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On the road with Tanya and Tom

In the reports about our spay and neuter clinics I’ve often written about the amazing work Tanya and Tom do in their community outreach program. Now I shall accompany them for the first time ! Tanya and Tom are looking after about 700 dogs right now, numbers increasing steadily. They have divided the area they work in into 7 zones, with about 100 animals in each, which they visit once or twice a month. They are practically every second day on the road, in addition to running animals back and forth during clinics where Tom helps with the surgery preparations as well while Tanya is taking all these wonderful photos without which my reports would be unthinkable.

Tanya and Tom take me to one of the poorest areas. Also they take a tool box along, filled with similar contents as mine when I go to Sosúa beach.

First of all we visit „Shelf girl“. She got her name from sleeping on a shelf that stood there in the street for a while.

„Shelf girl“ is a street dog with no one to look after her. She needs to be fed.

Right at the beginning of our tour we meet the lovely, charming “Collie”.

After showing all signs of disgust at the sight of the de-wormer…

…she follows us all day.

Soon others join in.

This lady has a pregnant bitch. She wants to have her spayed but not before the puppies are born. She projects her own maternal feelings onto her bitch. Tom has to accept that. It's a nice thought but leaves the A.A.A.S. with yet another litter of young dogs to care about.

Everywhere the reception is very friendly.

These people can’t afford a vet.

They welcome Tanya’s and Tom’s visits and are very grateful for the help they bring.

First the dog, then the kitty…

Also cats get treated with Ivermectin.

Unmistakably; the cat has had enough!

We have been discovered…

…and are soon followed by a crowd of children.

They focus their attention on everything we do.

These girls are fascinated by my hair.

The kids follow us everywhere. Again and again they tug at our sleeves, dragging us to hidden corners, or bring animals along: “Here is still a dog, and there is a cat!” Nobody shall be forgotten.

All eyes are fixed on Tanya while she is giving this little cat its monthly dosis Ivermectin.

The children are competing to be the lucky one…

…to carry the tool box with the supplies.

In this home we are welcomed with special warmth.

Tanya and Tom gave here once a birthday party for one of the children, with about 50 little guests…

Here we find a cat…,

…with kittens,…

…that need to be dewormed.

From everywhere now animals are being brought…

…and there is no end in sight…

…of administering spot ons, de-wormers and Ivermectin.

A particularly charming patient!

This puppy reminds us of a little panda bear.

And while Tanya takes a closer look at the panda…

…this little girl runs away quickly…

…and returns shortly after with her own dog.

Around a corner I meet Geoffrey, a tremendously kind but chained up Rottweiler. Tanya reassures me: Geoffrey is taken for walks (which unfortunately doesn’t hold true for all chained dogs I’ve seen here). The owners are scared that the precious purebred may be harmed or stolen when running loose on its own. Not for the first time during this journey I strongly feel the need to bring a dog trainer down here one day within the concept of future educational programs to show people that their wonderful viralatas are just as smart and valuable as any purebred , so they will take pride in their local dogs , thus strengthening the bond between people and their animals. (Geoffreys welcome was an explosion; therefore none of the photos of him turned out.)

In most homes there is more than one animal.

As soon as one is treated…

…there comes the next!

Before leaving Tom treats all children to an ice lolly at the ice cream vendor’s at the corner.

They are all looking already forward to the next visit of Tanya and Tom.

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