The canon reminds us of days long gone when the European states divided the Caribbean among each other and battles with pirates were common…
The island of Carriacou has a size of 34 km² and belongs politically Grenada, geographically to the Grenadines…
…those magic islands famed for their snowy white beaches and cristal clear waters.
About 6000 people live on this dreamy island in colourful little Creole houses;
and about 9000 dogs!
It is not so easy to get to Carriacou. Big planes land at the airport of Grenada which is 32 km away. Ferries and small planes commute between Grenada and Carriacou. There is no mass tourism on the island; most visitors come only for a few days and stay at one of the small guesthouses that exist on the island.
The name Carriacou originates from the language of the Caribe Indians and means “land of the reefs“. 7 km separate the island, surrounded by coral reefs, from the other Grenadines in the north, in the south lie the uninhabited islands Saline, Frigate and Large.
In 2012 the Carriacou Animal Hospital opened. Since then the general state of health of the dogs and cats on Carriacou has improved a lot. There is no vet on the island but clinic director Katherine Lupke tries very successfully with her volunteer vet program to attract vets from all over the world to come and spend some time here.
A vet on Carriacou has to do everything, diagnose, treat, operate and visit patients at their homes…
November 5th – 19th Theresa Conze of the university clinic JLU Gießen and Dr. Uwe Linzer from Koblenz were there and of course they came with a lot of donations…
Here with the veterinary technicians Shurlyne Matheson from Carriacou and Verity Collins from New Zealand.
The first message we got from the vets right after their landing in Grenada said: „It doesn’t rain… It pours!“ They spent the night in a guesthouse and took the ferry to Carriacou the next morning where they were met by Kathy Lupke.
They took a stroll through Hillsborough…
…this picturesque little town…
…with its small stores and alleys that reveal a view of the Caribbean sea now and then.
After lunch they went to the clinic where work was already waiting for them: 2 victims of car accidents and a tiny, sad-looking figure…
…that was soon to become Lucky Hari, the hero of our Advent story.
The first of the 2 dogs hit by a car is being examined.
Apart from a nosebleed he seems to be all right.
He receives an infusion and stays at the clinic over the weekend.
Soon he has recovered enough to endure a bath that rids him of dirt and parasites.
Not so the second patient!
He can neither urinate nor empty his bowels.
Instead of urine comes blood…
A lot of blood!
The vets try their best!
Dr. Linzer gives him an enema to start bowel movements.
Theresa feeds him with liquid nutrition…
But in the night from Sunday to Monday the patient dies, mostly likely his kidneys were severely damaged when hit by the car.
The week starts with spay and neuter!
The first bitch on the table…
Dr. Linzer and Shurlyne Matheson are tying the patient’s legs to the table for the surgery…
And then it’s time to operate…
Meanwhile 3 young bitches are brought. The day before transport boxes had been brought to their owner who had lured them with food into the cages because 2 of the bitches didn’t let themselves be touched.
A net helped at the clinic to get them safely out of the cages.
And after an injection with acepromazine also these young ladies were soon lying peacefully on the table.
Dr. Uwe Linzer is a surgeon with 30 years experience.
He and Theresa Conze are a great team.
Here the patients recover from anaesthesia
Of course there are also many patients that don’t come for surgery.
These adorable midgets are here for a de-wormer and their first vaccination…
…just like this puppy.
This is Sally, an obviously happy dog that is brought to the clinic by her owner Susie because she has an injured paw.
This dog has a sore eye and a laceraton at its belly.
Also skin problems are frequent.
The vets don’t have to go far to work. They stay in the clinic’s beachside bungalow that has a kitchen, living room, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom.
Always surrounded by dogs, little Hari in the midst of them…
…also when Theresa is writing on her laptop to Germany, maybe asking if it is possible to bring a little dog from Grenada…
Hari and his girlfriend Peggy, who lost a leg in an accident.
Also the 3-legged Peggy is very lucky! She found a loving home in Canada.
The view from the bungalow is breathtaking at all times of the day…
Early in the morning…
…and in the dusk of the evening.
Visiting patients at their homes belongs to the tasks of the vets. Here a whole dog family is being examined. On Carriacou people pay for veterinary treatments on a voluntary base.
80 % of the people here are too poor to pay.
This man, whose dog suffered from a flea bite allergy, paid with fruits.
On the way to the next patient the vets pass a place where men are trying to bring the mast of a large yacht, that had been launched the previous week, out to the boat. Apparently Carriacou’s shipyard has no facility to put up masts and so the yacht will have to motor to another island with the mast securely fastened on deck.
This dog has a tumor at the cheek and can’t swallow. It must be taken to the clinic.
But also here there is no way to help. The malignant tumor has grown to a tremendous size within a few weeks.
It fills out also the inside of the mouth. The dog can’t swallow anymore, neither liquids nor solid food. Euthanasia is the only solution.
Despite all the work there is enough time to enjoy the magnificent beaches, the turquoise water, a barbecue at the beach and a visit of the famous Tobago Keys on the weekend…
They meet interesting locals…
But this guy didn’t care to become acquainted any closer…
In the second week spay and neuter continues. Here a male is being prepared for surgery.
Dr. Linzer sent us a video of the operation:
Here Theresa Conze is spaying a cat:
And then the wound is sewn up very carefully:
November 17th Dr. Linzer writes: „Thanks to Daniela Albert, who did all she could we have now the confirmation of Hari’s booking! Hari is coming with us to Germany!!!!“
On November 18th they travelled back to Grenada. On the 19th the plane is waiting!
The sky above Grenada is grey and cloudy this morning. Many passengers will regret that a beautiful holiday has passed much too fast… Only one of them, a very small one, doesn’t look back once.
On the lap of Theresa Conze Lucky Baby Hari is dreaming only about a bright future…
Spay and neuter clinic in Punta Cana
with Dr. Astrid Patzak-Theen and Sabine Weinzierl
July 16th – 22nd 2015
When Dr. Patzak-Theen and her assistant Sabine Weinzierl landed in Punta Cana, their Swiss host Lela and her dog Tango were already waiting for them. Apparently Lela hadn’t imagined what vets on a mission carry with them… A little surprised she looked at the luggage: “That will never fit into my car!“ The solution to this problem was a taxi.
Patzak-Theen and Sabine Weinzierl shared a room in Lela’s house and their host provided delicious breakfasts and lunch packages every day.
The first 2 days they worked at the military station of Cabeza de Toro.
The surgery was airy, just like Dr. Patzak-Theen remembered it from last year’s clinic at the carpentry shop of the Vista Sol. The recovery was underneath the green canvas roof.
There were many enthusiastic children, among them also several 12 year old girls in an advanced stage of pregnancy. This demonstrates very clearly the challenge animal activists face trying to convince people about the necessitiy and benefits of spay and neuter in a society where “family planning” is still determined many times by the onset of fertility. Many times there is a special child at clinics like that, a child that lets us hope that it might take on important tasks in animal welfare as an adult and inspire its compatriotes to love and treat animals properly. In Cabeza de Toro Christopher was this special child. He brought dogs, placed them on the table and knew instantly how to hold them. This day his love for animals was going to have disastrous consequences: He saw a young bird that had fallen from its nest, took it and climbed up a ladder to put it back. He slipped, fell of the ladder and hurt himself so badly that he had to be taken to the hospital by an ambulance. Dr. Patzak-Theen, Sabine Weinzierl and RescatáMe left donations for him and we hope to have soon news about his recovery.
The first candidates arrive and have to find out if they like each other.
Some are carried by caring owners…
…to the reception where the patients are registered.
What a charming little guy!
„Dr. Astrid“ is ready to start…
While candidates are waiting patiently outside…
…or, a little less patiently, in the box…
…Dr. Patzak-Theen is operating…
…and instruments are cleaned inside of the pavillon.
And soon the first patients are lying in the recovery…
…or in the arms of their owners who are always a little worried.
5 males and 3 bitches were neutered and spayed on this first day,…
…one of them pregnant with 7 puppies.
The first patient of the next day caused hilarity – a soldier with an injured finger! Despite the fun everybody was having it may be a hint that medical care isn’t necessarily a matter of course for local people, not even near a center of tourism like Punta Cana.
As the day went on…
…and a 5 month old cat and a tom cat were spayed and neutered.
Supplies for the surgeon…
When preparing one of the bitches, a scar of a previous surgery was found which led to the conclusion that this bitch had been spayed already. Later in the day Dr. Patzak-Theen was told that the bitch had been operated because of a whomb infection but this opportunity hadn’t been used to spay her! She had to be anaesthized a second time that day… This wasn*t going to remain the only case!
Then a male was brought with the Blue eye disease, an edema of the cornea.
It is caused by a hepatitis virus for which there is no treatment. The chances for survival depend on the constitution of the patient. Neutering this male at that point was out of the question. It would have meant his certain death.
A lot of patients of this operative suffered from ehrlichiosis, a sure sign that routine antiparasitical treatment is not as advanced here yet as in the region of Sosúa. Many animals were small and very young. Only vets who work a lot in similar situations can operate such animals safely. Dr. Patzak-Theen looks after a big shelter on Crete with 400 animals. Everything possible is done to prevent pregnancies between two visits of a vet but there are limits! When 2 girls came with a kitten of about 2 months, weighing only a few hundred grams they had to be told that their cat was too young to be spayed. Instead they were taught how to take care of the kitten, to deworm and treat it against parasites and Dr. Patzak-Theen showed them how to use a stethoscope. The girls were thrilled!
Linda appeared who had found Ceniza and her puppies in front of a hotel a year ago. She was moved to tears when she met Ceniza’s new owner.
During the next 2 days Dr. Patzak-Theen operated at the navy station of Macao as in the year before.
Some sad news to begin with:
Guardian, the proud dog of the station’s chief, has been poisoned 4 months after Dr. Patzak-Theen neutered him. (At the time his post-operative bleedings had caused quite a bit of excitement – What, if something happened to the dog of the chief!) Also in Bavaro 2 bitches were poisoned 5 months after Dr. Patzak-Theen had spayed them at the carpentry shop of the Vista Sol. That shows in a very sad way how up-to-date our petition still is! The Dominican animal welfare law demands severe punishment for poisonings and protests from potential tourists can also help that this law is finally enforced in a country completely dependant on tourism.
Reunion with Manuela and Susanna!
Just like last year, the 2 girls spent the whole day at the clinic.
Two tireless and enthusiastic volunteers…
11 dogs were spayed and neutered during the first day in Macao.
This mom was brought with her 2 puppies.
Patiently she is waiting til it’s her turn.
The little ones comfort each other…
…til mom is back!
The 6 weeks old puppies – a boy and a girl – were dewormed and treated against fleas and ticks. The little male had a skin issue and a ripped foreskin.
Then there were a few very relaxed patients…
…barely old enough for surgery…
…and this little Chihuahua lady.
This man who lives all by himself with his dogs and his piglets…
…is so convinced of the benefits of spay and neuter that he decided to get all his dogs neutered at once.
The family arrives:
The father and his 4 adolescent sons none of whom are sharing the conviction of their owner…
But there are friendly people and fresh water…
…and soon the family calms down.
Later in the box, shortly before surgeries start…
…suspicions rise again!
But it’s too late…
The first one is done already…
More are following…
…and soon the whole family is reunited in post-operative drowsiness.
Another male was brought this day with a sticker tumour ad sent for treatment to Dr. José Malaret.
4 bitches, 4 males and a cat were operated the next day.
The first one to be anaesthized was a Chihuahua- Dachshundmix. Also she had a scar from previous surgery and preparations were stopped.
Then a medium-sized brown bitch was spayed.
Afterwards a poodle mix and his son, a Chihuahua mongrel, were neutered.
The poodle had to have also 4 teeth pulled. And suddenly he stopped breathing... He was intubated and mouth-to-mouth respiration started via the tube. In addition he received atropine and adrenaline injections. Finally the little guy started breathing again!
Terriermix Harry, his daughter Choko and a male Chihuahua were operated without issues.
Lela brought Bobby, a male who lives beside a golf resort, tolerated by the guards and their Malinois. Bobby suffers from ehrlichiosis. Lela will treat him with Doxycyclin for 3 weeks, then he will get neutered by Dr. Malaret.
And then there was Negrita…
A shy, scared anemic skeleton in the state of advanced pregnancy and advanced ehrlichiosis, with white membranes and a huge belly containing 7-8 puppies weighing 6 kilograms encountered a veterinary assistant with a big heart! Negrita was in the right place at the right time this day, just like Ceniza a year ago…
Sabine Weinzierl fell in love instantly, Dr. Patzak-Theen backed her up and that means of course: Negrita will come to Germany! Currently Dr. Malaret prepares her for the journey.
At the end of the day Dr. Patzak-Theen was told that her first patient, the Chihuahua-Dachshund, had had a previous Caesarean but hadn’t been spayed yet! Just like the bitch in Cabeza de Toro, also this little lady had to be anaesthized a second time in one day. Fortunately both bitches recovered without problems – and are finally infertile!
On the last day 4 dogs and 4 cats were spayed and neutered in a vegan restaurant.
2 of the 3 Chihuahuamix girls were very young.
They were found in a garbage bag.
Almost passengers failed to notice them…
That would have been the end of these midgets who are waiting now for a loving home.
This male Labrador suffering from ehrlichiosis had so much mucous in his lungs that he developed serious breathing problems during surgery. An infusion tube was inserted into his trachea and the mucous was sucked up by mouth. Atropine helped to dry out the membranes.
Here someone brings his most precious possession!
Very gentle and with great care…
…but trustingly the little girl places her treasure into the hands of Dr. Pathak-Theen.
The cat is not amused!
But „Dr. Astrid“ knows exactly how to comfort such a special patient…
And soon the little cat is peacefully asleep, with a future full of love but free from reproduction awaiting it.
It’s your turn now!
Also these two were operated without problems.
The next day was the day of departure. But before they flew Dr. Patzak-Theen and Sabine Weinzierl visited Collares Rojos in Bayahibe. A lot has happened there since my visit 2012.
Yanela has a beautiful new shelter…
…with a big playground for the dogs…
…a spacious dog room…
…and a cattery not far from the veterinary clinic.
Patzak-Theen and Sabine Weinzierl are thrilled!
The clinic runs as before although Dr. José is now practicing in Punta Cana.
They are welcomed by this very friendly guy who wears diapers because he is paralyzised and incontinent…
…but he has irresistably charming manners!
The red and white cat that watched Dr. José’s treatments from the shelf when I visited the clinic with Yanela 2012…
…is still there!
The profit made by articles sold here helps to maintain the shelter.
Dr. Patzak-Theen left a lot of medication and materials for RescatáMe. Most likely she will not be able to return next year because the work in the shelter on Crete takes up a lot of her time. But we hope that she will come back in future years. 51 animals were spayed and neutered during this operative.
At home Ceniza is already waiting for her!
Spay and neuter clinic in Sosúa, Santiago, Sabaneta
with Dr. Julia Neumann and Dr. Monika Eickhoff
April 9th – 23rd 2015
Dr. Julia Neumann and Dr. Monika Eickhoff, former colleagues of Dr. Tim Bonin from the veterinary clinic „Tierklinik am Stadtwald“ in Frankfurt am Main, came in April for the first time to the Dominican Republic. Tim and Anne-Kathrin Bonin (formerly List) had told so many fascinating stories about Sosúa, that they had wanted to go there themselves as well. Only a few days before they flew we were told by Judy that there weren’t enough candidates for surgery in Sosúa to keep 2 vets busy for 2 weeks. A sensational result of the intense work of A.A.A.S. who have spayed and neutered about 4500 – 5000 animals in Sosúa in the past years but at that moment a big problem to us! Plans had to be changed in a hurry. Dr. Neumann and Dr. Eickhoff had already been scheduled to help Dra Gisselle Santos in Santiago for a couple of days who had assisted with our first operative in Azua in February 2014 when the Swiss vet Dr. Huber fell ill and had to cancel his trip.
Now they were to go to Santiago for a whole week after the first days in Sosúa and they were going to help Dee Morrison and her Moringa’s Mission during the last days of their stay, as Dr. Susanne Vogler had done in March.
These changes in plan called also for changes in supplies to be taken to the Dominican Republic – and no time to apply properly for the permit to bring additional medicaments into the country!
We had to trust our luck that had never left us before, also in times without clearly defined Dominican entry regulations. This time we should run out of luck…
Julia Neumann and Monika Eickhoff arrived April 9th at 4:00 in the afternoon in Puerto Plata with 2 backpacks and a cardboard box. Was it the box that arose suspicions of the customs officers? The luggage was searched thoroughly and all medicaments and materials were confiscated. With a letter confirming the receipt of the supplies the vets left the airport.
Surgical instruments and all medical materials were released again soon after but all medicaments were kept. Luckily there was enough in stock at A.A.A.S. for the operative to run smoothly.
Julia Neumann and Monika Eickhoff stayed at the Tropix, that has accomodated already many vets before.
Friday an introduction of A.A.A.S. clinic facilities took place…
… and on Saturday Julia Neumann and Monika Eickhoff spayed 7 bitches and a cat and neutered one male dog.
Dr. Julia Neumann (at the right)
Dr. Monika Eickhoff
All patients were in a general good condition and were brought in by their owners.
Sunday the vets left for Santiago. Dr. Neumann and Dr. Eickhoff were accomodated in the house of Gisselle’s parents who rent several holiday appartements in a residential area of Santiago.
On the first day the vets worked in the roofed yard of a school outside of Santiago.
20 volunteers were there to help the vets, mostly students of Dra Gisselle who teaches at the university of Santiago, besides running a clinic, a shelter and an animal welfare organisation.
Though not as routined as the A.A.A.S. team, the students had prepared everything very well.
While their helpers were bringing the animals, Dr. Neumann and Dr. Eickhoff shared tasks like prepping, anaesthesia monitoring and surgeries. About a dozen dogs and cats were operated. Their health condition differed noticably from the animals in Sosúa. Many of them suffered from a variety of parasites, they were older and all bitches had already given birth several times. One of them was in heat and had a brittle womb.
One stray was brought with an old infected wound at its neck. After treatment this dog went to the shelter that Gisselle runs at the farm of her parents.
Tuesday afternoon Julia Neumann and Monika Eickhoff worked in the new clinic that Gisselle opened last September. It is also her home. The surgery is not quite finished yet but already well-equipped with an inhalation anaethesia machine. All in-patients were spayed and neutered, among them 6 young bitches that went afterwards to the farm to await adoption. One dog, already adopted, was picked up right after surgery by its new owners. One old, very skinny male needed an eye operation. He had been handed over by his owner to Giselle to be euthanized because of massive eye problems. One eye had been already operated by Gisselle, the second was extremely inflamed and had gone septic. It was removed this afternoon and he was neutered at the same time. Afterwards he went to the farm as well.
Wednesday - Friday Julia Neumann and Monika Eickhoff worked in the shelter of Dra Gisselle Santos.
The surgery at the farm of Gisselle’s parents.
A lot has happened since 2010 when Dr. Tarek El-Kashef worked here with Dra Gisselle during her very first spay and neuter clinic.
It was Dr. Kashef‘s first visit to the Caribbean.
Apart from all the suffering local animals they had at that time also to deal with a large number of dogs and cats left behind by irresponsable German residents, none of them neutered, a lot of them ill!
The animals were put up on Gisselle’s parents‘ farm as well as possible at the time.
Today the farm is subdivided into different areas.
50 - 60 dogs live here in groups. Only the aggressive ones are seperated. 80 % of them weren’t neutered yet when Dr. Neumann and Dr. Eickhoff arrived.
A suitable cattery for the 10 – 15 cats of the shelter is still lacking.
The surgery is simple but equipped with everthing necessary.
All needed instruments are awaiting the vets.
Inhalation anaesthesia also on the farm…
Dr. Eickhoff at work…
20 of the dogs in the shelter were spayed. An older bitch had a septic womb and a huge tumour at her teats on the right side. Both were removed. There were several smaller tumours at the left that couldn’t be taken out simply because there wasn’t enough skin to close such a big wound.
A cat in the last stage of pregnancy had to be operated; puss running out of her vagina. All kittens were already dead but the cat survived and recovered quickly.
One patient with mange was treated as well.
Dr. Neumann and Dr. Eickhoff enjoy their lunch break in the shade of a tree.
But soon work continues! Dr. Neumann making a small, precise cut with the scalpel…
Once people knew that there were vets on the farm, many of them came. Dr. Neumann and Dr. Eickhoff spayed and neutered 25 dogs that were brought by their owners as well as 2 cats and 2 tom cats.
Dr. Neumann neuters a Dalmatian mix.
Here he is in the recovery.
One man brought 3 older bitches. A woman came with a mongrel and a Jack Russel which she had used for breeding before. Thank God she didn’t want to breed anymore!
Owners with their dogs in the recovery area.
Friday night – Saying Good Bye to Santiago!
Friday night the vets returned to Sosúa, spent one night at the Tropix and continued Saturday to Sabaneta where Dee Morrison was already awaiting them.
Sunday was their only day off which they enjoyed at the beach of Rio San Juan.
Monday and Tuesday they worked for Dee Morrison’s Moringa’s Mission at the Wise Mountain Retreat, where they also stayed during these days. Leslie, the owner, has bought the Wise Mountain Retreat not too long ago and is rebuilding it now into a wellness resort with the help of volunteers from all over the world who enjoy a vacation at no charge in return. Therefore there were enough helpers for the clinic as well.
And of course they were there…!
Marina from Germany…
…and Francine from the Netherlands, at home in the Dominican Republic for many years, trained as perfect vet techs by Judy, indispensable members of the A.A.A.S. team…
…… and now also a great help for Dee Morrison, here at the reception taking down the data of patients.
Dr. Brent Babcock, Dee’s brother-in-law who had come to neuter horses and helped with the dogs, had brought an inhalation anaesthesia machine for Dee from Canada. Judy brought a second machine and a lot of supplies from Sosúa.
This one seems rather worried…
…while that one doesn’t seem to need anaesthesia anymore!
First of all the intravenous catheter is fixed…
The pre-medicated patient can now be intubated.
Anaesthesia can now be continued via inhalation.
The NaCl infusion running through the intravenous catheter supports and stabilizes the cardiovascular system throughout the surgery.
Monday 7 bitches, 4 male and a cat were operated. The cat had problems recovering and died unfortunately later on. It had been an older cat, possibly she had had already a heart issue.
A strong torch is a big help for the surgeon – even in tropical light!
The recovery on the shady porch of the Wise Mountain Retreat.
Gossiping owners waiting for their animals…
Gordito’s looked after vets and helpers at Wise Mountain Restreat with tasty Mexican food.
Tuesday 14 bitches, one of them pregnant, and 3 males were spayed and neutered. At the start of the day a Chihuahua bitch was brought, ready to give birth, but obviously with complications.
Only a Caesarian could help here! Dr. Neumann is operating, beside her the Dominican vet Dr. Alexi.
What will she find? Alive or already dead puppies?
They are alive!
What a wonderful experience for a vet – even when committed to the prevention of surpopulation!
3 healthy puppies are placed at the teats of their little mother who sleeps of the anaesthesia.
In the evening there was a grill party at Ute Mann’s Rancho El Contento. Afterwards Dee Morrison took the two vets to the airport and off they went, back to Germany…
Julia Neumann and Monika Eickhoff have promised to be back next year and we are looking forward to this very much!
Spay and neuter clinic in Sosúa and Caberete
with Dr. Susanne Vogler
March 6th – 13th 2015
with Dr. Susanne Vogler
Dr. Susanne Vogler: In the Caribbean for the 4th time – and still enthusiastic!
This time Dr. Vogler wasn’t just scheduled for A.A.A.S.: Dee Morrison had asked us for help already months ago. Many will remember Dee from reports about operatives that took place at the A.A.A.S. clinic during the last years. Again and again she came from Canada to assist as vet tech, loaded with presents and donations each time.
Presents for all, also for the children…
And each time she left with Dominican dogs to find them a loving forever home in Canada. Also her brother-in-law, being a vet, came to A.A.A.S. to support the clinics as surgeon. Finally Dee moved for good to the Dominican Republic.
She lives now in Sabaneta de Yasica, about half an hour’s drive away from the A.A.A.S. clinic, between Sosúa and Cabarete where she has founded Moringa’s Mission. She lives there with countless dogs in a small house, supported by heranimal-loving family in Canada.
Friday evening, March 6th, Dr. Vogler started from Germany, together with her sister and her brother-in-law and an incredible amount of donations.
They had rented holiday appartements at Secret Gardens, not far from the beach of Cabarete ,where Dr. Vogler relaxed in the evening after work, and rented car from OK Motors to be independent.
Happy faces after the presents were unpacked…
Apart from many valuable medical donations…
…Dr. Vogler had brought also a suitcase full of leashes and collars, always in demand at clinics as gifts for pet owners.
First surgeries took place Saturday for Moringa’s Mission at the Rancho El Contento, the very well-kept horse ranch of Ute Mann, located in Veragua, very close to Moringa’s Mission. There is a roofed space with water and electricity available and…
… - very important - shade for the patients!
Ute Mann came 8 years ago from Germany. She volunteers regularly at A.A.A.S. and helps now of course also her neighbour Dee Morrison.
… A soulful gaze…
6 dogs were operated this first day.
And while the first candidates slept off the anaesthesia…
… a new patient is brought.
The most difficult surgery took place right away on this first day: A small bitch was brought that bled from her vagina. After being spayed she started bleeding from her nose. Dr. Vogler diagnosed an injury of the spleen, either caused by a car accident or a severe kick… The poor little dog had to be cut open again and the spleen was removed. The little bitch survived and has recovered very well.
Dee Morrison is placing the intravenous catheter while Dr. Vogler holds the dog.
Control of breathing and heart beat during the surgery.
Recovery in the arms of a caring volunteer…
Sunday was the only day off for Dr. Vogler./Susanne 53 Da durfte ein Ausritt am Strand für die begeisterte Reiterin Susanne Vogler nicht fehlen!
Dr. Vogler enjoyed the day going horseback riding with Ute Mann’s beautiful horses along the beach.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Dr. Vogler worked in the A.A.A.S. clinic in Sosúa.
Dr. Joe Zulty was there also on Monday, member of Worlsd Vets and owner of the Essex Middle River Veterinary Center. Actually he was on holiday with his family…
Mary came with Dr. Zulty, a pre-vet student wanting to gain some practical experience.
Ashley and Jordan had also come to the Dominican Republic on vacation, wanting to escape from the cold and study Spanish, but then followed the A.A.A.S. appeal on Facebook for volunteers.
On March 3rd there had been a training clinic for the new volunteers.
Trish Fransdon (to the left in the left pic), and Marion Wade took part. Now they are ready to be a real help for the long-term A.A.A.S. volunteers.
Always there: Marina and Francine preparing medication.
Tuesday Dr. Vogler worked on her own, here assisted by Steph.
She noticed a lot of cats among her patients. “More cats than dogs…”
That is always a sure sign of progress in animal welfare work. In the beginning one is dealing usually mostly with dogs. Cats are somewhat “second in line”… There were no patients with sticker sarcoma and only 2 pregnant bitches.
Pet keepers – caring… …and a little worried!
Wednesday Dr. Vogler worked together with Dr. Frank Alfano, who comes to A.A.A.S. regularly since the beginnings of the clinic. Many of our vets have worked with him already.
Members of other animal welfare groups at the north coast brought their animals as well.
One of the last patients of this day was a small dog that had been hit by a car.
Judy is adjusting the infusion. Because of the equipment and high standard of the A.A.A.S. clinic such animals can be treated as in-patients.
48 animals altogether were spayed and neutered during these 3 days at the A.A.A.S. clinic.
Thursday, the last day of the operative, Dr. Vogler worked again at the Rancho El Contento for Moringa’s Mission.
The day starts with the reception of patients. The man here still busily telephoning…
…spent the rest of the day guarding his rottweiler. In the Dominican Republic owners of rottweiler usually take a lot of pride in their dogs, watch over them carefully and don’t let them roam – which may unfortunately also mean a life chained up for a lot of the time!
Dr. Vogler and the volunteers discussing the correct way of medicating a patient according to the informations about the animal taken down in the reception form…
…while the patients are waiting outside…
The recovery in the front, the office behind, the surgery to the right…
Cold sterilisation of surgical instruments.
Peak hour… Patients waiting their turn in their cages watch the candidate being prepared while Dr. Vogler is operating in the background and a volunteer is monitoring recovering dogs. All within a few square meters and under the observant eyes of the pet owners…
Shaving for the intravenous catheter… Injectable anaesthesia is being used.
Ute Mann is assisting Dee Morrison.
Already asleep… Every dog is treated with vetalgin against pain and long-lasting antibiotics.
Dee Morrison is adjusting the infusion while Dr. Vogler approaches from the back with sterile instruments. Every dog receives a NACL infusion during surgery to keep the fluid balance stable.
A Caribbean beauty…
The beauty getting spayed…
Despite the strong Caribbean sun: The head lamp was a very useful device to look inside the dogs’ bellies…
Almost done! The last stitches are being made…
Still a little drowsy…
Every dog had its own volunteer during the post.operative care.
One heart … one soul…
Here she is undergoing surgery, in the glass the reception form and the medication balanced for her…
…and here being put down with great care in the recovery.
Her owner must have been very happy to get her back sound and safe afterwards! The scissors at the side show: Here are also claws cut if necessary while the patients are still asleep.
Meanwhile Ute’s helpers set the table.
Chicken in hot sauce and rice.
While the volunteers eat…
…is Dee Morrison watching over the sleeping patients. No dog is left alone during the post-operative stage.
After lunch work continues… Dr Vogler is tireless.
12 dogs were spayed and neutered that day. Altogether Dr. Vogler operated 18 dogs for Moringa’s Mission, 12 bitches and 6 males. Apart from that she treated a dog suffering from eye inflammation and a lame horse at Rancho El Contento; both patients are on the way to recovery.
Big Thank you to Dr. Vogler who has promised to return next year!
Moringa’s Mission will most likely get help again in April from Dr. Monika Eickhoff and Dr. Julia Neumann, 2 former colleagues of Dr. Tim Bonin, who are coming to the Dominican Republic for the first time…
Spay and neuter clinic in Azua-Alonse
first operative in the favelas of Santo Domingo
January 15th – 23rd 2015
with Anja Hess, Ingrid Stegemann and Alfred Huber
A cooperative of and project director Dolores Rohrer
Calls for donations and our Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/1550864995159731/, went on until the very last moment to finance the operative. Twice, in August and in October 2014 we had to cancel smaller clinics, among other reasons also because of lack of funding. 150 dogs and cats were listed for spay and neuter in January, about half of them in the favelas of Santo Domingo, where never ever a vet had been before…
December 28th Dolores‘ partner Joan Rivas flew to Azua to start preparations.
Dolores wrote: "Joan left 20 minutes ago. He almost missed his flight because we had to spend endless time at the counter to pay for the excess luggage“
December 29th she wrote: "The car is okay, Joan is getting it today… should run again… Joan will look for accomodation in Santo Domingo“
January 12th the Swiss vet Dr. Huber followed Joan. He had missed the first clinic in Azua-Alonse last February due to illness.
The same day we received a message from Anja Hess: „Hi!!! We have a problem! I’m lying in bed with fever and don’t know if I’ll be well enough to fly on Thursday. If not , how do we get all the equipment over ? We should make a plan…” In the late afternoon, after visiting the doctor, Anja wrote: „Lungs are all right, have antibiotics just in case…, guess I’m flying – yippee!!!”
January 14th Dolores flew from Munich to Punta Cana, loaded with syringes, needles, swabs, bandages, gloves, 2 electric clippers, 8 kilogram powdered puppy milk (donation frm GranataPet) and a big box full of spot ons against fleas, ticks and mites (a donation from World Vet Services). We had booked 10 kg excess luggage for 145 Euro. hatten wir eingebucht. But at the airport it appeared that Dolores had additional 4 kg – almost unimaginable after our countless weighing…! – which cost another 80 Euro. At least she was allowed to carry 10 kg hand luggage with her instead of the usual 6 kg…
In the evening of the 15th January Anja Hess and Ingrid Stegemann flew from Frankfurt to Santo Domingo, landed Friday morning at 3:15, passed customs without problems and – stood there all alone at the airport! Joan and Moreno, who were supposed to pick them up, arrived 2 hours later. Anja wrote: „After landing at the ungodly hour of 3:15 am at the airport of Santo Domingo, Ingrid and I had to wait “a little bit” for our transportation to Alonse… The boys had turned of the alarm clock and slept too long…” After two-and-a-half hours drive to Alonse- Sabana Yegua, to the „kilometer 11“, where Wuander Garban, Dolores’ local helper lives, surgeries started immedieately.
Surgeries started right away after the arrival of Anja and Ingrid at 8:30 am.
Anja wrote: „We didn’t come empty-handed!!! Just like the last time, our luggage consisted mainly of medical materials. For ourselves we had only packed the essentials, a few T-shirts and flipflops…“
The team for the week from left to right:
Alfred Huber, Moreno, Vicki, Wuander, Ingrid Stegemann, Dolores, Joan…
…and Anja Hess, the surgeon who started here a new chapter in the history of animal welfare a year ago, at a place that had never before seen any animal welfare activities at all! Still a little sick at the beginning of the operative she commented: „…the surgeon is sniffing strongly (impossible to blow one’s nose every 3 minutes while operating)…“
Friday and Saturday surgeries took place at Wuander’s house. A lot has happened there since last year… 2014 the house was barely finished, unpainted… In the meantime Wuander has built a wall around his property , 2 meters high, with a solid door so the dogs that he regularly bathes and treats against parasites here, can’t escape anymore. And the house has been painted, light-green and apricot „Very caribbean" according to Anja.
Wuander has kept up the antiparasitical wash program during the whole year. His house has become the place to go to for everybody in Alonse having a problem with their dogs. Wuander treats injuries, disinfects and dresses wounds… and has gained the confidence of Alonse’s residents. From time to time he runs out of energy and motivation… But he always starts up again!!!
“Our first patient…- a real bawler…!!!“
The first spay of the year! The bawler being sedated by Ingrid Stegemann who is in the Caribbean for the first time but has spayed and neutered in Russia before.
This male had a tumour at his ear that had to be removed as well.
While Anja takes care of the tumour, Ingrid neuters him at the same time.
The well-known method of marking patients: A piece of tape with a number on the forehead.
Patient No 2 is being treated by Wuander with a spot on against parasites.
A big THANK YOU! to World Veterinary Services: The spot ons were for very large dogs;
several small dogs could be treated with a single dose.
And that’s how paws of Dominican dogs look like when they run around without protection against ticks!!! The poor dog had about 80 ticks on its 4 paws - „We gave up on counting the ones in its ears…!“
Patient No 46 needed an eye operation besides spaying.
Alfred Huber, who wanted to come already in February 2014 but fell ill and had to cancel the trip, is very pleased about his patient who recovers while still on the table, wanting to leave immediately…
40 dogs were spayed and neutered during these first 2 days.
These pictures show: The vets were hard at work!
The team stayed at the homes of various aunts of Joan who all live in the neighbourhood.
And instead of going out to eat they shopped in the local supermarket and cooked at home.
Sunday morning another 8 dogs were operated. Inbetween the current broke down but a friendly neighbor and laid a cord from his house…
In the afternoon operations continued at San Francisco, a small poor place up the hill from Alonse. “San Francisco without cable cars and Golden Gate bridge where people live in houses made of wood or corrugated-iron.” While the team packed up for the afternoon a man brought his dog to Wuander’s house to have it neutered. Too late!! But when he heard that a clinic was held in San Francisco that afternoon he shouldered his dog and walked all the way up the hill and back again after the surgery! That was one of many signs for the impression the first operative last February has already had on people here:
“People came and brought there dogs this time… Last year it took a lot to convince them of the benefits of spay and neuter! It was a wonderful experience. They even brought a lot of males. Last year we had endless discussions about the reasons for neutering males… One man came to thank us and showed proudly his neutered male: The dog hasa good coat now and weighs 25 kilos, a fabulous weight for a Caribbean dog!”
The spayed and neutered animals gain weight and look healthier. They are the best advertisement.
OPs in San Francisco: ”…in a Paddock full of chickens…“
”As usual, after a quarter of an hour it felt like being on a fairground!!! Open Air-clinic as live entertainment“
In the center of San Francisco…
Surgeries carried out in the shade of a wall…
Dr. Alfred Huber, always happily at work…
…and admired by the youth of San Francisco!
74 Amauri cleaning the instruments. In the beginning he worked together with Wuander doing antiparasitcal treatments and maintaining feeding places but he didn’t stick to it as long. Now he is back.
This bitch has already given birth several times, the last time not too long ago. To judge by her teats and the bare spots at her ellbows from lying on hard ground, she is about 3 years old, has had about 5 litters and approximately 30 puppies. This has an end now! A small cut…
”… everything well tied up and out with it… sewn up and disinfectant put on…“
EA very young male is being placed by Wunader for neutering.
”These were rather peas than testicles…“
Wuander is an invaluable helper, also during surgeries. He has learnt so much, knows how to hold an animal and what the surgeon needs next. We must succeed in keeping him as active member of the project. He must be able to earn a small but regular income by doing animal welfare and necessary changes on his property have to take place in order to create a small shelter for abandoned puppies, injured and sick animals. Wuander is at the moment the only reliable local helper for the project which cannot be maintained without someone like him.
Monday the team operated in Tabata. 10 dogs were listed but only 4 were done in the end. One bitch screamed so much that she scared a male that ran off and couldn’t be caught anymore. One male, only 8 months old, was too sick to be neutered. He could hardly walk and swallow and had to be sedated for examination. He was probably suffering from myasthenia, a death sentence in this situation.
Then the car broke down! Another car had to be rented and the departure to Santo Domingo was postponed til Tuesday.
The last evening in Alonse the team went to the each for a grill party. “Beach in the Dominican Republic outside of tourist centers means a lot of garbage…“
“…But we didn’t care! The water was lovely…“
“…we were in a great mood…“ (Ingrid Stegemann with Vicki and Estefani)
“… and the grilled fish was delicious!!!“
Arrival in “El Capital“
First impressions of the colonial history: Ciudad Nueva
In the Zona Colonial there is also the hostel Casa Grande…
Here the team was accomodated during the stay in Santo Domingo.
A wooden sculpture is guarding the entrance to the hostel.
Memories of trips with school mates come back to mind: Bunk beds, bedrooms for 8 people…
The view from the hostel shows the roofs of Santo Domingo…
…and historical buildings: El Capital… almost 4 million residents…, the biggest city in the Dominican Republic,… the first city built by Europeans in the “New World,”… with an extreme gap between the rich and the poor…
Next morning the team starts towards the favelas…
The favelas of Santo Domingo were our vets will work during the next days…
A city within the city with ist own laws, underneath the bridge … Dolores got a lot of emails before the operative from people who thought it utterly irresponsible to go there without police protectio…
But… the police doesn’t enter the favelas… neither do ambulances, garbage trucks or fire brigades…
3 years ago a terrible fire broke out in the favelas. The fire went through the streets like a tornado and people had no chance to escape, except those that were near the river. Many people lost their lives in the flames. Also the son of our contact here died in the fire.
Recycling waste with for people in developing countries so typical creativity and ingenuity: Toys are created, like this kite made from an empty plastic bottle, some strings and plastic bags. And it flies just as well as any of those kites you buy for your kids here in a store!
La Cienaga is the official name of the favelas: „The mud“
Only 8 months ago the government announced a spay and neuter campaign here which ended by poisoning the dogs…!
People were suspicious but still… they came…
The first one was Mena (in the front), Joan’s former babysitter and the team’s contact in the favela.
Mena wanted to get her cat spayed…
…that just had given birth to yet another litter. Her last one!
The mama sleeps off the anaesthesia inthe company of her babies. „Mena was very worried and had to be reassured at least 3 times by each of us that her cat wasn’t dead but really just sleeping…“
The next one was Mena’s husband with family dog Shakira.
40 Also he was very worried… „But when all his animals were back at home, safe and sound, he wouldn’t stop thanking the vets!!!“
And then they came…
“Our first day in La Cienaga was a little chaotic…“
“Everybody came, either to bring animals or just to watch…“ The leashed cats weren’t enthused at all!
“And it was noisy! In the Dominican Republic nothing happens without music, and music has to be loud…“
“And because of the music we had to communicate by yelling at each other. But it was great fun!!!“
Dolores had a multitasking-job… projekt director, translator, OP-assistant, organisor, she had to jump back and forth between everybody and constantly her name was called…
“First of all we spayed a lot of cats…“
“…I had never seen so many cats before in the Dominican Republic!!!“ Anja remembers.
All females… Not a single tom cat among them! – “Awake not very pleased about what was happeningto them but sleeping a beautiful sight!“
This cat was already pregnant again!!!
Her owner was very happy that she could be spayed before giving birth!!! „Of course it is never nice to remove a healthy fetus but the alternative is that the kittens will be drowned or abandoned and then die of starvation. And that is a lot worse…“
This boy asked the most frequently asked question:
Es muerte??? Is she dead???
Almost every time when an animal was anaesthetized this question had to be answered…
…and during surgeries…
…and while the animals were recovering…
Lack of education but also a great distrust after the previous poisonings disguised as spay and neuter campaign by the government are the reason for this.
Presently it is easier for the gringos from far away to build up confidence here than for their own people!
Alfred Huber and his former apprentice: In his practice Dolores was trained as veterinary technician. He has every reason to be proud of her!
Vicki, another all-round talent: Responsible for the reception - yes, there was one…! – and all the beautiful photos…
…and whenever Dolores was too busy, also OP-assistant!
Well-deserved lunch break! Mena had cooked for the team: rice, beans and chicken… „And a good coffee!“ remembers Ingrid Stegemann. Most welcome as the coffee machine in the hostel had gone on strike this morning…!
While the team is resting, the children play happily with bracelets that Ingrid brought from Germany…
After lunch work continues…
Another pregnant bitch. Up to now none of her puppies survived. She ate them up…
Also this poor little guy was treated. Mange is here often a death sentence though neither dangerous nor hard to treat. But people, not knowing any better, fear mangy dogs loke lepers and chase them away everywhere until they die of starvation and neglect…
The team works tirelessly.
The wooden OP-tables, last year custom-made for Anja’s height to ensure comfortable working, had to stay in Alonse. There had been no possibility to transport them. In Santo Domingo kitchen tables from whoever could spare them were used. Anja comments: “After 3 surgeries one doesn’t notice anything, after 10 the back pinches a little, after 20 it sreams…“
Lucky those, that have the capability to operate sitting down…
Anja gives her back a short break…
One man watched the whole day wondering if he should bring his Chihuauas or not. Towards the end of the day he came with them, mother and daughter. He was very worried the whole time during the surgeries. Suddenly – it couldn’t have been worse – both stopped breathing simultaneously! The team worked like mad to revive them without letting owner and bystanders realize how serious the situation was. And they succeeded! The man was very happy and relieved when he could take „his girls“ back home again. Afterwards everybody was a little pale… If that had gone wrong!
30 animals were spayed and neutered this first day.
End of a busy day… and, very unusual for the residents of the favela, all the waste is being collected and taken along.
On the way home… Before nightfall the team hast o leave the favelas.
Afterwards it gets too dangerous here for strangers with a rental car.
The next morning… Mena‘s cat has completely recovered from surgery.
The second day everything went more sluggishly… „We were now known already, and people weren’t so excited anymore.“
Many puppies and kittens were brought for flea treatment, all much too young to be spayed and neutered…
Also male dogs were brought to show them off but not to neuter them. 16 animals were operated this day.
79 The gang: They understand each other… despite the language barrier!
Thenlast patient of the operative: Chiquita. Her young owner lover her incredibly. Chiquita has painted nails, is very well trained and adores her owner. The girl almost collapsed when Chiquita was anaesthized. Here she is already holding her again happily.
Anja sums up: „ Again we have been in those places of the Dominican Republic that are not to be found in glossy tourist magazines, among the poor people, armed with scalpel and suture. The goal had been to spay 150 dogs and cats. We didn't quite make. 103 surgeries were the final result. People simply did not bring more animals. Still, we are content because there, where we worked last year already , we were received very friendly. People came, showed their animals, thanked us and told us the positive changes they had observed in their animals looks and health. It was strenuous at times but we had also a lot of fun and we have learnt a lot again. We were a fantastic team and we are already making plan’s for next year’s operative. I’m coming back! Try to stop me… Thank you all!!!
And in the hostel Casa Grande Pucci, now month old, is already scheduled to be spayed next time…
Good bye dinner by the side of the road…
Dominican cuisine for a last time: Fried platanos with meat and spicy sauce…
…carefully watched by some soldiers - until they realize that these gringos don’t need to be protected from their friends!
The next day brought a culture shock! At the airport Anja and Ingrid were informed that their flight was 12 hours late because of a technical defect. They were transported back to Santo Domingo by Condor and accommodated in the hotel Occidental, 5 stars, buffet, pool…
The gap between rich and poor couldn’t show more profoundly!
We thank all donators who made this operative possible: