Sep 17, 2021

#48/Integration

Story book time is always time
Story book time is always time

Integration across our activities strengthens our impact:

Nosmilo waiting for her Shonaquip device to be refitted i.e. providing structured support to children with special needs at family level. 

While her sister enjoys reading a BookDash book to her i.e. promoting a love of bilingual reading. 

While Chaco watches over them both i.e. using animal care as a positive demonstration of responsiblity and empathy to children. 

I enjoy watching when new participants come for training at Vusumnotfo. On Monday many are nervous of the dogs, Rocky, Chaco and Rhino.  By Tuesday participants are becoming a bit more relaxed. By Wednesday I find each dog sitting in front of the person who has started sharing food scraps during lunch. By Thursday I hear participants greeting the dogs by name. By Friday people are asking about why our dogs are so healthy and friendly compared to theirs. 

This gives many teachable moments to explain about dog care and dog behavior.  We promote the services of Swaziland Animal Welfare Society (SAWS) which is where we got Rocky, Chaco and Rhino (and through the years, all of the dogs and cats that have been part of the Vusumnotfo family) 

Government schools reopened last week after another closure due to COVID-19.  SAWS is confirming if they can import the drugs needed for the spay day, as there have been some supply chain issues.  Fingers crossed we will be moving forward on our next spay activity in the very near future. People are asking and calling about it all the time now! 

Your interest and support is highly appreciated during these extra challenging times. Keep safe. 

Tibi Tendlu participants enjoying kitty therapy
Tibi Tendlu participants enjoying kitty therapy

Links:

May 16, 2021

#47/Teachable Moments

Heading back
Heading back

A pleasure of living in northern Eswatini is the hiking just outside Vusumnotfo’s office.  These photos were taken from a two-hour turn around hike, at the point where the path runs through homesteads.

Over the course of many hikes, the children from these homesteads have grown to know Coffee (the brown dog).

On this hike for the first time I had my not so small puppy Rocky (the black one).  On this day the boys ended up walking with me back to Vusumnotfo.

Their questions focused on how I feed my dogs, in comparison with their own dogs.  People always notice the health of my dogs. Very few homestead dogs are spayed so there are many puppies yet dog food is expensive. As a result, most homestead dogs get feed only maize meal scraps. Dogs feed only maize meal are lacking protein so often go after chickens. Since many homesteads have free-range chickens, this is a source of ongoing frustration.

I showed the boys how I extend the dog food by mixing it with Holsum (a cheap type of lard available in rural shops) and “saw dust” (the shavings off the saw blades at the local butchery shops).  Just as importantly, I explained that my dogs are spayed so they cannot have or make puppies. 

Direct exposure to a spayed dog that is also well feed generates so many questions.  Staff and I use these ‘teachable moments” to highlight our Spay Day, and to encourage people to get dogs from Swaziland Animal Welfare Society (SAWS), as these dogs are already spayed and fully vaccinated.

We are still waiting on the COVID-19 situation for the go ahead to carry out our annual Spay Day in 2021; to date 35,227 people have received their first vaccination out of 1.3 million, the challenge being securing additional supplies of vaccines.

In the meantime we continue with forward planning for our next veterinary clinic, while making use of teachable moments to promote the use of animal care as a positive demonstration of responsibility and empathy to children.

We appreciate your support and your interest, as this is what makes our positive outcomes possible.

Amazing landscape
Amazing landscape
Enjoying the walk
Enjoying the walk

Links:

Jan 16, 2021

What a difference a little Holsum can make

Before and After
Before and After

This mother dog belongs to the Malambe family who is enrolled in our pilot activity "to provide structured technical, material and training support to children with special needs at family level”.

At first glance, this is a very skinny dog.  But after observing, two other things were even more striking:

1.  The mother dog is so very patient with letting her 5 puppies feed, even though they can already eat solids, and

2   The family is very caring to all the animals at the homestead.  Their positive interaction seems to carry through, as the mother dog and family cat even like to sit in the sun together!

As a short-term intervention, we gave the family some Holsum to add to the dog’s food. Holsum is an inexpensive type of lard readily available in rural Eswatini. 

Over the course of a week, shave a 125-gram packet into the dog’s food, which tends to be left over food scraps. This increases the energy content of the food scraps just enough to help the dog gain weight and improve their fur (if you use too much, the dog will get diarrhea).  

Just one month later the result is striking!

Vusumnotfo uses animal care to demonstrate responsibility and empathy to children.  The Malambe homestead was already a positive example of both, so our short-term intervention was just information, the noticeable results of which are now influencing their neighbors.

Links:

 
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