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Journey to Samaná

During my second week in the Dominican Republic I took the bus to Santa Barbara di Samaná to visit Kim Beddall, secretary of the A.A.A.S.

Kim has introduced whale watching to the Dominican Republic. For a few months every winter the humpback whales come to the Samaná Bay.

Kim has been living here already for 27 years. She concerns herself with large and small animals on land and in the sea. At the moment she shares her house with 17 dogs.

It looks a little bit like my place and I felt at home right away.

Kim met me at the bus, in a cage on the back of her truck a young male dog in a terrible state of health; emaciated, covered with mange and with an injured penis.

Taking a closer look, I thought I could see a wound typically caused by a canine tooth.

The next morning a lady brought a kitten, totally dehydrated and in a miserable state. Kim called Dr. Francis, a young Dominican vet, who treats his patients very sensitively.

The kitten received an infusion…

…and antibiotics.

„Practice rooms“: The back of Kim’s truck

Then Dr. Francis looked at „Buddy“.

„Buddy“ tried to urinate. Blood started to drip from his penis. What I had believed to see the night before, turned out to be right, His penis was completely torn apart by dog bites.

Considering his general state of health, a hard decision had to be made.

„Buddy“ had to be euthanized.

I held his head…

…while Dr. Francis gave him the injection which put him to sleep forever.

Except for a few good meals during his last days „Buddy“ has probably never experienced anything good in his life. He was buried at Kim’s farm. Again and again I met with death and lived through such bitter moments during my stay in the Dominican Republic. And more than ever I’m convinced of the importance of our work.

We have reached a lot already but so much more still needs to be done. Kim and I exchanged many thoughts and ideas; starting from the much needed support for young local vets with interest in animal welfare up to the equally needed school program in humane education for children and adolescents, the way it exists already on Dominica.

At present American vets are visiting Samaná twice a year to spay anf neuter big and small animals but that doesn’t suffice. Kim would like Dr. Francis to operate about 10 animals weekly. Dr. Francis has already performed 40 surgeries in the presence of Dr. Sue Harvey but needs to gain further surgical experience. We, the Association for Aid and Support of the Creole dogs, will send Tarek El Kashef to Samaná for about a month in the beginning of 2013 to work with Dr. Francis. Tarek El Kashef has already worked with Dr. Giselle during her first clinic in Santiago 2010.

And then Kim took me to her farm!

Up in the hills, a few miles from the coast, Kim has created on 76.000 square meters something that can only be called a tropical paradise for animals.

Horses, donkeys and mules are living here happily and peacefully…

…right beside turkeys, ducks, geese, goats, pigs and cattle.

Many of them arrived here heavily injured.

This beautiful stallion has a hole between front leg and chest that reaches way up into his shoulder. It’s healing badly and has to be treated constantly.

This mule has a tumor between joint and hoof that has been operated several times already and is getting now slowly smaller.

This motherless colt…

…has been raised with a bottle.

It is very attached to Kim…

…and follows her wherever she goes.

And of course, there are also a few dogs and a cat.


Or Goliath? I never learnt to tell them apart.
Kim took me on a tour of the farm.

Pigs have a very important job here: They „plough“ the land where later on gras will be grown that is more suitable as horse feed than the one that grows here originally.

All of a sudden the bulls step out of the forest.

A perfect picture of peace and tranquility,…

…they wander, one after the other,…

…onto a new pasture.

Kim has set 30 nonpoisonous snakes free at her farm to save them from being killed by ignorant people. Within the concept of an educational program, Kim envisions the farm once to become a place where children can get to know and love animals. And all of a sudden I knew: This is the right spot for a future location of the Association for Aid and Support of the Creole dogs in the Caribbean to further our projects even more intensely.

Evening at the farm.

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