6-9 p.m., at Iggy's in St. Johns, AZ. Find out more here.
- Subsidized low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics for dogs and cats with services provided by Dr. Holgate, a Navajo veterinarian from Tuba City, AZ, will be taking place in fall, 2008, in Kayenta. Find out more info and download the flyer here. The clinics are being subsidized by the Pegasus Foundation, local businesses of the Hampton Inn and Burger King of Kayenta, the Foundation for Protection of Animals (Durango, CO), and Best Friends Animal Society (Kanab, UT).
- Dr. Holgate, a Navajo veterinarian from Tuba City, AZ, will be providing a series of six mobile veterinary clinics in Kayenta this spring, including subsidized spay/neuter and vaccinations for dogs and cats. Find out more info and download the flyer here. The clinics are being subsidized by the Pegasus Foundation and local businesses of the Hampton Inn and Burger King of Kayenta.
- Latest news from Fredonia Humane Society and the Gap project. Support the Arizona Gap Spay/Neuter Project. Send a check through the mail to: Fredonia Humane Society, P.O. Box 1238, Fredonia, AZ 86022.
- Plateauland Mobile Veterinary Services has resumed bringing low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination services in their mobile unit to places on the Navajo Nation. Here is Plateauland's current fee schedule. Here is the calendar of where they will be providing services. Plateauland is a part of the Second Chance Center for Animals, located in Flagstaff, AZ.
- Support Fredonia Humane, in Fredonia, AZ, which is rescuing strays from the Gap, a remote part of the western Navajo Nation, near Page, AZ. National Geographic, while visiting Best Friends to film some segments on Dogtown, filmed at the Gap dumpsters. You can see these segments on National Geographic channel in January, 2008.
- Support Blackhat Humane, which has foster homes all over the eastern side of the Navajo Nation in many towns, where fosters rescue strays. Rescued dogs then get veterinary care, are socialized to living in a family, and then put up for adoption through petfinder. You can find out more about Blackhat Humane here.
- Cindy Yurth has written a series of articles, published in the Navajo Times, about the stray dogs on the Navajo Nation. Read the first story, Rez littered with stray dogs, published August 9, 2007, here. Read part two, The lucky ones, published August 16, 2007, here.
- Tom and Lori Corrigan, of Fredonia Humane, a small animal control shelter located in Fredonia, AZ, in a partnership with Best Friends, is helping a remote corner of the Navajo Nation located between Tuba City and Page, known as The Gap. They are bringing spay/neuter and veterinary services, along with food, and relocation for some lucky animals, and much needed help for their families. You can read about it here.
- 13 years of mobile free spay/neuter services on the Navajo Nation were provided by the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP), based in Houston, TX. In June, 2005, because of disagreements between tribal officers and SNAP founder Sean Hawkins, very important collaborative efforts collapsed, and Sean Hawkins left SNAP. Animal News reported on the situation here.
Even with their season cut short in 2005, SNAP still provided free spay/neuter services to 350 animals in Kayenta, 100 in Tuba City, and several other towns on the Navajo Nation. We thank them for their efforts!
- An article about stray dogs and overpopulation on the Navajo Nation was published in the Farmington Daily Times on August 1, 2005. Stacey Daw, Navajo Nation Animal Control officer of Shiprock, is interviewed in the article and Sharon Morgan of Desert Dawg Rescue. You can read it online here. (requires Adobe Reader)
- An article about dog overpopulation on Arizona reservations was written by Debra White and Dina Huntinghorse and published in the June 30, 2005, issue of Indian Country Today. You can read it online here.
- Experiences with rez dogs can change your life. Frank DiGianni wrote a wonderful piece about his experience, entitled "Eulogy for My Dog," which was published on the usadeepsouth.com web site. You can read it online here.
- Here's a report on accomplishments from the May 2-6 Spay/Neuter Partnership week in Tuba City, AZ.
- Best Friends No More Homeless Pets has an article on Dr. Carol Holgate, a wonderful vet who works with Plateauland Mobile Veterinary Clinic, the Northern Arizona Second Chance Center, and Dr. Holgate also has her own practice in Tuba City, AZ.
- A map of the Navajo Nation Chapters has also been added to the Background section.
- Free Spay/Neuter services were provided in Tuba City by Plateauland and SNAP during the week of May 2-6 at the Tuba City Chapter House parking lot. Best Friends Animal Society also participated in this "superclinic" by bringing an animal behaviorist and offering free collars and pet i.d. tags on May 3-5. The Northern Arizona Second Chance Center for Animals provided humane education in the schools the previous week. All services were coordinated through the Navajo Nation Veterinary & Livestock Program, and many member groups and volunteers participated in this effort. See the flyer here.
- Save Our Strays (SOS) of Chinle is trying to make a difference in their community by holding free vaccinations clinics. Read the Gallup Independent article from April 14th. Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. recently issued a proclamation in support of Animal Control. Read the Gallup Independent article published on March 17th.
- Kayenta Animal Control & Shelter (KACS) now has it's own web site. KACS is hosting free spay/neuter clinics with services provided by SNAP in spring and summer 2005.
- Northern Arizona Second Chance Center for Animals had it's grand opening on October 30, 2004, which was attended by about 500 people. The center is now open for business and is placing animals for adoption. Please volunteer and support the center, which has the possibility of making an important difference in the lives of animals in the region.
- Tova Salabye, Navajo Nation Puppy Program Coordinator and SNAP Outreach Coordinator, and Cathie Myers, Best Friends Animal Society Humane Education Director, and Sherry Woodard, Best Friends Animal Care Consultant, will be sharing humane education information and materials at a booth at the 58th Annual Navajo Nation Fair in Window Rock, on Kid's Day, September 9, 2004. There will be materials for children and for teachers. Look for the booth outside near the horseshoe arena. Please stop by. See you at the Fair!
- Spay/Neuter Partnership held a collaborative event in Kayenta, AZ, July 12 - 16 focusing on healthy animals, healthy families, healthy communities. There was a great response from the community in Kayenta. Here is more information on how the week went, with accompanying photos. Following the services week, there were more activities in Kayenta, including a collaboration between the humane groups and Navajo Nation Animal Control, that allowed animals from a roundup that were not reclaimed by their owners to be rescued and transferred to other shelters and rescue groups. Read that story (with photos of many of the animals) here. Best Friends also published a feature article on their web site about the collaboration and rescue.
- Article in the May 20 issue of the Navajo Times about the second go-round of West Nile Virus vaccination clinics for horses scheduled in many chapters of Navajoland.
- Spay/Neuter Partnership in Shiprock, NM, May 3 -7, received a great response from the Shiprock community. 1500 elementary and middle school students heard humane education presentations. Arizona Humane Society, SNAP, and Plateauland provided mobile spay/neuter services, and together provided a total of 265 free spay/neuters. Inexpensive vaccination packages were offered, and a whopping total of 905 vaccinations were given, along with a lot of deworming. Over 500 free collars and 270 free tags were distributed. Best Friends Animal Society and PetSmart donated the collars and Best Friends provided the tag machine and the free tags. Participating groups include Navajo Nation Veterinary & Livestock Program, Arizona Humane Society, Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP), and Plateauland. Many volunteers also contributed their time and energy. A big thank you to all of the participants. The goal of all of these services is to provide education and health services in support of healthy animals, healthy families, and healthy communities. View photos from Shiprock.
Here are the groups and individuals working to better the lives and conditions of companion animals on the Navajo Nation.
These groups provide a wide array of services from free or low cost spay/neuter programs, to vaccinations, animal rescue, humane education, and other animal welfare services.
Here is a brief description, meant to serve as an introduction, with links to more in depth information for each group.
Navajo Nation Veterinary & Livestock Program
All agencies are currently coordinating their services through the Navajo Nation Veterinary Program, based in Window Rock, Arizona, and program manager Glenda Davis. The Major services of the NNVLP are:
Navajo Nation Animal Control
- Low cost comprehensive veterinary services
- Free spay and neuter services
- Puppy Adoption Program
- Livestock and herd treatments
- 007 Second chance/Hard luck cases
More information about NNVLP's mission, goals and objectives is available here.
The Navajo Nation is a sovereign nation. All groups working to help the animals must respect and follow the Navajo Nation Animal Control regulations regarding companion animals. You can view the regulations here: Navajo Nation Animal Control Laws (requires Acrobat)
Plateauland Mobile Veterinary Clinic
Plateauland Veterinary Clinic's mission is to reduce the
overpopulation and improve the health of companion
animals by offering low-cost spay/neuter surgeries,
vaccinations and general health care primarily at the
Hopi, Western Navajo, Apache and Yavapai
Reservations, as well as off Reservation sites
throughout Northern Arizona. Please go directly to their very informative website.
Northern Arizona Second Chance Center for Animals
The Northern Arizona Second Chance Center for Animals is dedicated to alleviating companion animal suffering on Native American Reservations and other rural communities in Northern Arizona by providing humane education, low cost spay/neuter surgeries, basic medical care, temporary shelter and adoption services.
Robert T. Wilson Foundation
The Robert T. Wilson Foundation, founded in the 1950's, is a small, private tax-exempt foundation headquartered in Flagstaff, Arizona. During the past six years, the foundation has been involved in helping to develop solutions to the companion animal overpopulation crisis resulting in poor health on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations.
In October 1995, the Foundation put into operation
Plateauland Veterinary Clinic, a mobile low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinic to address these issues on the Western Navajo and Hopi Reservations in Northern Arizona. It is the Clinic's goal to continue to provide this quality, low-cost service to areas it currently services and to expand to other reservations and areas throughout Arizona, while simultaneously
educating the public, particularly children, about the responsibilities of pet ownership and the fundamentals of humane animal care and treatment.
Kayenta Animal Control & Shelter
Frank Ramsey of Kayenta in conjunction with the Kayenta Township is hoping to open an animal shelter in Kayenta. Humane education, spay/neuter programs, dissemination of low-cost vaccinations, as well as adoptions and rescue and transfer to other humane organizations are the focus while moving towards having a shelter. See their website.
SNAP Spay/Neuter Assistance
The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program exists to stop the destruction of healthy dogs and cats in animal shelters resulting from overpopulation. SNAP provides free and low cost spaying, neutering, and veterinary care, currently operating clinics in Houston and San Antonio, Texas. SNAP also runs a mobile clinic program on Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo tribal lands, and in Hampton Roads, Virginia, and Monterrey, Mexico. After 13 years of providing free mobile spay/neuter services on the Navajo Nation, SNAP is no longer working on the Navajo Nation. Visit their great website.
The Pegasus Foundation is a private independent foundation committed to animal protection, environmental preservation and public education. We believe that
human beings must strive to make the world a more humane place for all living things. Through a multi-year initiative, the Pegasus Foundation works with a coalition of service providers to provide
spay/neuter, vaccination and other veterinary services to companion animals on the Navajo Nation.
Humane Society of the US
The Humane Society of the US has emerged as the world's largest animal protection organization. The HSUS envisions a world in which people satisfy the physical and emotional needs of domestic animals; protect wild animals and their environments; and change their relationships with other animals, evolving them from exploitation and harm to respect and compassion.
First Strike is a project of the Humane Society of the United States launched in 1997 with two main goals: to increase public and professional awareness of the connection between animal cruelty and human violence and to encourage professionals involved in antiviolence efforts to work together. Vist their great website.
International Fund for Animal Welfare
The IFAW is involved is a partner in many programs on the Navajo Nation, including mobile spay/neuter clinics and humane education. Read more about the programs here.
Blackhat Humane Society
Blackhat Humane Society is a non-profit organization established in 2000, dedicated to rescuing and finding homes for abandoned animals and livestock. They have monthly meetings in Window Rock. Their goals include animal care education for all ages but concentrating on
school-age children, a mobile clinic, a small shelter where strays can be rehabilitated and subsequently adopted, and the creation of educational videos (in English and Navajo) that can be
shared in the local chapter houses and schools. Blackhat's mission is to find a loving, healthy home for every adoptable dog, cat and livestock from the Navajo Nation. View their website which includes animals available for adoption now.
Tuba City Humane Society
Tuba City Humane Society is a nonprofit organization founded in May, 1994, by a small group of community
members who were concerned about the overpopulation problem of dogs and cats roaming the community. Our objectives are: to rescue as many stray dogs and cats as our resources will allow and to bring them to a state of health for adoption; encourage and educate the
community on the importance of immunizations and spay/neuter surgery for their pets; educate the community on the proper care and training of their pets. Check out their website for more information.
Arizona Humane Society
It is the mission of The
Arizona Humane Society to
build healthy relationships
between animals and people.
Indian Health Service
Public health conditions are adversely affected by companion animal overpopulation problems. Dog bites are a continual hazard on the reservation (7,000 were recorded in 1997). Zoonotic diseases are diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans, underscoring the importance of companion animal vaccinations and disease prevention measures. There is a very fine issue of "The IHS Primary Care Provider" from November, 1995, which covers a full range of human/companion animal issues. Requires Acrobat Reader plugin.
Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends is the largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned cats and dogs and other animals. They are located in Angel Canyon, outside of Kanab, Utah, and their mission is to help bring about a time when there are no more homeless pets. They are an incredible and pioneering worldwide resource. Visit their website, which contains a wealth of information, news, and networking opportunities.
PETsMART Charities has granted over $31 million to animal welfare organizations and shelters. In store adoptions have saved more than 1.7 million homeless pets to date. In addition, PETsMART Charities participates in partnerships with many of the organizations working to help animals on the Navajo Nation.
The Humane Society of the United States(tm) Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS) (formerly Remote Area Medical Services), brings free veterinary services to poor communities in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Eric Davis, Director of the Humane Society of the United States, Rural Area Veterinary Services Program, began delivering volunteer veterinary services while a faculty member at the College of Veterinary Medicine at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His volunteers have treated tens of thousands of animals, bringing quality veterinary care to those who need it most in the western hemisphere and the Pacific. Check out the RAVS web site. Here's more info about RAVS at the HSUS site.
You can donate to RAVS through this link at the Humane Society of the US. You can also sign up for an email newsletter to keep in touch with what RAVS is doing.
Disclaimer - There is no implied endorsement of the individuals or groups listed on this web site, or the services they offer, by the Navajo Nation Veterinary & Livestock Program or by Navajo Nation Animal Control (a division of Navajo Nation Fish and Wildlife). Any person, organization, or entity choosing to enter into contracts or agreements with the individuals and groups listed on this site should exercise due diligence prior to entering into a contract. Any individuals or groups wishing to provide services to the animals on the Navajo Nation should coordinate their efforts through the appropriate tribal agency.
While every effort has been made to insure reliable and accurate information, any errors or omissions are the sole responsibility of the webmaster, Rose Z. Moonwater.