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My Travel to the Dominican Republic

(March 31st – April 14th 2016)

 

1. Tourism and Animal welfare in Punta Cana

2. Meeting with Peace Corps

3. Spay and neuter operative in Samaná (part 1)

4. Spay and neuter operative in Samaná (part 2)

5. Spay and neuter operative in Samaná (part 3)

6. The Caribbean dream…

 

1. Tourism and Animal welfare in Punta Cana

As already my first visit in the Dominican Republic in 2012 also my second journey served the purpose to meet our partners with whom we work together for years already as well as new ones and to plan new projects and just like the first trip also this one will have a great influence on our work in the years to come.

March 31st I flew from Cologne with TuiFly to Punta Cana where I landed at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I was met by Christiana Stämpfli, Viviana Vitariello and Sylvia Mendéz, easy to recognize in their RescátaMe T-shirts.

Christiana and Viviana had to leave after a brief discussion about the most important issues of our project Tourism and Animal welfare. Sylvia and I drove to the veterinary clinic of Dr. José Malaret whom I had met already in 2012 when he was still working in Bayahibe. We picked up cat traps and drove to the resorts Caribe Club Princess and Tropical Princess.


Here I saw for the first time with my own eyes the results of our work in the project Tourism and Animal welfare that started the day when I found poisoned Piggy at the beach of Sosúa, my departure day in 2012…


…and that led in countless hours of tedious work and many sleepless nights to a petition with currently more than 30.000 signatures and to already over a dozen hotels in Punta Cana that cooperate with our partner RescátaMe and had their animals spayed and neutered.

February 18th I had been contacted by a tourist who had spent her vacation in summer 2015 at the Caribe Club Princess and had taken home with her as longest lasting memory of her holiday the sight of hungry cats in advanced state of pregnancy on the resort grounds. I wrote to the hotel management in the name of 30.000 supporters of our petition No more poisoned and abused dogs and cats at hotels, beaches and in communities of the Caribbean! and their guest to convince them to seek the assistance of RescátaMe to get their cats spayed and neutered. Following a short period of hesitation because these were strays from the neighbourhood, not resort-owned cats, the hotel managers agreed after I had pointed out to them the consequences of uncontrolled cat breeding.

And now the day had come!


Sylvia Méndez hands over the cat traps to the hotel’s staff!

When Sylvia and I met again on April 14th she told me about the first successful spays.


Dr. Malaret receives the first cat.


And soon afterwards the patient is sitting on the surgeon’s table.

Back home an email awaited me with photos of the first spay candidate. The Caribe Club Princess, the Tropical Princess and also the Bavaro Princess and the Punta Cana Princess, all belonging to the same complex, were added to our travel guide Animal-friendly hotels in the Caribbean which raises the number of hotels that cooperate with animal welfare in Punta Cana up to16 of a total of 104.

But still there were 2 exciting weeks ahead of me!

My first night in the Dominican Republic I spent in a beautiful small hotel. At 6:30 the next morning I continued my journey by bus via Santo Domingo to the batey Santa Maria…


The difference between the All Inclusive tourist center Punta Cana and the batey Santa Maria couldn’t be more extreme! Here the surgeons Anja Heß and Alfred Huber spayed and neutered in February together with Swiss project director Dolores Rohrer.

I stayed here with Peace Corps volunteer Leyla, learnt a lot about her work and planned our future projects with Peace Corps…

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