Find the personal experiences of Nicola Schmidt here - as .pdf
Nicola Schmidt had planned to come to Sosúa quite a while ago. In spring she went up to Hamburg to the Magunna clinic where she could put more emphasis on working as a surgeon. Tarek El Kashef, who has been already twice in Sosúa, is working in the same clinic. On October 21st, the day she had been looking forward to for a long time, Nicola flew to Puerto Plata with 9 pounds of suture, donated by Karin Öhl and Tamara Bauer, and the cart for the paralyzed Freckles, donated by Maria Schultheiss, which should actually have been taken along by Dr. Tim Bonin and Dr. Ann-Kathryn List in August but didn't arrive in time.
Nicola Schmidt would have liked to work with another vet during her first spay and neuter clinic; unfortunately this couldn't be arranged. But her colleague Tarek said: "Nicola doesn't need anyone else, she can do it all on her own." And how she could!
She spayed and neutered 52 animals, 31 bitches, 8 males, 10 queens, 3 toms and treated many other animals with diverse conditions.
All members and volunteers of the A.A.A.S loved this young doctor whom they called endearingly "Nikki".
In addition to the A.A.A.S team, praised by all vets who ever visited Sosúa, Nicola Schmidt was assisted by 2 Canadian veterinary technicians, Dee from Hamilton…
…and Kelly from Buffalo
Also a gnome has to be weighed before the anaesthesia!
A caesarean could not save these two puppies but their mom survived.
The community outreach program continued parallel to the clinic as ussal. Many families were visited and supplied with food and medication for their animals.
This farm was a real puppy mill before the A.A.A.S stepped in.
Now they are all healthy, well-fed and - spayed and neutered!
They all eat peaceably side by side.
Also in the streets of Sosúa one sees more and more well-fed, healthy animals as a result of the A.A.A.S' communal work.
Flaco's family is waiting that their pet is returned to them after having been neutered.
He was welcomed with chants and obviously happy to come back home…
Dee brought a lot of toys and other presents from Canada for the kids and dogs of a particularly poor district and made a lot of children very happy:
When she flew back home she took 6 A.A.A.S dogs with her for adoption.
Also Kelly didn't fly home unaccompanied…
Every clinic has its special patients:
Princessa is the living proof of the importance of the A.A.A.S' educational program. Her owner neglected treating some insect bites on her back which became infected. Flies laid their eggs in the wounds and maggots started to grow there. In order to kill the maggots Princessa' owner washed her with salt acid. When he saw the burnt skin, he rinsed her off with clear water.
When he saw the burnt skin, he rinsed her off with clear water. Not being sure that the maggots were killed he put waste oil on the burnt skin. At that point the A.A.A.S was informed that there was a dog needing their help... It took months of care and bathing before the wounds healed and new skin grew on Princessa's tortured back. It's a miracle that she survived at all.
It took months of care and bathing before the wounds healed and new skin grew on Princessa's tortured back. It's a miracle that she survived at all. By now she is well again and could be spayed during this clinic.
Fips and his brother were about 6 months old when the A.A.A.S started to take care of them within their community outreach program.
They developed nicely and all seemed well.
Then, one day, Fips was found, skinny and unable to move.
He must have been victim of a traffic accident; his rear end is paralyzed. Since then he is living at the A.A.A.S' where he recovers.
He got shoes to protect his hind legs and is despite all a happy dog.
The paralyzed Freckles, for whom the cart had been which Nicola brought, had been amazingly lucky: A family, who owns already a paralyzed dog, adopted her as playmate! So Fips is now the one learning to walk with the help of the cart. Big thanks to Maria Schultheiss!
These were 2 eventful weeks for Nicola Schmidt. The A.A.A.S members took care, as usual, that despite all the work there was enough time left for fun and relaxation, and the enjoyment of the island's beautiful sights.
We all hope that Nicola Schmidt will return to Sosúa.
Unexpectedly and spontaneously Dr. Bonin from the veterinary clinic Hach in Frankfurt and Dr. List from Ludwigsburg decided to donate their vacation to a spay and neuter project of the A.A.A.S. The decision was made on the 12th July. On the 13th we were looking for flights all day.Since the date coincided with the summer holidays in Germany there were hardly any vacancies on flights to the Dominican Republic which is a very popular holiday resort among Germans. There were only two seats left on the 19th August with a return flight from Santo Domingo instead of Puerto Plata as usual.
The tension rose: Would the doctors, whose vacation started on the 20th, be able to leave a day earlier? In the late afternoon of the 14th this load was taken off our minds: Yes, they could travel!
These two brilliant surgeons had ambitious plans for their stay; they wanted to concentrate especially on spaying bitches. Their ideas in regards to recreation were rather modest: "A cocktail in the sunsest at the beach..." We were certain that Judy and her volunteers would make this dream come true as well as adding many other memorable experiences.Once again the beautiful Villa Samia offered accomodation. Many thanks to Cary and Bruce from Germany!
The operative was planned as community outreach clinic and took place in Los Charamicos. Differently from trap/neuter/release projects, where strays are caught, neutered, marked and let go again, community outreach clinics turn especially to the local pet owners. They are taught how to treat animals and are sentizised towards the necessitiy of spaying and neutering their animals. They not only receive instructions in proper pet care but practical aid; pet food, medicaments, collars and leashes - exorbitantly expensive to most Dominicans - and free veterinary services, to many Dominicans the only possibility to help their pets. The A.A.A.S is very successful in this field of animal welfare. Today animals in perfect condition can be found in the poorest shacks around Sosúa. Right from the start the A.A.A.S have made their community outreach program a point of major emphasis in their work. In doing so they have not only improved life's quality of countless animals but are fighting one of the main reasons for the sufferings of strays: The unwanted offsprings of poor people's animals are the future stray population.
Only four years ago the A.A.A.S had a hard time convincing at least one or two Dominicans or Haitians to have their animals neutered. At first their neighbours and by now most people have realized how nice it is when their pet doesn't have a litter 2-3 times a year. Nowadays it takes a simple poster in Spanish with the arrival date of the next vet and people come in crowds.
There is already a line up before the clinic opens.
Patiently they wait all day, big and small, young and old pet owners.
Once again the firemen of Charamicos were so kind to let their hall be used as field clinic.
At the check in all pet owners receive numbers, their animals are signed in and weighed, all issues are noted. A piece of paper with the number, sex and weight of the animal on it is taped to its head so that no mistakes will happen.
This dog owner had to be told that his dog is still a little bit young for neutering, it was vaccinated and treated against parasites instead.
The field clinic is divided into different stations; check in, preparation, instrument desinfection, surgery, recovery. All volunteers have a specific station to handle, performing their tasks to perfection.
The recovery in front of the big fire truck.
Like other vets before, Dr. List and Dr. Bonin were deeply impressed by the expertise of Judy's team. "A lot of German clinic staff could take this team as their example!" said Dr. Bonin afterwards. Whenever he had finished removing the second ovary and turned to the uterus he just called: "Make the next one tired" and when he had finished sewing, the next dog was lying on the table, with pre-med, shaven and intubated.
Dr. List and Dr. Bonin at work
In the night of August 23rd hurricane Irene roared along the north coast of the Dominican Republic on its way to the Turks and Caicos. With wind speeds of 160 km/hour Irene was classified as hurricane force 2. Here in Germany we listened anxiously to the weather report, wondering what was happening to our friends and the doctors in Sosúa.
First news from the A.A.A.S: "Dr. List and Dr. Bonin are working despite Irene and spay and neuter up to 20 animals a dy. They are fantastic!" Already on the 22nd it had rained so hard that work had to be stopped at lunch time. Many volunteers from out of town had problems getting home. At 2 a.m. on the 23rd the storm raged at its fiercest. At 7 a.m. it was blowing still so hard that work was cancelled for this day. Wednesday, the 24th, things went back to normal. Dr. List and Dr. Bonin sacrificed their one day off and worked right through until leaving on Friday 26th.
During a community outreach clinic crowds are not only waiting outside but also bustling in the clinic right up to the surgery. Dominicans and Haitians are very curious to what's going on and want to watch everything.
To strengthen the ties between people and their pets they are being involved in the process wherever possible, for instance in the recovery where the patients are helped with hot water bottles, blankets, rubbing and petting during the wake up process while their breathing is monitored, vaccinations are given, nails are cut and ears cleaned if necessary.
Though many Dominicans and Haitians have large dogs, their favorite is the Chihuahua, suitable for small income and cramped quarters.
The greatest success the A.A.A.S has in educating children. They love their four-legged friends and are willing to do everything to help them.
They are deeply concerned when their anaethised pet doesn't move anymore.
One little girl cried heartbreakingly when the intravenous catheter was introduced into her dog's leg. All the happier she was when she hugged it after recovery.
Already the youngest come to the clinic wirh their pets to have them neutered or to get help for their sick friends.
This little boy came because his dog suffered from mange.
Over 600 animals are being monitored by the A.A.A.S, strays and animals of poor families who are regularly visited and supplied with pet food, medication, de-wormer and products for parasite control. Lists are kept of all animals which have to be spayed or neutered. Many of them were at the clinic in Charamicos. One of them, Doggie, suffered from a malignant tumour at the hind leg, at first thought to be a harmless spider bite. An x-ray at the human hospital showed the truth.
An amputation was planned but Dr. List and Dr. Bonin could remove the tumour and save the leg.
Doggie recovered fast. Now we all hope that the tumour won't return.
Jendea is another member of the community outreach program.
Saved by the A.A.A.S and placed with a Dominican family she is now a happy, healthy dog and came to the clinic to be spayed.
On the way home after surgery - with a very typical Dominican ambulance!
A very special sponsorship helps the animals of "The sponsored house". 4 cats and 5 dogs live here. The father, head of the family, died and money is very short.
A Canadian lady became aware of this family during her vacation and wanted to help. Since then she sends a donation every two weeks to the A.A.A.S who supply the family with pet food. We wish for more tourists like this who regard their holiday resort with open eyes and take responsibility!
In December 2010 volunteers found a bitch with puppies at the entrance of this small trail. They followed the trail and discovered the make-shift shacks of about 30 Haitians. Their animals belong to the A.A.A.S community program ever since and are now all spayed and neutered, happy, healthy and loved by their owners.
When Dr. List and Dr. Bonin climbed on the plane to return to Germany they had operated 63 bitches, 14 males, 3 queens, 1 tom and a few tumour patients. Their comment: "We can't wait to get back!"
And everybody in the Dominican Republic is looking forward to their return.
We are very happy that these wonderful doctors fell in love with the Caribbean, its people and its animals.
Even more photos of this operative you find on Facebook under
Special thanks to
whose donations helped to make this operative possible.
Anja Hess landed in the late evening of the 25th June in Puerto Plata. She started work immediately the next morning and everybody knew right away: This is an extraordinary vet! Judy wrote enthusiastic emails to Aid and Support of the Creole dogs: "Anja should stay here forever!" Anja Hess worked ceaselessly…
…assisted by Stacey Vale, veterinary technician from New Jersey…
…and Judy's experienced volunteers.
No matter how difficult or strenuous their work was, Anja and Stacey never lost their sense of humour…
…43 dogs and cats were spayed, neutered and vaccinated in 5 days.
All surgeries were successful, all patients could be released the same or the following day.
There were, of course, also emergencies: Rottweiler Honey owes Anja Hess his life. He was brought to the clinic in extreme pain, having had no bowel movement for 3 weeks. He had lost 20 pounds during this period. Without X-ray or ultrasound an exact diagnosis was impossible, leaving surgery as the only option. Honey's intestines were completely blocked in 3 places.These parts were removed. The next day, although still weak, Honey was already capable to eat and empty his bowels. Without this operation Honey would have died a tremendously painful death within a few days.He recovered quickly and could be released after only 4 days. When his happy family came to pick him up he could hardly wait to jump in the car and drive home.
As soon as Anja Hess' flight had been booked, Judy wrote that the owner of the beautiful Villa Samia would sponsor the vet's accomodation.
In this magnificent villa with the beach directly in front of it, Anja Hess stayed…
…and enjoyed a few hours of recreation inbetween surgeries.
Also here Anja Hess saved an animal's life: The horse of her hosts got into a recently fertilized pasture. After grazing for a while, it broke down with all symptoms of poisoning. The owners were in panic. Anja Hess, though not used to treating horses normally, succeeded together with Dr. Amelingmeier to save the animal, making her hosts very happy. Everybody in Sosúa hopes that Anja Hess will return. The sympathy is mutual. Anja Hess writes on Facebook: "…Had lots of fun, that's a really nice and tremendously well organized team at the clinic. Hats off!!! Judy excused herself about 5 times a day for making me work so hard but for me that really wasn't hard work at all!!! So, please put me on your next year's schedule again!!! I'd love to be back next year!!! Regards, Anja"
Dear Anja, we're more than happy to have you back, any time!!!
38 animals were spayed and neutered during this clinic: 25 bitches, 9 dogs, 4 queens. 9 animals needed surgical treatment because of diseases.Unfortunately we did not receive photos or more detailed information of this clinic.
04/06 - 04/13/2011 we sent the German veterinarians Heike Müller from the veterinary clinic Bergstrasse and Claudia Kämpf to Jamaica for a first operative. If we had thought bureaucratic procedures to be similar to those in the Dominican Republic where we have been working so far, we were thoroughly mistaken.
April 1st, five days before the departure of our vets, we were told that certified copies of the doctors’ licences had to be handed in to the Jamaican veterinary board, together with applications for temporary registration and passport pictures. Since the time was much too short to post the necessary documents they were photographed and mailed.
April 3rd we were informed about the registration fee of 70 US$ per vet.
April 4th Maureen mailed that the appartement, where the doctors should stay, had no current and she didn’t know when it would be repaired. Our vets laughed and said that they would sleep without current just as well.
April 6th, the day of departure, we received 2 messages: There was no car available which would make it the seventy miles to the airport without breaking down on the way; so Maureen had to send a taxi – and:
The doctors were to join the line up of passengers with nothing to declare at customs; instructions had been left to let them pass with their medical supplies.
At that point we had no longer the possibility to contact the vets.
The next morning, at 6:00 a.m. local time, Dr. Müller called here, terribly upset:
Of course they had declared their luggage which had been confiscated by customs immediately. And then they had been picked up by a taxi and had been taken to a very expensive looking hotel! (Room and board during their stay were sponsored by the hotel’s owner to whom we are forever grateful.
The photographed documents weren’t accepted by the veterinary board and on Friday, the 8th of April, the two vets travelled to Kingston to get their temporary registration. They were thoroughly scrutinized by represantatives of the veterinary board. Dr. Müller felt like taking her final exam once again. Meanwhile Maureen succeeded to clear the doctors’ luggage after some tough negotations.
April 10th the doctors could finally start working. Dr. Müller sent a message on Facebook:
"I could cry; strays with injuries and mange everywhere, dead puppies in the streets. We just rescued one which was about to die of thirst. Only a third of the people, who had been told to bring their dogs, actually came. And my back is killing me because the table upon which I operate is only 90 cm high. Tomorrow we’ll be doing cats…"
Also the next day started with difficulties; with a car that didn’t start and the problem to find a mechanic on Sunday.
That day cats were castrated , as well as dogs of The Animalhouse, and many sick animals were treated.
The following and last day dogs were spayed and neutered.
Only 3 days of their stay the vets could actually work. They castrated 15 animals.