PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru

by Globalteer
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PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
PAWS for Change: Help Roaming Dogs in Peru
The last of the rescued pups, ready to be adopted!
The last of the rescued pups, ready to be adopted!

Our veterinary team have had a great few months travelling around the villages near Cusco in our Mobile Clinic, to treat dogs and cats that have never had access to veterinary care before. We were able to meet and treat lots of animals, start forming relationships with the communities and get going with the neutering program!

First Quarter Achievements

During our first full quarter of operations (April to July 2021) since the pandemic started, we have been able to:

  • Set a Baseline: We collected data in the villages that will give us a baseline to compare our progress to, over future months and years. Now we have baseline information, we can really see how well our program is working and make adjustments if necessary.
  • Register and treat 1,376 animals: We have registered over 1,000 dogs and nearly 350 cats in our database, meaning that we can keep track of their progress and ensure that they receive quarterly anti-parasite medications, as well as any routine vaccinations and their boosters.
  • Neuter 133 Animals: After spending the first two months getting to know the communities and their animals, we started our neutering program in May. Within the first 6 weeks, we had neutered nearly 100 dogs and 45 cats.
  • Form relationships: Through our work, we have not only met the owners of the animals, but also the presidents of the communities and officers of the municipalities and other government agencies. Through relationships, we can make more meaningful connections with the communities and pet owners, in order to better promote long-term, positive change for the animals!
  • See the infographic below for more details.

The Puppy Problem

The relationships we have started forming with the communities mean that they feel confident to reach out to us for help when they need it. At the end of June, we received a call letting us know that a community had found a litter of puppies. These puppies were a couple of months old already and had been born to stray dogs that live at the local rubbish dump. There were 13 in total, 9 of them female. The community leader reached out to us to see if there was an alternative to their normal “solution” for unwanted puppies.

After some visits to our vets and a couple of weeks at Jim’s (our general manager) house, we found homes for all the puppies, some in the villages they were found in, and others in the nearby communities. With the promise of veterinary care and spaying, we easily managed to find homes for all the females too! This was a good learning experience, as we don’t have the facilities to look after every litter of puppies that is born. We had thought that we would be able to work with the existing shelters in Cusco, but they are all full, or having to move locations. So, we are looking at ways that we can better support the communities to take charge of the fostering and adoption of any future litters. In turn, this should highlight how neutering – which we will continue to do – will help prevent unwanted puppies in the first place.

Onwards and upwards

While we’ve been planning this project for more than a year and a half now, the period from April through July has been the first time that we’ve really been able to run it in this format. As with anything new, there has been a lot of learning involved! Now that we are starting to return to villages for the animals’ second quarterly treatments, we are working on improving our systems to make sure we see all the animals we have registered so far, as well as start treating any we missed in the first round. Moving forward, we expect to carry out an average of 15 healthcare-focused days per month and to neuter around 40 animals per month.

The support of generous donors like you is what makes our work possible. Thank you so much, for continuing to help us improve animal health and welfare in rural Cusco.

A summary of our findings and work so far
A summary of our findings and work so far
Regular deworming will help improve general health
Regular deworming will help improve general health
Free neutering helps control the dog population
Free neutering helps control the dog population
"Covid" the puppy, a few weeks after adoption
"Covid" the puppy, a few weeks after adoption

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Anally & Joel getting ready to receive patients
Anally & Joel getting ready to receive patients

During January and February, there was a post-Christmas spike in Covid-19 cases throughout Peru, prompting a whole new set of restrictions. Bi-weekly changes meant that we never knew what was going to happen next, so starting the program up again just didn’t make sense. However, by mid-March, things were settling down, restrictions in Cusco had been consistent for several weeks and importantly, none of the rules prohibited our activities. So, we seized the opportunity to get up and running again!

 

The Key is in the Preparation

Before we could send our mobile clinic out to the villages, the first job was to employ our clinic staff. After lots of conversations, applications and interviews, we finally found our dream team!

Joel Campana: Our head vet has lots of experience working with small animals, although working in a mobile clinic is new to him! He will be responsible for over-seeing the medical care of all the animals and performing any surgeries. 

Anally Espinoza: Having graduated from veterinary school last year, Anally is excited to be assisting Joel to ensure the best medical care. She also speaks Quechua, which is proving to be a real asset with many of the adults in these rural villages. 

Maria Cristina Yabar: As our driver and administration assistant, Maria Cristina’s key roles will be getting the team to where they need to be and keeping the project’s records up to date. Since she had another contract to finish up, her husband, Alan, is currently standing in for her and doing a great job!

The second task was to make some upgrades to the mobile, including adding surgical steel worktables and walls, to ensure the highest levels of cleanliness. The third and final job was to gather up all the supplies and medicines we needed, and then we were ready to go!

 

The First Two Weeks

We’ve just completed our first two weeks, visiting four of the smaller villages on our list. While there have been the inevitable teething issues, it’s been a roaring success! We had a stroke of luck meeting Sulema from the Ministry of Development and Social inclusion on our first day and she has been instrumental in helping us access the villages and ensures that the community presidents give us a good space from which to work. We have now registered 308 dogs and 76 cats (and a sheep) and been able to carry out initial health checks as well as administer anti-parasite medications, flea treatment and vaccines where appropriate. Some of the animals present with respiratory ailments and digestive issues, so the team has been treating them for those too.

 

Why the Program is so Important

This week, we met the Quispe family in a small rural village on the outskirts of Cusco. Juan , his wife and 7 children live on a piece of land at the edge of the village, in an improvised three-room structure, made from bits of timber, plastic sheeting and corrugated tin. The rest of the property is occupied by 20-30 farm animals (sheep, pigs, goats, chickens), the family’s only source of income, as well as their 12 dogs and 6 cats. Juan tells us that they initially got a couple of dogs to protect the house and the farm animals, and a couple of cats to keep the vermin at bay. But, because they can’t afford to neuter their animals, they end up with more and more. Feeding so many mouths is a challenge, let alone trying to find funds for veterinary care. We asked Juan what he would do if his dogs have any more puppies and he told us straight: they would have no choice but to abandon them.

Juan and his family were glad to see their animals receiving veterinary treatment for the first time and are really excited for the opportunity to get all their dogs and cats neutered! We are so happy to be able to help families like Juan’s, and do our bit towards reducing the numbers of unwanted and abandoned animals in the area. (The names used are not their real names.)

 

We’ve been very pleased with the uptake so far and are looking forward to continuing our work in other villages, as well as starting the sterilisation aspect of the program in the coming weeks. Of course, we couldn’t do any of this, without you, our generous donors! Please help us spread the word by sharing our project with your friends, family and co-workers. Thank you so much for your continued support!

Who doesn't hate going to the doctor?
Who doesn't hate going to the doctor?
Deworming treatments for kitties too!
Deworming treatments for kitties too!
The Quispe family and their animals
The Quispe family and their animals

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Although our PAWS work was on hold for the majority of 2020 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we are coming into 2021 with renewed energy and a hopeful outlook for the coming year. We have plans to get the ball rolling (and our mobile veterinary clinic rolling) with our dog welfare campaigns, bringing desperately needed healthcare to the dogs in the rural villages where we work around Cusco.

Although we will need to have strict hygienic protocols in place to keep all staff, volunteers, and community members safe, we can soon begin to pick up where we left off before Peru’s lockdown. The Peruvian government themselves have started providing their standard rabies vaccinations around the city, meaning we will also be able to carry out similar work, using Covid-safe protocols.

We are very excited to get the programme re-started, and this month we are completing all of the preparation and organization. We were fortunate enough to receive a grant to provide medicines for our campaigns over the next year, so we are sourcing those and planning our strategy for the next couple of months. We are also in the process of hiring a permanent veterinarian and veterinary assistant to work with our team full-time over the course of the next year, which will be an important step for us. We look forward to introducing the new team members to you soon!

Thank you!

Over the last year, we have been so grateful for each and every donation we have received, especially during these difficult times. We are honoured by the outpouring of support, and we could not run this programme without you. The welfare of the dogs of Cusco will be better because of you, so we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And so do the dogs!

Can you help us spread the word? We hope that you can! And be sure to check out and follow our PAWS Facebook page! We’re also on Instagram!

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With our last update, we reported that many street dogs in Cusco were suffering due to restaurant closures throughout the city. Many dogs rely on these restaurants for daily scraps, and without them, they have few other places to turn to for food. During that time, we stepped in and provided street dogs with daily food. We are glad to report that some restrictions have been lifted in Peru’s strict quarantine, and restaurants are open again! This means that street dogs without families can be fed by restaurants with scraps, somewhat relieving the stress of their situation. In the meanwhile, we still continue to provide food and care to the street dogs within our immediate reach in our local community.

PAWS Dog Warden Programme

During the last few months, we began our “Dog Warden Programme,” which specifies a local volunteer member of each community to work with us and make a great connection between PAWS and the village, helping us become even more trusted and effective. Through a dog warden, we receive valuable information in a timely manner to help the dogs in the community: when there are new puppies, when an injured dog needs assistance, or if a case of animal abuse occurs.

Recently, when a group of dogs was purposefully poisoned in a local village, our dog warden was alerted and contacted us immediately. We were able to reach the dogs in time to get them veterinary care, conduct an investigation, and by making our presence known in the area, help prevent such an incident from happening again. Without our Warden Programme and such a system of communication, the dogs may not be alive and healthy today.

Continuing Work

The conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic have still restricted our ability to run mobile clinic health campaigns, but we remain vigilant and are anxiously awaiting the day that we can continue our valuable work, while still keeping all of our staff, volunteers, and community members safe.

Can you help us spread the word? We hope that you can! And be sure to check out and follow our PAWS Facebook page! We’re also on Instagram!

Thank you, as always, for your continued and invaluable support!

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Our first veterinary campaigns were quite the success back in February! If you follow us on social media (Facebook and Instagram), you probably saw our updates and photos.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the PAWS mobile clinic has had its parking brake on since mid-March. Peru has been under mandatory lock-down since this time, and it is currently extended until May 24th. It is possible this will be extended even further, as the situation has not yet shown significant improvement. Our staff and volunteers are not allowed to leave their homes, except for essential human services, meaning we have not been allowed to continue our veterinary campaign work.

The street dogs in Peru also have it especially hard during these uncertain times. Those that are normally fed scraps from the bustling markets, taking handouts from friendly tourists, or simply fed by families who have taken pity on them, are having a much more difficult time finding food. To worsen the situation, some families who are out of work due to the pandemic are no longer able to afford food for their pets, and we expect that many more dogs will be abandoned to the street.

As soon as we are given permission, we plan to get the mobile clinic’s wheels rolling again, returning to the villages around Cusco to continue treating as many dogs as we can. Countries like Peru have been hit especially hard by this pandemic, and it is our continued commitment to do what we can.  When that time comes to roll out for our next veterinary campaign, we’ll be relying on your help. Please consider donating to help us in purchasing vital medicines and supplies needed to vaccinate, spay, and neuter the dogs in the villages where we work.

We hope that in our next update we can bring you news of another successful veterinary campaign. Until then, please stay safe and healthy. And thank you, as always, for your continued and invaluable support!

Vets, Volunteers, & Staff at our first campaign!
Vets, Volunteers, & Staff at our first campaign!
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Globalteer

Location: Totnes - United Kingdom
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Project Leader:
Stephen Elliott
Totnes, Devon United Kingdom
$14,169 raised of $30,000 goal
 
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