BlogPaws 2016: Partnership With Native Americans


Cosy and Clint, McKinley Gallup Humane Society, are partners of PWNA and its RAR program 


BlogPaws 2016 check ceremony. Photo credit: Annabelle Denmark Photography 

I attended BlogPaws 2016 last weekend and they partnered with a wonderful organization I wasn’t familiar with until recently. Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) is a BBB-accredited charity committed to championing hope for a brighter future for Native Americans living on remote, geographically isolated and often impoverished reservations. They collaborate with reservation partners to provide immediate relief and support long-term solutions for strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.

BlogPaws made a donation to PWNA to help further their efforts with animal welfare groups that rescue, rehabilitate and place injured or stray animals in foster care or forever homes, ensuring well-being of animals and healthy, safe communities. Did you know that the conference swag was also being donated to PWNA?

“This year, BlogPaws is working with Partnership with Native Americans in helping rescue dogs on reservations. They work with many reservations in Arizona. They will package the different swag and donations from the BlogPaws Conference to benefit several different reservation organizations for pets.” ~Chloe DiVita, Director of Programs and Events/COE for BlogPaws

Following the event, I asked their Public Relations Manager, Helen Oliff, a few questions about RAR (formerly named ROAR (Rescue Operation for Animals of the Reservation) as I thought readers may be interested in learning more – this organization goes to great lengths to help animal welfare efforts in tribal communities.

More here: RAR Home – Reservation Animal Rescue

My Q&A with Helen Oliff, Public Relations Manager, Partnership With Native Americans: 

Q. Can you please expand on your partnership with BlogPaws this year?

A. BlogPaws provides a critical service by connecting pet brands and pet parents through social media, and we have been very co-active this year in sharing across BlogPaws, PWNA and RAR social channels.

We first met BlogPaws through the 2013 AAHA Conference, where our animal welfare program (then ROAR) was being recognized. At that conference, BlogPaws surprised us with a donation and we were delighted to be recognized again at their own 2016 conference.

At this year’s conference, BlogPaws made a generous donation to RAR and, in addition, donated all of the in-kind items onsite after the conference ended. This amounted to about eight pallets of food, toys and other supplies. We are humbled by the generosity, knowing it will absolutely benefit our partners and the animals in their care.

Q. Are there specific Native American tribes in Phoenix you partner with? Given the Navajo Nation has so many stray dogs and cats, are you partnering here in this region or across the country?

A. Many tribal communities face challenges related to overpopulation and strays. Currently, PWNA is partnering with 17 partners on 10 reservations. This includes several tribes in Arizona, specifically Navajo, White Mountain Apache and Ak-Chin in the Southwest. In the Northern Plains, we have partners from Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Standing Rock, Omaha, Fort Peck, Fort Belknap and Cheyenne River Reservations.

Collaborating with these partners, nearly 80,000 animals received rescue and care in 2015. “When this was shared by Rick Miller, our Southwest Program Manager, at the BlogPaws Conference, the crowd gave a standing ovation.”

Q.  Can you please expand on your efforts to educate Native American communities on the proper care of animals or spay/neuter/vaccinate animals of the reservation?

A. Often, the communities we serve are geographically isolated and without veterinarians. These communities are also impoverished making animal healthcare unaffordable.  We support the work of local rescue partners, mobile spay/neuter clinics and programs such as McKinley Gallup Humane Society that is accessible to numerous communities.

The problems created from overpopulated and stray animals are immense for some reservation communities, including disease, animal bites, rabies and other safety concerns. The Navajo Nation alone has estimates reaching as high as 6,000 stray dogs and cats, and this varies by reservation and community.  Because of this, we support reservation partners that spay, neuter and vaccinate animals of the reservation and educate communities on proper care of animals.

We recently awarded a RAR grant to McKinley Gallup Humane Society, to subsidize the cost of spay/neuters. This group is accessible to numerous Navajo and Zuni communities, and they have already treated 33 animals.

The bottom line is that PWNA’s support enables our RAR partners to care for more animals and educate foster families and communities about animal welfare.

Q. Do you work with specific animal hospitals in the region to help educate these communities? Do you hold workshops or seminars on vaccinating?

A. Often, the communities we serve are geographically isolated and without veterinarians. In addition, these communities are often impoverished, making animal healthcare unaffordable. PWNA provides resources and grants to support the work of local rescue partners, mobile spay/neuter clinics and programs.

Our RAR partners include animal welfare groups, animal control groups and other programs in tribal communities that provide education about animal care and the benefits of spay/neuter, vaccination, animal tags/licensing as well as human health risk associated with stray or untreated animals.


Here is a story about the work they do:  


There are 29 Comments

  1. Carol Bryant says:

    What a terrific interview. I loved learning more about this group and your angle on this aspect of the BlogPaws Conference is very unique and original. Well done!

    • Thank you so much: I really appreciate your feedback on this post – I enjoyed talking to Helen and learning more – if it weren’t for BlogPaws I don’t think I wouldn’t crossed paths with this org so thank you for identifying such an awesome charity to partner with this year!

  2. Nichole says:

    Thank you for telling us about this fantastic organization! Love that BlogPaws contributed to them!

  3. kelly says:

    Well done to BlogPaws for your contribution to this organization! From my experience with sharing for our local SPCA I know there is a challenge with overpopulation and strays and they can use all the assistance they can get. Great interview

  4. This is a huge project and it’s surprising the need (in a first world country). I live near a reserve here and my Vet does a lot of work rescuing and fixing (still an issue) dogs and some cats from there.

    • Thanks for sharing this – there are some really compelling case studies on their site and the mobile clinics are helping a lot in Arizona. It’s incredible your Vet does work near you. We need more Vets out there like yours.

  5. Terrific interview. I think it is great that BlogPaws is able to donate and help such a great organization.

  6. Ruth Epstein says:

    Thank you for this great article as there are so many communities that are not known that need the help and when we speak out it brings the importance to our attention. I am really happy Blog Paws was able to donate and help them.

  7. Helen Oliff says:

    Christy, thank you for dedicating an entire topic to Partnership With Native Americans and our Reservation Animal Rescue (RAR) program. We appreciate your thoughtful questions and the opportunity to get our work in front of more animal lovers!

    The recognition through your blog, as well as the BlogPaws conference, is truly appreciated. We will be sharing a little more about our experience at the conference on our blog at Watch for it on July 12th or 19th.

    Thanks again!! We’ll be seeing you in the social space @PWNA4hope.

    • Thank you Helen! It was really nice getting to know you and PWNA better. I really want folks to better understand your mission and all the great work you do across the country. We’ll watch for the blog post of course! See you online this month…

  8. Nearly 80,000 animals received care or rescue through the help of this organization?! That is a truly amazing impact. It is so impressive that they’re working with ten different reservations. Bravo to you for spreading their great work!

  9. It’s great to hear about this organization and their work with many different reservations! 80,000 animals served in one year is fantastic =) I had heard strays were a real problem, and it’s comforting to know that PWNA is there with resources and grants, providing a much-needed safety net for this and other issues.

  10. I was pleased to hear about BlogPaws supporting this group. Thank you for an excellent interview.

  11. What an amazing different BlogPaws has made for those now 80,000 plus animals in these areas. Great interview!

  12. I hadn’t heard of the group either before BlogPaws presented the check so this interview was interesting to read. They’re doing great work. One of our blog friends has adopted a dog from a reservation, I think.

    • That’s super cool — your comment makes me think about the reservations here in Oregon, I wonder how involved they are up here in the Pacific NW?

  13. Wow, this is such a great post and interview! I was so pleased when I heard that BlogPaws was partnering with PWNA. We drove through the Navajo Nation on our way to Best Friends and were quite struck at just how isolated it is. Also, learned that there are many animals at Best Friends who have been rescued from these communities. BF seems to partner with these communities as well. I definitely want to learn more. Thanks!

    • Thank you so much! That’s amazing that Best Friends is also helping those communities with the strays – thank goodness they’re located near those reservations as I bet that makes a big difference too.

  14. Cathy Armato says:

    What a spectacular post! I loved your interview, and that it gives further insight into the needs of Native American communities in AZ and elsewhere. Very insightful & informative, thank you!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Thank you! The Q&A was interesting as there are so many facets to their organization and I didn’t realize the work they were doing outside of California until talking to them.

  15. Sadie says:

    Such a wonderful initiative. We have rescues in Northern Ontario working to ensure the safety of the reserve dogs also.