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Barbara Maydew was driving through Arizona on the Navajo reservation south of Monument Valley in the fall of 2007 when she caught sight of two stray dogs quilled by a porcupine.
Anxious to help, she contacted local officials who referred her to an animal shelter and then the humane society. With Maydew’s help, they arranged a search party that was unable to find the two dogs, but did find a starving mother dog with three sick puppies.
Five weeks later, Maydew and her husband Kevin Buescher drove all the way back to Kayenta and found the recovered mother, now named Autumn, alive and well.
The experience raised her awareness of the plight of stray and abandoned dogs and since then the life-long “animal lover” has become a rescuer as well.
Maydew has become a dedicated volunteer at the Los Alamos Animal Shelter.
More than that, she is one of those volunteers that the shelter’s volunteer coordinator Sally Wilkens calls, “positively amazing” and “the volunteer that everyone who runs a volunteer organization dreams of having.”
On another occasion, Maydew made a match for a dog with an adopter in Idaho and drove all the way to Salt Lake City, to meet the new owner half way with the pet.
Next week Maydew, a computer support technician at Los Alamos National Laboratory, will be a recipient of the 24th Annual Governor’s Award for outstanding New Mexico Women. She is one of 20 women from around the state who will be recognized for exceptional contributions to their communities.
“This whole thing isn’t about me,” she said yesterday, on a volunteer mission at the Ridgeview Veterinary Hospital. “It’s about all the people who spend their time helping animals.”
Her errand was to look after Buddy, a perky Jendo with a few troubles in his past. Maydew had found a home for Buddy in Albuquerque.
When the owner travels, he boards the dog at Ridgeview and Maydew goes by almost daily to give him a walk and some attention.
“My children call me a dog social worker,” she said, because she works so hard to make the right matches for the pets and owners.
In exchange, there are emotional rewards that come from making a difference in people’s lives.
Maydew was nominated for the Governor’s Award by Mary Schettler, an Albuquerque resident who has had an extended medical condition and wanted a companion. Maydew helped her adopt a dog whom Schettler renamed “Spodi.”
“Barbara Maydew did so much more than find a dog a home,” Schettler wrote in a letter of recommendation. “She helped me find a part of myself I thought was gone. I am not so worried anymore. Neither is Spodi. Once again I have a dog in my life.”
Award recipients were judged on their unique community leadership abilities, effectiveness of advocacy for women and their families and leadership in their careers.
The awards’ ceremony will be hosted by the N.M. Commission on the Status of Women and the Governor’s Office, at May 15, at the Hotel Albuquerque at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public. Tickets are available at $65 per person. Deadline for RSVP is Monday.
For more information or to make a reservation, contact the NM Commission on the Status of Women, 222-6600, or 1-800-432-9168.