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Community Newsletter
Monthly Animal Nonprofit Organizations Impact on Navajo Nation 


April 2024 Report

This April report highlights the progress made in fostering safer and healthier environments for both people and pets throughout the Navajo Nation. Through strong partnerships with nonprofits and cooperative efforts with animal control, we are making significant advancements in improving communities.


In April 2024, the Best Friends Navajo Nation Program team achieved significant milestones in their efforts to support pets and their families. They transported 110 dogs and cats to adoptive homes, initiated the Phoenix Foster Program, and successfully held a spay/neuter clinic, servicing 143 pets. A highlight was the dedication of the Best Friends Mobile Spay Neuter Clinic, a new resource for the community. The team also provided vital community support, including pet food distribution and transport for medical care. Notable stories included successful adoptions like Conoco's, collaborative events, and ongoing community outreach efforts, showcasing their dedication to animal welfare.  The Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development graciously granted a revocable use permit to Best Friends for an acre of land in Tuba City.

Spay/Neuter and Wellness Initiatives

Soul Dog Rescue has made significant strides in addressing pet overpopulation on tribal lands, performing an impressive total of 479 spay and neuter surgeries through the end of March. Additionally, they have administered nearly 1000 vaccines since January, contributing to the health and well-being of countless animals within the community.

At the April spay/neuter clinic held in Tuba City and sponsored by Best Friends Animal Society, a total of 111 pets were spayed/neutered. Additionally, one pet received a laceration repair, and 20 wellness/sick pets were attended to. The vaccination clinic served 143 pets. It's great to see so many pets receiving the care they need.

Low-cost clinics provide lifesaving support for pets on the Navajo Nation. See upcoming clinics near you, and please share this link with your constituents.

Launching Hope: Celebrating the Best Friends Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic


The dedication ceremony for the Best Friends Mobile Spay/Neuter Clinic, held on April 26 in Kanab, UT, was a remarkable event commemorating the launch of this invaluable new resource for the Navajo Nation's pets and families. It was a momentous occasion where we honored Dr. Christy, Best Friends' first veterinarian and the inspiration behind the clinic, as well as Brenda and Marty Winnick, whose generosity and volunteerism made this project a reality. We also recognized the dedicated Mobile Build Team for their outstanding work in bringing the clinic to life, along with the Navajo Nation program staff leading the charge for monthly clinics, and Aurelia Yazzie, the Navajo artist who designed the wrap for the unit. Check out this article about the event here: Navajo-Hopi Observer Article

Satellite Foster Program 

Best Friends Animal Society, along with a dedicated team of volunteers, has been hard at work launching the Phoenix Foster Program. Thanks to those who set up the Facebook group, got the program started, added volunteer software, and welcomed our first volunteer. Recruitment messages for foster and transport drivers to Phoenix and the surrounding areas were sent out. Volunteers willing to help transport animals will receive gas cards to help them cover the cost of the transport.

Transport and Direct Lifesaving

In April, the Navajo Nation Program team transported 110 dogs and cats, bringing the year-to-date total to 1,149, to receiving groups where they can find adoptive homes. Among them was Jake, a brindle dog rescued from the Fort Defiance Animal Control facility. After being fostered by a wonderful family, Jake was transported by the team to a rescue organization in Arizona, where he found a loving home.

Various organizations on the Navajo Nation play a crucial role in pet rescue by facilitating the adoption process for unclaimed shelter animals. Their primary objective is to find loving homes for these pets and provide them with a second chance at life. Learn more about these groups.

Rescue and Rehab at Soul Dog Rescue


Soul Dog Rescue's commitment to saving lives extends to countless animals in need, including the remarkable story of Alf. Found in dire circumstances at Many Farms, Alf faced imminent euthanasia until Soul Dog stepped in. Despite enduring the trauma of a car accident and severe mange, Alf's journey to recovery began under Soul Dog's care in Colorado. Here, their dedicated veterinary team identified additional challenges, including a broken hip and leg, leading to the amputation of one hind leg. Throughout his journey, Alf found strength and healing in a nurturing foster home, supported by unwavering love. Finally, Alf found his forever family, drawn to his resilient spirit and the remarkable transformation he underwent in Soul Dog's care.

Various nonprofit organizations on the Navajo Nation play a crucial role in pet rescue by facilitating the adoption process for unclaimed shelter animals. Their primary objective is to find loving homes for these pets and provide them with a second chance at life. Learn more about these groups.

Hometown Helper: Kelly DeJesus


Kelly DeJesus moved away from Shonto, Arizona in 2004 to go to school for Public Health administration.  In 2018 her husband was away for a military deployment and Kelly was visiting her home on the Navajo reservation when her support dog “Mako” went missing.  She did everything she could think of to find him including putting up flyers, newspaper ads, contacted radio stations, etc. Unfortunately, she did not find him. This experience inspired her to create a resource for the community to share information about lost or found pets as well as pet care information.  Mako’s Navajo Nation facebook page was created and then evolved into making an actual group called “The Lost and Found Pets of the Navajo Nation” so that people could share photos of their pets and get info from volunteers and rescue groups.

Kelly is now a Public Health graduate student and has previously helped with putting the issue of bite cases and stray dog packs on Navajo at the forefront of the council and Navajo Nation communities.  “My intentions are to continue to build my advocacy and platform for animal health and welfare as part of public health highlighting anti-animal cruelty.  I have taken the summer off from school to focus on Navajo animals this summer and to see how else I can advocate for them."

Community Support

The community support team are members of the Navajo Nation and employed by Best Friends Animal Society. They go above and beyond to assist community members in caring for their pets and accessing necessary resources. Services provided include distributing pet food to those in need, administering vaccinations, and arranging transportation for pets requiring medical care. For instance, during a recent clinic organized by Underdog Rescue in Sanostee, the team facilitated appointments and transportation for pets belonging to local residents, ensuring they received essential spaying and neutering services. Additionally, the team collaborates closely with local Rangers and grazing officials to provide assistance to families in need of support with their animals, regardless of size.

In The News


Cheena Rose, Veterinary Operations Coordinator at Best Friends Animal Society, had the privilege to participate in a retreat in Bentonville, Arkansas, where she joined veterinarian teams from Best Friends centers across the country. The retreat was organized by Dr. Erin Katribe, the director of Best Friends Animal Society National Veterinary Program. Her return was marked by a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm, eager to implement and share the valuable insights gained from the training.

At Soul Dog Rescue's Tails of Hope fundraising gala, Best Friends proudly sponsored the Puppy Corner. Joni Lapahie, Navajo Nation Specialist at Best Friends, and her dedicated daughter, who is a regular volunteer at our spay/neuter clinics, seized the opportunity to engage with a myriad of new faces, fielding inquiries about our community and serving as exemplary ambassadors for pet lifesaving.

Navajo Nation Vice President Richelle Montoya will be on a panel with Brandy Tomhave at the Best Friends National Conference. The discussion will include Tribal Sovereignty.


Brandy Tomhave is the new Executive Director of Native America Humane Society, replacing Diana Webster who has retired. To learn more about The Native America Humane Society check out their website

Grant helps puppies on the Navajo Nation

Conoco 3 (puppy mamma).jpg

The Puppy Mamma, a Non-Profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to rescuing and fostering pregnant dogs and puppies, received a grant to alleviate intake expenses, facilitating the rescue of at least 200 puppies from the Navajo Nation. Committed to providing nurturing care, compassion, and safe environments, Puppy Mamma Rescue ensures that pregnant dogs and their litters receive the support they need until they find their fur-ever homes. From County Animal Care and Control to loving foster homes, these dogs are provided with the utmost care, including spaying, neutering, vaccinations, and microchipping before they embark on their journey to their new families.


And speaking of new families, Conoco (pictured above) seamlessly integrated into their family, bringing joy to all. Conoco is one of the 200 pups supported through the grant. His recent adventures, including a camping trip to the Grand Canyon, highlight the bond shared between Conoco and his new family. This heartening tale underscores the transformative power of compassion and connection in pet adoption.

Important Resources

The Spay/Neuter Resource Map: a simple guide to find spay and neuter services. It helps animal welfare groups and pet owners locate places for these services, including contact details to get in touch easily.

Click here to see map

New Mexico Spay/Neuter Resources Directory: offers a list of affordable and free spay/neuter programs across New Mexico. Click your county for details. Please verify with the organizations for updates.

Click here to see counties with programs


Together, we're not just making a difference;
we're transforming lives and building a stronger community.

Visit for more information

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