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April Is Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Month

Be part of the solution and stop animal cruelty.

Be part of the solution and stop animal cruelty.

by Lucy Bobeck

April is National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.  The event was started by the ASPCA to call attention to the countless animals that are abused, neglected and abandoned each year and how individuals can fight against it.

Around 7 million animals enter shelters each year.  Approximately 4 million are euthanized.  Sadly only 40 percent of dogs are adopted, and cats have a 30 percent adoption rate.  Half of the animals entering shelters are owner surrenders.

Why are so many animals let down by the people who are supposed to take care of them? Society, too often, does not value animals and sees them as disposable.  Or owners do not take the time to train pets to obey even simple commands. (Behavior problems rank high on the reasons dogs and cats are surrendered.)

How can we change an uncaring world into one that values our beautiful, loyal animals?  The ASPCA thinks each person can make a personal difference and suggests these tips for recognizing and reporting animal abuse:

  • Know who to call in your community to report abuse.
  • Get to know the animals in your neighborhood.
  • Call authorities when you see something amiss.
  • Fight for the passage of anti-cruelty laws.
  • Talk to kids about how to treat animals with kindness and respect.
  • Support your local shelter or rescue group.

Heaven Can Wait helps every day by seeing that the dogs we rescue are ready to be adopted into new homes through our Pups on Parole training program. Our Angels for Animals humane education programs provides school children with direct, grade level information on caring for, and respecting animals.  And our Youth Group gets kids involved in helping homeless animals in the community.

What’s the best way to solve the problem?  Prevent it in the first place by eliminating pet overpopulation through spay and neuter. Heaven Can Wait’s targeted spay and neuter programs are instrumental in preventing unwanted litters of puppies or kittens from being born and ultimately being surrendered to shelters.

Let’s work toward every home being a loving home.

Get involved in stopping animal cruelty in Las Vegas by completing the HCWS volunteer application.


Chester The Lab Mix Seeks a Stable, Quiet and Loving Forever Home

Chester is a laid back boy who is waiting for a special person to share a forever home with him.

Chester is a laid back boy who is waiting for a special person to share a forever home with him.

By Keely Biggs

When you approach Chester’s cage at the HCWS adoption center, you won’t see him get up to greet you wagging his tail with wide, bright eyes. The easy going Lab mix doesn’t get as excited as a young puppy anymore.  He’s learned that life can bring disappointments and doesn’t always work out as you hope.

Chester hasn’t given up hope he is patiently waiting for the one special person who will prove their commitment to him before “giving his heart” again.

Chester was originally found as a stray running on the streets with his best buddy, a dog named Manny. The pair was rescued by a man who intended to keep them, but ultimately had to find them another home. Chester and Manny were placed in a home with eight other dogs.  All ten dogs lived in the back yard and didn’t have a lot of interaction with their owners.  The ordeal left Chester a little “selective” about meeting new dogs.

Chester’s second home was foreclosed and he and Manny moved around a bit. Eventually they ended up at Heaven Can Wait. Both dogs were enrolled in the Pups on Parole program and did very well learning all their commands and new skills.  The HCWS dog coordinators also got their first glimpse into Chester’s gentle soul.

Chester has learned that life doesn't always turn out as you hope it would.

Chester has learned that life doesn’t always turn out as you hope it would.

Once the dogs had completed the program Manny was quickly adopted into a new home.

Chester’s best friend and stable companion was gone and it was quite a disappointment to him.

To cheer him up, the coordinators had a puppy move in with Chester and the two dogs became good friends.  Chester’s calm nature allowed the puppy to crawl all over him while he just laid back and enjoyed the antics.

The HCWS dog coordinators say that Chester’s easy going demeanor is what is keeping him from finding a new home.  People pass by his pen each week because he doesn’t exhibit the outgoing characteristics prospective owners are used to seeing.

Chester is 4 to 6 years-old and has a mild case of arthritis. He would do great in a quiet home with older children and another mature dog. He is a loyal dog that will sit at your feet and reciprocate the love you show to him. He needs stability, love, patience and companionship but, most of all, a permanent home.

Come by to meet Chester on a Saturday at Bogart’s Bone Appetit at 4985 S. Fort Apache Road Las Vegas, NV 89148 between the hours of 10 am to 4 pm.  Or call us at: 702-227-5555.

Let’s make this the week that shows Chester friends and family stay in our lives forever!

Let's help Chester learn that friends and families Do Last Forever!

Let’s help Chester learn that friends and families Do Last Forever!

A Second Chance For Happiness

Taylor's winning personality got her adopted quickly.  Through no fault of her own, a year later she was back with Heaven Can Wait.

Taylor’s winning personality got her adopted quickly. Through no fault of her own, a year later she was back with Heaven Can Wait.

By Patty Carmichael

Little Taylor was rescued by Heaven Can Wait Animal Society along with her brother Connor. After a brief stay in our Pups on Parole program Taylor’s winning personality won the hearts of a new family and she was adopted.  Through no fault of her own, she was returned when the family ran into problems.  The story below is about Taylor’s second chance for happiness.

Hi, my name is Taylor Russell, and this is my story. I am a Chihuahua and Toy Dachshund mix. I lived with a small family for about a year but, for some reason, they took me back to Heaven Can Wait. It was scary but the people there were really nice – even made me their Office Dog – but it was still tough. I did like the obedience school that I went to while I was there. The women at the place were really nice but I understand they are in something called a prison. One special woman taught me commands like, sit, stay, and down. They also taught me how to walk really well on a leash!  I really liked the ladies, but I knew I couldn’t stay with them. I wanted a real home, where I never had to leave again.

My mom and dad had been thinking about getting a dog for a while, since they had lost their other doggies. Daddy had been looking online, and seeing what kind of dog he wanted. When the phone call came from HCWS to tell him and mom about me, they were very excited to come meet me.

Oh course, it was love at first sight, how could they not fall in love with me. I’m black and brown with an adorable personality and so cute and lovable. And as soon as I saw them, I loved them to and I knew I would have a safe loving home for the rest of my life.

Mom and Dad are so cool; Dad takes me to the office every day where I can meet new people. Sometimes they even give me yummy treats!!! After work dad and I go on long walks with mom.  I love to get some exercise and put my nose to the ground to smell all the stuff that has been there before us.

Taylor has lots of new toys to play with.

Taylor has lots of new toys to play with.

I love my new home. I have a few toys that are my favorite. Mr. Bill and Homer Simpson are so much fun to play with, but my favorite toy is a BIG bear that is 4 times my size. I love to drag Mr. Bear around the house and pretend it is my buddy. I bark and play and run to the front door when it makes this funny music sound. Mom and dad let me sleep in their BIG bed at night, and it makes me feel so loved and secure.

Dad says there are something called cats that live in the house too. They hide under the bed a lot and I hear funny sounds when I put my nose under there. Gee, are they ever going to come out of there????

I finally got to meet the cats. They aren’t so bad, and it didn’t take long before all the hissing and barking stopped. The cats have been with Dad for a long time, so I guess it will take them a little while to get to know how great I am!!!

One day in November, that mom and dad called Thanksgiving, I got to go for a car ride. We met lots of new friends, whose house smelled like turkey. I got to wear my new coat and explore a big backyard. It was truly a day to be Thankful!!!

Don't I look pretty in my holiday sweater?

Don’t I look pretty in my holiday sweater?

I am so thankful for Heaven Can Wait who found me running the streets with my brother Connor, and picked me up and found me. Without them, I never would have found my dad James or my mom Suzanne.

I even have a Facebook page where dad and mom put pictures of me up so all my friends can see me. I love my new life and wish every dog and cat could find someone to love them as much as my parents do.

"I'm so happy I got a second chance for happiness."

“I’m so happy I got a second chance for happiness.”

Dogs (and cats) like Taylor are ready for adoption at Heaven Can Wait every week.  Dog adoptions are held each Saturday at Bone Appetit on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache and cats are adopted inside Petsmart at 7050 Arroyo Crossing Pkwy, Thursday afternoon through Sunday.  You can see all of the pets on our website: www.hcws.org.

Woman’s Dedication Wins Trust Of Special Needs Dog

Thor was given a second chance even as a special needs pup.

Thor was given a second chance even as a special needs pup.

By Amber Mahrou

With Valentine’s Day just behind us, love is in the air—especially for Sandra Holton and her loving, devoted companion, Thor. Although the two are inseparable now, their relationship was not always so heartwarming.  In fact, the story of Sandra and Thor is one of perseverance and uncommon dedication, and proves that love, while not always easy, is always worth the challenge.

It was more than a year ago when Sandra was introduced to Thor. Her roommate Joey, who is the proud pet parent of a Heaven Can Wait boxer, met Thor at an adoption event. Joey thought Sandra and Thor would be a great match, and when she saw how cute he was online, Sandra decided to meet the dog. Thor was well-mannered and just as handsome as his pictures suggested.  He seemed to know his commands well, so it was settled; he was going home with Sandra, joining her roommate Joey and their other boxer, Tye.

Of course, there is always a period of adjustment when you bring a new dog into your home, and when that dog happens to be a 100lb boxer who’s still almost a puppy, well, that does complicate matters, even if you don’t happen to be a petite woman like Sandra. Thor also had a few bad habits when Sandra took him in; he was a chewer who would demolish anything he could get his jaws around.  He’s such a big boy it meant that anything from countertops to all but the highest bookshelves was fair game.

But the biggest challenge with Thor had nothing to do with his love of chewing un-chaperoned objects around the house. Sandra’s biggest challenge with Thor was communicating with him.

Thor received training to help his owner communicate with him.

Thor received training to help his owner communicate with him.

You see, Thor is deaf.  Sandra knew he was deaf when she adopted him, but she wasn’t quite prepared for some of the more surprising challenges that came along. The first shock was Thor’s aggression. Having no way to communicate with him as you would a hearing dog, Sandra had a hard time convincing Thor that he was not her equal in the pecking order, and as a result his pushiness could be downright scary. He would jump on her, and at his size, one jump was enough to knock her down. He would mouth her hard enough to leave bruises and try to intimidate her into giving him treats by barking and growling. Concerned and not knowing how to get through to Thor, Sandra found herself putting him in his crate and appeasing him with treats for her own safety.

At times like this, Sandra wondered what she had gotten herself into. Had she made the right choice in adopting Thor? She read everything she could find about deaf dogs, and some of the things she read were disturbing. She read that deaf dogs could be aggressive, like Thor was, and that at one point deaf dogs were put down as a matter of course because it was thought that they could not be trained. But Thor was not always aggressive, and when Sandra saw how sweet and lovable he could be when he was not acting up, she knew there had to be a way.  Ultimately Sandra’s research led her to Deaf Dog Training.

Thor during his training session with Sandra.

Thor during his training session with Sandra.

Her internet search brought her to the website of “Sit Means Sit,” a large, well-known dog training organization with locations around the country. She gave them a call and was directed to David Heck, a local trainer who could help her with Thor. David at first came to do lessons in Sandra’s home, and his method employed the use of an electronic collar—on a very low setting, of course.

This is what allows Sandra to get Thor’s attention, since he can’t hear verbal commands. Using hand signals, David and Sandra were able to finally begin communicating with Thor and he turned out to be a much better student than they could have ever anticipated. In fact, it wasn’t long before Thor was able to join in Sit Means Sit group classes and he’s now not only is he participating in advanced classes which are essentially agility courses, he is also a better student than most of the other dogs in the class—and all of them can hear!

Sandra and even the trainer David are amazed with Thor’s progress. Once a destructive, pushy, disobedient dog, Thor is now confident and calm and learning more every day. He lives to please Sandra and will do anything she asks of him, from running up a narrow set of playground steps just to come to her to jumping onto a three foot tall cylinder at her command. The two of them are now so in sync that Sandra can communicate with Thor with just her eyes; he’s learned to read her expressions and her lips, and can understand some of her spoken commands now just by watching her. Thor is a happy, well-adjusted dog, and he’s learning so fast that Sandra and David are having a hard time trying to come up with a new challenge for him—it seems like he’s conquered them all!

Thor resting peacefully in his new "forever" home.

Thor resting peacefully in his new “forever” home.

There were certainly times when Sandra wondered whether she could handle Thor, but these days she says, “He’s so worth it.” Sandra is really glad she stuck it out with him, because he’s her pride and joy, and she doesn’t think he’d be in such a good place if she hadn’t held onto him. Her bond with Thor is so close and their communication is so natural, she even forgets he’s deaf sometimes. Thanks to Sandra’s dedication and unwillingness to give up on her companion, this is one love story that will last a lifetime.

Thor was rescued by Heaven Can Wait along with his two brothers.  Each was enrolled into our Pups on Parole program where they received the first steps of their rehabilitation and training.  All three dogs now have new adopted homes.  We congratulate Sandra on her persistence with a special needs dog.

Heaven Can Wait dog adoptions are held every Saturday at the Bone Appetit store on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache.  You can see all of the available dogs ready for adoption on our website: http://ww.hcws.org

Thor and Tye hanging out together.

Thor and Tye hanging out together.

Sweet As Sugar


By Colette Hayes

Nearly a year ago, this sweet dog Charlotte, was homeless. Charlotte, a Cockapoo lived on the streets, helping a homeless man with his daily can collecting. Having nowhere else to go, Charlotte stuck by this man on his daily routine.

With her coat overgrown into long dreadlocks, the little dog proudly carried an old chicken bone in her mouth as a self-styled security blanket and makeshift toy.

One day as the duo passed by a veterinary office, one of the Heaven Can Wait dog coordinators called out to the man that he should get Charlotte groomed.  He told the coordinator that Charlotte was not his dog and she only joined him during the day to collect cans.   The coordinator coaxed the little dog inside the vet’s office to see if her owner could be identified through a micro-chip.

It was there that Charlotte began her journey to her forever home. She was given medical attention and a bath that lasted two full days to shave off all of her knotted fur. Then she entered the Pups on Parole program. During her time in the program, this darling Cockapoo impressed those she met with her independence, energy and beautiful personality.

The Berenzweig family was looking for a new dog to add to their family. Bruce Berenzweig, says they knew they wanted a new dog, but did not relish the idea of heading to an animal shelter and viewing dozens of animals in cages. They contacted Heaven Can Wait and spoke to the Dog Coordinator about adopting a dog.

Several days later a call came that the perfect dog was available for adoption.  Lucky Charlotte became that wonderful new companion to the family. Charlotte, who the family thinks is about two-years-old, is a well behaved, loveable, energetic girl.

Bruce says that Charlotte “fits into our life seamlessly.”  When the family comes home, Charlotte is so excited to see them that she will jump in the air and roll on her back.   Charlotte loves sitting on laps in her new home and soaking up attention.  Blanche Berenzweig, Charlotte’s new mom says that she is “sweet as sugar” and has become almost inseparable with their older dog, Gordie.   Blanche says that Charlotte enjoys her daily walks and is very well trained, “She is a wonderful addition to our family. Heaven Can Wait did such a good job with her.”

Heaven Can Wait has lots of cats and dogs ready for adoption each weekend.  You can see them on our website at: www.hcws.org and arrange then arrange to meet them in person.  Cats are adopted at Petsmart in the Arroyo Crossing Center (off I-215 and S. Rainbow) Thursday afternoon – Sunday and dogs are adopted Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5p.m. at Bone Appetit on W. Tropicana and Ft. Apache.

Dakota’s First Day At Pups On Parole

“From an everyday standpoint being sent to prison is not the ideal way to begin a wonderful new life, but for dogs like Dakota rescued by Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, it is the start of an extraordinary experience.”

Many fans of the Heaven Can Wait blog have asked how our Pups on Parole program works.  We would like to share the video above with you that shows a dog named Dakota arriving for the first time at the Southern Nevada Correctional Facility for women.

Two specially trained handlers from the prison welcome Dakota and explain how dogs like him and the Pups on Parole program have changed their lives. Dakota’s handlers rehabilitated, socialized and trained the shepherd mix so he could be adopted into a family of his own.

Some of the pups that enter Pups on Parole have lost their trust in people. They have been traumatized, neglected or simply ignored. At the prison they gain their confidence in humans.

You can learn more about Pups on Parole at: http://www.hcws.org

HCWS Tackles Innovative Project To Save Animals

The team who worked around the clock saving animals in 2 communities.

The team who worked around the clock saving animals in 2 communities.

Heaven Can Wait Animal Society has never shied away from tackling an innovative project if it helps homeless animals.  From our Pups on Parole program that pairs rescued dogs with female inmates to our monthly feral cat clinic that sterilizes hundreds of cats at a time, HCWS has always stepped up to a challenge.

In September 2012 we were put to the test again when we joined forces with the residents of two communities to spay and neuter all of the free roaming cats and owned pets in the neighborhood.

While our volunteer trappers are used to helping communities control feral cat colonies through Trap-Neuter-Return, this project was very unique.

  1. It ran non-stop for a full week.
  2. Residents played an active role with the spay/neuter team.
  3. Feral cats were kept away from the neighborhood after being sterilized.

With support from Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani, the residents of these two back-to-back communities also entered into a two-year agreement with Heaven Can Wait to continue to have new pets and stray animals sterilized.

The trap-a-thon began on a Sunday and ran continuously 24-hours a day until every animal was fixed 8 days later.

Here is how it worked:

  • Traps were set for the free roaming cats.
  • A small group of residents volunteered to monitor the traps around-the-clock and contacted a member of the HCWS team whenever a cat was caught.  This meant there was absolutely no downtime for the program – a very unique aspect.
  • No matter what time of day or night, one of the volunteer trappers came to the community to take the cat to the HCWS clinic and re-set the trap for another feline.
  • Cats were examined and sterilized, but remained at the clinic after their surgery instead of being released back into their neighborhood.  This allowed for a better assessment of the number of cats that still had to be tcaptured.
  • The fixed felines were given food and lots of attention while they stayed at the clinic.  The staff called it their “Spa Week.”
  • Owned pets were brought in for surgeries and released back to their owners.
Sandy and her new Mom.  Sandy was one of the kittens rescued during the project.

Sandy and her new Mom. Sandy was one of the kittens rescued during the project.

At the end of the 8 days a total of 30 free roaming cats were sterilized, plus two pet cats.  In addition, three kittens were taken into foster care after their mother was killed by a dog in the community.  All are now fixed and have been adopted into new homes.  A total of four dogs were neutered as well.

The event went off without a hitch, except for some unfinished business with a cat named Amanda.  Amanda is a friendly free roaming feline who is cared for by everyone in the community.  She had given birth shortly before the project began and hid away her litter for safekeeping.  The residents followed Amanda back to her hiding place after her surgery and have continued to watch over her kittens since the spay-a-thon.  Once the babies were old enough, they too were spayed and neutered.  One of the kittens who is now called Sandy (pictured above) was adopted by a neighbor.

Heaven Can Wait would like to thank all of the residents who kept this very unique project running.   We also send a special thanks to Jean Spaziani of C-5, HCWS trapper Susan Watkins and our clinic director Judy Erickson for working nonstop for 8 days and tackling a new approach to save homeless animals.

Please show your support for projects like this by Clicking Here.  If you would like to work on projects like these, please fill out a volunteer application at: http://www.hcws.org