It was the third time for Dagmar Stech and the first time for Birthe Deichmann to cross the Atlantic for a spay and neuter operative in Sosúa.
They wanted to operate for one week and take a holiday the week after.
The journey turned out to be adventure pure! Their flight started late in Hamburg because of the fog and landed in Frankfurt at 11:20 am, the connecting flight left Frankfurt at 11:50 am from another terminal. The vets ran across the huge airport with their heavy handbags and arrived at the Condor counter 10 minutes before the plane started. "Too late!" said the Condor staff, and the luggage, except for the handbags hadn't arrived yet either. The next plane to Puerto Plata left Frankfurt 2 days later. After spending 2 hours at various airport counters they had arranged a flight to New York the same afternoon at 5 pm and a connecting flight from New York to Puerto Plata the next morning. The airline arranged the hotel for the overnight stay and the transportation from the airport to the hotel.
We never, NEVER! send vets with controlled drugs throigh US customs. With ketamine in their baggage declared as vet's supplies Dagmar and Birthe left for the Big Apple. The plane landed at 9 pm. After 2 1/2 hours of control they stood at the deserted JFK airport: No transportation service, the bus shuttle had finished at 11 pm, no yellow cabs, no chance to change money without credit card, most counters closed... New York, the city that never sleeps?
Finally somebody of the last remaining airport staff took pity ad changed a few Euros into US$ and off they went to find a cab driver. A not very trustworthy looking fellow led them to an underground parking lot where his car stood, a van with darkened windows and no tacho, and started to haggle over the price. In the end he dropped them savely at their hotel at 1 am which they had to leave again only 5 hours later to get back to the airport in time to catch the flight to Puerto Plata at 9:30. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon 2 completely exhausted vets landed finally in Puerto Plata where they were welcomed by Judy.
All presents and donations had survived te adventure and arrived undamaged.
Surgeries started the next day and from now on everything went smoothly under Judy's competent guidance.
"I would love to have something exciting to tell but everything was completely normal." Dagmar said back in Germany.
No pregnant bitches on the table, no bleeders, no sticker sarcomas, very few septic whombs. Mostly healthy dogs were brought by their owners. And that is exciting to us! 6 years after the opening of the A.A.A.S. clinic and the beginning of our co-operation a great progress and lasting improvement has been made in Sosúa due to continuous spay and neuter, ceaseless education and information of the people and regular large-scale antiparasitical treatment.
Quite a few large bitches were spayed during this week.
Dagmar Stech, assisted by Marina Jellinek.
For Dagmar all of this is routine already,…
…but Birthe is there for the first time.
…but with a lot of pleasure she is at work.
A.A.A.S. volunteers are well trained.
Carl Hackman gained his veterinary assistant certificate in the States a while ago.
Frank, Judy's long-term helper, is an all-ronnd talent. He takes care of the kennels, is an excellent dog groomer and now assistant at the clinic!
One of the few patients with a septic whomb was a cat.
Text: There it is!
As usual, also residents came with their dogs. 2 Sharpeis, mother and daughter, were brought to be spayed. A Rottweiler came with a bad bite at his shoulder and one dog was brought with a severe infection at its tail.
The tail couldn't be saved and had to be amputated.
This used to be a dog's tail…
And while all of this was going on, somebody kept taking pictures for us!
Big thank you to the photographer!
Making friends in the recovery…
On the second day of the operative Dagmar and Birthe found a little bird on the street, wet and exhausted after a torrential rain storm. They took it to the clinic where it recovered. When they took it back it flew away and didn*t return. Hopefully it found its family again!
Restaurants and hotels donated lovely diners.
The Playa Laguana hotel provided a delicious German meal complete with Spatzel and dessert.
During the visit of a restaurant the team met a small tom cat that was to be neutered.
This little man was going to give the vets a lot of trouble. He wouldn't fall asleep when anaesthized! It took an extra dose of propofol given inravenously into the hindleg to convince the little guy that it was time to go to sleep. The surgery and recovery afterwards tool place without problems.
Waiting for surgery…
Of course there were Chihuahuas…
A.A.A.S. members report an exploding cat population.
For a long time the focus was mainly on dogs. Cats, often shy and feral, proliferated secretly.
Their kittens were dying unobserved from parasites and virus infections.
We are happy that recently cats are getting more attention…
…and that the number of cats among the patients to be spayed and neutered is rising every year.
The second week was reserved for fun and relaxation.
Horseback riding along the beach…,
…and time spent with friends.
Birthe and Francine, who never misses a clinic.
Visiting volunteer Vera who has a hideaway in the mountains.
Dagmar and Birthe stayed in the appartement of Judy's German friend Wolfgang and were mothered by Samantha, the residence's dog.
Prevention is the mission but puppies are irresistable…
Also during this week the vets noticed the progress and the influence of the A.A.A.S. work everywhere. There wasn't one dog in really bad shape at the beach.
60 animals were spayed and neutered during this operative.
We will continue to send vets to Sosúa every year but 16 years after Judy and her friends started their animal welfare work in Sosúa we can say: The worst is over!
Our first operative in Punta Cana was a promotion for our project Tourism and Animal welfare. Four hotels supported the clinic:
A brochure of RescátaMe - here front and back was lying out in the Arena Blanca, that had its cats already spayed and neutered in 2013.
The Palms accommodated Dr. Patzak-Theen.
Here lives Esther, a dog rescued by RescátaMe, adopted by The Palms.
The Meliá Caribe Tropical donated a large quantity of towels for the clinic.
The first 2 days surgeries took place in the carpentry shop of the Vista Sol Punta Cana (formerly named Carabela).
Dr. Patzak-Theen left Munich on Friday, July 18th , in the afternoon and, due to the time difference, she landed in Punta Cana in the evening of the same day. She was picked up at the airport by RescátaMe members and taken to The Palms where she was welcomed by Esther and a crab that insisted to spend the night in her room. The owners of The Palms she met the next morning.
Already on Saturday morning Dr. Patzak-Theen started to operate at the carpentry shop of the Vista Sol Punta Cana.
Soon everything is ready.
The surgeries can start.
Once the patient is prepared and ready for the operation, the mask of the breathing monitor gets adjusted.
It records every breath…
…and helps a great deal to control the anaesthesia.
Volunteer Julie Hager-Holl proved to be an invaluable aid for Dr. Patzak-Theen…
…and a perfect assistant!
Concentrated and attentive…
…she soon did a lot of the preparation on her own.
“Dr. Astrid at her best!”:
6 bitches and 3 males were spayed and neutered that day.
The sterile station:
Cold sterilization was used to disinfect all instruments.
What helped to to cure backaches was messages…
Patient in box No 2 was a very obstinate little cat that bit Julie into her hand.
It didn’t help her much…She landed on the table just like all the other patients.
It was a painful bite. Julie was bandaged and treated with antibiotics which didn’t stop her from working tirelessly.
3 bitches and 5 males were spayed and neutered on Sunday.
Also the remaining beach dogs of the Vista Sol were brought that hadn’t been fixed yet at previous occasions.
All of them remarkably kind and friendly animals.
A particularly lovable bitch…
…and very concerned about her anaesthetized friends.
Now it’s her turn!
All bitches were treated with long-lasting antibiotics, effective for 2 weeks, the males received antibiotics effective for 2 days or tablets, if monitored.
Many volunteers engaged in post-operative care,
wounds were treated with ointments,…
…ears were cleaned,…
…claws were cut.
The patient in box No 4 had a completely matted coat.
After being neutered…
…he gets a haircut!
Another one to steal everybody’s heart!
Children that are taught to love animals from an early age on will grow up to be responsable adults capable of care and consideration for others.
One male was brought with a torn eye lid needing to be re-shaped, and a puppy suffered from mange. Most skin problems Dr. Patzak-Theen treated were fungus infections.
At the end of the day Dr. Patzak-Theen was asked by the hotel manager to visit the hotel’s iguanas.
One of them suffered from aparalysis of its hind legs.
The diagnosis “Severe calcium deficiency” was confirmed by the analysis of a feces sample that the vet took back with her to Germany.
Dr. Patzak-Theen is in touch with the hotel management.
Monday the clinic continued at the Navy station of Macao beach.
In the front this beautiful beach…
The flag is being hoisted…
…the day begins!
Dog after dog is laid upon the table…
…and carried out again.
Patients are waiting…
He keeps a watchful eye on everything:
The station’s dog!
He is the boss here…
He controls the boxes with new arrivals placed in the shade…
…and keeps an eye on the surgery.
Then it’s his turn. Of all dogs he is the only one to develop a strong bleeding and swelling after the operation.
A short sedation relaxes the blood vessels and solves the problem.
6 bitches and 2 males were spayed and neutered that day.
On Tuesday 8 bitches, a male and a cat were operated.
As always, there was a lot of loving aftercare.
In the meantime people had noticed the doctor’s presence at the station.
And here, where medical care is not a matter of fact, not only people with pets came to sees the doctor.
A local diver came with a rusty nail in his hand. The wound was was badly infected and the man was in great pain. The team’s cook suffered from Chikungunya fever and finally one of the helpers got bitten by a scared dog. Dr. Patzak-Theen had medication for all in her first aid kit. At the end of the day she had to treat herself because she was completely dehydrated, being so absorbed in her work that she forgot to drink enough.
Wednesday the French bulldog of Rescátame member Viviana was brought. It suffered from a malignant skin tumour which had to be removed, a disease which is unfortunately quite common among this breed.
4 bitches and 3 males were spayed and neutered.
Two children watch as Dr. Patzak-Theen is preparing this bitch for spaying.
The little one is a bit confused… Where is my mother?
Even sedated, mother means safety and comfort.
This day was going to change her life: The last patient was the blind bitch Ceniza. Dr. Patzak-Theen decided right away that this bitch wasn’t going back on the street. Ceniza is now in fostercare and was chipped and vaccinated on August 4th to prepare her to travel to her forever home in Germany where 7 dogs at Dr. Patzak-Theen’s house are waiting to be her eyes and show her around.
After the surgeries were finished, a tiny dog was brought that had been hit by a car. Its leg was broken and it had festering grazes at its leg and belly. It was treated with antibiotics and painkillers.
A photo to remember… Until next time! “Dr. Astrid” is coming back!
On Thursday , her only day off, Dr. Patzak-Theen was consulted by people with their pets in front of The Palms:
Barbara, an Italian resident brought her 4 dogs, with a hip problem, a skin disease, an ear infection and an eye melanoma. Others came to have their pets’ claws cut and with minor problems. Then Barbara returned with a bitch that had been spayed by Dr. Patzak-Theen. The bitch had a sudden nosebleed. The blood has been diagnosed in Germany without a definite result. Most likely the bitch suffers from ehrlichiosis. She is being treated with antibiotics.
Then it was time to leave for the airport… Planes don’t wait!
While Dr. Patzak-Theen was operating in Punta Cana, efforts to promote the project Tourism and Animal Welfare continued here in Germany. Many new beautiful hotels could be added to our online travel guide Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean. July 22nd our petition reached 10.600 signatures – our goal had been 10.000! We sent an email to all addressees of the petition.
July 24th TUI told us that our project Tourism and Animal Welfare will be presented to TUI project managers.
Dr. Katja Schirren landed with the plane that took Dr. Tarek El-Kashef back to Germany.
During the first few days she had a lot of help from Dr. List and Dr. Bonin who had come from Sosúa to spend the last days of their visit in Samaná watching the whales. They had hardly arrived when they found an emaciated and very weak young bitch on the street which they took along right away.
The bitch, not even a year old yet, suffered from severe ehrlichiosis and was very anemic.
Dr. List as anaesthetist…
…and assistent for Dr. Schirren.
Dr. Bonin and Dr. Francisco amputate the leg of a victim of a car accident, which couldn’t be saved.
Dr. Schirren was delighted by the progress that has happened in Samaná since her first visit in April 2013, at that time with her colleagues Dr. Spies, Dr. Turco and Daniela Meyer. Due to Kim’s efforts and commitment Dr. Francis has now a perfectly equipped and well-stocked small clinic. Dr. Francis himself has become a good surgeon and anaesthetist. He is employed now by the agricultural department as vet for the livestock and is presently being trained to do all the examinations and tests needed to ensure the health of farm animals in Samaná which takes up a lot of his time. This employment in addition to his practice for small animals will enable Dr. Francis to remain in Samaná so that he can continue to help the poor animals of the region.
Dr. Francis‘ assistent had just quit and not yet been replaced so that Dr. Schirren worked a lot all by herself during the first week.
The day started with taking care of the in-patients, among them the bitch that Dr. List and Dr. Bonin had brought, meanwhile called “Lotte”.
4 – 6 animals can stay at the clinic at once. They can be put up also on the balcony, secured by bars, where it is airy and cooler at night than inside the clinic.
A lot of sick animals had to be treated besides the surgeries.
The most common symptoms were lung worms, manage and digestive problems. And of course again and again victims of car accidents…
One of them, a male with a huge cut at the back, had to be operated and stayed a night at the clinic. His owner brought him in for a control the last day of Dr. Schirren’s stay: The healing process had progressed very well.
Volunteer Cindy assisted during the second week. She had participated already in the clinic in April 2013.
Another volunteer, Denise from Las Calleras, collected the animals in her neighbourhood and brought them to the clinic. Meanwhile the residents had realized that a vet was there. They popped in, watched for a while, left and returned with their animals to have them spayed and neutered. As ususal, there were a lot of Chihuahuas among the patients. One serious incident occurred when a cat was prepared for surgery. In the interval between pre-medication and intubating she had breathing problems and started to gasp. A dose of adrenaline saved her. Two days later she could be spayed without an issue.
Among the patients was also Tina, an elderly Rottweiler mix belonging to Kim. Tina suffered from glaucoma and the eye had to be removed. In addition Tina suffered a relapse of ehrlichiosis for which she has been treated already for a long time and which hampered now the healing process and caused the wound to re-open. We hope the best for Tina.
Kim had made sure that a lot of very young bitches were brought to prevent litters because the next clinic won’t take place before June when Dr. Labdon and his team arrive from the States.
Only one of the bitches to be spayed was pregnant.
About 60 animals were spayed and neutered during this operative, among them also Lotte…
…because Lotte was to be returned back to the street since there was no room for her at Kim’s place.
But long since a love story had begun between Dr. Schirren and this charming young bitch, a love story with a happy end!
Lotte will move to Germany!
She is already chipped and got her rabies shot. Soon a blood sample will be sent to a laboratory in the States to test the level of antibodies against rabies.
We hope that she will be ready to leave in July with Dr. Astrid Patzak-Theen who is coming to Bavaro for a first operative with our new partner Rescatame – where another dog is waiting already to depart for its forever home in Cologne.
When Dr. Vogler took the plane from Frankfurt to Puerto Plata on Friday, March 7th, her suitcases were stuffed with medicaments and for the upcoming clinic urgently needed anaesthesia. She was hardly up in the air and out of reach when we got the message that the permit for the drug import had not been issued yet.
Completely relaxed and unsuspecting she entered the airport of Puerto Plata and passed customs without any problems – to be welcomed outside by a very pale Judy…
Saturday morning two Rottweiler puppies were brought into the clinic in. These were about 5 weeks old and in terrible condition.
The owner had “docked” them himself a week ago with a pair of scissors!
The wounds were infected, the puppies weak and apathetic.
The tail end of the little male was infested by screw worms.
The grubs of the screw worm fly live of the flesh of livings organisms. They had to be extracted painstakingly.
There were a lot of them!
The worms have left deep holes in the flesh..
Whatever was left of the puppies’ tails had to be completely amputated.
The whole head of the puppy fits into the mask of the inhalation machine.
Cleansed, disinfected, treated with antibiotics and sewn up, the wounds can begin to heal.
A.A.A.S. executive director Dee Morrison took the puppies to her home where also Dr. Vogler was staying.
She could watch the daily progress the puppies made on their way back to health.
The owner turned out to be reasonable. He brought the puppies’ mother to be spayed and promised to bring also his male.
Another patient required treatment that day:
The A.A.A.S. had received an emergency call before Dr. Vogler arrived: At a site of a road called “Plan B” lay an injured dog.
When Judy arrived, a man was pouring water on the dog, believing that would help it. The dog was totally disorientated and it wasn’t obvious if it had been hit by a car or cut up with a machete.
The dog was sedated and medically treated as far as possible.
Carefully it was lifted onto a stretcher…
…and transported to the A.A.A.S. clinic in Sosúa…
…where everything was done to keep the dog as comfortable as possible until the arrival of the vet. The treatment was successful as this video shows: “Plan B Boy” is recovering day by day:
A big Thank you to the German animal welfare organization Einhorn e.V.: For years now they are supplying us with surgical gloves, syringes and these wonderful blue adhesive bandages which protect now the head wound of “Plan B Boy”.
The boy from Plan B won’t return to the street, he is up for adoption.
On Sunday Dr. Vogler and some A.A.A.S. volunteers went to the Rancho El Contente.
Here, a little belated, Dr. Vogler could recover from the jet lag.
The Rancho El Contente belongs to the German Ute Mann.
Ute Mann is also an active and competent volunteer at A.A.A.S. Her horses are loved, well-kept and cared for.
And so horseback riding alongside the ocean is very enjoyable.
In the beginning of the week continued to operate at the A.A.A.S. clinic (here one of the frequent cryptorchids)…
…while in La Boca…
…at the restaurant Plaza Camino del Sol…
…preparations were underway for the field clinic of Marina Jellinek.
Since 2011 Marina runs and finances a community outreach project in la Boca.
Regularly she visits the animals, distributes anti-parasitics and medication, treats ill and injured animals and tries to teach people a kind and understanding attitude towards their animals.
When her car arrives…
…dogs come running from everywhere.
They love the meat balls filled with medicine.
Results of Marina’s efforts are already noticeable, as with this young woman who is very proud of her beautiful well-cared cat…
…but there remains still a lot to be done! This dog is not only malnourished…
…but also tied up with a rope that cuts into the neck…
…causing deep wounds
The dog gets a collar and the owner a lesson in animal care.
Spay and neuter candidates for the upcoming clinic…
Wednesday, March 13th:
Marina is happy: The first field clinic ever in La Boca has begun!
The first patients arrive early in the morning.
They are welcomed by volunteer Francine at the reception.
Youth with their Chihuahuas at the side of the road waiting for their turn. One of them is obviously a bit camera-shy.
In La Boca Dr. Vogler and Dr Frank Alfano work together.
Dr. Alfano visits A.A.A.S. twice a year for 3 – 4 weeks. Already 2009, when there weren’t many German vets yet travelling to the Caribbean, our association sent financial support for a clinic with Dr. Alfano.
Dee Morrison pre-medicating a dog that will then be shaven and intubated for the surgery.
The Canadian has participated as veterinary technician in several A.A.A.S. clinics as well as re-homing Dominican dogs before she decided last fall to move to Sosúa permanently. Now she isn’t only working as veterinary technician but also as new executive director of A.A.A.S.
Cold sterile is used in la Boca, available also when the current fails.
Candidates of Marina’s community outreach project on the table.
More patients waiting in the shade of a big tree…
The recovery in a cool darker area in the background.
This proud owner must wait for a later date to have his pet spayed. At this stage, his puppy needs de-wormer and vaccination.
Another owner who cares very much for his dog…
…helps with the preparations for surgery.
Purebred dogs are a lot more valued than mongrels. Apart from the Chihuahua, the right dog for small budgets and small houses, the Rottweiler is a favorite breed in the Dominican Republic. We must succeed in convincing local people of the equal value of their Creole dogs. Volunteering dog trainers that demonstrate the intelligence and learning abilities of local dogs are a vision of the future.
That day Tikka was brought, a Chihuahua bitch in labor pains with puppies much too big to be delivered normally. A caesarian was necessary. The puppies were underdeveloped, two were born dead, the other two survived only 3 days. Tikka recovered from the surgery within one day.
Snowy was hit by a car only a few days after having been neutered and Marina was called by the neighbors of the owner. The examination showed that his hind paw and some toes were broken. Snowy was treated, bandaged and returned with medication. The neighbors will help the owner with the monitoring.
Tired but happy: Dr. Vogler and Francine at the end of the day. 25 animals were spayed and neutered that day.
At the day of her departure Dr. Vogler still worked for half the day in the A.A.A.S. Clinic. Together with Dr. Alfano 14 animals were spayed or neutered in record time.
Unfortunately also 2 animals had to be euthanized:
Rocky was brought with a far developed face tumor.
He had to be euthanized.
Another still very young dog hit by a car and suffering from severe spinal injuries had to be euthanized.
29 bitches, 21 males, 2 queens and 1 tom were spayed and neutered during this week.
It was Dr. Kashef’s 4th journey to the Dominican Republic.
He noticed a lot of positive changes, but also still a great need for aid.
Here his report:
Tranquility and calmness are beautiful characteristics of the life in countries with a lot of sunshine. It was my fourth visit to the Dominican Republic this year and the third to Samaná. When I arrived, it seemed as if I had been gone only for two weeks, not a whole year. Samaná is the same idyllic little town at the seaside, the Dominicans are as warm and friendly as always.
But there are changes among the dogs on the streets: Their condition has improved visibly. They are better fed, their fur looks better and they seem generally healthier. They still have fleas, ticks, mites and worms but their immune system is usually strong enough to withstand these Especially remarkable is the difference between neutered and fertile animals. The groups of neutered and spayed dogs are stable.
Males don’t chase after bitches in heat and there are hardly any fights between the animals. Diseases related to mating, like uterus infections and sticker carcinom, have become less common. The energy spent before on proliferation can now be used to put on weight. A positive side effect: The healthier dogs are better liked by the local people who are still often afraid of sick looking dogs. Especially in times with increased risks of infections a strong immune system is decisive for survival. After several days of torrential rain a lot of dogs suffer from lung worms. They have a severe cough caused by the worms wandering through their lungs.
Two coughed up lung worms of a patient.
We found also dogs with severe eye infections, apathy and fever. Again those in a generally healthier condition fared better. Often all they needed was a de-wormer while the weaker ones had to be treated with antibiotics. Some were kept in the clinic for a few days and spayed and neutered before their release. Unfortunately we had also some cases of distemper. Protective vaccinations are here still a future objective… One bitch had such severe neurological dysfunctions that euthanizing was the only way to help her. The positive effects of our work for the street dogs are conclusive but still I saw every day in the poorer areas of Samaná many dogs with mange, skinny bitches with suckling puppies and dogs with terrible injuries caused by car accidents; a lot remains to be done. After the first weekend work begins in the clinic that I started last year together with my Dominican colleague Francisco. Many improvements also here: We have a new staircase outside and don’t have to use the dinghy staircase of the neighbouring house anymore to bring patients and their owner into the clinic. The balcony is completely barred which allowe us to leave in-patients overnight outside on the cooler balcony, besides protecting our precious equipment. Now, in February, temperatures rise up to 30° Celsius during the day.
Here a male with terrible cuts, hardly to handle inside the clinic but quite relaxed on the balcony. Without bars though he would have jumped down onto the street without hesitating one moment.
Also inside the clinic a lot has happened: A refrigerator to keep medicaments cool and a big shelf for storage make work a lot easier.
Francis is his old happy self and hasn’t forgotten anything he had learnt the year before. His surgeries are good without exception; all he needs is an assistant to supervise the anaesthesia during surgery and take care of unexpected disturbances so that the surgeon can concentrate fully on his work.
Here one of Dr. Francis´ patients . While the mother is recovering from anesthesia, her daughter rests on top of my backpack.
Here my friends „Chile“, neutered last year, and „Bruno“, whom we caught with.a bitch in heat.
Altogether I’m very impressed! The work of all colleagues here that would be impossible without our sponsors and the organisations of Kim in Smaná, Judy in Sosúa and Isabel Gorski-Grobe in Germany, is so successful because everybody is engaged wholeheartedly. If all who are involved continue this way we will have good news also in the future about the animal welfare work in the Dominican Republic.
Despite all the work there has to be time to go to the beach and to watch the whales.
A rubber barrel, cut out on one side and hung up, provides a safe and comfortable sleeping place for this bitch , out of reach for all sorts of parasites. The calf on the right was brought to Kim because its mother had died during its birth.
From left to right: Kim‘s mom Moira, who always visits Samaná at the beginning of the year, Kim’s right-hand man Haidi (?) who has a solution for everything and Luce, Kim’s home help who cooks every day for 11 people; she makes the best Spaghetti Bolognese in the whole world!
In fall 2013 A.A.A.S. split into 2 groups in order to provide best services possible to the growing demands of animal welfare in the area; the original A.A.A.S., occupied mainly with spay and neuter clnics in Sosúa and its surrounding communities and Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic who take care of street work and community outreach projects. In 2013 more than 1000 animals were spayed and neutered by A.A.A.S. and more than 1000 animals were monitored and taken care of by community outreach programs.For the clinics in 2014 new volunteers were trained by A.A.A.S.
New faces at A.A.A.S.
Training starts fort he new volunteers
Judy is teaching the correct way of intubating an animal.
Arriving after a long journey:Dr. List and Dr. Bonin empty their heavy backpacks, filled with presents and medical donations.
February 14th – 16th there was a field clinic in Charamicos.
As in 2011, when Dr. List and Dr, Bonin were here for the first time, it took place at the firemen’s station, la Casa de Bomberos.
So many people came the first day…
…that it very soon became obvious:
There was help needed at the reception!
Long-time volunteers Marina and Elaine made sure that each patient received the right medication…
…while the newcomers took care of the animals before and after surgery.
This young lady seems to worry a little if her pet will really recover from the anesthesia…
This day everybody is constantly smiling…
…in a conspicious, conspirative way!
Only Dr. List is working seriously and concentrated as usual.
She doesn’t have the least idea that this Valentine’s day will become one of the most memorable days in her life.
This evening in the Lazy Dog beach bar Dr. Bonin asked her to marry him.
Of course she said „Yes“!
The preparations for the engagement celebratin had been going on for weeks. Everybody – except for Dr. List – had known about it!
The party following the powerpoint presentation which showed special moments they had shared in life lasted till late in the night.
Dear Anne, dear Tim , we wish you both a long and happy life together!
Nevertheless the field clinic at Charamicos continued the next day as usual.
There were just as many people as the day before.
Outside everywhere people with their animals…
…waiting to be registered,…
…inside the typical hustle and bustle of a busy field clinic. And everywhere the medical staff is hard at work with the utmost concentration:
Preparing the patient for the surgery…
Patient No 26 is ready for the surgeon.
Anaesthetized and intubated he is being placed onto the table, together with his medical card containing detailed informations and the proper dosage of medication. Post-operative monitoring:
Dr. Bonin watching over the well-being of his patients.
During post-operative care various treatments take place that the animal might dislike when fully recovered, such as claw cutting…
As usual, pet owners are very interested in everything that is going on.
The firemen are by now quite experienced helpers.
…beim Tragen großer, narkotisierter Hunde…
…or the trapping of feral cats.
Dr. List nearing with the drape; the surgery can begin.
The surgeons at work.
Doctora Gisselle had come as well, directly from Azua where she and her colleague had replaced the ill Swiss vet Dr. Huber for several days.
The breaks are short, the days are long: About 30 animals per day were spayed and neutered during the three days at Charamicos.
As usual, many kids and adolescents brought their pets.
They are very concerned and listen carefully to explanations and the advice about proper animal handling.
And they are obviously very pleased about the toys piled on a table… Dr. Bonin and Dr. List saw a big difference between the situation in Sosúa now and 3 years ago when they visited for the first time:As a result of the successful work of the A.A.A.S.the health of the animals has improved a lot as well as the attitude of the local people towards their animals.
Pictures like these…
…become more and more frequent.
Before leaving pet owners receive leashes, collars and dog food sponsored by the Global Animal Rescue Fund.
Proud dog owner on their way home…
…with several now infertile dogs.
Cleaning up on the third day.
Everything has to be packed and transported back to the A.A.A.S. clinic. Over 90 animals have been spayed and neutered during the past 3 days.
Time for recreation…
…and a re-union with the Sugar Kids.
They were very happy about the presents Dr. List and Dr. Bonin had for them: Toys of all sorts…
…and a donation for the school that is always in need of money.
February 18th – 20th surgeries continued at the A.A.A.S. clinic in Sosúa.
Appointments had been made with animal owners before. A lot of seriously ill animals were brought and complicated surgeries had to be performed besides spaying and neutering. A lot of A.A.A.S. volunteers came with their animals as well.15 animals were operated the first morning, among them several males which were neutered in a very short time.
A whole family:
…and his sons!
During the busy field clinic it had been impossible for the photographer to get real close to the surgeons.
In the smaller A.A.A.S. clinic close up photos are possible,…
…which show us rare views…
…of surgical practice…
…and enable us to watch…
…the surgeons‘ hands at work.
Dr. Bonin sewing up a patient…
Dr. List operates a small female…
Just a few more stitches!
Sometimes it takes two…
…This Husky-mix bitch had been spayed before by an inexperienced vet.
She continued to get in heat and attracted all males in the neighbourhood.
She was in bad shape and had infected wounds all over her body.
Only one ovary had been removed during the first surgery!
The second ovary; in the midst of instruments.
This male Pitbull has been obviously misused for dog fights, unfortunately still as popular in the Caribbean as cock fights!
He is rather timid…
But his body is covered with scars and wounds from dog bites.
A Chihuahua bitch was brought…
…which suffered from a prolapse of the uterus.
She was successfully operated.
This old street dog had a face wound from a dog fight that didn’t want to heal.
Infected and dead tissue had to be removed.
The cleansed wound…
…was stitched and can heal now.
Hopefully the old boy will be a beau soon again.
The bitch of an A.A.A.S. volunteer was suspected to suffer from bladder stones. Only with the help of an ultrasonic scanner a proper diagnose was possible.The nearest vet who had one lived in Santiago… Luckily the Ocean World in Puerto Plata has a mobile scanner and agreed to lend it for the examination. Mr Kees de Grooth, the director came himself to Sosúa, to find out.
The scan showed: No stones, no tumour!
It was only a bladder infection.
Mr. De Grooth invited Dr. List and Dr. Bonin to visit the Ocean World. He took them for a tour where they saw that a lot is done to entertain the animals and to ensure that they feel well and don’t suffer from boredom. Also their retirement is taken care of. None of the animals was captured, all of them are born in captivity.
The last patient, again a dog of an A.A.A.S.volunteer, had a tumour at its toe which was removed.
The last few days of their stay Dr. List and Dr. Bonin spent in Samaná,
where the reat humpbacks were waiting… But also here was work to be done!
They helped Dr. Katja Schirren,…
…who had arrived with the plane that brought Dr. Tarek El-Kashef from Samaná back to Germany.
They had hardly arrived when a dog was brought with an open fracture. The dog had been hit by a car and the wound had been unattended for several days.
The leg couldn’t be saved. Dr. Frances learnt how to amputate.
But then, finally, the boat took them out to the whales…
The whales co-operated and showed themselves beautifully…
These 2 wonderful vets had really deserved it!
The project Azua is a co-operative of the Associazione suizzera per l'aiuto e il supporto dei cani creoli and the Association for Aid and Support of Creole dogs (Germany). All of 2013 preparations for the very first clinic in Azua were under way. Never before had an animal welfare organisation been active there, never had a vet visited this part of the Dominican Republic! In the beginning of 2013 a program with feeding places and anti-parasitical treatment was started and maintained by the Dominicans Wuander, Amauri and Mali who also kept the list with spay and neuter candidates.
Dolores Rohrer, president of the Associazione suizzera per l'aiuto e il supporto dei cani creoli, spent weeks explaining the proper use of the different care and medical products to her Dominican friends.
In summer 2013 the Association for Aid and Support of Creole dogs bought the surgical instruments that had been on the association’s wish list for years, while in Azua a talented carpenter built the OP-tables.
According to the directive of Anja Hess medicaments and materials were put together, quantities were calculated for 100 dogs. There were already 92 on the list!
The team consisted of Anja Hess and the Swiss Dr. Huber as vets, Dolores Rohrer and Marina Möckel as vet techs and the Dominican helpers.
In January 2014 Dolores and her partner Joan flew with 42 kg luggage to Santo Domingo and took care of the last preparations.
They had hardly arrived when Dolores received bad news from Switzerland: Dr. Huber was in hospital and could not participate as planned!
While we started an intense search to replace him, Dolores was busy all day long taking care of needy dogs. Often she worked in places where her mobile didn’t work any more and we were completely out of touch.
Everywhere she found sick and starving dogs…
And everywhere abandoned puppies…
…like these three…
…hiding underneath a piece of cardboard.
Without Dolores they’d have no chance!
Soon a 4th puppy was found.
Reunion with an old friend…
…who is mother again! Also her puppies have to be taken care of and placed.
The replacement for Dr. Huber was finally found! In 2010 we had been very happy to be able to send financial support for the veterinary training clinic of Dr. Clooney in Sosúa, and Dr. Gisselle, one of the participants, whose first own clinic was directed by Dr. Kashef, now coaching Dr. Francis in Samaná, promised to come with a colleague!
February 10th Anja Hess got ready to fly out with a 30 kg backpack from Frankfurt, Germany.
In Santiago Dr. Gisselle and her colleague Dr. Nathalie prepared for the ride to Azua.
From Azua we got the message: “ We’re leaving at midnight for Santo Domino. Anja is landing at 3 a.m. We’ll be back in Azua at 5 a.m. Anja will rest for 3 hours and then we start surgeries.”
Next message from the airport: “Anja is landing in 3 minutes!” – 40 minutes later: “The plane has landed but nobody is getting out!” – 70 minutes later: “Still no one is leaving the plane!”
Here the contact broke off for many hours and we learnt much later that the plane on the runway had not been the expected one and that Anja at this point was still up in the air way out over the Atlantic.
Anja never got her three hours rest; surgeries started right away after her arrival.
Well equipped for 100 patients!
The operating theatre of Alonse
Anja’s Dominican colleagues Gisselle and Nathalie…
32 dogs were spayed and neutered on this first day!
A big Thank you to Julia Reichel who sponsored the first patient of this operative!
The recovery of Alonse
Good bye on the second day! Gisselle and Nathalie went back home after 10 surgeries in the morning.
Anja operated 12 more dogs in the afternoon – and reported cut fingers and a backache…
54 dogs are by now spayed and neutered!
The puppies, that Dolores found underneath the cardboard, live now in the house,…
…learning something new every day!
On the third day the table is fastened on top of the car and off it goes to El Corozo…
…a village with more dogs than people, all skinny and anemic.
Anja operates in the middle of the village…
…and soon she has an audience. Never before have the people here seen a vet at work!
Today Anja’s fingers are taped to protect them from further cuts.
Cold sterilisation is the way to go here…
Dolores was worried that surgeries might be more risky here because of the condition of the animals but all went well.
The recovery of El Corozo…
Also here a crowd gathered quickly and observed everything closely.
21 dogs were spayed and neutered that day; 74 altogether now after only 3 days.
On the way back home, at 7.30 p.m., Dolores sent photos from her mobile to Germany…
On the 4th day the team went to the beach…
…not to swim and sun bathe but to spay and neuter the beach dogs!
This Dominican lady is the only one who feeds and takes care of the dogs at the beach. She was very happy when Anja and her team arrived.
The beach dogs owe a lot to this lady.
Soon it got cloudy, not only at the horizon…
A crowd had gathered quickly and here people weren’t friendly or curious. They got angry: The men didn’t want male dogs to get neutered and threw stones at them to chase them away.
And when Anja spayed a bitch which had 6 puppies in its womb…
…one of the women started to cry hysterically: „One doesn’t do something like this!“
All of our friends involved in animal welfare in the Dominican Republic know this problem: People project their own sexuality onto the dogs but are not able to take responsibility for the offspring. Here a lot of education and information is still needed.
After only 5 surgeries the team left before the situation got out of hand.
The rest of the day was spent with the puppies.
But they got soon tired of learning how to walk at a leash…
…and fell asleep peacefully.
On the 5th day Anja and her team returned to El Corozo.
The lady in the doorway kindly offered her kitchen as operating theatre.
Of course it was an open air kitchen.
Anja wrote: „We are operating in a lady’s kitchen underneath palm trees and banana plants.”
But the kitchen had electricity! One of the rare occasions where the little sterilizer could be used!
Anja had to cover her sunburned neck . She is most likely the only surgeon who ever got a sun burn in an operating theatre!
Vet tech Marina in the recovery.
This young bitch was so scared of people that she screamed constantly. She was only approachable while waking up. What must this poor little thing have been through!
Marina and Corina, invaluable helpers!
The team continued to Quinze, „kilometer 15“, where 4 dogs were waiting to be operated.
They were welcomed by Marta, a handicapped but very happy and easy-going girl who helped as much as she could.
Also twelve-year-old Fernanda was very interested in the surgeries.
Anja operates in front of a beautiful scenery…
so beautiful that the surgeon herself had to take photos. “What a view from the operating table…wow!” she writes later.
But also in Quinze some irritation arose…
When the man in the colorful T-Shirt noticed a male dog on the table…
…and then all the „dead dogs“ in the recovery he was horrified! He was invited to watch and patiently the benefits of spay and neuter were explained to him. He left and returned with his own dogs to have them operated: 2 females and a male!
In the end not 4 but 13 dogs were spayed and neutered that day in Quinze.
Fernanda gave Anja this lovely chain she has made herself as farewell present and lucky charm for future surgeries. Anja had to promise never to loose it.
5 more bitches were spayed in Alonse on the 6th day.
Then the stocktaking was done.
Altogether 98 dogs were spayed and neutered despite the illness of Dr. Huber. On the last day there were no more surgeries but instead of resting…
…the team drove all the way to the other side of the Dominican Republic, from the southwest to the northeast, to Santa Barbara di Samaná!
And there a boat took them out…
…past the small much-visited island…
…to the whales!
The next day the puppies left for their forever home…
…while Anja flew high above the clouds towards Germany.
A big, big Thank you to her and all helpers and volunteers!
Thank you to all sponsors who have made this dream come true:
Special thanks to Einhorn Inc who have been supporting us for years with donations of surgical gloves, syringes and dressing material.
Dolores and Joan, who was born in Azua and raised in Switzerland, have realized what seemed to be impossible: A successful animal welfare project across the Atlantic without a local organization or project management on the location, in an area, where never before there had been any animal welfare activities, thanks to their tireless efforts and good relations to the Dominican people. They will continue to lead the project Azua on the road to success! We hope for a second clinic in August.