Desert Animal Companions of the Navajo Nation




Chinle, AZ

The town of Chinle sits at the edge of Canyon de Chelly, with incredible formations that visitors come to see from far and wide. In June, 2003, Patricia Klemick from Mahwah (Bergen County), NJ, and Joe Miele and his wife, also from New Jersey, were traveling independently of each other in the Southwest and visited the town of Chinle. Patricia volunteers at RBARI (Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc. of Oakland, NJ) and Joe is an animal rights activist. They both returned home, and each determined to do something to try and help the stray and abandoned dogs of Chinle.


What can one person do, and especially when they don't even live in the area they are trying to help? Patricia had been on her way to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT, so she began by talking to people at Best Friends, and emailed the Best Friends Network. Joe sent email out to his network, and soon emails were flooding all the groups that try to help animals in the area.


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These photos were taken by Patricia Klemick of the dogs hanging around the Holiday Inn in Chinle.


Blackhat Humane, a group based in Window Rock, AZ, with foster families that range over a wide area, has two fosters in or near Chinle. They came and assessed the Chinle dogs. Some reservation dogs are unsocialized, feral dogs. They may not be captureable. They also may carry diseases such as distemper, parvo, mange, or venereal tumors. A plan was formed to try and place some of the Blackhat dogs who were already being fostered, already socialized, and are wonderful family dogs awaiting their forever homes, to other placements, in the hopes of capturing and rehabilitating some of the friendly strays in Chinle.

The call went out for help, and groups began to network to figure out how to help the animals. Several Blackhat fosters visited and fed the Chinle dogs, and actually captured a few in the first visit. Two of the fosters traveled to PACA (The People's Anti-Cruelty Association) in Albuquerque and adopted out 3 dogs at an adoption fair. Patricia secured committments from RBARI (Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc.), Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, and Monmouth County SPCA in New Jersey to accept some of the Blackhat dogs. Stacey Candella, Director of Pets911 in Phoenix, drove up to Flagstaff and met Tamara Martin, the secretary of Blackhat Humane, with two of the fostered dogs, Pip and Butterscotch, and transported them to Noah's Ark in Phoenix.


stacey, pip, and butterscotchPatricia KlemickTamara Martin

Stacey Candella of Pets911 transporting Pip and Butterscotch south to Noah's Ark Animal Rescue in Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ. Read Stacey's account of her "day off" from the Pets911 site.

Patricia Klemick

Tamara Martin, secretary of Blackhat Humane

What can you do to help? This effort is an unfolding process. Please join us. Donate to Blackhat. Adopt a Blackhat dog. If you work with a shelter or rescue group that could place one of the Blackhat dogs, contact us. Please support the rescue groups that are working with us to find loving homes for all the animals. If all of us pitch in, we can make a difference.



More progress...



Desert Animal Companions wishes to extend a very big thanks to all of the groups and individuals who are pitching in for this effort to help the animals. Our love of the animals brings us together, enriching all of our lives.



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.