Aug 22, 2019

#37/Early Morning Start

Check in
Check in

Even before the sun was fully up, the queues of people waiting to benefit from the spay day services spilled out onto the road from the gates of Mkhuzweni Primary School. People from the area were keen not to miss out on this rare opportunity to have their dogs attended to by medical professionals. People had registered in advance over 6 days the week previous.

So on the morning of we were able to divide people into two queues - one for those who brought their dog to be neutered and the other for those who had brought their dog for a check-up and vaccinations.

Our goal on the day is to keep people and their animals moving steadily through the clinical, surgery, recovery and discharge stations. Testament to the brilliant vets and amazing team of people we had working that day is that 51 dogs were operated on and another 112 received clinical treatment, all under make shift conditions.

My duties of the day began at the gate where it was my job to ensure people were in the correct line, and explain the front desk process. People and animals need to be checked in against their registration information, and each dog or cat tagged accordingly.

Dogs of the owners I was talking to were animals the likes of which I had never seen. The minority looked in good condition but at their worst these dogs looked like they had been kept in concentration camps. Their fur seemed to barely hold their bones together and was covered in sores and bitten away by fleas. They had been brought there in all manner of makeshift leads; ropes, string, chains, bits of material that even looked like pulleys you find in factories.

From the leaping and attempts to scurry away from their owners, it was clear that for many of these dogs being on a lead was a new experience. Already by 8 a.m. I knew this was going to be a day that I will never forget.

Arriving before 7 a.m.
Arriving before 7 a.m.
Catch me if you can
Catch me if you can
Puppy with no energy
Puppy with no energy

Links:

Jun 7, 2019

#36/Rhino at Mkhuzweni Preschool

Lining up to pet Rhino
Lining up to pet Rhino

Rhino is a Jack Russell dog that belongs to Kathy, Vusumnotfo’s director. She is a well over 10 years old hence the jacket to stay warm in the winter weather.

On May 29, I and another staff member took Rhino to Mkhuzweni Preschool. Our objective was to show the children the careful way to handle a dog. Because of her short size, the children were so excited to see Rhino. The average dog in rural Swaziland tends to be tall and slim, so a very short Jack Russell was completely different. Plus Rhino’s jacket made them laugh as this is not a sight they had seen before.

Thulisile and Sibongiseni, Mkhuzweni preschool teachers, attend in-service training with Vusumnotfo (activity 1.2) so they are familiar with and supportive of the animal care message.

Two teachers handling 71 children is no joke yet they are amazing at how they go about it. They separated the children into groups of 5 so that all children could have a chance to pet Rhino. Some were happy to do so and others needed to be encouraged and guided by the teachers.

Children being children, they soon started sharing stories about their dogs at home; some happy stories, some not so happy stories, and one who has a dog named Obama.

This community spay clinic is related to Vusumnotfo's programme objective  "to increase participants' knowledge of early childhood development and learning, including factors that influence this". 

A negative factor is the lack of animal care that contributes to normalizing high rates of domestic violence children regularly witness and experience within their home environment. 

A positive factor is the healthy animals resulting from our annual spay clinic, which in turn results in the positive companionship that naturally arises between a healthy dog or cat and their home environment. 

With much appreciation for your continued support in helping make this happen.

A guiding hand
A guiding hand
This is nice
This is nice
A dog so short
A dog so short

Links:

Jun 6, 2019

#35/Education Sessions at 13 Schools

Mcuba Primary School
Mcuba Primary School

We conducted a round of training sessions at schools within the geographical catchment of the spay day. These sessions have two objectives - 1) to promote the value gained from animal care, and 2) to advertise the registration requirements of the spay day.

We start each session by asking “are you happy with how your dog - or your neighbours dogs - behave?”

  • Do they often snarl at you?
  • Do they wander on the road and around your community?
  • Do they run off and fight with other dogs?
  • Do they steal food or eat chickens?
  • Do they often have puppies?
  • Do their puppies often die?

There are many nods as these are very common challenges. As one young student said “because there are too many children and too many dogs at my homestead we are all hungry”.

We than explain the services available on the spay day. For surgical services, most people have some type of understanding for male dogs but are not aware that this can also be done on female dogs. However, on male dogs their understanding is based on the local practice of tying off with a rope or wire; a very painful process that often results in infection.

For clinical services we use the term Kugoma as this captures the concept of growth monitoring and immunization that people are familiar with for young children.

For the upcoming Spay Day on June 8th, we carried out these education sessions at 13 schools for a total of 261 staff and 4,289 students.

During the week that Vusumnotfo and Swaziland Animal Welfare staff visited the schools, we came across over 8 dogs killed on the main tarred road that branches into the gravel roads and pathways to these schools. Dogs frequent the main tarred road because they are looking for food scraps dropped by people waiting for or travelling on public transport, contributing to car accidents.

Within the Swazi context, the animal care message is not just about the dogs and cats; hungry, multiplying, roaming dogs and cats are contributors to rabies, car accidents, and other disruptions that cause a wide range of unnecessary extra challenges; a web of problems.

Your support to this project results in healthy animals.  This in turn allows people to directly experience the positive impact that good animal care can have on many aspects of their daily life.

Herefords Primary School
Herefords Primary School
Buhleni High School
Buhleni High School
Herefords High School
Herefords High School

Links:

 
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