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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pawlooza 2012

Once a year we let ourselves to relax and have nothing but fun. Pawlooza Festival is a perfect opportunity to do so. Our first appearance at this event for dogs took place in August 2011, and it provided us with an opportunity to learn how to present our organization to the Canadian public.

This year was great as we had several new ideas and more volunteers who helped us. Audrey Duann had worked hard to get animal toys and gift baskets. She also ordered t-shirts, bags and mugs with our logo - they were very popular. Jennifer Watts was able to get several gift certificates from the local London, Ontario businesses. Jackie Bowes, with great patience, did a penny drive at work, collecting over 10,000 of them! Jolene Hart - another great volunteer - created several posters with stories of our clinics, everyday work, and some special adoptions. Several of our rescues came for a visit including Nina and Rio who are fostered by Donna Snow of the Loyal Rescue.

Our booth was visited by hundreds of people (and dogs) and we had an opportunity to talk to Canadians about animal welfare work done in Cuba.

APAC's table

Our superstar Lily - a very special rescue

Jackie, Jennifer and Audrey

Jackie, Jennifer with Miley, Audrey, and Lynn with Lily
Donna Snow with Rio and Nina
We thank you all volunteers who helped with organizing this event for us. Weeks of preparations went to its success. A special THANK YOU goes to Lynn Wodzak, who, for the second time, coordinated everything - with a smile and a contagious enthusiasm! We hope to see you again in 2013.

"The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants" 
- Johnny Depp

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Cardenas Clinic August 4, 2012

In order to be successful, each clinic must be well planned and prepared. It takes several weeks to do so. Doctors are notified and a group of volunteers must be gathered.  Deciding how teams will be organized is a next step. Making sure that there is enough supplies and medications is essential. Tags for the animals are needed in order to avoid confusion and errors. Advertisements are made and distributed in the neighbourhood encouraging pet owners to take advantage of a free sterilization surgery. Then - everything has to be delivered to the location of the clinic. Considering lack of private transportation, difficulties in communication, and a tropical heat - each campaign is a heroic effort of dedicated individuals. We are very proud of them all and happy to be able to help.

 ``A hero is a man who does what he can``- Romain Rolland

Weekend in Santa Ana - July 9, 2012

Dr. Yusleidys organized the clinic in her home town. Dr. Slavik and a group of volunteers went to Santa Ana to help.

Anton checking on dogs
Dr. Slavik with Anton

Dr. Yusleidys and Dr. Slavik

 "Everything that is done in the world, is done by hope" - M.L. King

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Clinics

Heavy rains and strong winds delayed the clinics in Matanzas Province. Finally, on June 14, 2012, the deworming clinic took place in a town of Colón. Dr. Sergio Chan who is a representative of Bayer Pharmaceutical for Cuba, supplied the medication. With the help of volunteers, Dr. Hanoi Dominguez took care of 32 dogs, two animals were also sterilized. There are plans to organize spay/neuter clinic for the area.

Dr. Hanoi

Helping hands are always welcomed 

Ingrid -  always there
Two days later, on June 16, 2012 in Matanzas City, a free spay neuter clinic was open for the residents with pets. Two teams were working: Dr. Hanoi Dominguez with his sister in law, and Dr. Slavik Zenkov assisted by Yudith. Anton, one of the best volunteers was preparing animals for the surgeries, and Ingrid was making sure that all was clean wrapped up properly after the campaign was over. The owners were helping with animals in the recovery room. Each one of them also received pamphlets about health and social benefits of pet sterilization.We are hoping that they will share the information and their own experience with friends and neighbours.

Waiting for the clinic to open its doors

The team arriving with the operating tables and supplies

Dr. Zenkov examining a cat prior to surgery

There were more than usual cats in this campaign 

Dr. Hanoi Dominguez spaying a cat

Recovery room
Because of the amazing skills of doctors, and dedication of the whole team, all animals recovered without any complications. Everybody is looking forward to... the next campaign.

"I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles" - Christopher Reeve

The "Hotline" Babies

Hope and Morris - adopted
Please meet a few recent rescues. Except for Jack, all of them are stray animals saved from difficult, life-threatening situations.  They were spotted by Canadian tourists who decided to make a difference. They receive medical attention and care before being adopted to their homes. They have been spayed or neutered by Dr. Slavik Zenkov.

Hermione - adopted
Angelo - rescued and fostered for a family in Canada 

Missy - rescued and fostered for a family in Canada
Tia - adopted

Jack - rescued and fostered
Jack the pit-bull was found on the street abandoned by his owner, severely beaten and almost starved to death. He is a victim of an illegal dog-fight gambling. At first, he could not even lift his head. A caring Cuban family took him in and he was immediately examined by Dr. Slavik and given medication. Our supporters collected money for Jack - to help the fostering family and his caregivers: Dr. Slavik, Dr. Ponce and Ingrid.

Today, although still skinny, Jack enjoys his small walks and all the attention he receives. His total recovery will take time, but we hope that he will regain his strength and will find a permanent home where he will be loved as pet.

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains un-awakened." Anatole France

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Spring Fever

Long overdue, here is a summary of CCV Matanzas and APAC volunteer activities during the last two months:

Cardenas April 7, 2012
Since the exportation of anesthetics from Canada, "Flying Clinics" started their new season of sterilization clinics serving Matanzas Province companion animals - both pets and homeless.

Veterinary Clinic in Cardenas
The first great spay/neuter campaign took place on April 7, 2012 in Cardenas. The team had a huge task of preparing the town's veterinary clinic for this occasion. They were expecting someone very special to visit.

The team of doctors and volunteers
The campaign was very well organized and professionally prepared by the Cardenas team. Everything went well and all animals recovered quickly and without any complications.

Dr. Barry MacEachern, our guest of honour, talking to a local TV station - with Ingrid as a translator
Dr. Barry, our special guest was quite impressed with the level of professionalism and knowledge of Cuban veterinarians, and very surprised that a hot weather had little impact on everybody's vigor and enthusiasm. It was during this clinic that Dr. Barry and David met our little Morris whom they later adopted.

Matanzas April 14, 2012
The second clinic was organized in City of Matanzas, province's capital, on April 14, 2012. People were anxious to get in, and stood in line since early morning that Saturday.

Signing up for the surgery
Dr Julio with his assistant
Dr. Hanoi performing surgery

Canadian tourists volunteering at the clinic 
Cardenas May 5, 2012
Dr. Zenkov and Dr. Ponce put together another, smaller campaign in Cardenas. Fifteen animals were successfully sterilized. They had with them our Cuba-Canadian volunteer, Yunetsi Garcia, as well as our young helpers: Ingrid's brother and Dr. Ponce's little daughter. We hope that the children will grow up to be caring, loving people, and who knows - they may choose veterinary science or  medicine as their careers.

Unstoppable Dr. Slavik  

Dr. Ponce's little girl, Deleny,  helping in recovery room

Junior assisting Dr. Ponce with the surgery

Yunetsi practicing her skills
The clinics were hugely successful on many levels. They showed the importance of good preparation and organization - the teams  passed this test with the highest grade. The campaigns are hugely popular amongst locals which proves that Cubans are concerned about proper care of their pets and how spaying/neutering their animals has impact on controlling overpopulation of homeless cats and dogs in their neighbourhoods. A growing number of professional volunteers from Canada brings both nations together in a new way - creating understanding of each other's cultures, and forming long lasting relationships and friendships.

The problem Cuba is facing may not be resolved within one generation, therefore children are involved in the campaigns. For kids these events are the lessons in responsibility, caring, working together, and learning new skills. We are very proud of our young helpers.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

London Ontario Goes Unleashed.

When Jennifer Watts gets excited about something, there is no way of stopping her. We were so lucky that she got excited about APAC-Varadero.

While in Cuba Jennifer met Lynn Wodzak, our dear friend, who introduced Jennifer to our work and efforts. Immediately, the idea of a benefit concert was born. Jennifer comes from a musical background. Her family owns and runs a place called The Music Box where young artists have a chance to present their talents to the public. Jennifer works for a radio station and has a big network of friends. Always on the move, outspoken and energetic, Jennifer did not waste her time. Upon return to Canada she started putting things together.

Before we knew it, a website was created as well as a  Facebook event page were all plans for the big night got posted. Jennifer's enthusiasm and charisma attracted several volunteers for the Unleashed Benefit concert. Sarah Smith, Kill Effect and Sam Taylor agreed to perform on March 2, 2012; several local businesses offered great door prizes, including a set of diamond earrings. 

Unleashed Volunteers 

Jennifer's family donated food and coffee for the event, and drinks were made to warm the audience up.
Lynn set up the display about APAC-Varadero. Everything was ready...
Sarah Smith performing for the Unleashed Benefit
The Music Box was full on the evening of March 2nd. The atmosphere was great - music, games, several door prizes, old and new friends having fun together, and above all - knowing the noble cause of this gathering - created a night to remember. Thanks to the efforts of Jennifer,  Lynn and other volunteers (Courtney Snippe, Tammy, Hilary Hogarth, Amber, Vanessa Ward and Clara Cormier) a substantial  amount of money was raised for our organization. We can now buy more equipment, tools and medications to help Cuban animals.

The Music Box was full

The most special door prize - the canvas bag made by Ingrid out of recycled pieces of fabric.
THANK YOU ALL - those who put the event together and those who came to support it. As Jennifer said: "Let's do it all again soon!"

"It is a faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living"
Oliver W. Holmes