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4-H members work to lighten burden for furry friends

If there is a need in Pahrump for help with a project or event, members of the Southern Nye County 4-H Community Club are ready to pitch in.

Their current mission is organizing a pet food/supply drive to benefit the recently-opened animal shelter operated by the Desert Haven Animal Society.

“We’re supposed to go back into the community and help out so we can give back what the community has given to us,” said club president Hunter Martinez, a senior at Pahrump Valley High. “Just to help out in a general perspective.”

He said it was the general consensus of the club members to make the new shelter their community project. The shelter is at 1511 E. Siri Lane in the former location of the Nye County Animal Shelter and Tails End Animal Shelter.

“We just heard that they were in desperate need of help, and they are a no-kill shelter, but they’re getting so many that they may have to change that fact,” Martinez said.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, the 4-H kids will be sitting out front of Walmart with donation boxes collecting much-needed items for the shelter, including non-clumping cat litter, used sheets, blankets, towels, bleach, laundry soap, hand sanitizers, bowls, Kong toys, paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, wet and dry food (mostly kitten chow) and cash donations.

Hunter’s younger brother, 10-year-old Zaiden Martinez, a fifth grader at Hafen Elementary School, joins his brother in supporting the drive.

“They need help so we’re here to help them,” he said. “I think we can raise a lot of food for them so we can help and it’s just fun to help.”

The 4-H Community Club has participated in other local causes, including cleaning up the desert as part of Earth Day, helping at Arbor Day events, organizing car washes, food drives and cleaning buses for the Pahrump Senior Center.

Josiah Cowan, 13, is home schooled through the Leadership Academy of Nevada and an avid 4-H member.

“Well, like Zaiden said, it’s good to help and give back to the community what they’ve given to us, and it’s just a whole lot of fun, altogether you know, to raise money, food for people and animals and just to help out with people who are in need,” Cowan said.

Linda Wilson, Cowan’s grandmother, said part of the interest for having the boys involved in the club is the activities and low entry cost.

“It’s inexpensive, versus the sports activities where it’s very expensive for parents to have their kids in the sports,” Wilson said. “And 4-H is so reasonable. It’s a dollar a year to be a member, and they have a lot of activities that they can join, whatever their interests are.”

Joslyn Martinez, Hunter and Zaiden’s mother, said 4-H has helped her sons. Zaiden has overcome his shyness and come out of his shell by talking to people and being more outgoing in front of groups of people.

“And it gives them a sense of responsibility, commitment and just other things that they can take with them throughout their life experiences,” she said.

Lisa Hasse, who is assisting 4-H as project manager for the shelter event, said the inspiration to help came from reading the newspaper.

“I’ve been reading in the paper what’s been going on with them, and they are in dire need of supplies and that’s what made me so happy that they chose them,” Hasse said. “I think that the children are amazing, and it’s been absolutely wonderful getting to know each and every one of them,” she said. “They all have really big hearts, and I’m glad that they chose this charity.”

No one could be happier for the food and supply drive than shelter manager Marla Greanya.

“I was ecstatic that the kids were wanting to help the local shelter and really thinking about us is really kind of them,” Greanya said. “I’m very pleased, and they organized it all, they did the flyer, they just asked me, ‘What do you guys need?’, and they handled the rest.”

Greanya said the shelter is stretched so thin with the staff and volunteers busy enough just caring for the animals, it is appreciated when the community offers to help.

The Desert Haven Animal Society opened the no-kill shelter to the public at the end of April. The society is a nonprofit, private organization operating the shelter on behalf of Nye County by leasing the building from them for $1 a year, but without additional county funds.

Veterinarian Dr. Suzanne Zervantian is the medical director and adviser to the shelter’s board of directors.

She said the shelter is always at full capacity with about 40 dogs and about 100 cats in-house, plus a pig, one day at the shelter last week. They also have another 110 pets in foster care out in the community.

“We’re making do, but we definitely need community support to do it,” she said. “Because this community has a ton of homeless animals and considering what we’re operating with, it’s an uphill battle.”

Desert Haven wants to remain a no-kill shelter by only euthanizing animals with untreatable medical conditions to eliminate suffering, or those with severe aggression posing a public danger. But that mission can only be continued with community support.

Greanya said that people need to reclaim their strays, spay and neuter their pets, adopt, or foster. The shelter hopes to sponsor more adoption events when the weather turns cooler. And they can always use more volunteers.

The 4-H Community Club pet food/supply drive will be held Saturday, Aug. 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Walmart, 300 S. Highway 160.

Early donations are being accepted at the Cooperative Extension Office, 1651 E. Calvada Blvd., Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon. For questions, call the office at 775-727-5532.

For more information on the Desert Haven Animal Society, their website is www.deserthavenanimalsociety.org. They are also on Facebook.

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