Once stranded in the barren Nevada desert 150 miles from Reno, these dogs now enjoy massage therapy, warm beds and even chicken soup as they await adoptive homes

RENO, NEVADA (FEBRUARY 7, 2008) – Just a few weeks ago, Maggie, a brown mixed-breed dog with thoughtful eyes, was living virtually unattended in the cold Nevada desert with 150 other dogs. Today, she sleeps atop a plush, donated dog bed and blankets at “CampReno,” where she is getting belly rubs, dog treats and massage therapy from a team of volunteers determined to help her forget her lonely past.

EARS volunteer Deb Anderson and Wilma get to know each other at Camp Reno.

Maggie is one of 32 dogs relocated from a remote ranch in Gabbs, Nevada to “CampReno,” a temporary shelter that United Animal Nations, a Sacramento, California-based animal protection organization, is operating to give the dogs the socialization and human interaction they need to prepare for adoption into new, permanent homes.

“These dogs have lacked consistent human interaction for years, so we are trying to introduce them to very simple pleasures – dog treats, warm beds and a loving, human touch,” said Shannon Asquith, UAN’s director of field services. “After spending four weeks with us at CampReno, the dogs will have learned some basic skills and developed enough confidence around humans to be placed into new homes.”

The owner of the Gabbs dogs died in May 2007. Working with the deceased owner’s niece, Best Friends Animal Society and volunteers from several Nevada animal shelters began helping to remove the dogs from the property and place them into homes or adoption programs. On January 23, Asquith and representatives from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Nevada Humane Society, Best Friends and the Yerington Animal Shelter removed the last 56 dogs from the ranch. The most adoptable ones were brought to shelters in Northern California; and the 32 shyest dogs came to “CampReno,” housed in a building donated by the Nevada Humane Society, to receive four weeks of tender loving care with UAN’s Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS)  volunteers.


Maggie was happy to receive so much love and attention from the EARS volunteers at Camp Reno.

EARS volunteers have come from as far as Southern California and San Jose to care for the dogs at “CampReno.” To get the dogs accustomed to human interaction, they are spending time talking to them quietly in their kennel, teaching them how to gently eat treats and walk on leashes, and even giving them TTouch massage, a technique that can release tension and allow volunteers to handle animals without provoking typical fear responses. One dog, Moe, who was not feelin g well even received chicken soup.

“These dogs have come so far so quickly,” Asquith said. “Dogs who ran away from us at the ranch are now rollin g over for belly rubs and greeting us at the door, tails wagging. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see their transformation.”

Shelters and rescue groups with established adoption and foster care programs are needed to take the newly socialized dogs when CampReno closes on February 20. If you represent an organization that can help, call Asquith at (916) 216-3677 or Paul Bruce with HSUS at (916) 344-1710.

Read more about “CampReno ” on our blog.

Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations (UAN) is North America ’s leading provider of emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services and a key advocate for the critical needs of animals.

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