Dawn and Dennis Duncan moved to Las Cruces in 2019 with their two beloved dogs, furry Fergus, whom we have previously featured, and sleek Barney Rubble. Barney, a Redbone Hound/Basenji mix, was rescued from the hills of Kentucky and ill with several parasites when they adopted him in Minnesota. They worked to restore his health and to help him get over his fear of stairs and of men with beards or in baseball caps. He loves stuffed toys, which he dismantles, shakes, and then takes to treating the remaining fur or cloth like his precious baby. He hides them, and you know he trusts you if he hides his baby under your leg. Highly active, he loves to go for walks, whirls like a dervish at meal time, and often does zoomies in the yard and house. When he wants Dawn’s attention if she is working or just because he wants more petting, he paws her and holds her arm. He loves blankets and likes to be covered up in the morning for a bit while his humans get ready for the day. Barney is a gentle soul, very attentive to Dawn, especially after she fought to save him from a double loose dog attack that sent them both to the hospital not long after they moved to New Mexico. Fortunately, at the time, she was able to get him into Animal Hospital of Las Cruces for emergency surgery (ears and head) right away. But a year later such services were no longer available in her city or the whole of Southern New Mexico, which led her to take immediate action to make a change in her community and state, founding Animal Companions of Las Cruces. Barney is grateful to Dr. Tucker and the Jornada Vet staff for taking care of his allergies and any other needs. If he meets you, he will talk, trying to tell you to please pet him. Barney’s birthday is January 21st, and he is turning 5 years old this year.
Meet Ms. Cookie, a 3-year-old Chiweenie. At first, they thought they had just a Chihuahua until Cookie started growing long. This sweet dog has been with her owners, Deborah and Timothy since she was born. Her pet parents call her "Cookie Monster" because she’s smart as a cookie. They also call her "Snoop Dog" because she is definitely one curious dog. When Deborah is working in the garden, Cookie will be right there trying to help with digging. She is a very smart dog with a lot of personality, who likes to follow Deborah around. Cookie is Deborah's best friend. She's such a smart, obedient, happy dog who always knows when it's time for her walks. She will even tilt her head trying to figure out what Deborah is saying. When it was time for Cookie’s checkups, COVID did make it hard to get appointments. Deborah supports Animal Companions because of the way we care for the animals here in Las Cruces as we try to make a 24/7 animal hospital available so pet owners have comfort in knowing there is help for their forever friend.
These sweet dogs are Gilbert (the black) and Sullivan (spotted). Gilbert is eleven years old and Sullivan is fourteen months. They are Portuguese Water Dogs. Linda Mandel, their human, moved to Las Cruces two years ago. She supports Animal Companions because for her entire life everywhere she has lived a 24/7 animal hospital was always provided. Both dogs have been with Linda Mandel since they were born. Gilbert was ten years old when Sullivan joined the family; and it was as if he had brought Gilbert back to life, making him young again. When Gilbert was one year old, they were in the car and had stopped to talk to a friend. Gilbert suddenly jumped out of the window and onto the sidewalk. Luckily their friends grabbed him and he was fine. Linda’s dogs are playful, athletic, energetic, as well as hypoallergenic, which make them overall a great match for Linda.
Turbo is a two-and-a-half-year-old domestic long-hair cat with black markings. He is the sweetest, most gentle cat, one with only two toes on each of his front paws, which means his balance is slightly off when jumping. He was adopted in October 2020 from the Action Program for Animals. Candis Stern had to wait 6 months after adopting Turbo before she could take him home because he had ringworm. After having him for about 18 months, Turbo suddenly couldn't bear weight on one of his hind legs and was meowing loudly. The situation meant that on Labor Day weekend in 2021, Candis was trying to get Turbo seen at her veterinarian’s clinic because Turbo was in pain. However, the staff told her they were not able to see him, that she should drive to the emergency clinic in El Paso. Instead, Candis took Turbo to Calista Animal Hospital where they said they could see him if she was willing to wait. Four hours later, Turbo got an x-ray that showed the head of the femur on his left back leg was fractured. Turbo stayed at Calista Animal Hospital for four days, on pain meds, until he could have surgery. When he went home, he had to be kept where he couldn’t jump for at least 4 months. Today, he can jump again, just not as high as he used to. Candis supports the mission of Animal Companions because she believes it is critical to have a 24/7 animal hospital here in Las Cruces. She believes no animal guardian should have to risk losing their companion(s) driving to El Paso to receive emergency care. Her experience with Turbo turned out well, and though she was fortunate, had it been another day or time, she understood the situation might have had a very different and less happy outcome.
Hallie is a 10-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever who shares his human family with Oliver, a 6-year-old Yorkie. These dogs have brought lots of love and happiness into Karen and David Woronoff's life. Hallie is very sweet and kind; she was adopted from Pet Smart’s annual rescue. There were about 300 dogs from rescues and Hallie happened to be brought in from Mississippi along with her family. When they took Hallie home, she was an angel and is a perfect match. Hallie was 7-months-old when they got her. It has been nice having Hallie around in the family and watching with her. Karen and David moved to Las Cruces from Colorado, where a 24/7 animal hospital was available, which they did have to use once. They understand the importance of having 24/7 help available in their area instead of having to go to El Paso. They support Animal Companions because it is a big necessity for our city. It is very important that help for our loved companions extends beyond the hours of 8-5.
Hi! My name is Barbie. I’m a 12-pound, 7-year-old short-haired chihuahua-mix. I was shipped from an overcrowded shelter in Tulsa, OK to a shelter in Arlington, VA. A family with two other dogs adopted me but the other dogs didn’t like me very well, so after a few days, I was returned to the shelter. The shelter was so scary, and with so many huge dogs barking all the time in that huge, echoey kennel, I just sat on my bed trembling in fear! Then one day in June of 2017, my pet parent, Miguel saw me online and decided to adopt me. He and my other pet daddy, Tony, love me so much and I return that love with licks and kisses. Since we moved to Las Cruces in 2019, I have loved going to the Farmers Market every Saturday morning because I get to ride in my stroller; safe from other dogs and from getting stepped on by shoppers. In the summertime, I don’t have to walk on the hot asphalt and I have an ice pack in my stroller under my blankie to keep me cool, thanks to my thoughtful parents.
One day last November, I ate a huge ham bone and got very sick. My pet parents were worried that I was dehydrated from all my vomiting or that a bone chip could be stuck in my tummy. Since it was a Sunday morning and they could not find any local animal clinics open, they had to take me all the way to an emergency veterinary hospital in El Paso. I’m doing very well now, but I sure wish there was an emergency veterinary hospital here in Las Cruces that all of my fellow fur buddies could use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! My daddy is a board member of Animal Companions of Las Cruces and he and the other hard working volunteers are working diligently to achieve that goal. Won’t you help them by volunteering your time and skills, or even by making a monetary donation to this worthy cause? Thank you!
Sparky is a 10-year-old beagle mix and is a rescue. Jeff and Cherri Hudson-Brown originally named her Sparkles because it was near the 4th of July. When she turned out to be too sparky, they changed her name to suit her personality. Sparky was attacked by another dog on a Sunday afternoon last year when Cherri’s husband was walking her in a new neighborhood. Cherri called their normal veterinarian and got an answering machine message which ended with, “If this is a medical emergency, take your pet to one of the animal hospitals in El Paso.” Cherri’s husband called the closest animal hospital in El Paso and was told there was a five hour wait and it could be longer if there were other pets that needed care. It takes about an hour to drive to El Paso and Sparky is not happy in a car for even a 20-minute drive.
When Sparky is around people she knows, she’s fine; but with strangers, she’s very defensive. She also has anxiety issues. Years ago, Cherri and Jeff took their cats to Dr. Schumacher (the current Dr. Schumacher’s father). Cherri knew that a friend who was a client of the current Dr. Schumacher had taken her dog there in an emergency, so Cherri called Dr. Schumacher’s office and left a message. Within a few minutes, she heard back from someone and was given advice on keeping the wounds clean, etc. Sparky was acting normal, although she was dripping some blood. She didn't like it when Cherri tried to keep her wounds clean, even though Cherri is her favorite person in the household. That night, Cherri and her husband stayed up with Sparky. Sparky slept, but they didn’t. Early the next morning, they took Sparky to Dr. Schumacher’s where Sparky received stitches. It took several months and vet visits, but Sparky finally healed.
Cherri had read in The Bulletin a few months before about Animal Companions of Las Cruces, but it took this trauma for her to contact the non-profit organization to volunteer and help the group. They are fortunate to have Dr. Schumacher who takes her clients after hours. It has been wonderful for them, but there are too many pets out there who need care and not enough veterinarians in Las Cruces. They want the community to have emergency care 24 hours a day. It’s traumatic enough without an hour’s drive to El Paso and five hours or more hours waiting time. Cherri is really glad there is VetTriage now that can help in many cases because it didn’t exist when Sparky was attacked. All our vets are trying to do the best they can and we must support them.
Tula(Talullah) a lab mix, made herself known to me on the Taos Highway on a very hot August 3rd 2008 at 9:00 am. Driving back from purchasing paint for a bathroom project, I saw her on the side of Taos highway 68. What to do? I raced home and drove back with a pail of water. She was now lying on the grass median. Oh no! I parked and walked over to her. She raised her head and struggled to walk over to the shade of the car. Friends joined me with some treats and helped me get her in the back seat. The next day, I drove her to the vets where I learned she was pregnant and was too thin, but all else seemed fine. That was the beginning of a 13 year love fest between the two of us.
A week later on a follow up and to get her shots, I learned that 6-7 puppies would soon be born! 3 days later, 7 puppies were delivered in the plastic swimming pool a friend loaned me. What an experience the next 8 weeks were! All the puppies were adopted by friends and through the Española Humane Society and Tula and I began a friendship that lasted until March 21, 2021. She was the sweetest, most gentle and best companion joining me in training activities, dessert hikes, trips and she had a special spot in the middle of the bed twixt my husband and me. Forever loved, forever missed.
I joined the effort to bring a 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital to Las Cruces because Tula suffered either a stroke or a heart attack at 11:30 PM on a Saturday night and it took me over one hour to get to the El Paso emergency clinic. Sadly, Tula died as we pulled into the parking lot.
Dennis and Dawn Duncan’s Fergus is a schnauzer/beagle cross and is 8 years old. He was rescued from a small yard that had 21 dogs in it. An elderly woman had two female beagles, and her adult son moved back in with his male schnauzer. None of the dogs were fixed, so each female had 9 puppies within a week. The original owner was disabled and could not care for all the dogs. Dawn and Dennis adopted Fergus and helped with finding homes for all the others. Fergus is very funny; they think he is the smartest dog they have ever had. He is often too clever for them. Fergus is a sneak thief; he looks for anything paper or laundry items, grabs them and goes trotting through the house, grinning. He wants a trade for a treat. He is also very affectionate; he likes to lie full body on their chests and give kisses. He is a very friendly guy. The Duncan family moved to Las Cruces in 2019. In June 2021 Fergus had cancer surgery. They brought him home on a Friday, but they discovered early Saturday morning that Fergus was bleeding out. Dawn called Animal Hospital and found out from the answering machine message that emergency care was not available in Las Cruces at the time; they quickly loaded him into the car and headed to the emergency hospital in El Paso. They spent the entire day at the hospital. A few hours after their arrival, the staff took Fergus to the back and started an IV. He was saved, but it was quite scary and very touch-and-go. This event was what caused Dawn to found Animal Companions of Las Cruces. She, and all in the organization, are determined to establish and sustain 24/7 emergency care in Las Cruces for the sake of our pets and their people.
This is my Kodi Lee who, after a 16-year love fest, left me for her well-deserved rest. Kodi was a Corgi-Chihuahua mix who was rescued from a shelter in Austin, TX when she was 2 years old. She was by my side through a divorce, 2 moves, including the one to Las Cruces where we retired, and her 2 strokes. In July of 2022, despite my efforts to arrange for her to go peacefully at home, she suffered a series of seizures late on a Friday night, just one week after I’d had major hip surgery. There was no way either of us was capable of making the drive to El Paso safely. So, I spent the night cradling her through multiple seizures and loss of motor control until the morning when I could get help to take her to the local vet to be euthanized. It was a horrific experience for both of us - that no one, let alone an innocent beloved pet should have to endure. Had we stayed in Austin, there would have been many resources to help her avoid a painful end. She is the reason that I, Karen Reeves, endorse the work of Animal Companions of Las Cruces. Why should living in Las Cruces have made it so difficult? Las Cruces’ pets need help beyond the hours of 8 to 5, Monday through Friday. They need resources for emergency services.
This is my dog, Frankie, who is a 3-1/2-year-old german shepherd. I adopted him from the El Paso Humane Society when he was 6 months old. At the “meet & greet”, he completely ignored me and when I took him to the car to go home, he didn’t want to get in. However, when we arrived home, he was a completely different dog. He became my shadow and is to this day.
Frankie has the best personality of any dog I’ve known. He is so loving, caring, and is my best friend. Balls are his favorite toys and he loves to fetch and catch them before they drop. He loves all of his many toys. Frankie is always so happy; a real optimist. He never complains and is always satisfied with whatever he gets.
I. Eileen Tersago, am happy to support Animal Companions of Las Cruces because we are in desperate need of 24/7 emergency care for our beloved pets. During a life and death situation, an hour-long drive to El Paso and in a clinic full of patients, it could be too late to save my Frankie. With the severe veterinarian shortage, sometimes it takes a couple of weeks just to get an appointment in Las Cruces and there are no vets available nights or weekends. Thank you, Animal Companions of Las Cruces, for all of your efforts!
I, Kathe Stark, currently have two indoor cats with a third who came looking and needing help and is currently recovering from surgery in my spare room (long story).
I was a volunteer at the Cat's Meow in 2019 when Ella came into the facility. Super shy, she wouldn’t interact with the others, but she soon decided that I could be trusted. She followed me around, talked to me, and one day she jumped onto my lap. Even though I swore, after losing my previous cat, that I wouldn't get another, I adopted her. She was 6.5 years old at the time, and a beautiful, shiny miniature panther.
The photo attached was taken on an evening I decided to kick back and enjoy a vodka and cranberry juice. She was curious but I thought, "no way" would she drink it. Well, I was wrong. She stuck her paw in several times before I took the glass away.
In January of 2021, Ella woke up normally, ate breakfast, and started her routine. Then it became evident that she was in need of care. She would fall over, try to jump onto the sofa or the bed, and completely miss the surface and fall to the floor. She bumped into things that hadn't been moved. I called her vet immediately and explained; no call back. I was told at 9 AM that I could bring her in between 2 and 3 as a walk-in, but there would be no guarantee that she would be seen. I called every other vet in town, but no one was accepting new patients. So, off to the El Paso emergency hospital we went. After sitting in the car for 6 hours, the vet called and explained the tests they wanted to run and the estimated costs. They hadn't even looked at her! Well, I approved all the tests and 2 hours and nearly $800.00 later, they called and said she was blind, but her tests were normal and recommended a vision specialist. I told them to bring her out to the car, not knowing what to expect. She was uncharacteristically quiet on the ride home. When we got home, I opened the carrier to let her out. She looked around, headed for her food dish, and then to bed; she could clearly see! I contacted Dr. Short, who reviewed all the tests and did a health check of Ella in my home. Conclusion: some kind of neurological event that may or may not happen again, but all her extensive tests were normal. Thankfully, she hasn't had another episode and can see just fine.
We are in desperate need of emergency veterinary services here. In the past, I used the 24 hour center on Wyatt Dr., but when that closed, we now have no options when emergencies arise. I appreciate all the efforts that Animal Companions of Las Cruces is making to bring this issue to the forefront and to establish emergency care locally.
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