Just a little south and east of Bakersfield, in the high desert, there is a war going on. The casualties have no voices of their own, no weapons, and did not sign up to become desperate soldiers, trying to survive in some of the harshest territory known to man – the Mojave Desert and the small communities that border it.
There is at least one warrior who is fighting to save these lives – Patricia (Pat) Bonham – with the Desert Dog Project. Working with local residents who report sightings of the abandoned dogs, she gathers them up and gets them to medical help and foster. Sometimes the dogs are so fearful of humans (and who can blame them), that feeding stations and traps are required to be able to rescue them and get them to safety. And sometimes the dogs are so good at avoiding humans, it isn’t until they are nearly starved or badly injured, that they can be brought out of the desert and to the help they so desperately need.
Just this week, five little Cocker Spaniels, who spent their lives up until this point as breeders were dumped on Highway 247. These dogs were in horrific condition – after spending their short lives producing puppies for a breeder, living in cramped and unclean cages, with no medical treatment – they were left to fend for themselves in the high desert. Whomever did this, surely meant for them to die, in the cheapest way possible.
One may have been hit by a car, two are blind, all of them have yeast infections, lice, severely matted coats and ear infections. They were easily identified as breeder dogs, as they were still lactating, and their feet were stained with urine from standing in their own waste for months. One of these poor little dogs has a hernia and one has a tumor and one has the teeth missing, broken on the entire side of her mouth. After living through such horrors, they deserve to know that not all people are evil.
Their voice and champion, Pat Bonham, got them to care immediately – Camp Cocker Rescue has taken two of them, and the remaining three are at the Bear Valley Animal Hospital. Pat works with other rescue organizations and with the Bear Valley Animal Hospital and the Alta Loma Animal Hospital – both hospitals have arrangements with Desert Dog Project – and can take donations toward the medical expenses directly.
For Pat and those that work tirelessly in this battle for mercy and responsible care for abandoned and stray animals, this is a never-ending occupation. In talking with Pat, who has been rescuing animals for her entire life, she says that things seem to be getting worse.
The economy and the drop in the housing market have forced many people to make awful choices – and sometimes they really have no choice. Unlike the backyard breeders or puppy mills, the average family may be struggling to feed themselves, and pay for medical care and housing. These folks sometimes just need a helping hand with pet food, or spay/neuter costs. Pat is there for them, too!
“It’s a matter of helping people to keep their animals, it is just better all around” Pat says, “the pets stay with their families, and don’t end up in high kill shelters or left to fend for themselves”.
And this week saw not only the five Cocker Spaniels, but also a small Terrier mauled by a bigger dog, a West Highland Terrier with an abdominal obstruction, and a little female Terrier with a deformed leg who was hit by a car and has to have an amputation. The war never seems to let up. But Pat is definitely helping some of the animals win the battles.
The Desert Dogs Project runs solely on donations. People who wish to help can do so by sending a tax deductible Paypal donation to firstname.lastname@example.org or by donating directly to the Animal Hospitals:
- Alta Loma Animal Hospital, call (909) 987-6224 to donate
- Bear Valley Animal Hospital, call (760) 240-5228 to donate
In the war against stray, abandoned, and injured animals in the high desert – Desert Dogs Project is a force for good. Donations go directly to help the animals, adoption fees go right back to cover medical costs.
Please help if you can.
Comments? Questions? Story information, product to review or breaking news? Please contact Natalia Corres at Natalia@bakwep.com.
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