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:

Sep 27, 2018

#30/Puppy power

Bottle feeding
Bottle feeding

During Vusumnotfo’s June 30 spay day a mother dog was operated on, leaving her 5 puppies without milk. So Vusumnotfo staff took on the duties of feeding the puppies by syringe.

The following week, when the puppies were about 4 weeks old, Vusumnotfo staff Nomcebo and Sbonile took the puppies to Hlanganani Primary School for sharing. It was an amazing experience for the students, as captured in the photos and comments from below:

Mapule - It was incredible to see puppies fed from syringes, and to know that its possible for them to bottle-feed just like human beings, so all in all it was a learning experience for future vets in our school.

Thobile - It was a good, fun and educational experience for the kids. It was good for the kids to see the puppies live because some of our students have only see puppies on TV.  Dogs tend to be kept for security only so puppies to play and hold are not the norm at all. 

Sithembile - The learners enjoyed having the puppies in their hands and it was the first time for some of them to see puppies as young as these ones.  A few were afraid to touch the puppies but after some time, even they started to come closer. 

Busi - Its was a great experience for our kids to just hold the puppies & play with them, and to learn that they can be fed with a bottle! 

Princess - It was a great experience for both learners and teachers; the kids asked a lot of interesting questions like “since they are so small, can they be called a puppy?”

Gentle
Gentle
Friends
Friends
Curious
Curious
Cuddles
Cuddles
Lots of interesting questions
Lots of interesting questions
Jun 28, 2018

#29/Changing attitudes at preschool

Cool kid
Cool kid

On Friday June 22 I attended an event at Ndlalambi Nazarene Preschool put on by Vusumnotfo. This event was aimed at promoting positive interactions with animals. It is in conjunction with the upcoming community spay day scheduled for June 30. 

I accompanied James Tsabedze from Vusumnotfo. He walked in with Ziggy, a Jack Russel dog, on a leash. Dogs in eSwatini are not seen the same as pets in America. Dogs tend to roam freely, are used for security, and can be heard fighting in the night; so this was a very different sight for everyone!

Although the children were excited about having visitors, they were afraid of Ziggy. James stroked Ziggy gently and invited the children to touch her. Some refused, some hid behind the group to avoid being called, only a few hesitantly touched Ziggy with one finger before retracting. 

To make inroads, James sat down and held Ziggy so she did not squirm so much. While petting Ziggy, James asked the children “would you like someone to pull on your ears; would you like someone to hit you; would you like someone to throw a stone at you?”  (These are all typical ways in which people interact with dogs in eSwatini.)

As the children answered the questions, James told them, “If you would not like someone to pull on your ears, then you know that Ziggy would also not like someone pulling on her ears. And if you would not like someone hitting you, then you know that Ziggy also would not like someone hitting her.” James chatted with the children about how to treat animals and other people with respect. 

As the children engaged in the discussion, they collectively became more relaxed and one-by-one started coming forward to pet Ziggy.  Guiding these small but critical interactions are extremely important for children in eSwatini, a country where corporal punishment is the norm, and animals are regularly chased, chided, and beaten.

Witnessing the children changing their behavior in just a short period of time gave me a great deal of hope for what continued efforts down this path can produce, in creating positive interactions between children and animals, and in increasing empathy between people and family members as well. 

Your support helps Vusumnotfo carry out these small but significant educational events. Combined with the upcoming community spay day, this project creates positive examples that contribute towards shifting social norms, one child, one parent, one dog / cat at a time. Thank you. 

Not so sure
Not so sure
Warming up
Warming up
Being brave
Being brave
Happy ending
Happy ending
 
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