My visit to the Dominican Republic
diary of a journey
(08/28 - 09/14/2012)
A beach for Isabel…
On my second day Judy asked me if I could do a survey of Sosúa beach since they hadn’t had a volunteer to take care of this beach during the past months. So I took paper and pencil and went off.
Sun loungers are being rented, beach traders walk back and forth. A lot of people make a living here and for animals this is a good place to look for scraps. I noted how many bitches, males, puppies, cats and kittens I saw, which ones seemed to be spayed and neutered, which ones needed still to be fixed and their state of health; which ones were evidently infested by worms and parasites, showed signs of mange, had eye or ear infections were injured or limping. It turned out to be quite a long list in the end. Again and again I was asked why nobody from A.A.A.S. came down to the beach anymore, and all I could say was “Mañana…" And later, at the Pet Lodge: “ Judy, there is no way around it, tomorrow we must go, I’ve promised everybody…” So the next day we filled a tool box with de-wormer, Frontline, ear and eye cream, shampoo and Ivermectin and went off to the beach. Ivermectin is used as a cure-all in the Dominican Republic, I found out. Given monthly, it kills all interior parasites including heart worm and works well from the inside out against ticks, which still may bite the dog but die off soon afterwards, and against the mange-causing mites. (Not to be given to dogs with MDR 1 genetic defect!)
Already at the entrance to the beach we were surrounded by a crowd of people asking for medication for their animals at home. Our tool box seemed to get empty before we even reached the beach until Judy had a terrific idea: “Today we do the beach animals and tomorrow you come back with more meds for the animals kept at home.”
Judy gave out medication and explained how to use it while I paid attention, learnt and took down names and phone numbers of people whose animals should be spayed and neutered at the next opportunity.
I asked people if they had dogs or cats, how old, how big, how heavy they were and what kind of health problems they had. Amazing, how far you can get with 3 words of Spanish and gesticulating!
Ruffino registers his dog for the next spay and neuter clinic while I am carefully pulling up the right amount of Ivermectin for his animal on the syringe…
This young lady needs some shampoo for her dog which has a skin problem.
When I flew back to Germany, all animals had been treated, also all the cats had received a spot-on. I knew all people by name and all the animals, and everybody knew me. ( Once I even managed to go for a swim…) I could take down many applications for spay and neuter…
…and convince some of the guys who had so far flatly refused to neuter their male dogs, how important castration is also for males to avoid sticker sarcoma, being run over by cars while running after bitches in heat and, quite at the same time, proliferation.
Still to small for Ivermectin, it is given puppy de-wormer and a small portion of Frontline against the mites that cause the mange.
Chicken after the treatment… This little guy can make it when the people looking after him get enough support.
Princessa is an older bitch, already spayed, which suffers from an ear infection and arthritis. She eyes me with suspicion.
The pain killers for her arthritis I give to her owner. He is taking good care of her and I can rely on him to give her the pills. I was very impressed to see how many people were really concerned about their animals and how happy they were when they got help. I was often treated to refreshing drinks.
Roberto is one of them. He has 2 dogs, Chiquita and Negrita, and a cat. They all are very well taken care off.
Chiquita and Negrita are on the list of candidates for the next spay and neuter clinic. Negrita’s daddy, who looks exactly like his daughter, lives just around the corner. His owner is French and runs a restaurant at the beach. Like so many Dominicans, he as well has projected his own “machismo” onto his dog and has so far refused to have him neutered. But now the Swiss lady, who works for him, and I have joined forces and convinced him. Negrita’s papa will be neutered at the next opportunity.
A second Roberto was worried that his bitch might go into heat at any moment and get pregnant again. Judy decided to arrange for a special date for “Mariposa”, since Dr. Giselle happened to be nearby, and to get the “hot dog” off the beach as fast as possible. She waited in the truck while I went to get “Mariposa”.
I had to carry her the whole way along the beach – Roberto had to stay at his beach chair rental. Mariposa was heavy and from time to time I put her down and begged her to do a few steps on her own, unsuccessfully and to the greatest amusement for everybody who saw me.
I am welcomed by another candidate for the next spay and neuter clinic at a restaurant at the far end of the beach.
Here is also a small puppy that worried me and for whom I left a vaccimation fee. The first time I saw it, it looked very fragile, with scratches and skin problems. Today it’s looking already a lot better! And with the friendly man beside me I had a very “fruitful” discussion about male neuterting.