Saturday, June 10, 2006

..a puppy off the Rez

We got a puppy! I don't know what I was thinking- but it was a whim, spur of the moment kinda of thing! We were hanging out at the Dolores River Days Music with some friends. Everybody had their dogs- us as well- Max, our 100 pound Newfoundland/lab cross. And along comes a family all wearing handpainted Tshirts that said Free Dog and Puppy. Sure enough they had two black Navajo Reservation dogs on leashes making the rounds, so they plopped down in the shade with us and this little black and salt/pepper puppy starts playing with Max like they were best buds!
Now- if you have been on the Reservation, seen the landscape of barren dirt in every direction with half starved cattle and horses seeking out bits of green, driven past the clusters of hogans, summer house and doublewides with old tires lining the roof ( so the shingles don't blow off in the wind) , stopped at a Trading Post to puruse the wonderful Native American crafts, get an afternoon snack, or tried to use their bathroom facilities ( enough stuff for a whole nother post- )you have experienced the packs of half wild Rez dogs- watching your back and your children when they are milling around you. Rez dogs are scavengers and the places people are- main roads/ and trading post if where there is food of all kinds- road kill, whatever is in the garbage, what they can steal from the other dogs.
But there is a informal group of people that foster a few of these dogs-when they can catch them and keep them temporally- cleaning them up, deworm them- you eat dead things- you get worms! And then when the dogs are healthy- they find people, like us, who want to adopt them and then go find another dog to foster.
There is an epidemic of Rez dogs- and it is disheartening to see them frantically looking for food and scared and mangy. But there is also an epidemic of dishearten people- Navajos- also on the Reservation. Sometimes, it seems to me that rescuing animals in need fits in with our busy lives more then trying to help people. Less complicated, less effort to take an animal in- then navigate the tricky waters of helping others.
I applaud the efforts of the ladies who rescued Molly and what a wonderful story to tell others when we talk about our little puppy. But there are still children, whose tummies are hungry, who haven't been taught the basics of hygiene, who are still being placed in boarding schools away from their mothers at a young age- to desensitize them from their culture-( enough stuff for a whole book, I hope to write some day) living in this country. We aren't talking Africa or Iran. We are taking about Arizona and New Mexico in the U.S of A!-The only place Samaritans Purse, a ministry created by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son, delivers their Christmas shoeboxes ( operation christmas child- a care package of hygiene supplies, toys and daily needs), in this country is on the Navajo Reservation. The rest go to third world countries! We have a third world country in our backyard!

To know more or Get involved- check out

Southwest Indian Foundation
a mail order catalog of crafts and jewelry- supporting the artisans that make them and programs on the Rez including wood stove to families too far out for utilities and AA programs.

Samaritan's Purse Ministry
a great ministry started by Franklin Graham- taking Christ's command that we do not know him if we do not take care of his people!

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