May 21, 2019

#33/Promoting June 8th Spay Day at Mcuba Dip Tank

Ready to register
Ready to register

In the run up to our annual Spay Day on the second Saturday in June, we head to cattle dip tanks in the area to spread the message about how owners can benefit from vaccinating and spaying their dogs and cats. Across eSwatini people take their cows to dips once a week to be treated for ticks. The gathering at the end of the dipping is an ideal time for Vusumnotfo to talk to the cattle owners about the spay day.

Early this morning I had my first experience of this process at Mcuba dip tank. Not having any first-hand knowledge of cattle disease control, I really did not know what to expect. I certainly assumed the word ‘dip’ was an exaggeration of the extent to which a cow was submerged into the chemicals. It was not. Dip tanks are a carefully constructed cattle kraal that funnel the cows into and out of the chemicals in single file enabling 300 cows to take the plunge in just an hour and a half. I greatly enjoyed seeing cows swim (or attempt to) for the first time in my life and was extremely impressed by the efficient process that was finished in time for the youngest cattle herder to get to school on time.

After the cows had made their way back to their fields and with the sun fully risen, my colleague James Tsabedze started explaining to the group of fifty cattle owners what Vusumnotfo’s Spay Day was all about - the benefits of having a healthy dog that was more loyal and friendly after treatment. This seemed to go down well with the group. I was surprised to realize from the questions people were asking, (after translation from James), that there is limited exposure to the range of medical services available to dogs and cats.

Coming from a country that obsesses over furry domestic creatures, (the UK), I was curious to note the massive contrast in attitudes towards dogs and cats compared to livestock. In the UK it is not unusual for dogs to sleep in their owner’s beds but attaching emotional or cultural value to livestock would be unusual. In eSwatini the case is very different. Cows mean wealth and status for their owners whereas for the most part dogs are often given much less care and attention.

The morning generated plenty of interest in the upcoming spay day. The man in the cover photo showed lots of interest in registering his dog. We anticipate that he will soon be the owner of a healthier, happier dog which will set a positive example of care and responsibility in his community. Treating and caring well for animals has a massive impact on how they behave towards you, a truth very similar for humans too!

We appreciate your support to help make the June 8th spay day happen. We are almost at our budget but need your help to achieve the full funds required. Please note that donations made on Wednesday May 22 fall within Global Giving’s Paws and Claws promotion - meaning that your donations will be matched by 30%

Dipping
Dipping
Drying off
Drying off
James explaining
James explaining

Links:

Mar 27, 2019

#32/Growing demand -

A positive example!
A positive example!

We originally conducted our first spay day as a once off event. Because of the positive response at community level, we have continued to do one a year.

Due to this consistency, it is now common for people to ask Vusumnotfo staff questions about caring for their dogs and cats, and to inquire about when and where the next spay day will take place. For this reason, we have now set the spay day as an annual event on the second Saturday of June.

The spay day is related to Vusumnotfo’s activity 1.1. Parenting - train in early childhood development and learning, including factors that influence this.

As part of our education sessions prior to the spay day, and in our parenting training, we raise awareness of how every day animal care practices contribute to the social norms that young children absorb. Currently in rural Swaziland these every day practices tend to be negative, setting up a negative cycle of unhealthy animals, and thus fear and animosity towards dogs and cats.

Our annual spay day, by providing much needed veterinary services, results in healthy dogs and cats, which is key for family members to develop healthy companionships with their dogs and cats. This in turn contributes to children absorbing positive social norms. We are now gearing up for our 5th annual spay day.

With your continued help, we will conduct this on June 8, 2019.

Waiting line for removing stitches
Waiting line for removing stitches
Waiting line for surgeries
Waiting line for surgeries

Links:

Dec 26, 2018

#31) Community service - 11 students from 11 countries

Orphan puppy care
Orphan puppy care

Our community veterinary clinic in 2018 had some pretty impressive results:

  • 151 dogs and cats were provided with veterinary services (60 were spayed or neutered; additional 91 received a full range of clinical services).
  • 15 education sessions were conducted at community level (1 preschool with 31 parents and 50 children; 9 schools with 234 staff and 4,198 students; and at 5 dip tanks for surrounding community members).
  • 2 radio sessions shared personal testimonies from participants to national audience.

These results are only possible working in partnership - with yourself and Wild at Heart, who provided the financial resources to make this clinic happen; with the Swaziland Veterinary Association, who donate their services; with Swaziland Animal Welfare Society, who coordinate all technical requirements; and with Waterford Kamhlaba’s community service group AWARE.

As part of United World College, students at Waterford Kamhlaba (www.waterford.sz) are actively involved in community service. Their AWARE group plays an important role in our community veterinary clinic - they assist the vets and oversee the recovery room, and help with all the not so glamous tasks needed to set up and clean up.

Eleven students from eleven countries assisted us in 2018:

Elshaddai (Malawi) - I think it was an eye-opening experience because I actually thought it was easy to operate on animals but after seeing operations first hand, it changed my mind. It made me more aware of the well being of animals and I am glad for that.

Lisa (Netherlands and Tanzania) - I’ve always known that when it comes to domestic animals, not a lot of attention is given, but after seeing all the dogs and cats under weight, it made me realize how important our service is to not only them, but their owners. I really enjoyed helping out at this clinic, even if there are still thousands of dogs without any care.

Mona (Belgium, Mozambique) - This weekend, no matter how much work it was, I felt like I was making an actual difference to the community we were working in.

Stephen (Irish) - It was a fine job we did and I feel that the service we helped provide has had a profound effect on not only hygiene and safety, but also on the trust between the community and service providers such as us. It’s good.

Sarvesh (Nepal) - I was very grateful to be part of this event. I learnt a lot and had the opportunity to use and showcase the abilities I have learnt. I really loved the things all of us did and even to get out of our comfort zones and contribute the most we could. Everyone loved the opportunity where we could make some contribution like this (humanity, helpful, aware). I would be ready to help again.

Sedt (South Africa) - I was impressed that most people in the community made such an effort to bring their animals to the clinic. It was also interesting to observe the vets and learn a few things about operating on dogs. The weekend was hard work but very enjoyable and a valuable experience.

Sameel (Pakistan) - I enjoyed the experience, although bit overwhelming at times. I feel as if I have achieved something special and I believe that this clinic is making the lives of the pets and owners easier.

Abigail (Canada) - These last few days I have been able to get out of my comfort zone and enjoy myself while doing so. I’m very grateful for the encouraging people and the adorable animals that helped me do so.

Kandi (South Africa) - It never fails to amaze me how humanity can gather together and perform great feats of kindness, in order to help our in their community. My faith for humanity is restored when I participate in community services such as these.

Iyara (South Africa) - I felt and still feel a great sense of achievement after this clinic. I learnt new things and overcame a few challenges. I would definitely do it again.

Bobbie (eSwatini) - One phrase to describe this weekend: eye opening! Animal welfare in Swaziland is something that needs a lot more funding and attention

We are already receiving requests from community members as to when the next clinic will be. With your help, we are planning for June 8, 2019.

Assisting the vets
Assisting the vets
Post op clinical services
Post op clinical services
Monitoring vitals
Monitoring vitals
Recovery room
Recovery room

Links:

 
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