- Fantastic view of the Caballo Mountains and the Rio Grande corridor.
- Full hook-ups with well water
- 30 amp and 50 amp service
- WiFi available at office and some sites
- Shaded picnic area
- Most sites are pull-through
- Well behaved pets are welcome
Rates for large, full hook-up RV site:
- $25.00 per night, with WiFi & electric included
- $100.00 per week, WiFi included, electric not included
- $200.00 per month, WiFi included, electric not included
To reserve a camp site use contact form below or, call 575-894-2639 or weR4pets@gmail.com.
Come and spend a night, a week, a month or stay long-term at our small but comfortable Desert Haven Adult RV Campground adjacent to the no-kill Animal Refuge. Income generated from RV site rentals is earmarked to cover the operating expenses of Desert Haven Animal Refuge.
Our work campers are RVers who commit to spend several months or more at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, sharing in the daily care of our animal residents and helping maintain and upgrade the facility. Work campers also work with the volunteer crew at Paws & Claws Thrift Shop, the major source of funding for Desert Haven. Their time (an average of 20 hours/week per single or 30 hours/week per couple), talents and new ideas are exchanged for a spacious RV site and utility allowance.
At Desert Haven, service oriented work camping singles and couples are welcome year-round to help care for the domestic animals who live here until adoption or to the end of their natural life. While there is always a need for routine maintenance at the no-kill facility, large building projects are usually left for the Fall, Winter and Spring, when the crew is the largest. Winter visitors in the surrounding communities team up with the volunteers and work camping crew every Tuesday at the Refuge, to help with projects as well as with the animals.
The area, overlooking the nearby Rio Grande corridor with the Caballo Mountains in the background, is beautiful year-round.
The park is small, well tended and peaceful and the people are wonderful. Read about the experiences of some of our former work campers.
What Our Workampers Have to Say About DHAR
We would like to sincerely thank Eliana and the Sierra County Humane Society for the opportunity to volunteer…
for three months at Desert Haven Animal Refuge. Working with the dogs, cats and birds was a very rewarding experience. If you love animals and want to make a difference in their lives we would recommend volunteering here.
The job is more than just “working your time” and going back to your RV. While you could certainly just do the regular animal care, you would miss out on the opportunity to truly meet, know and love all the wonderful residents of the refuge within your assigned hours. You will also have the opportunity to take on any projects that better the refuge whether your interest is painting, carpentry or just extra snuggles with the residents. We especially enjoyed walking the dogs every morning and giving the cats their evening snack!
The truly unique city of Truth or Consequences is only a few miles away and right across the street from your site are hundreds of acres of government land the Rio Grande River passes through that you can freely explore. If you love animals, nature and can work independently we would recommend volunteering at Desert Haven!
when our motorhome broke its fan belt and we were stranded temporarily in Las Cruces. Call it fate, or perhaps it was the hand of God; all we know that it has been a highly rewarding three months here in Williamsburg, NM.
A typical week here consists of two half days of work and one full day (Tuesday, when everyone pitches in all day.) Two mornings are spent doing animal care and on Tuesday afternoons and Friday afternoons we do projects.
Bob works on repairing what needs fixing and I work pricing items for Paws and Claws Thrift Shop, which helps support the animal rescue. I have been amazed to see the variety and quality of the items in the thrift shop. The people we work with have been wonderful and we have become good friends with them. It hardly feels like work at all at times! And the animals are great fun.
I have gotten very close to a couple of the dogs but as we already have two very spoiled rescues (a dog and a cat) we are unable to adopt more at this time. I have also enjoyed caring for the cats and the birds. What a thrill to see the peacocks strut their stuff!
We love the little campground here. Our view of the Caballo Mountains gives us a show every evening as the sun is setting, and the other campers and residents are good neighbors. It is so peaceful here.
On our days off we have visited Truth or Consequences, Socorro, Hatch, Chloride, Elephant Butte, Caballo, and spent time in Las Cruces. We plan a trip to the dentist in Puerto Palomas in Mexico before we leave here. There is a lot to do in this area,and it is very beautiful.
Our 3 months here has flown by, and while it is time to move on we will be leaving with very fond memories of our workamping experience. We will make a point of stopping in when we come through this area again. I would be happy to answer any questions a prospective workamper may have. Please contact the Webmaster to have your questions forwarded to me.
Melvin and Marcee Williams
We have been at Desert Haven for two months now as work campers. While not knowing what to expect exactly, I did…
have hopes of spending a lot of time ” hand to fur”…..and being here has shown me how paltry my expectations were.
Each morning as we approach Dogtown the writhing, wiggling, wagging and woofing welcomes us. I’m not a morning person in general and yet every morning my face hurts from smiling! All the cats and dogs here are friendly and affectionate to everyone but over time I am learning that there is a subtle yet definite difference as they come to know you as YOU and not just the nice people with the leash or food or fresh water. As much as they love their daily walks there comes a point when to kneel down and share some loving and hugging has to happen first before they even want the leash on!!!
Of course we all know dogs (and cats) seem to exist only to love us (okay, cats are a little more independent), yet that total humbleness and vulnerability to our actions and behavior towards them makes us understand more fully the compassion and drive of Eliana to make a safe loving place for as many unwanted, unloved little furry beings as she can. Because of her dedication and great efforts to establish Desert Haven these many years ago, Mel and I, for this brief period of time, have been reveling in the affection and even joy bestowed upon us by the lucky residents of Desert Haven. ~Marcee and Mel
2013 was my third year in a row work-camping at Desert Haven. My third time was a…
charm! I had left my home state of Michigan in my motor-home for the third winter heading out to Desert Haven Animal Refuge in Williamsburg, Southern New Mexico where I work-camp.
Along with about nine fellow work-campers, some of them couples, we took care of the dogs, cats, birds, chickens, guinea pigs and peacocks. We also kept up with the grounds and with some small maintenance on the property. Some of us helped out at Paws & Claws Thrift Shoppe as part of our assignments. The shop is located in town and its profits go directly into the operation of the Sierra County Humane Society and Desert Haven Animal Refuge.
Seems like a lot of work, but not really. It’s just a few hours a week. When on the schedule for animal care on any day of the week, it’s about three hours in the morning and one in the afternoon. So, even on our work days, that leaves plenty of time to take in the local sites, which include my favorite: soaking in the natural -and very affordable – hot springs.
The small town of Truth or Consequences is just a few miles away and you can save at Wal-Mart, eat at some fine restaurants or take in a movie at El Cortez theater. If you enjoy fishing or water sports, there is the Rio Grande nearby and also two lakes – Elephant Butte and Caballo lakes – only a few miles away. The entire area is full of history, mostly the Old West with its ghost towns and frontier forts, but also prehistoric American Indian. Hiking and gem hunting are popular outdoor activities in this area. As far as the weather is concerned, it can’t be beat.
Please feel free to contact me for any further information that you believe may be helpful to you.
Cindy & Cathy
Recently, we had the rewarding experience of workamping at the Desert Haven Animal Refuge. The level…
of animal care is extraordinary – from accommodations to daily feeding, exercise, hands-on loving and medical care. The residents have the maximum amount of freedom possible while still being protected from predators & the elements. Besides providing the daily care, workers are always busy with various projects involving such things as repairs, building, or painting….the goal of which is to maintain & constantly improve the living conditions of the residents.
Along with the chores at the Refuge, Workampers are required to put in a few hours weekly at the Paws & Claws Thrift Shop which provides direct income for the needs of the Refuge. While retail work is not everyone’s cup of tea, we found management flexible enough to work with us there. Workampers should be aware that this is an animal refuge in the desert, not a resort. Self-contained bathing facilities are a MUST; laundry facilities a plus although there is a Laundromat in town.
Tuesday is an “all hands on deck” day & while it is a longer day than usual, many things are accomplished on this day. Besides the daily morning & evening care of the residents it includes a strategy meeting of management & Workampers where information & direction is shared. It also includes a pot luck lunch which not only provides an excellent meal but also gives everyone a chance to get to know each other better & share experiences. We had an eclectic group & the lunch conversation was lively, informative & entertaining.
Finally, Tuesday is project day….when things requiring group effort or special attention get done.
One of the things we really liked was that we could spend extra time with the animals, above & beyond our required hours if we wanted to (& we did). All in all it was a very rewarding experience. During our time there, we were privileged to be a part of the adoption of several peacocks, a kitten & 4 dogs……and to participate in the rescue of 2 cats & 5 more dogs. Sadly, we also experienced the passing of long-time resident “Sarge”.
Our final comment: It is our humane responsibility to provide good husbandry for all animals. Those who have been neglected or mistreated require special attention and lots of LOVE and at Desert Haven, they get it. Desert Haven is all about the animals!!!
We wish Desert Haven continued success.
Cindy & Cathy
Linda and Carl
In late October, my husband and I left the rainy metropolitan suburbs of Seattle, Washington…
for an opportunity to volunteer as “work campers” at Desert Haven Animal Refuge, located a few miles from Williamsburg on Highway 187.
Many retired seniors who own RVs volunteer to work for a specified number of hours each week in return for an RV parking spot. Since this was our first work camping experience, we had no idea of what to expect in an animal refuge, perhaps the typical steel cages and a sterile environment of some animal facilities. What a delight to find a place that lived up to the title of “haven and refuge”.
Desert Haven has large, roomy areas for abandoned or abused animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens and peacocks. All animals are housed in spaces that have comfortable houses and furnishings appropriate for each species. Dogs can romp and play in their own yard or race about the acreage that is used during their daily walk. Cats roam about freely in Cool Cat Country with its large outdoor and indoor spaces filled with small privacy houses or cubbies, climbing apparatus, and high shelves. The animals receive nourishing food, plenty of exercise and caring, human contact. It has been a heartwarming experience to see the generous donations of food, bedding, and other necessities that arrive for the animals from a supportive community.
Dedicated community volunteers help with all aspects of animal care and provide the animals with affection, as well as work at Paws and Claws, which supports the refuge. The beauty of Desert Haven’s location, the caring staff, the friendly volunteers and the warmth of the T or C and Williamsburg communities have created a never-to-be forgotten experience for us. Returning to Desert Haven as work campers will be on the top of our “bucket list”.
Whether interested in adopting a pet, volunteering or just wanting time with the animals, it is worth your time to visit Desert Haven Animal Refuge on any Tuesday.
Linda and Carl Schmidt
Bothell, WA 98011
Jo & Fred Wishnie
Whew, we survived Day 1 workamping at the Refuge. And I have to say , I love it here! I can see how easy it is…
Best Workcamping job ever!!!
My experience at DHAR was spectacular.
We had a wonderful team led by the equally wonderful and unstoppable Eliana Aubin. All of whom have become my newest and lasting friendships.
The key onsite leaders Mark, Greta, and Lesia are super friendly, very dedicated, caring and extremely knowledgeable. They keep things rolling and the current Residents cared for at all times throughout the year.
Workcampers hit the ground running and are folded into the mix quickly. Everyone’s job on the Team is important.
The standard level of care provided to the Resident cat and dog Rescues at DHAR is high and consistent. And you can always give the Residents extra attention, care, walks and cuddles. It’s not hard to volunteer more of your time, than what is expected as a Workcamper, caring for the Residents as once you get to know each one and develop a rapport, and look them in the eye….they’ve got you!
My time at DHAR was very meaningful with a sense of purpose. It lifts your spirits and leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment and a labor of love with importance. You really can have an impact and make a difference at DHAR. Definitely not your average Workcamping job. And I highly recommend this adventure. I will be returning for another uplifting experience in the future.
Thank you Eliana for all that you do, against all odds, in saving countless innocent lives and your continued selfless generosity. And for allowing us Workcampers such a wonderful opportunity to actually make a difference.
I am proud to call you my Friend. And I am thankful for you and my time at DHAR.
— Cottonwood Mark
Camille & Ed Pronovost
“I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can …
do. And by the grace of God, I will.”
by Edward Everett Hale (American Clergyman and Writer, 1822-1909)
Eliana Aubin, President of the local Sierra County Humane Society, lives by this creed. She and a small group of volunteers founded an independent Humane Society in 1989. Five years ago, despite initial opposition from ranchers and local town officials, Eliana opened Desert Haven Animal Refuge, the only no-kill animal refuge in this corner of New Mexico. She has never taken a salary and has worked tirelessly with volunteers to maintain a thrift shop, “Paws & Claws”, that provides most of the funding for Desert Haven. A small adjacent RV park provides income and a free site for workampers who volunteer at the refuge.
There are currently a couple of sites available in December for volunteers. Come by for an hour, a day, a week or a month. Dog-walkers and kitty cuddlers are always appreciated! Paying RV customers are welcome to visit and help care for the animals if they wish but are under no pressure nor obligation to do so. All proceeds from the RV park go to benefit the animal residents of Desert Haven. Call or e-mail first to make sure a site is available. Click here for more details, photos, and contact info.
Behind the campground lies the gate to the sanctuary. The design of the refuge is Old West – rustic yet functional.
Except during meals and excercise runs when the dogs bark excitedly, the refuge is quiet and peaceful. The only sound is the cooing of the doves, who were the very first residents at Desert Haven. Birdland now also accomodates four peacocks, two ducks, and believe it or not, chickens. The chickens are here because New Mexico is the only state that has no law against cock fighting, a brutal blood “sport.” This is Birdland.
Rainbow Bridge pet cemetery is open to the public for pet burials. The one-acre fenced in area does double-duty twice a day as a place where the dozen or residents of Dogtown, shown below, can run off-leash.
With Dogtown on the right, here is a view of the Caballo Mountains to the east of Desert Haven.
Behind Dogtown lies the Cool Cat Neighborhood, over 1200 square feet of what has been described as “the feline equivalent of a five-star hotel.”
Approximately two dozen cats can be accomodated. Volunteers put out seven or eight plates of dry and canned food each morning, which makes them very popular with the kitties! Self-feeders and waterers and numerous litter boxes are placed strategically to be always available. The desert floor of the Cool Cat Neighborhood, being sand and gravel, is just too tempting to avoid becoming one giant litter box. To prevent this, most of the area has been tiled or rocked over. Ed and I spent a few hours helping to complete this project. The cats were very interested in the new rocks being brought inside and immediately commenced “nasal inspections”.
This is Pam, one of the RV workamping volunteers, with two of the most loving cats here at the Refuge. Both Feather, in white, and Toesie, orange and white, are “top cats” in the hierarchy. They usually eat first and have a tendency to “glom” onto you and will be petted for as long as you are willing. They might stop purring long enough to take a gentle swipe at other cats who try to usurp your attention.
Can you see how Toesie got his name? He has six toes on each front paw.
Feather supposedly has a feather-shaped mark on his head, but I never could really see it.
This is Ernie, a buff-colored very young guy, who is a “pre-purred putty-tat.” He followed me everywhere, loudly purring just in anticipation of being petted. If we didn’t live in a motorhome with two dogs and a cat already, I would have adopted this guy. He’s great. But I don’t think it would be fair to Bonnie, “Queen of Sheba” as the only cat in our household for three years now. Besides, we’re out of room on the bed already!
This black and white girl named Sasha really needs a home of her own. Read her story here on the petfinderwebsite She is a bit timid and the other cats take advantage of her so she has to eat last, etc. But she is a sweetheart and would love to be cuddled by someone she trusts.
Finally, these last two guys are brothers whose owner passed away. Tudor, the long-haired white guy, is very gentle and sweet.
And who could resist Cooper, this happy tabby caught in the act of rolling back and forth in the sunshine!
Desert Haven needs your support. Please check the new blog that I have set up for them at http://deserthavenanimalrefuge.blogspot.com/
There are links to both their web sites with lots more information that I can share here. Eliana writes a weekly newspaper column called “Humane Happenings” with news, updates, and a “wish list” for Desert Haven. This column will be posted in the blog from now on. So please, bookmark the site or add it to your favorites. Any donation of cash, no matter how small, is greatly apprecated. If you can visit Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, stop by and if you have room in your heart for a new dog or cat, you will allow Eliana to help one more.
The Starfish Story – Cat Rescuers’ Version
(Traditional. There are innumerable versions of L Eiseley’s “The Star Thrower”on the web set on beaches all over the world. This cat lovers’ version was found in a cat shelter newsletter 1993 and on Usenet and is about “making a bigger difference”.)
A traveller was walking along a beach when he saw a woman scooping up starfish off the sand and tossing them into the waves. Curious, he asked her what she was doing. The woman replied “When the tide goes out it leaves these starfish stranded on the beach. They will dry up and die before the tide comes back in, so I am throwing them back into the sea where they can live.”
The traveller then asked her “But this beach is miles long and there are hundreds of stranded starfish, many will die before you reach them – do you really think throwing back a few starfish is really going to make a difference?”
The woman picked up a starfish and looked at it, then she threw it into the waves. “It makes a difference to this one” she said.
Considering this, the traveller continued his walk along the beach. After a while he arrived at a place where a river ran into the sea and he turned back inland, walking alongside the river. He was still pondering the words of the starfish woman when he noticed a group of people wading about in the river trying to catch floating objects and throwing them safely onto the river bank. When he got closer he saw that the people were rescuing kitties which were struggling in the water and floating downstream towards the sea. Though many of the kitties were thrown to safety, many others were washed out to sea, never to be seen again.
The traveller thought about this and thought about what starfish-woman had told him. He knew that it made a difference to every kitty saved. He also knew that he could not stop the sea from washing up starfish, but he knew that there was a way to make a bigger difference to all the kitties being washed away in the river so he called out to the people who were fishing out kitties. “Why don’t some of you go upstream and stop people tossing them into the river in the first place?”.
The traveller had learned an important lesson from starfish woman. When you face impossible odds you do the best you can and helping just one or two creatures. But he also had the wisdom to know that sometimes you can make a bigger difference. And this is the moral of the starfish woman story: sometimes you have to do whatever you can, however little it seems; but sometimes you have the chance to make a bigger difference. You just need a little wisdom to see when you have a chance to make that bigger difference.
And this is what rescuing animals is about. Sometimes you have to do the best you can and treasure every life saved. But sometimes you get a chance to make a bigger difference and instead of making a difference to just one, you can make a difference to many.
It has been my privilege to volunteer at Desert Haven Animal Refuge for the past three months. Believe me….
it was highly worthwhile and rewarding work.
Sierra County is extremely fortunate to call this fine animal refuge its own. In addition to housing and caring for domestic animals until they get adopted, or to the end of their natural life, the sanctuary also assists pet owners through its’ Spay-Neuter and Spay–A-Stray Programs, among other services.
The Executive Officer at Desert Haven, Eliana Aubin, Operations Manager Freddie Loveless, and the Facilities Manager, Linda Estavillo, run a very tight ship. I was impressed not only with the way the Work Camper and the local resident volunteer programs are being run, but also with the excellent care that is given to the animals, poultry and birds. The habitats are kept very clean and high quality food is consistently purchased, to be mixed with the food that is donated by caring folks. Twice daily exercise, along with obedience training, is provided to the dogs, who spend their days inside large fenced yards. The cats have a spacious and stimulating indoor-outdoor, all enclosed area in which to play and snooze. The dogs and cats are well socialized. The guinea pigs, rabbits, chicken, doves and peacocks live in large housing. There are always interesting projects in progress at Desert Haven; repairs and upgrades to the buildings and grounds, and improvements to the operational processes.
While handling Administrative Assistant duties at Desert Haven every Tuesday, I was impressed to see the amount of support the sanctuary receives from local and out-of-state animal loving people. Annual memberships, cash and in-kind donations, and purchases from the Paws and Claws Thrift Shop are an integral part of that support.
I am very glad to have had the opportunity to join the volunteer staff at the Animal Refuge. I wholeheartedly recommend to others with even a few available hours a week to give to a worthwhile cause, to take advantage of this truly enriching experience.
Liane & Doug Stark
sent this message to friends and family after spending time with us at Desert Haven. With their permission…
we are sharing it here:
We just finished up volunteering for 2 weeks at the Desert Haven Animal Refuge in Truth or Consequences, NM. We had a lot of fun, met WONDERFUL people, did a lot of work and already miss the dogs. On our work days, we work basically from 8-10 in the morning and then again from 5-6 in the afternoon. We’d walk dogs, muck out kennels, feed dogs, capture the escape artist dogs and lend a hand in the Cat Palace or Birdland as needed. On Tuesdays, it was an all day work “party”. Think I may have lost a pound or two on those days!
The Animal Refuge has 10 dogs, about 20+ cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, doves, 2 peacocks, other birds, chickens/roosters and a “partridge in a pear tree”. OK, no partridge, at least not yet. Many of the residents were rescued from certain death at the animal shelter, others were dropped off and still others are there because their owners died. It’s a no-kill facility, so until a home is found, all the animals are safe and loved. A couple of dogs tugged on my heartstrings, but Max reminded me that he’s a spoiled, only dog. So we still have only Max.
From all the residents and friends of Desert Haven, thanks again, Liane & Doug!
It has been a passion of mine to work with helping to rehome pets…
How lucky was I to happen upon Desert Haven. What a great first workcamping experience. There is nothing more rewarding then watching Animals go to their forever home. I learned so much and met some lifetime friends. When your passions are the same as everyone on site, it just works that friendships get cemented.
The passion of the volunteers is one driving factor of SCHS -DHAR. The biggest driving factor is Eliana’s passion. She has done so much for the animals of Sierra County! Thank you Eliana for your drive and passion, the animals are blessed to have you as their advocate!
It is definately worth a stop and if you are like me you will take home another forever friend. When I arrived at Desert Haven I had a 15 year old Chihuahua, Tyson, and I met Koda a 2 year old Husky Border Collie mix. He just fit right into the family!
Sadly it was time to let Tyson cross the rainbow bridge, and I have no idea how I would have handled that without Koda there to help with the changes. Thank you Desert Haven for my forever friend and an eye opening experience!
Please consider us in your extended stay plans. You will be glad you did!
Work Campers, long-term and seasonal volunteers are a vital part of the on-going success of Desert Haven Animal Refuge. We need the help and support of each and every animal loving individual who wants to work together with us to make a difference in the life of domestic animals in need.
Together, we have the unique opportunity to witness, first hand, the changes that we make in the lives of the animals that we rescue and that we save from neglect, abuse, and often from a lonely and miserable death.Together, we are an integral part of a network of caring and kindness whose value extends far beyond the simple care of the animals at Desert Haven Animal Refuge.
Join us in this labor of love in progress
Sierra County Humane Society &
Desert Haven Animal Refuge
PO Box 638
Williamsburg, NM 87942
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