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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Autumn Update

Long overdue, here is an update on our latest activities:

Two teams were working during the last two months - one headed by Dr. Gladis Ochoa, another one by Dr. Slavik Zenkov. As a result, 80 animals were spayed/neutered (45 dogs and 35 cats). There were also several 'ad hoc' surgeries. Over 800 animals have been sterilized so far in 2011. The surgeries are great opportunity for animal health technicians to learn new skills, and for the public to learn the benefits of pet sterilizations. Everybody is welcome to watch the doctors work (from a safe distance, of course).

Dr. Slavik Zenkov during the surgery

Dr. Gladis Ochoa's team sterilized 34 animals during 2.5 hours clinic on October 15, 2011

The solution to any problem starts from being aware. Learning what to do and how, comes next. Knowing the basics of cats and dogs biology is an important component of understanding the reason of their overpopulation. Proper care for pets is a part of the solution to the stray animals problem. All linked.
We choose to believe that most Cubans are concerned about the well being of their own pets and the street animals but they don't always know what to do about it, where to start. We are trying to empower people by giving them the knowledge they need. In addition to spay/neuter clinics we participate in radio programs and lectures. We also have some printed materials available.
Recently, Dr. Hanoi Dominguez and Dr. Slavik Zenkov were invited to the Agricultural University of Havana (Universidad Agraria de La Habana) to give lectures on animal welfare. Dr. Zenkov prepared a presentation about APAC's work in Matanzas Province. Both lectures had a great feed-back from the audience.

Dr. Hanoi Dominguez lecturing at the university in Havana

Circulating our brochures

As you know, we support local adoptions as one of the ways of reducing the number of street animals. Several animals were placed in their new loving homes recently, including a half-blind puppy in Matanzas. We also help tourists from Canada, and other countries, to adopt an animal that they meet during their stay in Varadero. We do not support the idea of what we call 'bulk adoptions', where the big number of animals is brought to Canada and placed in rescue organizations. Sometimes however, the circumstances leave us with an animal rescued from an exceptionally difficult situation with no immediate adoption available. At the present time, we have two dogs waiting for adoption: Hoya and Nilo. Hoya was brought months ago and is still waiting for the permanent home. Nilo was saved from a horrific injury not long ago, and he has no chance of finding a proper home in Cuba. He is in perfect condition now and ready to start a new life. We are looking into a possibility of bringing both dogs to Canada and asking one of the Canadian rescue organizations for help.

Hoya - mother of six beautiful puppies that were adopted
Nilo - brought back to life after his neck was cut with a machete

We strongly believe in networking and mutual support of like-minded organizations. More can be achieved through exchange of knowledge and experience than by acting alone. Spanky Project is a Canadian organization established in 2003 in Ontario, and working for the welfare of Cuban animals in the Havana neighbourhoods. Terry Shewchuk, the leader of the Spanky Project organizes several clinics, travelling to Cuba with a team of Canadian veterinary science professionals on a regular basis. Our own Dr. Slavik Zenkov was invited to the Spanky's latest clinic. It was a great event and we plan to join our forces in the future. Thank you Terry!

The Spanky Project team

"Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success."