We have never been as busy as this month. As we grow, more things happen and each event requires our full attention and time. In addition, we are in the middle of the Caribbean 'escape-from-winter' holidays and many travelers e-mail us with questions, offers to help, or requests for help.
Having said that, here are the highlights of our February activities:
On February 18, 2012 we had our first Walk-a-Dog event in Cardenas. A group of our supporters and friends gathered on the agreed street in the city, and walked their dogs through the neighbourhoods. Cubans don't walk their dogs on a leash. Most of them let their pets run free, and this is one of the habits contributing to the overpopulation of homeless animals (as most dogs are still not spayed or neutered). This event gave us an opportunity to show people the proper handling of dogs. We were also talking about other benefits of having an animal under friendly control - e.g. bonding with an owner, and preventing accidents. It was a successful gathering, and we intend to repeat it in a near future.
|Friends and neighbours getting ready for a walk|
We contacted FAADA's chapter dealing with responsible tourism. FAADA is a non-profit organization dedicated to animal welfare around the world. It is located in Barcelona, Spain. Cuba has close relationships with Spain as the majority of today's Cuban society is of Spanish descent.
Several resorts in Cuba belong to Spanish corporations. We feel strongly that the tourism industry on the island should be involved in solving the problem of stray animals overpopulation. Many animals hang around hotels in search for food and shelter.
FAADA Turismo Responsable sent us a package of brochures presenting FAADA's work and discussing welfare of animals used as tourist attractions around the world, including zoos. We hope these brochures will act as ice-breakers in approaching hotel managers and presenting to them our short and long-term goals.
Since we got 190 brochures, there will be enough of them to circulate in the neighbourhood as well.
While Cardenas went for a walk, Matanzas was buzzing with crowds lining up for the massive de-parasitation clinic organized by CCV-Matanzas and our chief veterinarian, Dr. Hanoi Dominguez, with generous help from Dr, Sergio Chan. Dr. Chan brought enough medications from BAYER to help 420 animals!
Congratulations to all who organized the clinic and to the volunteer doctors who made it all possible:
Dr. Ledia Lorenzo, Dr. Julio Cesar Perez, Dr. Mabel Del Castillo, Dr. Aimara Hernandez, Dr. Yoenier Perez, Dr. Michel Matoz, Dr. Yudith, Dr. Roimy, Dr. Isidro, Dr. Ever, and Dr. Slavik Zenkov. Thank you to all volunteers who helped to keep things under control during this extremely busy day. The clinic took place in a beautiful location of Matanzas chapter of Asociacion Hermanos Saiz, the organization of young Cuban artists.
In spite of efforts to limit the number of international adoptions, we, again, ended up helping several animals go to their new homes in Canada. Our friends visiting Cameleon Villas Jibacoa saved a mother with three pups, and another young female dog, Yolanda, who came with them to Ontario. Charlotte and her friend saved another family of five, and they are going to Montreal on February 24, 2012. Three animals ended up in Nova Scotia, and our special 'machete boy' - Nilo came to Alberta, looking for a home fitting his personality (dalmatian).
We do realize the controversy surrounding this part of our activities, and we always try first to find homes for our rescues in Cuba. However, this is not always possible. In addition, most dogs or cats have their homes chosen already, and we simply help to meet the requirements for their exportation. The generosity of Air Transat keeps the cost down, and our Canadian supporters supply kennels for the journeys.
|Shipment of kennels from Canada|
|Ingrid saying good bye to Nilo at the Varadero Airport|
J. de La Fontaine