Volunteers, activists help rescue unwanted animals

SILVER SPRINGS - Everything Tom and Lee Blomquist have done for the past 10 years has been dedicated to saving unwanted dogs and promoting low-cost animal spay and neutering programs.

Owners and directors of the nonprofit Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project, the Blomquists generally house at least 20 dogs and a few cats at their Silver Springs residence, tending to each animal's particular and special needs.

They also have several dogs placed in foster care homes until permanent homes can be found.

Along with other animal rescue activists in Lyon County, they are dedicated caretakers for abandoned, abused, unwanted animals and want to see an end to euthanasia as a means of animal control.

Other licensed volunteer animal rescue facilities are the Animal Welfare Society in Silver Springs; Animal Rescue Foundation, Yerington; and the Carson/Eagle Valley Humane Society, Dayton.

They try to adopt out as many of their dogs as possible, but most end up becoming a permanent part of the Blomquist household.

"Several are just unplaceable," Tom explained. "Right now we have two that are blind, two diabetics and two suffering from hyperthyroidism."

Vinnie, an aging, blind golden retriever, ended up with the Blomquists on Thanksgiving Day. Noting the symptoms of diabetes, they had blood work done at Sierra Veterinary Clinic and brought him home for further care.

Vinnie weighed 66 pounds and could not walk up stairs the first week. He now weighs 100 pounds and gets around quite well and plays with the other dogs.

"Vinnie now has a fan club on the Internet and receives gifts and E-mail," Tom said. "We receive help from people on the Internet golden retriever list with the cost of needles and insulin. He will be with us forever ... he was our Thanksgiving."

Tom said they will be receiving a digital camera from the Humane Society of the United States and the National Association of Animal Control is sending them a computer to help them place their dogs for adoption.

"We will now have the capacity to photograph dogs and place them more effectively for adoption on a Web site," he said.

Lee is a member of the recently formed Lyon County Animal Control Board and is actively involved in the review of county animal control codes. She is at the animal care exposition in Las Vegas this weekend at her own expense, attending seminars on the writing of county codes, management of animal shelters and growth planning.

Working endless days, seven days a week caring for their charges, both Blomquists said "this is our work for the rest of our lives."


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