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News 2002

SSSNP in the Press

Nevada Appeal 
Column: Kurt Hildebrand
December 29, 2002
Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project says he found a litter of genuine Nevada trailer dogs last week.

"It is a fact that the more trailers they are born near or under and the number of abandoned vehicles in the vicinity can verify the authenticity of the Nevada trailer dog," he said.

In this case the puppies were found within spitting distance of no fewer than seven abandoned vehicles.

"These are great puppies," he said. "Any dog is a teachable animal and the mother dog is a real sweetheart."

Tom realizes that the number of homes available to dogs is limited.

"Homes are finite, dogs aren't," he said. "Our only answer is aggressive spay and neutering."

Nevada Appeal

Article published December 22, 2002

Think twice before you get that Christmas puppy

By Karl Horeis

Think an adorable little puppy would make the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season?

Lee and Tom Blomquist at the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project, despite having five adorable, "authentic indigenous Nevada trailer puppies" who need homes, are not so enthusiastic about Christmas puppies.

"What people need to do is think about it," said Lee Blomquist Saturday, taking a moment from her busy schedule as a dog and cat rescue worker to describe the problem of unrealistic, impulse pet buyers.

"It's like bunnies and chicks at Easter," she said. "Chicks grow up to be chickens, you know? And that cute little cuddly thing you paid for isn't there anymore."

Too often, says the state-licensed veterinary technician, these puppies end up in the back yard where nobody pays attention to them.

"Tom is fond of saying, 'They're not ceramic -- you can't just put them up on a shelf somewhere."

She says this time of year is especially sad because shelters are filling up with adolescent dogs -- and those are the hardest ones to adopt out.

If you really want to give a pet as a holiday gift, says Blomquist, start with a dog bowl and a few dog toys. That way the prospective owner expects the animal and can prepare for the responsibility of being a pet owner. After the holiday blitz, the two of you can go pick one out together.

The Blomquists will make the five, 8-week old puppies available for adoption right after Christmas. Their mother, who appears to have some Aussie in her, according to the Blomquists, was caring for them under a trailer in Mark Twain. They were living off macaroni and cheese until they were moved to a foster home.

Of course, these are not the only dogs being helped and re-homed at the Silver Springs Spay and Neuter Project.

Lee Blomquist helped Dr. Lisa Hayden in Yerington remove a bullet from a rottweiler named Freya on Friday. Freya is currently living in the shelter built for Rosie, who was found chained to an abandoned motor home off Kit Kat Road in Mound House in November. Rosie, now called Brandy, has found a loving home on four acres in Spanish Springs.

Unfortunately, due to limited funds and resources, the Blomquists are not able to help everyone.

"We don't have thousand of dollars to put out toward vet bills and we don't have a thousand of pounds of dog food," Lee said. "Of course, if more people were helping us we could help more people."

She said some people are uncomfortable giving money if they don't know where it's going. She explained that donations to help her and her husband's project can be made toward their accounts at Pet Chef Express on Roop Street, Critter Junction near Gottschalk's or at Benson's Feed on Highway 50.

If you do end up getting a "Christmas puppy" this year, make sure you get them spayed or neutered right away, she said.

"It makes for better pets."

Of course, it's not guaranteed to make them calmer.

"They don't call them Jack Russell Terrorists for nothing," she laughed.

Nevada Appeal 
By Kurt Hildebrand
December 8, 2002
B'sghetti's was packed on Monday for the Capitol City Humane Society dinner.

Isabel Young, Betty Horrocks and Tom Blomquist organized the event with the help of restaurant owner Scott Doerr.

Easily 100 people lined up for spaghetti, sauce and salad in support of the animals.

Young Lea Cartwright aided Blomquist in drawing prizes for the raffle, which included a big stuffed gorilla, books and other donated items.

Nevada Appeal

Rosie makes appearance at Humane Society fund-raiser

By Karl Horeis,
December 2, 2002


Rosie the Rottweiler, found chained to a motor home in Mound House last month, will make an appearance tonight at the Capital City Humane Society fund-raiser dinner at B'Sghetti's Restaurant.

"She is doing fine," says Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay and Neuter Project. Rosie will give paw-print "autographs" at the dinner.

She was found chained to an abandoned motor home off Kit Kat Road in Lyon County. With eight puppies wandering around her, her eyes were so infected, they were swollen closed.

But the Rosie coming to dinner Monday is a new dog, thanks to Kathi Unruh, who found her, and Lee and Tom Blomquist, who cared for her. The Blomquists spent $400 on a dog run for Rosie and her puppies. She has healed from eye surgery and been adopted into a new home -- as have all her puppies.

Rosie will be called Brandy by her new owners in Silver Springs.

"They love her," said Blomquist of the couple. "They love her."

Tonight's dinner is the main fund-raiser of the Capital City Humane Society, according to Blomquist. The funds will not go to the Silver Springs Spay and Neuter Project, but that doesn't worry Tom Blomquist.

"Anything that helps animals is helping us," he said. He described how Isabel Young of the Humane Society gave $200 to the effort to save Rosie after she heard what happened. Now that Young is working to develop an animal shelter in east Carson City, Blomquist is eager to help her out.

"I really hope that she and her group can be successful in getting a shelter," he said.

Since 1995, the Blomquists have helped spay and neuter animals and nurse many back to health. Their Silver Springs property is home to 20 dogs and nine cats.

The Humane Society dinner will include two kinds of Italian pasta and three sauces: no-neat marinara, meat marinara and alfredo. Also served will be salad with Italian dressing, garlic bread and wine.

The dinner is at 5:30 p.m., and tickets are $12.

For more information about Rosie, call the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project at 577-3518 or the Carson City Humane Society at 841-1911.

Nevada Appeal

New pup to get behind the wheel

By Kurt Hildebrand
December 1, 2002


People love a happy ending and it sounds like there was one for Rosie the Rottweiler, found tied to an abandoned motor home earlier this month.

Rosie's plight appeared on Page 3 the Nevada Appeal on Nov. 15.

According to Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay and Neuter Project, Rosie and her litter are on their way to happy recovery.

Rosie has received needed eye surgery and as of Tuesday and had found a home with a couple. One of her nine puppies was adopted by a cross-country trucker.

It turns out that Rosie herself will make an appearance at Monday's Capital City Humane Society dinner and fund-raiser at B'Sghetti's.

Tom says she will be providing paw print autographs. The dinner is 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $12. Call 841-1911 for information. For more about the Spay and Neuter project, call 577-3518.

Nevada Appeal

Article published November 15, 2002

Silver Springs shelter needs home for Rosie

Kathi Unruh found this Rottweiler chaine to an abandoned motor home along with eight puppies. Six puppies have been adopted, but the mother and other two puppies are being cared for by the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project until they find homes. Brian Corley

Jill Keller, Appeal Staff Writer

A Silver Springs humane shelter for injured and abandoned animals needs to find a home for one of its newest visitors.

Rosie was found chained to an abandoned motor home off Kit Kat Road in Lyon County last week by a local worker. With eight puppies scattered about, the Rottweiler had no water or food and was suffering from eye infections.

"I was just in utter shock," said Kathi Unruh. "When I talk about it, I still get really stressed."

Unruh first called the Lyon County Animal Shelter and was told that if the county responded the puppies would be euthanized, she said. Fearing the worst, Unruh then called Tom and Lee Blomquist at the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project who responded to care for the dog within an hour.

The couple brought food, water and medical care for Rosie and her puppies. Six of the puppies were adopted before the couple took Rosie and the remaining two puppies to their home.

The Blomquists spent $400 to build a dog run for Rosie and her puppies and are nursing her back to health. The unexpected cost caused Tom Blomquist to be late on the mortgage, but he said it was worth it.

"At the end of life, I'd rather know that we did something to save Rosie and the pups," Tom Blomquist said.

Rosie will be ready for a home in two to three weeks, after she is fully healed.

Since 1995, the couple has helped spay and neuter animals and nurse many back to health. The Silver Springs property is now home to 20 dogs and nine cats, several who are blind, deaf and diabetic.

The couple pays most of the costs out of their own pockets but is always looking for donations. "We're going to do it with or without anybody's help," Tom Blomquist said.

For more information about Rosie, call the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project at 577-3518.

Nevada Appeal

Article published October 27, 2002

Letter serves as reminder to suport animal project

By Kurt Hildebrand

I received a letter from 12-year-old Lea Cartwright, who read about the theft of the two collection boxes belonging to Silver Springs Spay and Neuter Project.

Lea is no stranger to the project. She lives nearby and visits the animals all the time.

"The money in those boxes could have fed Duke, my dog's friend, or bought a toy for Cleo-catra," she wrote.

The project helped Lea get her animals spayed and has been working to spay and neuter strays and other pets in the area. She has a new puppy, Phobe.

Lea is an eighth-grader at Silver Stage Middle School and said she hopes that some big companies looking for a charity consider the project.

Anyone interested in helping out can contact Tom Blomquist at the Spay and Neuter Project. His number is 577-3518.

Nevada Appeal 
By Kurt Hildebrand
October 13, 2002
My animal folks are both planning fund-raisers in the near future.

Isabel Young of the Capital City Humane Society says the annual Paws in the Park will be Nov. 9 at Riverside Park. Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay and Neuter Project is cooking up a non-event to raise money for the shelter.

"Isabel and I are working on some joint fund-raisers," he said. "I'm thinking of doing a non-event. We could try to get Tom Baker not to show up. We could even do a skit where we try to teach Isabel how to say the word Nevada."

Speaking of cooking, Tom said he picked up top honors at the Stew Doo, last weekend.

"My goal was just to make a stew that didn't embarrass us and I ended up winning the darn thing."

Article published September 29, 2002

Thieves deserve to be in the doghouse

By Kurt Hildebrand, Sunday columnist

The people who walked off with two of the Spay and Neuter Project's collection boxes ought to be in the doghouse.

In fact, the boxes look like doghouses and are placed at businesses through Carson and the Dayton Valley corridor.

Spay and Neuter Project operator Tom Blomquist is a proud guy. He's managed to operate a no-kill shelter on donations and the money he and his wife earn. Tom works late shifts as a waiter in Reno to bring home enough money to insure the 20 dogs and nine cats that would otherwise be put down get a new lease on life.

"I didn't think I would still be waiting tables at my age," said the 53-year-old. "I've always made my living in the saloon business."

Now Tom's tokes go to help support the animals he and wife, Lee, keep on the property.

The two boxes were taken from Piper's Casino and an area Pizza Parlor.

"They don't bring in much money," Tom said. "But a few dollars help."

I last heard from Tom about Cody the dog, found early this summer after someone attempted to perform a home castration.

Cody is happy with his new family and, though he will always be a bit neurotic, he is doing fine.

Nevada Appeal

Article published July 21, 2002

Who would try to castrate Cody the dog?

by Kurt Hildebrand, managing editor

Someone tried to castrate Cody, and he is lucky to be alive today.

The black Labrador-mix was found by a Mound House woman on Tuesday as he wandered the neighborhood. She named him Cody.

"He was trucking through my yard as my daughter and I were putting windshield wipers on her car," said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

"I grabbed a bucket of food and a bucket of water," she said. "He came up and took a drink and then started eating, then I coaxed him into the house with dinner."

I'm not going to print the woman's name in the newspaper because she is in fear that whoever attempted to castrate Cody might try and finish the job.

Tom Blomquist of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project said it looked like Cody had been castrated with a knife or a pair of sheep shears.

Tom brought the dog to Yerington veterinarian Lisa Hayden who sewed him up.

"The interesting thing about this dog is that his hair and skin texture is that of someone whose owner could afford good food," Tom said. "We want to find out where this dog came from. He is in such good shape, we wonder if he wasn't tortured by a husband mad at his ex-wife or something like that."

In the meantime, Cody is in a good home and being taken care of.

"The woman who found him has fallen in love with him," Tom said.

Homes needed for cluster of cats

Lenita Powers
6/9/2002 10:29 pm

For more information:
To adopt:
  • People willing to give the cats a chance and a home can call the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project at 577-3518.
  • The only charge will be for the cost toward spaying or neutering the adopted animal.

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    More than two dozen cats are up for adoption after their elderly owner was taken from her Silver Springs home to a convalescent center, the director of an animal rescue program said Sunday.

    About 15 kittens and 12 cats, from four weeks old to 20 years, are in need of new homes, said Lee Blomquist, director of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project.

    Their former owner is what we refer to fondly as one of our cat ladies, Blomquist said. She was an animal lover all her life and there are no laws here restricting how many cats you can have.

    Nevada Aging Services contacted the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Center after the felines were discovered before their owner was placed last month in a convalescent center, Blomquist said.

    Some of the adult cats are a little iffy at this point, she said. One male cat is about 20 years old and might be suffering from kidney failure. Finding him a home is going to be real dicey, but Id like to give him a chance.

    Some of the other older cats appear to have upper respiratory problems, she said.

    They are semi-feral so theyre hard to treat, but theyd make great barn cats, Blomquist said.

    Then there are those that are litter-box challenged.

    This woman didnt have any litter boxes in her house so the cats used the corners of her house for litter boxes, Blomquist said. I put litter boxes in the corners of the house, but not all the adult cats have gotten the clue yet.

    Anyone adopting a cat can take it to a private veterinarian or to the Spay-Neuter Projects veterinarian at the Yerington Veterinary Hospital, which charges $30 for neutering and $50 for spaying, she said.

    Reno also has reasonable spay and neutering prices through the SPCA (the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Nevada Humane Society, Blomquist said.

    Nevada Appeal

    Article published June 4, 2002

    Dogs, cats need new home

    staff reports

    It's not B.J. and Princess's fault they're homeless.

    The two dogs are owned by an elderly Silver Springs resident, who was recently placed in a convalescent home by state aging services, and she left behind 25 cats -- 15 of them kittens -- and three dogs. Like many seniors who don't plan on being ill, the woman made no plans for the care of her animals. She had found a home for one puppy, but B.J., a 10-year-old silky terrier and Princess, a 7-year-old beagle mix, are left with no place to go.

    The Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project, operated by Tom and Lee Blomquist, received the animals and they are hoping someone is looking for a pet.

    "Anyone who's used to dealing with terrier breeds knows they've got quirks; that's why they call them 'holy terriers,'" Lee Blomquist said. "Princess, she's a real sweetheart."

    The Blomquists are hoping to keep the dogs together. She said they've taken the dogs to the veterinarian for care their elderly owner neglected. The Nevada Humane Society has donated some food to take care of the animals, but neither the Blomquists nor Lyon County Animal Services is equipped to handle cats.

    The cats come in all sizes and colors, Blomquist said, but most are feral and would need a home with someone perhaps looking for barn cats instead of lap cats. The challenge now is local shelters are burdened with kittens, it's hard to find home for a tame cat much less wild ones.

    The Blomquists have operated the Spay-Neuter Project since 1996 in honor of their dog, Truckee. They mostly offer to transport animals in need of alteration, and pay for the procedure when their organization has funds.

    For information on the dogs or the project, call 577-3518.

    Nevada Appeal

    Article published June 3, 2002

    Silver Springs woman participates in 9-11 quilt project

    By Nancy Dallas

    SILVER SPRINGS -- Thanks to a global volunteer effort, those who died in the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001 will be forever honored with an internationally constructed quilt project.

    Joining in the memorial undertaking, Silver Springs resident Lee Blomquist is submitting handcrafted squares dedicated to two of the more than 3,000 victims of the plane crashes into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

    Each of her 18 1/2 inch by 18 1/2 inch blocks -- one of a bomb-sniffing Labrador retriever named Sirius, the other of Lt. Colonel Stephen Neil Hyland Jr. -- reflects a personal connection to the losses suffered.

    Lee and husband Tom operate the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project, a non-profit animal rescue facility. Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

    "One reason I decided to get involved was when they published a list of the victims, the only dog to die at the World Trade Center was not listed," she explained. "He died when the towers collapsed."

    Port Authority Police Officer David Kim left his partner, Sirius, in the basement PAPD K-9 office when the first plane hit. Having no idea what had happened, Kim thought missiles had hit the building. He placed the dog in his dog crate and told him to stay while he investigated.

    Kim was on the 44th floor when the second plane hit. He made it down to the fifth floor as the building collapsed around him, still not understanding what had happened. The stairway partially remained and Kim and those near him were rescued; however, after several futile attempts, he was unable to get back to the area where the dog was left.

    Canine Sirius, PAPD No.17, was never found.

    In choosing her second project, Blomquist wanted to honor a victim of the crash into the Pentagon. She was only six blocks away on Sept. 11.

    "Because I was there, I felt I needed to do that. I looked for someone who was about my age and had been in the Army at the same time I was. I also worked at the Pentagon in the 1970s."

    Hyland, 45, graduated from Notre Dame in 1977. He was chief of the Accessions and Strategies Branch of the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. Hyland had recently moved from temporary offices on the opposite side of the Pentagon while his regular office area, the side obliterated by the jetliner, underwent renovation.

    His remains were laid to rest Nov. 8, 2001, in Arlington National Cemetery.

    With the hope it will help each participant come to know the victim as a person, the United In Memory Victims Memorial Quilt Project was created by freelance graphic artist Corey Gammel and Peter Marquez, an operations manager for a moving and storage company. The project should be completed by August, with plans to display the quilt on Sept. 11, 2002.

    Blomquist noted of her creative effort, "It was a very unique and comforting experience. With so many lives so tragically lost, perhaps this massive sewing project will help mend the wounds inflicted on this nation that day."