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Douglas Animal Welfare Group

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Protection & Welfare, Animals

Mission: To better the lives of Douglas County animals by improving their adoptability and thereby increasing the adoption rate while at the Douglas County Animal Care and Services, educating the community about responsible pet ownership and engaging in other projects and activities that may com available that will yield positive benefits to the animals, owners and citizens.

Target demographics: pets and people

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 100 animals

Geographic areas served: Douglas County , Nevada

Programs: Douglas animal welfare offers three community assistance programs:1)fix-a-family pet program offers a low-cost copay to indiviuals that have domestic dogs and/or cats in their homes that have not been spayed or neutered. We contracted with local veterinarians to give us a break in their charges so the owners pay $30-$60 copays per dog or cat and dawg absorbs the $90-$150 spay/neuter charge and the $15 rabies shot. This has resulted in the spay/neuter of nearly 100 domestic dogs and 150 domestic cats. Also offering 2)fix a pit bull program as well as 3)providing low income residents with medical care for pets.

facilitation of adoption of dogs and cats at douglas county animal shelter in gardnerville, nevada. Provide a healthy and stimulating environment while animals are in the shelter. Provide training and medical care, and put on adoption events.

Community Stories

8 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I read the comments below regarding the law suit against Dawg. I quit this group because of it. What bothered me was that Dawgs own members conspired the suit behind the backs of its officers and members (me included as a member!) Yes they fabricated a lie and went forth with a conspiracy theory. I could not remain a member because of this and the cost involved with the defense and insurance problems. After a recent election in 2016 some of the same people that conspired against Dawg in the suit are now serving as officers and directors. I can't even put into words how angry that makes me. (why they were not removed from the organization a couple years ago is beyond me) I decided to donate directly to the county shelter. I wish Dawg best of luck in the future.

Review from Guidestar


General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Honesty is the best policy. Records signed by the organization's officer show $745 of public money was paid towards a law suit filed against it. The records also note that the civil suit could have been avoided had the members chose to communicate with each other. I feel that there is a lack of internal respect and the organization takes for granted people won’t find out what goes on with public donations. I support animal care and deeply care what happens to them, but a charitable organization that gets a civil suit against them raises red flags, which is why I do not want to donate here.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a member of DAWG and have been for over 4 years. It is a great group that helps in many ways the animals of Douglas County NV. It is a great non profit organization that has made a difference in the lives of many animals. Some activities include helping shelter animals by providing medical care, training, grooming, socialization, foster homes, purchasing specialty food if needed, reducing adoption costs, holding adoption events, advertising the shelter animals on facebook and petfinder and more. For the community DAWG also provides programs such as low cost spay/neuter program for dogs and cats for low income residents, a low cost spay/neuter of pitbulls for all residents, and a community assistance program to help members of the public get veterinary care for the their personal animals. Also to clarify a comment and reviewer made earlier DAWG funds and donations were NOT used to pay for the lawsuit since DAWG has insurance and the insurance covered the costs. I know this for a fact since I was on the Executive Board when this event occurred.

Review from Guidestar


Rating: 2

After one year as a volunteer, I quit. The leadership was good, but there was too much backstabbing behavior from other volunteers. I am now volunteering directly with the shelter and their volunteers and find it much more pleasant.

Review from Guidestar

1 DianaF


Rating: 5

Douglas Animal Welfare Group, otherise known as DAWG, was founded in 2000. I am a charter member. I have served as former President and held several other exective positions and on the Board of Directors.
DAWG serves to improve the lives of the homeless dogs and cats in the Douglas County,NV, Animal Shelter. DAWG members provide funds for medical care for ill or injured animals which come into the shelter either as strays or surrendered formr pets. Members assist in facilitating adoptions, hold many adoption events and post flyer through the county about the animals available for adoption.
I coordinate the monthly events at Petco, helping the people who come to Petco to find a new loving companion. Senior dogs like Buddy and Tasha were adopted at our Petco event and are living active, well-loved and healthy lives with their owners.
As a member, I am proud to have started such programs as paying for Senior Animal Vet Exams for new older arrivals so we will know what conditions these older animals may have so we can treat them early and help the new owner know how to care for the animal from the first day. This exam may result in the removal of tumors, dental cleaning and or removal of broken or diseased teeth, or treament for thyroid condition or incontinence and many more medical needs. If the animal is found to be very unhealthy and have little time to live, a loving and caring foster home with a knowledgable member is recruited and is supported by DAWG until the dog or cat passes on. The animal will know love and care in a home until the end.

Review from Guidestar


Client Served

Rating: 5

I rescued my dog, Casey, from the Douglas County Animal Shelter 12 years ago. She's been a wounderful pet and very healthy for many years. However, recenty she had a medical condition that required a veterinary visit. I have been working only part time and could not afford the cost of the office visit so I called the volunteer group who worked with our animal shelter, Douglas Animal Welfare Group or DAWG and asked if they could help me. They contacted the vet's office on my behalf and arranged an emergency visit for me that afternoon and had the office bill them for the visit.
Without their help I would not have been able to get the help that my dog needed at the time. She has been healthy ever since and we are both extreamly grateful for the assistance they could provide.

Review from Guidestar



Rating: 5

I have been a member of the Douglas Animal Welfare Group since 2002. I have seen the group grow from 8-9 active members to 30-35 active members. This has all been accomplished through hard work.

The Douglas Animal Welfare Group has members at the shelter 365 days of the year to walk, play, socialize and clean liter boxes.

The Douglas Animal Welfare Group sponsors adoption events to increase the adoption rate. There are monthly adoption events held at the Shelter and at Petco. Everyone benefits from these events - hopefully there are good adoptions and the dogs and cats are seen.

The Douglas Animal Welfare Group provides medical assistance to the dogs and cats in the shelter beyond the County will cover. By doing this, we have made more dogs and cats ready for adoption.

The Executive Committee and Board of Directors work very hard to ensure that we stay committed to our mission statement.

When dogs are cats are adopted, the Douglas Animal Welfare Group provides free-of-charge micro-chipping, training help from a local trainer.

DAWG members go above and beyond what is expected of them. For instance, when the County was going to close the shelter on Sunday due to lack of funding, our members got to gather to cover the front desk so adoptions could still be available to the community. Our Sunday coverage has provided for many adoptions.

I am proud of being a member of the Douglas Animal Welfare Group for the reasons I joined. DAWG has professional, dedicated and loyal members whose mission is to find good homes for the Shelter dog and cats.


Pat Matthews



Rating: 3

DAWG started in 2000 and and in 2002 it incorporated as a 501-c-3 charity. I joined in the fall of 2004 or 2005, i cant remember, and there were about 25 members with very little money. since then they have over 100 members and are no longer almost broke. There main function is to volunteer at the Douglas County Nevada, animal shelter. DAWG (Douglas Animal Welfare Group) and its volunteeers do the following:

1. There are about 100+ volunteer/members. 35 do most of the volunteering and the rest are supporting members who can volunteer anytime they wish. Some of them go to the shelter and walk the dogs and pet the cats on a daily scheduled basis, 365 days a year. They try to teach them a few tricks, find out something about the animal for adoption purposes, and give them some affection so they don’t go stir crazy in the kennel. They play a little ball with the animals weather permitting. They clean the cat cages, check the animals for medical problems, and discuss any problems with the shelter employees.
2. When the kennels fill up, or a dog has a bad injury some of the members take the dogs home until the kennels empty out and or the animal gets better. They act as foster parents.
3. The main goal of the group is try to get the animals adopted. If they can get them adopted that will help reinforce the no-kill shelter approach. (If there was no DAWG the county would probably have to kill the animals if they can’t adopt them.) They hold special adoption events throughout the year. They take pictures of the new dogs and cats and advertise them on the Internet, and sometimes in the newspaper and television.
4. When the shelter is full, they may pay for spay or neuter of animals since the shelter has no spay or neuter funds. This helps increase the adoptions since the adopter normally pays the cost.
5. They have fund raising events. The money they raise is used to pay for expenses the county will not pay for. The county normally will pay for emergency medical expenses, or for injuries in the shelter. If an incoming animal is hurt or injured DAWG may pay for medical check ups, lab costs and other costs to make the animal adoptable.
6. DAWG uses its money to pay for printing, postage, and miscellaneous expenses to the vets that are necessary to help adopt the animals.
7. Sometimes an animal needs a special operation. If possible, DAWG will pay for that or try to raise the funds for the operation.
8. DAWG has to pay for advertising in the newspaper for fund raising events, adoption events, and special problems such as overflowing kennels.
9. They sometimes drive the animals to the vets, groomers, or other appointments.
10. DAWG sometimes pays for canned dog food for animals that will not eat the dry or kittens that need the canned food instead of the dry. Sometimes DAWG asks the community to donate cans of dog and cat food. Dry dog food is free as donation from the Pedigree dog food company.
11. DAWG may pay the expenses for some piece of equipment or training for a person who has adopted an animal and is having a problem with their animal, in order for the person to be happy with their animal rather than returning it to the shelter.
12. DAWG may pay boarding expenses or the expenses involved with people who have a foster home for a dog who is injured or when the kennel is overflowing.
13.DAWG educates people about responsible pet ownership. At some of the events they have speakers about training, animal behavior, emergency preparedness for pets, printed materials about pets, and microchip clinics.

14. DAWG and Douglas County split the cost of major kennel improvements in 2007 which resulted in the demolition of all the concrete kennels and installation of modular kennels. This was possible because of a donation from an individual who was in favor of spending the money upgrading the shelter kennels.
15. DAWG microchips all the dogs that enter the shelter that are not microchipped.

Honors and Awards

Nevada Appeal picked DAWG as the organization of the year in 2005. This honor was recognized with letters from the Governor Guinn, Senator Ensign, and Assembly Minority Leader Hettrick. See the website for the letters.

The Chamber of Commerce picked DAWG as the service club of the year in 2006.

Douglas County Historical Society honored Cherie Owen, Founder and President of DAWG in 2006 as a Woman of Honor for her historical contribution to improving the quality of life in Douglas County for founding DAWG.

The American Red Cross honored Cherie Owen in 2007 as an Animal Real Hero, for her work in rescuing animals for the last 33 years.

In 2007 Cherie was awarded a “Daily Point of Light”, by the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network, in Washington D.C. for her 33 years of volunteer work rescuing animals. She received a certificate from the foundation, congratulatory letters from both President Bushes and Senator Reid acknowledged the award.

In 2007 Nevada Assemblyman, James Stettlemeyer, awarded DAWG a Proclamation for DAWG’s work and Cherie’s Real Hero award. She also received a Certificate of Special Recognition from Governor Gibbons, which read “In honor of your selfless commitment to ensuring the safety and well being of all animals in Douglas County. You are a true Real Hero”.

In 2007, U.S. Congressman, Dean Heller, awarded Cherie Owen, a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. It said “ Thank you for your hard work and dedication as a volunteer. Your Service to the Community and love for animals is greatly appreciated.”

In 2008, Cherie Owen was a finalist at the Nevada Appeal Community Awards in the “Volunteer of the Year” category. She received a recognition certificate from U.S. Senator Harry Reid, John Ensign and Governor Gibbons.

In 2008, Laura Winking, President of DAWG, was honored nationally by the Points of Light Institute, in Washington D.C. as a “Daily Point of Light”, for her seven years of volunteering for the animals at the Douglas County Nevada Animal Shelter. She will receive letters of congratulation from both President Bushes. Governor Jim Gibbons and Congressman Dean Heller acknowledged Laura’s award with certificates of recognition. U.S Senator Reid sent Laura a letter acknowledging her award.

In 2009, Cherie Owen, president and founder, received the “Jefferson Award” from television channel 4 and Wells Fargo bank.

In 2009, Laura Winking, past president was nominated in the Red Cross in the Animal Rescue category for the “Real Hero’s” breakfast. She received a certificate and recognition certificates from Governor Gibbons and Senator Reed.

In 2009, Grace Bower, member-volunteer, was honored by the Douglas County Historical Society, at the "Women in History" awards on Saturday, March 28th2009, for Grace’s historical contribution to improving the quality of life in Douglas County, Nevada. She received a certificate and recognition certificates from Governor Gibbons and Senator Reed.

In 2009, “Active Volunteers in Douglas, AVID, selected Trish Vandersluis, who was Vice-President, as Volunteer of the Month.

In 2010, Tina Murphy, who was Vice-President was selected as Volunteer of the Month by “Active Volunteers in Douglas, AVID.

The most difficult problem that DAWG has is getting enough volunteers because volunteering is not mandatory for the members. We have supporting members and volunteer members and no one is reqired to volunteer.

Review from Guidestar