Sunday, September 09, 2007



On August 19, 2007 CAAT received word from Molly Mednikow, director of Amazon Cares, Iquitos, Peru, that our immediate help was needed in the earthquake-stricken areas of Ica and Pisco. We responded that we would begin to prepare a team to go within one week’s time. After a week of seemingly endless media interviews, travel preparations, packing and last minute details, twelve team members departed from the Vancouver International Airport for Lima, Peru. The team members were the following:

Dr. Tara Huggins, DVM, Vancouver, BC

Dr. Terill Udenberg, DVM, Vernon, BC

Dr. Ken Seaman, DVM, Comox, BC

Karen Belanger, (Registered Animal Health Technician) RAHT, Delta, BC

Jackie Emard, RAHT, Vancouver, BC

Daniel Harvey, RAHT, Vancouver, BC

Tyler Udenberg, Veterinary student, Saskatoon, Sask.

Laura Chenier-McFadden, Assistant, Delta, BC

Jennifer Picard, Team Photographer, Vancouver, BC

Barb Ashmead, Assistant, Qualicum, BC

Corinne Barker, Assistant, Qualicum, BC

Donna Lasser, RAHT and Team Leader, Hope, BC

After fourteen hours of travel, we arrived safely at the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima and were met by Molly of Amazon Cares. The night was spent at the Manhattan Inn Hotel, and by noon the next day we were off by mini-bus to Ica, approximately a five hour drive along the west coast of South America. The terrain is desert, with mile after mile of sand and the occasional tent or mud-brick house.

En route to Ica, we were forced to take a detour around the city of Pisco, which was 90% destroyed by the earthquake. Every time our bus would stop, the bus would be surrounded by children begging for money. They would attach plastic pop or water bottles with the tops cut off to a long stick which they hold up to the windows of the bus, hoping someone will drop a few centimos or soles into their bottles.

When we arrived in Ica, we were taken to the home we would be staying at for the next three weeks. The home belonged to the Pena- Castillo family (Leonardo and Maria), the parents of Esther, a veterinarian who works for Amazon Cares in Iquitos, Peru ( Esther is a small animal veterinarian and her husband, Miguel Salas, is a wildlife veterinarian. They, along with their two children, live and work at the Amazon Cares clinic and shelter in northeastern Peru, along the Amazon River. Esther’s family home was virtually untouched by the earthquake. The family very graciously offered to house and feed our large team during the time we were working here. We were given the entire upstairs of the two storey home. Wall to wall beds on the floors (air mattresses and sleeping bags) as far as the eye could see. The one and only bathroom posed a few small problems at the beginning but everyone adapted and cooperated and we all learned how to be quick at whatever we did in there. The meals (breakfast and dinner) were a culinary delight, with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals served. However, instant Nescafe coffee seemed to be all that was available for coffee in a country that is one of the largest coffee bean exporters in the world. Starbucks – you were very much missed!

Our work days would start early, usually awake and getting ready by 6:30 a.m., and off to work on the bus by 8:00 a.m. The first three days of this week were spent working in a large room on the main floor of the San Andreas Municipality building, a suburb of Pisco. Our Veterinarians, Dr. Terill, Dr. Tara, Dr. Ken (and their wonderful technicians) along with Amazon Cares’ Veterinarian, Dr. Esther (assisted by Harry and Behtjane) were kept busy with spays and neuters while Corinne and Barb hit the streets with our three American friends, Gerald, Marcia and Thea to vaccinate, deworm and give food to the dogs. Molly from Amazon Cares did intake, and Dr. Miguel helped to triage the dogs being brought in. Some owners just wanted vaccines, while other owners agreed to have their dogs spayed or neutered.

The Peruvian Ministry of Health agreed to sit down and meet with members of CAAT, as well as with members of AASPA (the Peruvian version of the SPCA). Daniel and Donna were representing CAAT. Two days of this week were spent in talks with several of the Ministry of Health officials, and by the end of the two days, the Ministry agreed to let us work in conjunction with them to address some of the public health issues facing the people as a result of the earthquake. The majority of the population of Pisco had lost their homes and had been moved into soccer stadiums (tent cities). Many families brought their dogs with them to these tent cities, and the dogs run free. The Ministry of Health had received complaints from non-dog owners about the loose dogs and the Ministry was concerned about the public health risks to the people. At one point the statement was made that all of the dogs should be rounded up and shot. CAAT, Amazon Cares, and AASPA agreed to work within designated areas in the tent cities in several locations around Pisco, ensuring as many dogs as possible received Rabies vaccines (generously donated by Intervet in Canada), were dewormed, and were given food. The owners of the dogs were so grateful that we had “saved” their precious dogs.

For the remainder of the first week and well into week two we worked in the tent cities. The military which was stationed at the tent cities were very good to us. They rounded up tables which we could use for surgeries, the brought us a tent for shelter from the hot sun, and they provided us protection, especially as darkness began to fall. The Ministry of Health from time to time brought us mandarin oranges, apples and buns to eat and soda to drink (Inka Kola, Sprite, Coca Cola and bottled water).

On the weekend a group from Lima (AASPA volunteers) came to where we were working and brought bags of donated dog food to start handing out to hungry dogs. Several Veterinarians from Lima and the surrounding areas came to see what they could do to help also.

We saw two or three cases of distemper virus in dogs, and they had to be euthanized. Many dogs had venereal tumours also. Venereal disease is very common amongst the dogs in South America and is easily spread from dog to dog – sexually transmitted. It always ends in death for the dog.

At the end of week one, Donna and Jen accompanied Tara by bus back up to Lima to see her off at the airport. She flew back to Vancouver to return to work. At midnight, nine members of Team Two were met by Donna and Jen. More to come shortly!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

DAYS 16 & 17, July 24 & 25, 2007

Our flight last night was scheduled to depart from Igloolik at 5 pm. The weather was fairly good all day until just before we were set to depart. The fog rolled in quite thick. We then received word that our flight had been delayed, due to mechanical problems with the plane. It hadn't even taken off from Iqaluit yet.

At one point in the afternoon, we were informed by First Air that we would not be able to get all eleven team members on the flight. They stated that they had only eight seats remaining on the flight to Iqualuit and that three team members would need to stay behind until the morning. Donna immediately telephoned First Air's headquarters in Ottawa and stressed the importance of the team staying together and all eleven of us getting on the same flight, as we all had jobs to get back home to and we had already been delayed for nearly two days. She asked if there was anything they could do, such as rerouting a plane, so we could get out tonight. They said they would see what they could work out for us.

We received a phone call at 7 pm saying we should all head to the airport and that a flight for all of us was available, departing at 8 pm. After checking in at the Igloolik airport, the probability of our taking off in the thick fog which was now surrounding Igloolik being poor, we boarded the plane and with some trepidation,took off at about 9 pm. The plane was soon above the fog and the clouds and we flew the remaining two hours to Iqaluit in beautiful sunlight.

We arrived in Iqaluit at 9 pm and started to settle in for the night in the airport lobby. Francis, our security guard, introduced himself to us and said he'd be looking after us and the locked up airport for the night. Liz, Donna, Caitlin, Annette and Chris claimed the conveyor belt for their bed, spreading their sleeping bags out on the semi-soft/semi-hard surface. First Air was wonderful to us as they provided us with use of their lunch room fridge for the night to store our vaccines in. They also brought us a bag of pillows and blankets for us to use. The rest of the team claimed spots on the floor for their sleeping bags, except for Allison who somehow arranged herself on two chairs for the night. We had a hard time to settle down and sleep but finally managed to rest for a couple of hours, after a pillow fight between Isabelle and Donna, and some hilarious moments taking photos of Caitlin and Donna with Barb's retro glasses on.

The lights came on at 5:30 am and we packed up our gear, changed our clothes, washed up, and began to check in at the First Air Ticket booth for our 1 pm flight to Ottawa.

We had 7 1/2 hours to use up before our flight, so we made our way on foot down the road to the nearest restaurant for a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs,bacon, potatoes and toast. After breakfast, we continued to walk and ended up in Iqaluit, visiting the Tourist Info Centre and several craft shops along the way. We returned to the airport on time to check in for our flight to Ottawa.

The flight departed on time and after a very pleasant flight (a small lunch and a warm chocolate chip cookie was served) we landed in hot and humid Ottawa. After a team photo, three of our team members collected their luggage and raced to the Air Canada ticket booth to try to book tickets on the next flight out to Vancouver that evening. They successfully managed to get on a 6 pm flight and we said goodbye to them. Two team members managed to get on a flight to Toronto this evening, and Isabelle, after much frustration, was successful at booking her flight back to Calgary this evening.

And then there were four! Liz, Uschi, Barb and Donna were the last of Team Nunavut and spent the night in Ottawa in a hotel. Their flight was scheduled to fly home to Vancouver Thursday morning, arriving at 8:30 am. After ordering pizza and watching the Tour de France in their hotel room, they slept fitfully until 4:30 am. and then raced off to board their 6:30 am. flight to Vancouver.

It was such a relief to finally arrive at our respective homes, two days later than planned, but safe and sound.

Monday, July 23, 2007

DAY 15, Monday July 23, 2007

The team was up early, were all packed and ready to go when we received word that all flights into and out of Igloolik had been cancelled for the day due to inclement weather. Since Saturday, two days ago, it has been very cold here (about 2-3 degrees Celsius) with strong winds, rain and a low cloud cover making visibility for flying very difficult.

Initial response from the eleven team members was one of disappointment. Several members are expected back at work tomorrow so phone calls and e-mails started to go out. Donna spent the morning going in circles trying to communicate with First Air, Air Canada, and Aeroplan, and getting the run around by all.

The remainder of the day was spent reading, solving Sudoku puzzles, watching movies, sleeping, baking brownies and fudge, and housework.

It is now 8 p.m. and the weather appears to have cleared considerably. The winds have died down, the rain has ceased, and the skies are not so socked in with cloud. It is very hopeful that we will be able to fly out tomorrow. The only First Air flight out of Igloolik on Tuesdays is not until 5 pm, arriving in Ottawa at 8 pm. We telephoned several hotels in Iqaluit this morning to book rooms for the eleven of us for tomorrow evening, but we are looking at approximately $800 for the one night.

Caitlin had the idea to call the Iqaluit Airport terminal building to try and save us $800. She spoke with the manager who readily agreed to allow the eleven of us women to sleep on the floor of the terminal building for the night in our sleeping bags. There is a Security Guard there for the night while the airport is closed, so we are locked in to the building for the night. Almost like being in prison. A women's prison! Good thing we all like each other still, after 14 days of being together almost 24/7. It will be an experience and something we will long remember. Something to write about here on the blog and perhaps we can put a few photos on of our pyjama party on the cement floors of the Iqaluit International Airport.

Stay tuned!

DAY 14, Sunday July 22, 2007

We spent the morning cleaning up the clinic and repacking all of our left over medical supplies into their suitcases. We were told a spay was going to be brought down in the morning for us to do but it didn’t show up.

Today was very windy, rainy and cold and even looked like it was trying to snow. We didn’t spend much time outdoors today. We hope we can fly out of here tomorrow morning and that the weather will cooperate.

Chris, Annette and Uschi took the puppy to its home. It turns out the puppy belongs to the mayor, and the puppy’s name is “Rainbow”. The children in the home were so happy to see her again, and the puppy ran up to them so excitedly. It was a very happy reunion. We explained to them that she may have some permanent damage to her head but without more diagnostic tools we really don’t know for sure. She has improved greatly from when she was brought in to us, and we explained how she needs to stay on antibiotics. It was very comforting to realize that the Mayor and his family were the owners of this wonderful little puppy and that it has a great home and will live indoors.

We received a phone call this afternoon that the team was invited to come to one of the resident’s homes, Marie and Lukie, to have a taste of Arctic Char, similar to salmon. Marie is the lady who came to Igloolik Point with us the other day to be our interpreter, as well as the lady whose dog had the terrible neck wound. She wanted to thank us for saving her dog’s life (her husband would have shot the dog if we had not been here, we were told). The team arrived at her home to a very warm welcome from her family, Cynthia, Linda and two smaller grandchildren. She had baked us fresh bread, rice and Char which her husband had caught earlier in the day. She had the team play games and there were prizes to be won. The prizes were some of her personal possessions which I’m sure had much sentimental value to her. The team sat in a circle and played several games. Marie also shared stories about hunting and how hard it is to hunt walrus. She said the walrus are very scary and smell very bad. Her favourite hunt is a Narwhal whale but they are only allowed four a year. After a very enjoyable, fun and educational two hours, the team headed back home to finish packing for their departure tomorrow morning.

Barb cooked a delicious turkey dinner, complete with mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, turnip, mixed vegetables. Isabelle cooked her first pumpkin pies ever and they were very tasty.

We will call First Air in the morning to see if our flight will be departing or not. Hopefully the weather clears and we are able to go. Mark explained to us all at dinner that sometimes planes cannot come in or go out of Iqaluit for days and even weeks, let alone in Igloolik, due to adverse weather conditions. The sophisticated technical instruments are not available in the North at the airports or on the planes as they are in the south. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow.

DAY 13, Saturday, July 21, 2007

Isabelle and Chris did shift work all night with the puppy. She was much brighter this morning and starting to eat, drink, and walk around. Her face is still swollen and sore but her eye is beginning to open up. We gave her an injection of long-acting antibiotic and also an anti-inflammatory injection this morning. We will keep her for another day before returning her to her owner.

The day was spent with the team dividing up into two’s once again, and going back to their assigned areas throughout town re-vaccinating the dogs with their booster Distemper/Parvo vaccine. This took up a large part of the day. We also began housecleaning duties in the three homes we were assigned to stay in. Donna, Chris and Annette spent a few hours in the afternoon discussing the Ontario chapter, protocols and the future of possible projects in Northern Ontario and Nunavut.

We were invited to a “picnic” at the recreation centre/community hall in the evening which the Hamlet office put on for our team to thank us. There was a fairly good turn-out of about one hundred people. We had all brought many gifts to give the children, as well as a few things for the adults. We filled two tables with all of the gifts and the children (and a few eager adults) filed by and chose something from off the table. Everyone seemed very happy with their gifts. On the menu were egg sandwiches, tuna sandwiches, soup, coffee, and hotdogs. Two women got up and did what is called “throat singing” for us. It was like something we have never heard before! You have to hear it to believe it. The harmony between the two women was incredible. They held onto each others arms and rocked back and forth as they sang. A young Inuit man brought in a traditional drum and two girls danced while he played. We thanked everyone and headed back to Barb’s for more food.

The team gathered at Uschi’s, Brigitte’s and Barb A’s place for a couple of hours to visit and talk before heading off to bed.

DAY 12, Friday July 20, 2007

Today was full of surprises!

We headed to the clinic in the morning to spay (finally) the little, short-legged dog that lived next to the clinic and had barked incessantly at us daily. She’s quite a nasty, temperamental dog, but we were able to sedate her and begin the spay. Her surgery went very well and we returned her to her chain in her back yard before she was up and trying to bite us once again. Another female came in which was very thin and we had been told had had litter after litter of puppies for years. We were a little hesitant to operate on her but after much discussion and examining of her, we went ahead with her spay. She was hooked up to IV fluids throughout her surgery and monitored extremely close. Being a mature dog made the spay even more complicated and time-consuming, but she came through it fine. During recovery she started to bleed very slightly through her suture line, and we were a little concerned she was starting to hemorrhage. We observed her for another couple of hours before we returned her to her home. The owners promised to keep her indoors for a few days until she was fully recovered.

A small puppy was also brought in this afternoon that had been mauled by a larger dog, especially around her head area. Her right eye area and face were quite swollen. She had puncture wounds on either side of her neck and had a broken nasal passage and possible fracture to the top right side of her skull. Having no access to an x-ray machine to confirm our suspicions, we went ahead and treated her. She was nearly in shock, so we placed an IV catheter and hooked her up to fluids. Pain medication was given IV also. Isabelle volunteered to keep her with her for the rest of the night so she took her home with her. We were very skeptical that she would make it through the night.

We arranged a meeting with the Elders of the community at 7 pm. We brought them a very large container of freshly baked oatmeal cookies which they made disappear in no time at all. In attendance were three male elders and two females, as well as a couple of younger adults and a few teenagers. We also had an interpreter present. Donna thanked them for welcoming us into their community and allowing us to help with their dogs. They asked us several questions such as “what are boosters?”, if spays and neuters were reversible, what other types of animals we worked on, and what we are doing when we leave here, where we are going next, and if diseases which dogs get can be spread to humans. We answered their questions as best we could and also asked them if they had any concerns. They mentioned about the RCMP coming into Igloolik in the 60’s and killing all of their dogs. The dogs at that time, they mentioned, were bigger and stronger and healthier than the dogs here at this time. We mentioned how we respect their desire to preserve the pure Inuit breed. They thanked us for coming to the community and helping to protect their dogs from more distemper deaths.

We left the meeting and headed down to the clinic where Uschi and Annette had remained behind with the older female spay to watch her during her recovery.

We ordered pizza from the local Inn for dinner. The Vegetarian pizza was a unique one – it had carrots and cauliflower on it. It tasted pretty good though.

Friday, July 20, 2007

DAY 11, Thursday July 19, 2007

Today is Barb’s birthday! The team sang “Happy Birthday” to her at breakfast. At noon we headed out for the day’s work. Half of the team headed out to try to find Mosha’s dog (our carver friend) to neuter him, and the other half headed out to vaccinate a dog team owned by a gentleman, Samueli. This was the first team we were going to have to deal with without the owner actually present and able to hold the dogs for us to vaccinate. After searching for the dog team’s location, we finally spotted them. As we approached, we noticed one dog was lying on the ground and not moving. Further investigation told us the dog had died. We also found a skeleton of a dog still tied up to a chain and tangled in a fishnet. A couple of other dogs were tangled with their chains and one could not reach the small pond that was their drinking water source. The pond water was fairly dirty and slimy looking. Barb waded into the nearby water in the ocean and retrieved a small ice floe which we then broke up and laid in front of the dogs. They lick it and do get some water that way. Many of the dog team owners do this. The dogs were generally friendly but we were very cautious with them. We spent some time just quietly sitting nearby and trying to win them over. Then the catch pole was used to immobilize them enough to give them their two vaccines, as well as in injection of dewormer.

As we headed back to town, we made sure we spoke with a couple of people along the way, as well as stopped in at the Hamlet office to speak with someone there about the fact that we found a dog dead with the team, before we started to vaccinate. We realized it was important to cover our bases so we wouldn’t be accused of killing one of the dogs with our vaccines.

A few of the team baked a cake in the shape of an Inukshuk for Barb today, and a birthday card was passed around for the team to sign. Marie, our interpreter, gave Barb a gift also, something Barb will treasure always.

We worked the rest of the day at the clinic on several dogs. We even had an hour or so to sit and listen to some of Marie’s stories of how life used to be in the North. She was answering many of our questions. She said that things have changed in Igloolik over the years, in her opinion, not for the better. When the telephone arrived in the 1970’s, people stopped visiting each other in their homes. Television arrived in the 1980’s and it made it even worse. She said the teenagers are too involved in drugs and they get mean and angry. We asked her about her wedding to Luki (a very famous dog sled team owner and renowned carver). She was nineteen years of age and in love with a “white” boy whom she worked with. Her brother didn’t like this so he and the mother arranged for Marie to marry Luki, an Inuit man from another community. She argued with her mother and said she would not marry Luki. The family insisted and the next morning they dragged her to the church and placed her in front of the Priest and by Luki’s waiting side. When the priest asked her if she took Luki to be her husband, she said, “No”. The Priest kept telling her she had to say “yes”, but she refused to say “yes” until her brother pinched her arm so hard that she said “yes…. but no”. As they were walking out of the church, she took off the wedding ring from her finger, spit on it, and threw it at Luki. She and Luki have now been married for 46 years, have eleven children and six adopted children (grandchildren).

After several other fascinating stories about residential school life, Marie left to go home and the team closed up the clinic for the day and walked up the hill to the Research Station for a tour. Markus Dyck (the polar bear biologist/technician) met us and spent the next one and a half hours speaking to us about his role and his work with the polar bear research. He explained some of the frustrations he has had with some of the financial and personnel constraints for the amount of work they need to do. This is the last year of a three year population study to determine the “harvest” (how many bears each community is allowed to kill). We had a tour of the lab, learned at how they age a bear by its teeth, saw a p.bear fetus in a jar, skulls, hair, a dart gun, tracking collars, etc.

After dinner several team members (Aliesha, Allison, Barb, Isabelle and Chris) put on their toques and headed down to the water’s edge for a polar bear swim. The water is still covered in ice floes so it is very very cold. After some initial photographs were taken by the rest of the team (the wimpy ones), the five ran into the water, some up to their necks. The muddy bottom tried to swallow up some of their sandals. Many photos were taken, and the local people were watching from their homes, surely shaking their heads thinking how crazy those white women are. Hot showers and hot chocolate warmed everyone up as we gathered at Chris, Annette and Isabelle’s place of residence for a short visit before bed.

DAY 10, Wednesday July 18, 2007

After a day working at the clinic we loaded two hamlet vehicles at 5 p.m. to begin our drive out to Igloolik Point, approximately 30 km. away. The roads here are all covered with rock so the drive can be quite slow. We had Marie, our interpreter, with us, as well as her daughter and small son. Caitlin, Isabelle, Chris, Allison and Steve (the photographer we met yesterday) rode in the open box of the pick-up, while Liz, Donna, Marie our interpreter, and her daughter and son rode up front. Raymond was our driver. The other small vehicle with Barb, Brigitte, Uschi and Annette led the way. We made several stops along the way before actually reaching our destination at “the Point”. We stopped at different areas where hunters had set up camp near the water. The first area we stopped at was to vaccinate and deworm Eskimo Joe’s father’s dog team of approximately fifteen dogs, including several puppies. We also had the opportunity to meet a family who had just arrived on shore from a day of hunting walrus. They explained how they use all of the parts of the walrus. We watched them carry large piles of walrus that they had packed inside the hide to be buried in a deep hole until November when it will be dug up. It ferments during this time and is apparently quite a delicacy here. It is called “Igunuk”.
We also saw a very thin mother dog with a litter of five to six week old puppies who were taking everything out of her. She was so covered in mosquitoes that you could barely see her face. The mosquitoes were the worst that we had seen since our arrival in Igloolik. There was also a very heavily pregnant female dog hanging around us. The people in this camp mentioned that they had seen Narwhal and Beluga whales that day but we had missed seeing them.
After many other stops at various camps along the way and taking in the beauty of this area (the big, close sky, the ice floes covering the water, and the silence), we headed back to town. Along the way we stopped to look at a grave from 1832, as well as a few sod homes. We also helped our driver Raymond and our translator, Marie pick flowers growing along the side of the road, flowers that the people eat here.
After a late dinner, we slept fitfully.

DAY 9, Tuesday July 17, 2007

Our surgeries today began with Bob the Beagle’s neuter which went very well. Two residents, Billy and Lydia then brought Tiny in to us, most likely a Corgi mix with short legs and a longer body. Tiny had been given to Billy and Lydia as a wedding present four years previously and they were quite concerned about a persistent cough she had. Brigitte examined Tiny and decided she probably had an upper respiratory infection (URI) and gave her antibiotics to go home with, and also a deworming injection. The owners had mentioned that they had noticed a very long tapeworm coming out of her mouth earlier in the year. There is a worm here in Northern Canada which dogs can pass on to humans and can eventually be fatal to the humans. It is the Echinococcus granulosis or E. multiocularis tapeworm and can cause hydatid cysts in the lungs, liver and brain of humans. Therefore deworming all of the dogs for this worm is very important when we come to work in the North.
Another interesting thing we learned today was told us while Chris was absentmindedly pulling out the tufts of shedding hair from Tiny while she was holding her. One of the residents who was observing whispered to Chris and said, “you might not want to do that. The dogs here need their thick coats in the winter and if you pull out the shedding coat their winter coat won’t be as thick next year”. Chris thanked him.
Billy mentioned to us that he had once visited Vancouver. When asked what he thought about it he said “It was a culture shock.” He said he saw many things he had never seen before, but trees and grass were the most amazing things he saw. We found that quite humourous. Lydia had spent five weeks in Ottawa and saw her first horse and couldn’t get over how big they are. She said she would be too afraid to ride one. They spoke to us about the different types of meat they have here; caribou is rare to have, seal they do not eat often, but walrus and Arctic Char is wonderful and fairly common. They eat them both raw and cooked. We discussed all of the different types of hides and their uses. They say that everyone has caribou skin coats here as they are the warmest of all hides and each coat lasts for a couple of years. It was very fascinating hearing about their culture and traditions. Very wonderful and interesting people.
In the morning a few of us went up to the Recreation centre to Science Camp. Caitlin spoke to the children there (ages five to ten) for about thirty minutes and played an action game with them. She mainly spoke about bite prevention and safety around dogs to the kids. She’s a natural with the children. When the children were asked how many had ever been bitten by a dog nearly every child’s hand went up. We handed out colouring books and crayons to the children. She also went back in the afternoon and spoke to the older children, ages eleven to thirteen.
One of the other visitors to the clinic today was Steve, a freelance photo journalist originally from California but has lived in Igloolik for the past year. He interviewed us, took many photos and then invited us all to his home that evening for tea. His new wife, Lily, is a polar bear biologist here. We all quickly agreed to be there.
On our way back to our temporary homes, an Inuit man stopped Barb and Chris and told them how very happy he is that we came to Igloolik and thanked us for all that we were doing and for coming. He said he didn’t need to hear the radio show to know how good it was for us to be here! It was very uplifting and encouraging to hear some positive feedback.
We spent two hours visiting with Steve and Lily and had the opportunity to be educated with photos and by Lily about polar bears. Very fascinating, to say the least! Lily spends three months per year tracking, tagging and measuring polar bear populations. For the last two years the team has been working with the bears along the coastline of Labrador and Newfoundland and parts of Baffin Island. Last year they were able to tag 840 bears! They fly in by helicopter, dart the bear from the helicopter while the bear is in the water, and then they herd the bear to shore. Once the sedative in the dart takes effect they start their work. It takes Lily and her technician, Marcus, about twenty minutes per bear. They tattoo the bear with its own unique number (done inside the lip), put a tag in its ear, extract a tooth (similar to the wolf tooth in horses) to age the bear, take a tuft of hair for DNA samples, and check the bear over for any injuries and the general body condition. They leave before the bear is fully awake. It was extremely interesting and quite a learning experience for each one of us. Steve fed us herbal tea and peanut butter cookies he had made for us and then we headed back to our residence for dinner.
Tomorrow we are supposed to go out to Igloolik Point, which we’ve heard so much about, to vaccinate several dog teams out there and hopefully be able to interact and visit with some of the people there.

DAY 8, Monday July 16, 2007

Today we did several surgeries, including a stray male dog which has been given the name “First”, an owned dog named “Seven” (who had been fed a large amount of fish for breakfast and as we predicted, vomited it all up once we had given him his sedative. As a result the clinic smelled quite foul for awhile. We also spayed a small female named “Darcy” this morning. “First” was quite challenging to catch, but we managed to lure him to us with food and much patience. He is slightly lame and has bite wounds under his front left elbow. We also saw “Buddy” again, a dog we neutered last week who has come back in with a laceration on his paw which we shaved and cleaned thoroughly. A lady arrived in the afternoon with a beagle-cross named “Bob”, about three months of age, who had a nail torn off on one of his front paws. We vaccinated and dewormed Bob, as well as gave him Metacam for pain and an antibiotic injection. Bob is coming back tomorrow for his neuter.
We were told today that we would be on local radio tonight at 9 pm. After dinner, Brigitte, Uschi and Donna made their way over to the radio station building. The Hamlet Office had arranged for an Interpreter to meet them there to do the translating from English into Inuktitut. After speaking briefly about several topics such as the importance of vaccinating, deworming and spaying and neutering, we mentioned that people could phone in with any questions they might have. The phones rang nearly non-stop for the next thirty minutes or so. One elderly woman phone in and expressed her concern that the elderly people were not being given enough or proper medical treatment in this community, so why should the dogs be? Another gentleman asked if we were experimenting with our vaccines on the dogs of Igloolik and using them as “guinea pigs, or if they have been tested on other dogs in the “south” before. There were a few calls about their dog’s health issues and also about safety around dogs. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear the concerns some of the people in Igloolik have and gave us the opportunity to address these concerns.
As Brigitte, Uschi and Donna were walking to the radio station, a young couple stopped them and asked if they were with the veterinary team. They told us that they were here for a week running a science camp for the children and asked if we would like to come and speak to the children tomorrow. We immediately agreed on times and said we would be there.
We all took a walk and sat and ate popcorn for an hour or so and then called it a night. Hard to believe it’s night though, while the sun is still so high in the sky.

DAY 7, Sunday July 15, 2007

Several of the team members visited the community Anglican Church this morning. The service was held in the Inuktitut language. When the speakers up front looked up and saw seven white faces in the congregation, they made an effort to announce the bible verses and song numbers in English for us. They seemed pleased to have us visit them for church. The other team members went out to check on a few of our patients from the previous days, and at 1 pm headed out across the tundra, on foot, to vaccinate and deworm another team of dogs, this one owned by a musher named Natalino. We were told that one of his dogs was part wolf and less than a year old. The dogs were then fed walrus meat and we were told they are only fed once a week. Ice was carried up from the shore and this would eventually melt and be their drinking water.
The afternoon hours were spent on the other side of the island to a “camp” area where we spoke to the people who were living out there. The area is mainly rocky, white shale to a large extent, and very desolate looking. It almost reminded us of a desert, the Arctic Desert. Very barren. Most of the people we came to talk to were out hunting walrus and fishing that day, so only a few people were spoken with. One very old gentleman held out his hand when Chris walked by and said hi to him. As she shook his hand to say hello, he pulled her down to where he was sitting and gave her a big hug. The rest of the team had trouble containing their smiles, and began to tease Chris about him liking the strawberry blondes the best.
As we were hiking, we came across some very old remains of sod houses, which we found very interesting. We also saw some bones from a Bowhead whale, including his skull, which we found quite fascinating. Apparently, the people here are allowed to hunt bowhead whale only once every few years, as their numbers are becoming quite low. Nearby there was a hunter’s small cabin where we noticed he had started carving a piece of stone, and also saw a boat he had sewn together out of hides over a frame. The people here use every part of the animal they kill, and are very creative at what they make with all of it.
We headed home for a wonderful spaghetti dinner prepared by Annette and Chris and called it a day.

DAY 6, Saturday July 14, 2007

We have discovered that weekends are fairly slow in this community. A woman named Marie asked us if we could “fix her dog’s neck”. There was a large slash on his neck so we asked her to bring him in to the clinic to us. Her husband went on his ATV out to get the dog, about an hour’s drive each way. His injury turned out to be very severe, a long gash across the entire back of his neck. Two of our veterinarians, Liz and Brigitte, worked together side by side to shave, wash and stitch up his neck and put a drain in place. They believe the gash was caused by some kind of attack, as there were multiple teeth marks and tears.

Several team members went out and vaccinated more dogs door to door and out to Luki’s dog team to vaccinate a couple of more dogs we had previously missed.

Isabelle cooked the team a delicious meal and we spent the rest of the evening answering the doorbell, various artists trying to sell their crafts. Word spreads quickly throughout the community that we are looking to buy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

DAY FIVE Friday the 13th!

After another good night’s sleep, we headed over to the clinic by noon to start our work day. While several of the teams were doing surgery, Barb and Christine headed over to a home where we had noticed a very, very badly matted small dog a couple of days earlier. They wanted to ask the owners if they would be able to shave the dog to relieve him of his pounds of matted hair. They successfully convinced the owner to let them take “Mindy” to the clinic to receive his haircut. We had no idea what type of dog Mindy was, thinking perhaps a Lhasa Apso type breed. But once Mindy was shaved, we saw how wrong we were. Barb and Christine sedated Mindy and started the daunting task of shaving. One and a half hours later they were finished and we saw that Mindy is perhaps a cross between a poodle and a schnauzer or terrier, we think. Liz ran across to the Northern Store and bought a little baby t-shirt to put on Mindy so he could keep relatively warm. We gave him a bath and dried him off, and put his new t-shirt on him. When he awoke from his sedation, he must have felt like a new man. No more dread locks and the hippy look for Mindy. It was such a rewarding experience to do this for him. Chris carried him home to his owners. She thanked us and promised to keep him indoors for a few days during the night. Closing up the clinic at 8 p.m, we then walked back to our places of residence and handed out flyers along the way. The majority of the team members then walked up to the top of a hill overlooking the town and the water where the cemetery is. During the warmer times of the year, such as now, the Inuit people pre-dig shallow graves and then after a death occurs, the body is placed in the graves and covered with piles of rocks. All of the gravestones and crosses face toward the town and the bay. The view is breathtaking. On the way back home, Brigitte was stopped by one of the men and asked if she was interested in a stone carving. He brought it out and it was a polar bear carving. She was extremely happy to be able to purchase that. Apparently Friday evenings are party nights and the doorbell rang the remainder of the evening practically non-stop with craftsmen and artisans wanting to show us there crafts, hoping we will buy something from them so they could have money for the night. Several team members purchased different carvings and crafts. We headed to bed about midnight. We are beginning to get used to Northern time, even though it is hard to think it is time for bed when it feels like 5 p.m. instead. The lighting at midnight is very beautiful with long shadows. The sun is still very bright and the sky so clear a brilliant blue. Quite wonderful!

DAY FOUR Thursday, July 12, 2007

We started our day taking all of our medical supplies down to the temporary veterinary clinic, situated next to the water overlooking Foxe Bay and all of the melting ice floes. Three teams consisting each of one veterinarian and two technicians were chosen while our two assistants extraordinaire, Barb and Caitlin, were assigned to bringing the dogs into the building as well as working in the recovery room. We organized our surgery tables and prep and recovery areas. Our first patient to the clinic was a little black mixed breed dog named “Smurf”. Her owners were fascinated by the entire process. Dr. Craigdallie (Uschi), Isabelle and Annette performed her spay, while Dr. Rudolf (Brigitte), Donna and Chris performed a neuter on Kairu. Kairu also had a severely fractured canine tooth and Donna and Chris extracted that after a long struggle with inadequate instruments. His owner, Marcus, is a very large German gentleman who lives and works here as a polar bear biologist. We call Marcus “the mountain man”, as he has a long red beard and is very tall and rough looking. He also owns two Persian indoor cats with runny sore eyes. Our veterinarians had a look at them and left some medication for their eyes with Marcus. For the rest of the day we spayed and neutered many more dogs and called it a day at 8:30 p.m.
Aliesha, Liz, Donna, Allison and Barb followed Simon (a sled team owner) out to where his team is tethered at about 10 pm and worked there with them until close to midnight, vaccinating and deworming each of them. The remainder of the team passed by Mosha’s home, a local carver, as they walked home, and spoke with him while he was working outside his home. They have asked him to carve different small pieces for them. He is especially talented at carving baleine, which comes from the inside of the whale’s mouth. The whale uses it to filter it’s food before swallowing. Mosha is able to create something quite beautiful out of a whale’s filter.
One thing we’ve each noticed since we have arrived in Igloolik is the large numbers of children we can hear up playing all throughout the night. They just seem to do as they please, with no adult supervision or interference. They seem to especially love to climb on top of wood crates and jump from one to the other. The wood crates are brought in by Sea Lift, a large barge which brings a variety of supplies such as building materials, food, paper goods, as well as ATV’s (quads) and even SUV’s and trucks in for the residents.

DAY THREE, Wednesday, July 11, 2007

After breakfast, the team walked to the Hamlet office in town where we met in the council chambers with Mayor Paul Quassa and the Senior Administrative Officer Brian Fleming. It was very interesting to learn more of the history of Igloolik as well as about the “Inuit dog”. Igloolik has been instrumental in preserving this very unique breed, and are very similar looking to malamutes and huskies. The Mayor also told us the story about the recent search and rescue of an 81 year old “Elder” named Inuke from Igloolik, who went out hunting towards Baffin Island and didn’t return. A large search and rescue operation was launched by the government and was eventually called off. The community insisted that they keep looking and the gentleman was finally found after being missing for about one month.
After the meeting we were taken to the building we would be holding our clinic in. Today, the Mayor went on local radio and announced to the hamlet our arrival and that we would be coming door to door today to ask if they wanted us to deworm and vaccinate their dogs.

Before coming to Igloolik we were told that there was a distemper outbreak in Nunavut and many dogs had died. We came with enough vaccine to give the dogs in Igloolik their Distemper/Parvo vaccine (including a booster) as well as a Rabies vaccine. We were given a map of the location of every home in the hamlet, divided ourselves into five teams, and spread out to go door to door to vaccinate as many dogs as we could. The people seemed very welcoming and grateful for what we were doing. Many dog sled team owners have mentioned to us already that they definitely would like their dogs vaccinated and dewormed. Many children followed us around and wanted their photos taken.
Donna spent some time filming three teenage boys playing on the ice floes by the shore. They would run and jump from floe to floe. One boy in shorts slipped and fell off the side of an ice floe, and the other two ran over to him and pulled him to safety. He jumped up and down for several minutes trying to warm up and thaw out his bare legs. It was quite amusing to watch.
After a full day we returned to Barb’s and had another wonderful dinner around the bonfire. There was a storm on the horizon and rumbles of thunder could be heard off in the distance. The locals mentioned that they hadn’t heard thunder since 1986, being a very rare occurrence here. The storm fortunately passed us by.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


DAY ONE AND DAY TWO, July 9-10, 2007

  • Dr. Liz Bartlett, Langley BC
  • Dr. Brigitte Rudolf, Burnaby BC
  • Dr. Ursula Craigdallie, Vancouver BC
  • Barb Ashmead, Assistant, Qualicum BC
  • Aliesha Timms, Veterinary Technician, Squamish BC
  • Caitlin McLagan, Assistant, Vancouver BC
  • Donna Lasser, Veterinary Technician, Team Leader, Hope BC
  • Isabelle L'Hebreux, Veterinary Technician, Calgary Alberta
  • Allison McLean, Veterinary Technician, Glenwalter Ontario
  • Annette Pecak, Veterinary Technician, Ontario Chapter Coordinator, Cambridge Ontario
  • Christine Robinson, Veterinary Technician,Ontario Chapter Coordinator Cambridge Ontario

After greetings and introductions, the seven British Columbia team members tackled the daunting task of distributing all of the medical supplies amongst themselves. Suitcases were open on the floor near the Air Canada ticket booths as we attempted to meet the fifty pound per person baggage weight allowance, ten pounds less than we were previously permitted. After an uneventful check-in, we boarded the "red-eye special" to Ottawa where we joined up with our remaining four team members the next morning at 7:30 a.m. Isabelle had safely survived her sleepover on a bench at the Ottawa airport.

Going through Security at the Ottawa Airport, Annette, Caitlin and Donna were pulled aside and given a “frisking”. We had a few questions about the vaccines we were carrying in the insulated bags, but otherwise our check-in was problem-free. On our flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit (approx. 3 hours) we were assigned seats where we were not sitting together as a group. This turned out to be a positive thing as several team members sat next to some very informative and interesting persons. Barb, for example, made a very important connection with the lady next to her, a lady from Iqaluit who volunteers with an animal group there and is working towards bringing a CAAT team to that community in the very near future. First Air was the airline we flew on from Ottawa to Iqaluit and from Iqaluit to Igloolik. We were very impressed with the level of service we received from First Air. The Flight Attendants were very friendly and attentive, we were given free hot meals, including a warm chocolate chip cookie part way through the flight. And as the plane begins it’s descent they hand out candies for everyone to suck on to help with the ear problems which often go along with landing.

First Air has been one of our main sponsors for this project, discounting our flights (eleven seats) by up to 75% of the regular cost. A huge thank you to First Air for doing this for us. Flights to northern Canada are very very expensive normally and this makes it difficult for CAAT to work in the Northern remote communities which so desperately need our assistance.

When we landed in Iqaluit we were surprised at the “smallness” of the community, considering it is the Capital City of Nunavut. The airport terminal building is bright yellow in colour. We were met as we entered the terminal building by a reporter from CBC North radio, and Donna and one of our veterinarians, Brigitte Rudolf, were interviewed. It will be aired this week on several news broadcasts all over Nunavut. We then had time to walk across the street to the Art Gallery and see some of the native arts and crafts from the area. At 1:00 p.m. we were met by another reporter, this time one from the Nunatsiaq News, the primary newspaper of Nunavut. Christine, Donna and Dr. Liz were interviewed for this article, and had our photo taken. The weather in Iqaluit was sunny but very chilly, probably close to five degrees Celsius. We could even see our breath. We quickly put on our sweaters and jackets as we slowly tried to acclimatize.

At 2:00 p.m. we boarded a smaller, turbo-prop plane for the last leg of our journey to Igloolik Island. The flight was two and a half hours in length. We were amused by our flight attendant who was a male dressed in coveralls who was both our baggage handler/flight attendant. He handed out snack lunches to us during the flight as well as the candies again on our descent into Igloolik. Igloolik Island is in the Canadian Arctic and we were impressed by the isolation of this community. The airport is very tiny with a gravel landing strip. While the team waited for their baggage and supplies to be taken off the plane, we all had our team photo taken in front of the “Welcome to Igloolik” sign, surrounded by Inukshuks. Our contact in Igloolik, Barb Pimlott, greeted us and our baggage was then collected and loaded onto the back of a pick-up truck and we were transported into the hamlet of Igloolik. Stephen and Lazarus, two employees from the Hamlet, helped to transport all of us women to where we would be staying.

Barb and her husband, Mark, fed us a delicious meal as we sat outside around a bonfire (they burn old hydro/telephone poles here, as trees cannot grow here), overlooking the water – ice floes as far as the eye can see. It was quite amazing to see. We were then introduced to Jay and Marin, a couple from Ontario who are working in Igloolik and went for a walk out to where their sled dog team was kept. We vaccinated and dewormed all eight dogs, beautiful dogs. The sled dogs in Igloolik are very unique as they are some of the only Canadian Inuit dogs remaining in the Canadian Arctic.

Several of the team stayed up late and visited together. While we were chatting, the doorbell rang and a lady from the community came in with a baby on her back and two other young children following behind. She had crocheted a hat and made a couple of other handicrafts she was hoping to sell to us. Her English was excellent as well and we were told that the children are schooled in their native language, Inuktatuk, until grade three, and then from then on they are taught in English. The children are so lovely with round, chubby faces. Our first night in the Arctic Circle was a bit challenging trying to sleep, as the sun doesn’t set. We will need to get used to sleeping in the sunlight during our stay here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thank You, Aeroplan Donors!

CAAT would like to thank everyone who donated their Aeroplan miles during the month of April. The campaign was extremely successful with almost 550 000 miles donated! These miles have been used to book the team's flight to Nunavut in July for the two week Spay and Neuter Project.

CAAT will be having an Aeroplan campaign every year, and we would appreciate your support again in 2008. Thank you for helping us to to impact on the safety, health and population control of domestic animals worldwide.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Final 6 Days in Guyana

FRIDAY, May 18, 2007, DAY 11

Terill, Gwen, Brenda and Tera were picked up by Syeada at 6:00 am for a one hour drive to the river, and then a 1 ½ hour boat ride upriver to the community of Bartica, population 14,000. Syeada had made contact with a couple of residents previously, and they had the day organized for the team upon their arrival. The team worked extremely hard and long hours and were able to complete seventeen cat spays, three cat neuters, six dog spays and one dog neuter, as well as vaccinate, deworm and give parasite treatment to them as well as fifteen others. A few cases of venereal tumours were seen; one was euthanized.

Meanwhile, back in Georgetown, Donna and a terrific taxi driver, Mark, left at 6:00 am for the always harrowing ride to the Cheddi Dagan International Airport to pick up Dr. Raymond Deonanan and his assistant, Shivani Maharaj, whom we flew in from Trinidad, a short flight away, to work with the team for the remainder of our time here. CAAT’s Trinidad Team, November of 2006, had worked daily with Raymond and Shivani and had come home with glowing reports of them. And they did not disappoint us. Raymond and Shivani both proved to be extremely competent, very pleasant to work with and hugely hardworking. For the remainder of the day, Dr. Ray, Shivani, Vince and Donna worked at the SPCA clinic, seeing many walk-in appointments for sickly and worm-filled puppies, to mangy and malnourished dogs, to flea and tick-infested dogs. They also completed many dog and cat spays throughout the day.

Donna received a telephone call from the Vice-President of the GSPCA at 12:50 pm, telling her she was scheduled to speak at 1:00 pm (in ten minutes) at a Primary school to over two hundred children. She scrambled to gather her supplies and was quickly transported to the school where she was met by two hundred plus smiling Grades one to six uniformed children. The room was one big very hot classroom upstairs. The children welcomed her warmly, standing up together to greet her and in unison welcoming her. Donna spent the next hour sharing information with the children, asking and answering many questions, showing photos of dogs and taking many photos of all of the children. The children love to have their photos taken and then eagerly look at their photo on the back of the camera, smiling hugely when they spot themselves on the screen. The teachers had all of the children stand and together said “Thank you Miss Donna” and they promised to take care of their dogs and cats. It was very touching.

Meanwhile, the team of Raymond, Shivani, Vince and Donna worked at the SPCA clinic for the day and were overwhelmed with seeing drop-in patients as well as fitting in the occasional spay and neuter. At 6 pm, just as they were finishing up for the day, a lady brought in her dog, Mice, which she stated “was in labour since Monday”, five days previously. The dog was very exhausted, dehydrated, and hadn’t eaten for five days. We immediately gave her Torbugesic, a painkiller, and placed an IV catheter in her vein. After hooking her up to IV fluids, we anesthetized her and proceeded to do a C-section on her. Dr. Raymond performed the surgery, and when he opened her up he discovered an extremely large bladder filled with urine. It was so full it had moved its way up under the rib cage to some degree. He attempted to express her bladder to empty some of the urine from it, but was completely unable to do so. We assumed, incorrectly, that the weight of the puppies was pressing down on the urethra, making her unable to urinate. He then removed the seven large dead puppies and was still unable to express her bladder. It was then that he discovered a tennis ball-sized tumour (venereal tomour) which had wrapped itself in a stranglehold around the urethra. With permission by the owner, Mice was sadly euthanized. It was not a pleasant ending to our workday.

Syeada Manbodh and her partner Jerry La Gra own a Bed and Breakfast home in Georgetown, and they invited Donna, Jen, Raymond and Shivani to stay there. We, along with Vince, met up with Neil who had returned late afternoon from his adventure into the interior in the Mazaruni region, working with the goats, and had a bite to eat together and retired for the night.

SATURDAY, May 19, 2007 DAY 12

The Bartica teams of Gwen and Brenda, Terill and Tera were up at the crack of dawn to meet the 6 am boat to come downriver and back to Georgetown. Their wonderful and gracious hosts arose at 4 am to cook Roti and curried beef for their breakfast. Syeada drove them back to Georgetown and they arrived at the SPCA clinic at 9 am, safe and sound. The SPCA had arranged for part of the team to travel to Enmore, a small community approximately thirty minutes east of the city. The SPCA had announced their visit previously on radio and in newspapers, so a large turn-out was expected. This was not to be the case though. Two veterinarians and their technicians were transported to Enmore. Gwen and Terill were the Veterinarians, Brenda, Tera, Vince and Jen were support staff. They arrived at the Enmore Community Centre, set up the surgery tables and laid out all of the medical supplies, and waited for the people and their animals to arrive. Over the next four hours, the teams did three dog spays and one dog neuter, as well as vaccinations, dewormings, and euthanizing a male dog with a very large venereal tumour.

Venereal disease (a sexually transmitted disease) is very common amongst the dog population in Guyana, and it is very difficult to treat and to cure, if not impossible. Several Veterinarians in Guyana attempt to treat this horrible disease with a cancer drug called Vinchristine, but it is extremely dangerous to humans if the correct precautions are not taken. Euthanasia is sometimes the only option.

A dog with suspected rabies was also brought in, foaming at the mouth, growling and showing his teeth. Terill explained to the owner that the dog needed to be immediately taken and put down, and not to have any contact with it.

Because the numbers of people bringing their dogs and cats were so low, the team remained in Enmore until 3 pm, and then traveled back to finish out their work day at the SPCA clinic in Georgetown.

At 7:30 pm the team was picked up by Jean Lowry who had invited us to her home for a barbeque and a visit. Jean was the Canadian contact we had met at the Canadian Embassy on our second day in Guyana. She is the Guyana Field Director for the BCCP (Building Community Capacity Project), funded by CIDA in Ottawa. The BCCP is the group who Dr. Neil McKenzie (our equine vet) flew into the interior with to help with the vaccination and care of goats that the BCCP had recently transported in to the Mazaruni area of Guyana. After a very pleasant evening with Jean, her husband and several other guests, we were in bed by 11 pm or so, anticipating our big day ahead tomorrow – our long-awaited visit to Kaietura Falls.

SUNDAY, May 20, 2007 DAY 13

Our day off! Our trip into the interior to visit Kaietura Falls had been cancelled on Thursday due to rain, and had been rescheduled for today. And what a glorious day it turned out to be! The team was picked up after breakfast by the bus and transported one hour to the International Airport, where we then boarded our plane (a twin propeller aircraft which seats fifteen or so passengers) for our one hour flight into the Amazon rainforest. The pilots informed us that today was the best weather the Guyana interior had seen in two weeks and we definitely picked the right day.

After a very scenic flight over seemingly endless and very dense forest, we landed on a short, unpaved landing strip within walking distance of the waterfall. Our tour guide, Lawrence Gibson, introduced himself and gave us a short history of the area, what we would expect to see on our tour, what dangers to watch out for, and then we were on our way. We walked through very lush vegetation at times, saw several types of small toads including the nearly extinct Golden Toad, as well as two gorgeous wild Macaws (red and blue in colour) flying closely overhead. Lawrence told us the area is just teeming with wildlife, especially towards evening, such as jaguars, monkeys and snakes.

As we approached Kaietura Falls, we could hear the thundering sounds of the water and our anticipation grew. We were not to be disappointed. The world’s tallest waterfall was breathtaking and we were filled with awe as we snapped many photos and took in the magnificent scenery. The air was cool and so fresh and pure. Lawrence told us that if you bathe your face in the water of the Falls or drink the pure water, it is very rejuvenating. Like the “Fountain of Youth”. We questioned Lawrence as to why the water looks almost dirty, and he said it isn’t that it is dirty; it is the coppery brown colour due to the tannin from the tea leaves falling in the rivers in the whole country. Interesting. We were able to approach the waterfall from several different aspects and were also able to stand at the top of the falls right where the water went over the edge, falling 750 feet below.

We walked back to the landing strip along a pathway which took us past the Kaietura Guesthouse, a house built for the visit of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the 1970’s. He apparently spent some time there with Barbara Streisand we were told.

We were given a nice picnic lunch of rice, beans, curry, roti and chicken, and then we boarded the plane to fly back to Georgetown.

We arrived back in town very sunburned and tired, but extremely content with the beauties of our day.

MONDAY, May 21, 2007 DAY 14

Today was Media Day!!!
The three Veterinarians, Terill, Gwen and Neil appeared on “The Guyana Today” show at 7 am this morning and were able to share with the public our reason for coming to Guyana and what we have been able to accomplish thus far.

At 11 am we met with Dr. Steve Surujbally, the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Committee and a Veterinarian in Georgetown. Dr. Surujbally is a past President of the GSPCA. He was instrumental in getting our drug permit and Customs clearances upon our arrival in Guyana.

At 2:30 pm we held a Press Conference in the lobby of the GSPCA clinic where approximately 8 – 10 reporters and camera crew from the four Guyana newspapers interviewed the team.

We were then able to complete some last minute souvenir shopping and errands, have dinner and retire early for the night. Tomorrow will be our last working day in this country so we wanted to be well rested to give it our all.

TUESDAY, May 22, 2007 DAY 15

After breakfast, Dr. Ray, Tera, Brenda and Vince were take to the GSPCA clinic where they began, which turned out to be, a full day of spays and neuters. Shivani, an avid horse lover, asked Neil if she could spend the day with him as Neil spoke to the Veterinary Technician students at their college, visited the Guyana Police Station to have a look at their horses, and possibly, if time permitted, to continue working on the streets with the cart horses. (see the end of the blog for Neil’s report on his work in Georgetown with the horses.) Meanwhile, Terill, Gwen, Neil and Donna met with Jean Lowry one last time, at her office, to speak further about possible future CAAT involvement with several CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) programs in the Caribbean Islands, as well as a possibility of work in the interior of Guyana with agricultural programs and the native Indian peoples there.

Terill, Gwen and Donna returned to the GSPCA clinic to join Dr. Ray in completing over fifteen dog spays and neuters, as well as many vaccines, dewormings and parasite treatments given.

At 7 pm the team was transported to a restaurant where we were given an ”Appreciation Dinner” by several of the GSPCA board members. They also awarded CAAT with a trophy, expressing their appreciation for the work we did over the last two weeks.

WEDNESDAY, May 23, 2007 DAY 15

Dr. Ray and Shivani were picked up at 7 am to be taken to catch their 10 am flight back home to Port of Spain, Trinidad. It was difficult to say goodbye to them both. We truly enjoyed working with them and getting to know and love them. They are so easy to love. They will be life-long friends.

The Team was transported to the airport also, arriving at 10 a.m. for check in for our flight to Toronto, scheduled to leave at 1:15 p.m. An hour late and with no serious hassles going through Customs or Security, we took off for our beloved Canada. As we flew, we were able to see below several Islands of the Caribbean, presumably Trinidad and Tobago and the Barbados. Donna and Jen later spotted New York City, Manhattan and Central Park as we flew five miles above. We arrived in Toronto at 9 p.m., very hungry and very tired, but relieved to be away from the heat and humidity of the tropical Guyana. A shuttle bus took the team to the nearby Travelodge, where we had dinner and retired at midnight. It would be a short sleep.

THURSDAY, May 24, 2007 DAY 16

After only four hours of sleep, Gwen, Neil, Donna, Jen and Brenda were on the shuttle at 5 a.m. to meet their 7 a.m. flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Terill and Vince caught a later flight direct to Kelowna BC, and Tera’s flight departed at 9:30 am for Edmonton and her home.

Reflecting back on the last two weeks and our time in Guyana, we definitely feel we made an impact on many people there. We were able to meet many important contact persons who will make a difference for the Canadian Animal Assistance Team in the future. We were able to assess the needs and the situation with the animals (both small and large) in that country. We were able to prevent close to 150 needless pregnancies, as well as prevent to some degree, the continued spread of STD’s (venereal disease specifically) amongst the dog population. We were also able to make many recommendations to the GSPCA for the future, and worked side by side with them on a daily basis. We were able to spend a total of four full days with Dr. Dexter Allen’s Veterinary Technician students, teaching them and answering many questions. Our veterinarians were able to work with three newly graduated Veterinarians, showing them specific techniques and thus improving the quality of their surgeries in the future. Neil was able to work with the cart horses in the streets of Georgetown (vaccinating, deworming and general treatments) and educated and connected with the owners. The talks to over 400 schoolchildren were invaluable and extremely important. The media coverage CAAT received will reach thousands and thousands of people and bring new awareness to their minds about the proper treatment and care of their dogs and cats for the future. And so much more!

We want to give special recognition and thanks to all of the volunteers and staff at the GSPCA clinic - Maureen, Piper, Claudine, Dominique, Deb, John, Mr. Abel and anyone else whom we have failed to mention or whose names we are unsure of. Our gratitude also goes out to the Guyana SPCA board members, such as Oliver, Jennifer, Shiromanie, and Dominique for providing for all of our meals and transportation, countless bottles of drinking water, as well as arranging the school visits and media interviews. Thank you once again for the wonderful trophy you presented us with and for the appreciation dinner. Thank you for all you are trying to do for the dogs and cats in the city of Georgetown.

To the very important persons who worked behind the scenes, primarily Joyce Gomes of Vancouver, BC, a native of Guyana. Joyce contacted CAAT approximately one year ago and shared her burden for the dog situation in Guyana. She had just returned at that time from Georgetown, and had even brought back a stray dog with her whom she named “Pickup”. He has since fit in nicely into their family and with her other three dogs. Joyce pled with CAAT to plan for a two week project in her native country for the near future, and planning then began. Joyce traveled to Guyana one week before the Team arrived and began to arrange for the Team’s accommodations, as well as organizing some of the work we were going to do. Joyce personally paid for the six of the Team’s accommodations during the entire time we were in Guyana. She has worked tirelessly over the last year to prepare for this project and we owe Joyce a huge debt of gratitude. Thank you again Joyce. You are an amazing woman and we love you!

Syeada Manbodh and Jerry La Gra - owners/operators of Rainforest Bed and Breakfast for accommodating Donna and Jen, Raymond and Shivani in your home. And so much more! Jerry – thank you for all of our talks and for your sage advice, recommendations and suggestions for CAAT. Also thanks for your delicious potato pancakes, mango pancakes and scrambled eggs you made for us. The work you have done, especially in Guyana over the last twenty years, for the Indigenous peoples in the interior is incredibly impressive, fascinating and inspiring. Thanks for your caring heart. You will not be forgotten. Syeada – your shining example of dedication and untiring love for the stray dogs, cats and horses (all of the animals) of Georgetown and of your country, has been an inspiration to so many of us, the likes of which you will never realize. Never stop doing all that you do!!! You were such a wonderful and caring hostess (sorry about the ink ruining your sheets), and for your friendship. It will be cherished always.

Zenobia Williams - you traveled from Toronto to your birthplace, Guyana, to help facilitate and organize for our Team’s arrival and for our work in Guyana. You worked alongside Joyce over the last two weeks and were a dynamic team together. Zenobia has been inspired to return to Georgetown later this year to live there again. Her burden for the dogs in that city is great, and she feels she needs to live there to make a difference and be most effective. Thanks Zenobia for your dedication to the animals.

And last, but certainly not least, a huge thank you goes out from the Team to Harry and his son, Chris. Harry is Joyce Gomes’ brother and resides in Guyana, just outside of Georgetown. On a daily basis Harry provided the use of his bus van to the team and especially to transport Neil to various parts of the city to work with the cart horses. Chris was Neil’s assistant extraordinaire and was a big help to Neil continually. Chris has expressed an interest in coming to Canada to attend Veterinary Technician school in the near future. Chris was also our tour guide and security guard as we traveled on foot through Georgetown to shop and to take photos. Thank you Harry and Chris for all you did. You are both wonderful people and we love you both.

CAAT is now preparing for the next project which will be in Igloolik Nunavut from July 9 to 23. Ten team members from across Canada will travel to the Arctic Circle to work primarily with the sled dogs in that community. We will be vaccinating, deworming, spaying and neutering close to 300 dogs, as well as having opportunities to educate and share with the residents of Igloolik. With thanks to all of our donors in the month of April for their generous donation of their Aeroplan miles for this project, all ten team members will be able to fly for free to Ottawa. First Air has offered us a 75% discount on our airfare from Ottawa to Igloolik and we wish to thank them in a big way. A daily journal with photos will also be placed here on this blog at that time.


Neil was able to work with the cart horses in and around Georgetown. These horses are used to pull small narrow carts and are seen all over the streets mixed in with the cars and trucks.

He vaccinated (horse vaccines donated by Intervet and Wyeth) against tetanus, sleeping sickness (which they call “horse sickness” in Guyana), treated for external and internal parasistes and consulted with many medical cases. Neil was surprised with the level of external parasites that he saw. He was also able to do dental exams on many horses and was pleasantly surprised at the good condition of their teeth. This is probably due to their high roughage and low concentrate diet.

In total Neil worked with and helped over one hundred of the cart horses.

Neil also flew into the interior with representatives from CIDA. While there he examined fifty goats and was able to treat some for lung worm, maggots and vaccinated against Rabies. Rabies is mostly a problem in the larger animals is Guyana. The vampire bats , especially in the interior, bite the goats, sheep, cows, and horses and can transfer rabies to them. The Rabies vaccine was all donated to CAAT by Intervet.

Neil has gathered very much information which will be useful for future CAAT projects.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Guyana, Days Five to Ten

Day Five:
Saturday, May 12, 2007

At 9:00 am, we arrive at the SPCA clinic; there are already many people lined up with dogs and cats for exams, possible surgeries, deworming and vaccinations. Several of the dogs are suspected to have heartworm, a problem here.

One dog seen had a tumour in its right eye the size of a golf ball. Terill removed the tumour successfully and the dog’s head was bandaged. We will have to have a look at the eye again in a couple of days. We think that there will be vision in that eye.

Syeada, Jen and Sinobe go to a near by town call Success to pick up an unwanted puppy from a home as well as stray kittens. On the way back into town they found and picked up a very skinny puppy on the side of the highway. They took all of the animals into the GSPCA. Unfortunately, all of their fates are unknown.

The Team worked at SPCA clinic until 7:30pm and retired for the evening, looking forward to a much-needed day off.

Day Six:
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Mother's day & our day off!

Everyone gets to sleep in and enjoy the morning!

The Team meets up at Syeada's house and Syeada's partner Gerry takes us on a wild adventure up the west coast to Fort Island for the day. The eight of us pile into his Toyota pick up truck, four inside and four in the box (it is legal to drive like that here, eek). We drove past endless fields of rice patties, continuous villages one after the other, cows, horses, sheep, and dogs wandering by the side of and across the road. It is not uncommon here to see a cow standing in the middle of the road, and the vehicles have to slow down and drive around it. We also passed by a human cremation site (a large open building where important persons are cremated in front of an audience).

We drove across the longest floating bridge in the world, over the Demeraras River; a further 390-minute drive and we came to a community on the edge of the Essquibo River, called Parika. We parked the vehicle and walked to where all of the boats are anchored and we were immediately surrounded by several aggressive men attempting to convince us to hire their boats. After a price was negotiated, we climbed aboard a small wooden motor boat, which seats about 10- 12 persons, donned our life jackets (many boats don’t have them) and we were taken upriver for approximately twenty minutes to Fort Island and the home of Fort Zeelandia, a brick fortress built in the late 1700's. The population of the island is about 100 people. A two hundred year old church stands in the center of the island, which has now been made into a museum, which we all toured. Our driver of our boat, Leo, gave us a safe boat ride back to Parika where we visited the marketplace and took a few photographs of the locals.

Later that evening, the Team met up for dinner at a restaurant on the seawall and enjoyed some good food and great company. What a great day off!

Day Seven:
Monday, May 14, 2007

Another long day at the GSPCA full of health exams, vaccinations and spays and neuters for the Team. Again, another long line up all day of patients waiting their turn.

Syeada and Jen went into Georgetown and picked up some stray dogs that needed to be spayed/neutered. One of the dogs that they picked up was "Browngirl". She was quite old and had a limp. She was a guard dog at one of the hotels here in town and Syeada faithfully has been feeding her everyday for a long time and they developed a good bond. She was dropped off at the GSPCA and was spayed but her body couldn't handle the surgery, she died afterwards. A post mortem was done on her and it was discovered that she had a serious case of heartworm. This was likely the cause of her death.

Day Eight:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
9:00 am
Tera and Brenda spoke at a school to about 180 5 1/2 year olds in cute yellow uniforms. They took along Sheeba, a huge friendly Neopolitan Mastiff to demonstrate to children how to approach strange dogs, and talk nicely to them. They showed the children the stethoscope and some of them were able to listen to Sheeba's heartbeat; they were all very excited!! Tera and Brenda were surprised to find out that many of the children had house pets of their own. They also talked about how to be kind to pets/animals, and how to love them and how if they did so they would love them back.

The school was very organized and the level of material on the walls for that age group was unexpected. All the kids cheered and were smiling as we left. Brenda and Tera also brought Canadian stickers for all of the children.

Donna, Jen and Carmella from the GSPCA headed over to a nearby primary school. There were about 100 kids in the room and Donna spoke to them about how to properly treat animals, how to care for them and how to safely approach approaching animals that you don't know. The media had been alerted to the school visit and a cameraman for a Guyanese Television station filmed nearly the entire talk. Donna placed four large posters around the classroom with colour 8x10 photographs depicting dogs receiving hugs and affection, playing ball, cats sleeping contentedly, as well as several photos of neglected dogs, mangy dogs and sickly thin dogs. Syeada provided all of these materials, including a one page hand out which every child was given to take home. The children were eager to answer all of the questions and asked many questions also. Crayons, colouring pages and pencils with Canadian flags were left with the teachers to hand out to the children after we departed. Several children drew photos of their dogs and wrote a story about them, including their names, addresses, and emails if they had one. What a great experience!

At 10:30 after we had visited the school, Gwen, Donna, Vince, Jen, Carmella, left for the day to a town called Uitvlugt to work the remainder of the day. We were dropped off at the town's community centre, where we proceeded to set up our exam/surgical table outside in the shade. For the next seven hours we worked non-stop, seeing 38 dogs, cats, bunnies, and even some sheep. During our surgeries, there must have been at least fifty children and adults crowded around watching. Gwen (Dr. McKenzie) explained her surgeries step by step to all of the curious onlookers. Their eyes were huge as they witnessed their first spay/neuter ever. We headed back to Georgetown at about 6:30 exhausted but contented with a great days work.

Meanwhile, Terill, Brenda and Tera had stayed at the GSPCA and performed spay and neuters all day along with about 30 health examinations & Neil worked a hard day in town on the cart horses.

Day Nine:
Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The surgeries got off to a slow start this morning at the GSPCA due to a load of exams, vaccines, dewormings, and parasite treatments that kept flowing in through the front doors. We finally caught up and started spaying the dogs and cats, which we continued to do throughout the day until 7pm. Every day since our arrival we have eaten a hearty breakfast and have existed on no food but protein bars and water the rest of the day, until supper usually at 8 pm. It tends to take its toll on you after a while. That combined with the extreme heat and humidity 24 hours per day and you start to feel pretty weak and light-headed by the end of a workday. Power outages are a very common occurrence here. Today we lost power at about 2pm and when we left the SPCA clinic at 7:30pm the power was still off. As it became darker and darker, we had to perform surgery with a flashlight. Rather frustrating, to say the least!

We have our day off tomorrow, and have made arrangement to travel by small airplane to Kiateur Falls (approx. one hour's travel). Kiateur Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world and is located in the central interior of Guyana, in the dense rainforest. We will be away for the whole day.

Day Ten:
Thursday May 17, 2007

The day began with the very disappointing news that our trip to the falls had been cancelled, due to maintenance on the plane and also due to the weather. It is presently Guyana's rainy season, especially in the central interior where we were to travel today. We have rebooked this trip to take place on Sunday, hopefully. That will be our last chance to go.

Neil (Dr. McKenzie) was given a free seat on a small plane to travel today and tomorrow to an area in the interior very close to the Brazil border. CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) and one of their representatives in Guyana, Jean Lowry, requested that one of our veterinarians go along and start vaccinating the hundreds of sheep against rabies. Rabies is a severe threat in the large animal population in Guyana, due to vampire bats. CAAT had a large number of Rabies vaccines donated by Intervet before we left home last week, which is very much appreciated, and being put to very good use here.

Because our trip was cancelled to the falls, we decided to go shopping instead and explore downtown Georgetown by foot a little more. We also got to see the largest wooden building in the world. It is St. Georges Cathedral and it is beautiful. After a few hours of shopping and buying souvenirs we decided to go to the Pegasus Hotel to go swimming and lay by the pool. Now, that was relaxing!!!!! We then ate dinner there and returned home for the night.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Guyana, South America

Project: Guyana, South America
May 8th-May 23rd, 2007

Due to communication difficulties, this is the first contact with the team in Guyana. Below is four days worth of journals. To view pictures of the trip, please visit

More Blog entries and photos will be added as they are sent from the Team.

Day One:
Tuesday, May 8th, 2007
Team arrives at Vancouver International Airport
Team Members:
- Donna Lasser, R.A.H.T & Team Leader
- Jennifer Picard, Photographer
- Dr. Neil McKenzie, Equine Specialist
- Dr. Gwen McKenzie, Small Animal Veterinarian
- Dr. Terill Udenberg, Small Animal Veterinarian
- Brenda Russell, R.A.H.T.
- Vince Nickel, Veterinary Assistant

We sorted through all of our medical supplies and distributed them amongst all of our suitcases, as we were only allowed to take two bags per person, with a maximum weight of 60 pounds each.

The two medical supply suitcases were slightly overweight and the carrier wouldn't make any exceptions; we were therefore charged an extra $80 for overweight luggage.
We boarded our flight at 4:15pm bound for Toronto and embarked on an adventure of a lifetime, arriving at Pearson International Airport in Toronto at 11:30pm. Tera Udenberg, R.A.H.T. arrived half an hour later on a flight from Edmonton, Alberta to complete the team.

We then proceeded to look for a comfy place to sleep as our flight was not scheduled to depart until 6:30 am, bound for Georgetown, Guyana, South America.

We found some big ol' comfy couches in the lobby of the Sheridan Hotel (in the Airport) and remained there for 6 hours until we had to check in for our flight. (Fortunately, the people working there were nice enough to not kick us out!)

Day Two:
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

After virtually no sleep and consuming too many sugary cookies we proceeded to go check in for our flight at 4: 45 am in the morning. We again had to do some rearranging of all our medical supplies as we didn't want to be overweight again and have to pay extra.

The carrier was nice enough to make exceptions for us by letting us take all of our vaccination bags on the plane, in spite of the fact that we were over our carry-on limit of one bag each weighing no more than 5kg.
We then boarded our flight at 6:30 am and took off at 7:00am bound for the unknown. It was a six hour flight filled with lots of turbulence, bad movies, much needed sleep, and just overall good times.

We arrived in Georgetown, Guyana at 12:55pm and were welcomed with a blast of hot humid air, partly due to the fact that we disembarked from the plane directly onto the tarmac. We then stood in line for an hour and waited for our turn to pass through customs. Thankfully, we had no problems getting our drugs and medical supplies through customs. We were welcomed by Joyce Gomez, Native of Guyana and presently a resident of Vancouver, B.C., Oliver Insanally of the GSPCA, and Dr. Nicholas Waldron, Veterinarian.

On our way to Georgetown from the Airport we were amazed with the number of cattle, horses, goats, donkeys and dogs that were running loose on the side of the road. We were also a little confused and petrified with the driving conditions. Everyone here drives on the left side of the road; there are no street signs or stoplights; everyone walks all over the roads, children, animals, bikes, horse drawn carts, people carrying loads on their heads; and here the cars have the right away, not the pedestrians.

Our guides were kind enough to pick us up and take us out to dinner for some Guyanese food and then took us to a meeting where we were greeted by the entire board of directors from the GSPCA. The purpose of this meeting was to go over our itinerary for the next 14 days and collectively plan out what we wanted to accomplish over the next 2 weeks.

During the meeting Jen's legs became a feast for many hungry mosquitoes! She developed quite the swollen ankles, something that Donna has struggled with on previous trips…

Next, we settled into our rooms at the Rima Guesthouse in the heart of Georgetown graciously provided by Joyce Gomez. We all then passed out surrounded by our mosquito netted beds! Ah, relief!

Day Three:
Thursday, May 10, 2007.

6:30 am Wake up, 3:30 Vancouver time! Whew!
We were picked up at 7:15am by a couple of members of the GSPCA and then
proceeded to go out for a lovely breakfast at the Pegasus Hotel on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

After breakfast, we went to a meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture where we were introduced to the Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Elias as well as several other Veterinarians from different regions in the country (mainly large animal vets). The meeting ended around 11:00am and were transported to the GSPCA where we commenced our first day of surgeries (12 in total).

A woman by the name of Syeada Manbodh, who has done tremendous work for the dogs and cats in Guyana, took Jen out on a stray dog-feeding mission. Syeada makes food at her home and feeds these stray dogs everyday in different parts of the city. She took Jen to the poorest neighbourhood in Georgetown called Boystown where she gave a little boy with a dog on a rope a brand new leash & collar. He was so happy and thankful.

They also put up some posters for a cat named Princess that has been living at the Highschool and is in need of a good home. She is such a sweet cat.

Our Equine Veterinarian, Dr. Neil Mackenzie went into the streets of Georgetown and began working with the cart-horses. At one point the cart-horses and their owners were lined up down the road patiently waiting for their examinations. Equine Encephalitis has been a major health problem amongst the horses in Guyana for many years and Neil was able to vaccinate each horse against this disease, with vaccines donated from Intervet and Wyeth. He was also able to diagnose several cases of lameness, and other health problems. All of the horses he examined were also given dewormer, courtesy of Vetoquinol.

After a hard days work we convinced the president of the GSPCA, Oliver to take us across the street to the busy market place, which he reluctantly agreed to. The market was mainly filled with fruits and vegetables and even some hoodlums. We unfortunately witnessed a guy getting punched in the face and then being chased by another man with a knife. One of the team members, Tera, had to hide behind her father Terill as the man with the knife came running past her. Scary moments. Everyone bought some coconuts, cut open by a gentleman with a machete (and only four fingers…) and drank the milk through a straw.

At the end of the day, the group all went for dinner across the street from the their rooms and then prepared their medical supplies for the next day.

Day Four:
Friday, May 11, 2007

After breakfast the Team met at the Canadian Embassy to register as being in the country of Guyana. We requested a meeting with the Canadian High Commissioner and were ushered into his office where we discussed the purpose for our visit and our long-term goals for the animals.

As fate would have it, Ms Lawrie from CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency)
was scheduled to meet with the High Commissioner and joined in on our meeting, where we created the possibilities of CAAT working with CIDA in Guyana in the near future.

Ecstatic about our meeting, we left for a hard days work at the GSPCA where we were able to spay 8 dogs, and 2 cats. We also had the opportunity to do health exams on several dogs and cats. All animals were vaccinated (Vaccines provided by Intervet), had ear cleanings, and had Revolution (Donated by Pfizer) applied.

At 3:00 pm several of the team members met with the Minister of Agriculture for the Country where we were able to state our purposes for coming to Guyana as well as our long term objectives.

We then returned to the GSPCA at 4:30pm and performed four more surgeries and then retired for the night at 8pm.


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