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My Travel to the Dominican Republic

(March 31st – April 14th 2016)


1. Tourism and Animal welfare in Punta Cana

2. Meeting with Peace Corps

3. Spay and neuter operative in Samaná (part 1)

4. Spay and neuter operative in Samaná (part 2)

5. Spay and neuter operative in Samaná (part 3)

6. The Caribbean dream…


4. Spay and neuter operative in Samaná (part 2)
with Dr. Monika Eickhoff, Dr. Julia Neumann and Dr. Anna Bremus April 5th – 9th 2016

The first ones the next morning are the boys with their males Black and Duki.
They don't take their eyes of their dogs during surgery…

…and take care of them with great concern afterwards.

Black and Duki are treated with spot ons and vaccinated against rabies.
The boys watch Kim filling in the vaccination form.

This Swiss lady comes with 2 Collies, mother and daughter.
At home she has another 7, result of accidental breeding. She kept them all.

Drapes are needed with that much fur…
Normally the ovaries and only a part of the uterus are taken out but here the wombs are completely removed showing abnormal changes in both dogs.

The first bitch already waking up again…

Cindy who works at the reception transports a lot of her neighbours’ dogs to Las Pascualas. Today she brought a neighbour with 2 bitches.
Raya is very scared and gets pre-anaethetized on the ground…

…before she is lifted on the table for intubation and shaving.

Mancha has a heart murmur. Cindy is very worried...

But all goes well.

Hard to believe but true: This young male Rottweiler was left behind by a German when she left the country! The Dominican who adopted him is not poor but she has another big male and the two don’t get along. So she is looking urgently for a new home for him.

Anna prepares him on the floor.

He is neutered by Monika…

…and gets a rabies vaccination before he wakes up.

This man is very attached to his bitch that is already a little bit older.

He carries her himself to the surgeon’s table.

She has no problems during the surgery but needs some adrenaline to wake up again.

Her owner has brought a wheel barrow to drive her home.

But he won’t leave until his precious freight is covered up and ties are fixed all around her to prevent her from falling out. I met him again a few days later when I visited the beach of Las Pascualas with Kim and she told me that he has been a great support for her in recent years. And suddenly there she is, Judy from Sosúa…

Judy and Kim! Without these two animal welfare as it exists today in the north of the Dominican Republic would have never developed. I’m proud to call them my friends! Francine, long-term A.A.A.S. volunteer, has come with Judy and they will help with preparation and anaesthesia during the next days.

Then it’s time for the Dominican ladies!

This one brings 2 dogs, a sick puppy wrapped in a sweatshirt running a fever that is sent home again with antibiotics…

…and little Tahia. She is healthy…

…and gets spayed by Julia.

Tahia doesn’t need much time to recover.

Perla loves only her owner…

…and won’t let anybody else handle her! She needs a muzzle, there is no way around it!

She ends peacefully sleeping on Monika’s table.

Also Fifi and her owner are very attached.

Suddenly Fifi stops breathing! She gets oxygen, Julia listens to the heart beat, Anna brings emergency drugs, the whole program…Fifi’s owner who waits in the back doesn’t notice anything. I’m just standing there thinking: What if we have to tell her „We are very sorry but your dog didn’t make it…“ But Fifi starts breathing again! A breath control device is attached to her tube.

What a lovely little device! It makes a peep with every breath and as long as it is peeping everything is all right.

Fifi‘s owner came back next day confidently to have her male Safiro neutered.

Some puppies inbetween…

This little one needs only a de-wormer…

…but this puppy has fever and doesn’t eat. The boy gets the medication in the right dosage in syringes to make it easier for him to give it to the puppy.

Someone had been asked to bring Carbón to get her spayed. But Carbón has a mind of her own. Without her owner she is biting frantically. The owner has to be asked to come and calm her down so a muzzle can be put on her.

Anna is wearing thick gloves, just in case. Carbón has bad veins to top it…

Kim brings the bag with breathing controllers but from now on everything works just fine.

Another one that needs the comfort of her owner but this one is very timid…

Before examining her Anna tries to befriend little Matilda.

Kim is there ready to assist but all runs smoothly with Matilda’s surgery.

Theresa has brought Chava back to the beach and returned with 2 new bitches, Armada and Rubia. Armada has one paralyzed hind leg, the other one is stiff, surely the result of a traffic accident. She can hardly move.

Apart from that Armada has fever…

But she is happy! Finally care, affection and – food! Despite the fever Armada eats as if there was no tomorrow…Does she sense that her life will change for the better from now on?

Rubia looks a little skeptical on the prep table.

Kilvio carries her to the surgeon...

Rubia is today’s bleeder.

Anna must assist with a flash light because he surgeons have difficulties to locate the source of all this blood…

Negra is still too anemic to be spayed. She stays in a box. She needs Doxycycline for 3 weeks against ehrlichiosis. Theresa can give it to her til the end of the week. Then she goes on vacation. What will happen afterwards?

There is a boy at the beach who could continue to give Negra the medication. I sponsor canned food for some weeks to make it easier for him to feed Negra the pills. Kim and I have visited Negra later on at the beach of Las Pascualas. Her gums were already pink again and she looked much better. Kim explained to me that here it’s not a matter of healing ehrlichiosis completely because dogs get infected again and again by tick bites. The point is to keep the level of ehrlichiosis low enough so that the organism can cope with it.

The little male with the swollen face looks already much better today. He can go home but has to return tomorrow to get the drainage rinsed with Ringer’s solution.

Also in the Caribbean the sun doesn’t shine every day! It rained on the third day. Worried looks…: „Does it stay like that?“

I could reassure the vets that it wouldn’t and they took it good-humoredly…

When we arrived in Las Pascualas it was all over and the Chihuahuas of the day were already lined up…

The first patient is a burnt puppy. A pot with hot oil had fallen down on it.

If by accident or if it had been thrown at the puppy because it had entered the kitchen is not quite certain…The owner is at least very concerned at the moment.

Two terrier mongrels are the first spay candidates today.

They get spayed by Julia and Monika without any issues.

They have the recovery still all to themselves.

And there is the owner of Fifi with her male Safiro…

Judy and Francine prepare him for Anna.

Unlike Fifi’s surgery everything runs smoothly with Safiro!

This experienced team doesn’t need words to communicate.

Nobody can place a tube so precisely as Judy.

It’s a joy to watch these two work, here preparing Negrita…

…who lies on Julia’s table shortly after.

Kim has brought four puppies along that had been dropped at Claudine’s who has already 15 dogs. Claudine helps at the clinic of Dr. Francis and takes care of the in-patients. The last few days the puppies have spent with Pedro and Raya.

Kim who takes care of over 80 dogs hopes that the puppies will get adopted at Las Pascualas.

They aren’t enthused about the situation as everybody can hear…

It’s Tita’s turn now.

Tita being comforted by her owner in the recovery.

Gugi arrives with all her fans…

…who take care of her after the surgery listening to the advice of Peace Corps volunteer Dan.

I had a very nice conversation with this man from France. We both enjoyed being able to speak French once again. I told him about my beginnings in animal welfare on the French Antilles. He had been on Guadeloupe himself and said: „Never again!“

Guadeloupe has one of the oldest animal welfare associations in all of the Caribbean. The visitor won’t notice that… According to French law it’s not allowed to let animals run loose and therefore trap/neuter/release operatives are impossible as well as the maintenance of feeding stations for strays or feral cats.

Guadeloupe has not a single shelter but every community has a contract with a privately operated commercial killing pound where animals are euthanized after only a few days. The veterinarians of the Direction des Services Vétérinaires are not interested to change this system because they are earning well with euthanizing the animals. 3000 strays were massacred in one night in 1995. After that desperate animal lovers asked tourists to boycott Guadeloupe. Now the French man has retired here living in a bungalow of a former resort at the beach of Las Pascualas. There he has adopted 2 beautiful stray bitches, Coco and Chanel, that get spayed today.


He adores them and stays with them ‘til the beginning of the surgery…

…and of course he is there when they wake up again.

Judy and Francine prepare a cat for Anna.

She gets inhalation anaesthesia.

Anna operates the cat while Monika and Julia spay Coco and Chanel.

The cat is pregnant…

Princesa has to be convinced with the help of a muzzle…

…that this is the day where her fertility ends.

Andrea’s surgery was the most difficult of the whole operative. This not so young Chihuahua bitch was brought with a giant tumor at her belly.

Judy prepares the inhalation machine and fills it with Isoflurone. Geidhy, Kims „secretary“ constantly busy to organize whatever is lacking, is fascinated by this machine. Actually he wants to become an engineer but had to interrupt his studies to take care of his young family. Judy believes firmly in inhalation anaesthesia. Kim had asked us to bring the anaesthesia along and the vets had agreed upon a protocol of injectable anaesthesia of Ketamine, Xylazin and Valium which is liked by most vets and can be used everywhere in the field also without current. It turned out that Kim had Isoflurone and Judy had brought her inhalation machine. With surgeries like the one ahead and with an anaestetist like Judy the optimal solution!

Andrea is prepared. The tumor is huge and has already opened up in several places.

Judy will assist Monika as anaesthetist throughout the surgery.

Monika decides to spay the bitch first.

The uterus has turned septic already.

It bursts open on the table releasing a lot of dark pus.

The wound from spaying already sewn up, Monika starts now to remove the tumor…

…which is as big as her fist.

A huge wound remains. I can’t imagine that cancerous cells haven’t spread already but it is impossible to remove all of Andrea’s mammary glands.

Amazingly fast the big hole is sewn up.


Andrea in the recovery. Surprisingly enough she doesn’t take long to wake up…

…and soon she lies again on the lap of her owner regarding him lovingly.

In the meantime the puppies have exhausted themselves…

Panki is waiting outside…

…and while Monika takes a break, Panki gets prepared by Anna and Francine.

They carry him to the surgical station.

There he is neutered by Anna.

Afterwards Panki‘s scrotum gets bandaged to prevent swelling.

Then dog and owner can go home…

Cloe bites! That’s what Cindy took down at the reception.

While Julia spays biting Cloe, Monika starts with Luna. Luna is in heat.

Luna was adopted by the whale museum of CEBSE, the organization for conservation and eco-development of Samaná Bay and its surroundings. CEBSE focuses a lot on the protection of the maritime fauna and has developed an own school program about the life of maritime species, their behavior and needs and the importance to sustain their habitat. Samaná Bay is known as one of the 10 best places in the world to watch humpback whales and their protection is of greatest importance also from an economical viewpoint. The Humane Education program that I got from ANPA Costa Rica will be introduced at schools together with the CEBSE program in September when school starts again after the summer vacation. The timing is perfect because day schools are just starting in Samaná and teachers are happy about material for the additional lessons. CEBSE has trained a team of advanced students for the presentation.

Today Theresa brought the pretty Sollita from the beach.

Luna and Sollita in recovery.

Kim and I take Luna back to the whale museum. Sollita has no home and stays overnight in a box together with 2 bitches from Teron whose owner doesn’t have time to bring them the next morning. One of them is a skeleton that had a litter a short while ago, the second one is scared to death biting frantically…Teron has a reputation for bad dog owners. Still, this one is getting his bitches spayed…

This male Rottweiler is the last patient of the day and a great example for wrong animal handling. Whereas the Chihuahua is the favorite lap dog in the Dominican Republic the Rottweiler is a status symbol, a dog not everybody can afford, a highly-priced and guarded possession that nobody will let run loose which doesn’t mean that they are well-kept. This poor, still young animal was kept for breeding purposes and lived either in a cage or chained up.

The dog is stressed and aggressive.

He has a Sticker sarcoma, a cancer transmitted by a virus during mating. Now he needs a chemo therapy with Vincristin and must get neutered. He will have to come back tomorrow…

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