Monday, April 23, 2012
Day 4- April 17 I find myself getting back into the routine. We all met at the MAWS clinic for 8AM- all our patients were already present, having been dropped off the day before- Nation goes and picks up dogs from the surrounding villages mid-day, by which time our surgeries would be well enough recovered to pile into the 4X4 and be dropped off at their homes. 14 dogs were brought in for today, although one was surrendered to Nation for euthanasia- an ancient old man with generalized mange- not treatable under the circumstances. The remaining 13 cases were pretty straight forward spays and neuters, and we add the old girl with the TVT to the roster. Lazarus and Michelle have their technique down, and as soon as Richard or I finish one surgery, another patient slides onto the table. We're finished by noon, even with an unexpected baby-tooth extraction thrown in. I was successful, but had to improvise my technique since there was no actual dental equipment on hand. The old girl did well through surgery, and since we'll be here for 2 more weeks we'll be able to monitor how here TVT improves. While we're waiting for the last couple patients to recover, Ally arrived with Jackie and Isabelle in tow, fresh off the plane from Jo'burg. They're looking incredibly refreshed and awake considering their time in transit. They get the grand tour of the clinic and the 'Palmer Compound' and get introduced to the dogs before settling into the cottage. Day 5- April 18 Isabelle and Jackie seemed to sleep well last night, and I'm up puttering in the kitchen making coffee and eggs for quite some time before the door to their room opens. Jackie had expressed a concern for spiders last night, and after staking her claim on the big bedroom, changed her mind after finding spiders in the room. We cleared out the first one- a specimen about an inch in diameter, legs included, but very flat, coming only about 3mm above wall surface. But boy those suckers can move!! After discovering a couple more on the ceiling above her bed, she opted for a mosquito net and a single bed in Isabelle's room. After breakfast, we made the (2 minute) trek to the clinic where awaited a local woman, Helen, who wanted to have her dog spayed. "What's your dog's name?" we asked, thinking we'd discover a new Batswana word. "Lipice" she replied. Interesting. "What does Lipice mean?" She made a motion around her mouth as though putting on lipstick- her dog was named after a local brand of lip gloss! Lipice was amongst the 16 dogs we did surgery on- an equal mix of spays and neuters. Isabelle and Jackie got quickly up to speed under the expert tutelage of Lazarus, giving him time to do things he usually reserves for after the days' surgeries are finished. The recovery period is still the rate limiting step, and we stop early to allow the slow ones sufficient time to wake up before Nation loads them into the 4X4 and takes them back to their homes. We took advantage of Richards Monster Safari Truck, and had him chauffeur us around town. We stopped at Kalahari Kofi to use their free wifi- catch up on a couple hundred e-mails, mostly junk, that had accumulated over the previous 4 days, post a few gloating comments on Facebook, and have a decent cuppa coffee. This followed by a visit to Spar, one of two local grocery chains, for a few staples. On the way back to the ranch I received an urgent text from Ally- 2 dogs at the clinic had opened up their incisions and needed attention. I had left the MAWS phone at the cottage to charge- this made certain that we'd need to return to the clinic. We pulled into the clinic 5 minutes later and located the two dogs in question and assessed their situation: both had licked out their skin sutures, and one had pulled a little subcutaneous fat through the incision- it looks very dramatic, but only needs a little trimming. We sedated them, cleaned their incisions, restitched them, and reversed the sedative. In and out in less than 30 minutes. We thawed a couple tubs of chili for dinner- much of the food provided for the veterinarians has been donated to MAWS by local restaurants, so our freezer is full. A yummy dinner, a couple bottles of Windhoek lager, some entertaining chat and then off to bed. Day 6- April 19 Yesterday it was confirmed that the trip to the Cheetah Conservation Preserve at Ghanzi had been cancelled. The staff had apparently dispersed, so there was no one present to round up dogs for us. This morning we learned that instead of working this weekend we were being flown to Vumbara Plains on the northeast shore of the delta to spend a couple days at one of Wilderness Safari's lodges, as thanks for work done and work we'll be doing next week. Not bad work if you can get it! We are now working like a well oiled machine. The 14 surgeries were finished by 12:30- 12 spays and 2 neuters- and they had all recovered by 2. We kept one old girl at the clinic for observation, simply she because she's old and recovered slowly. We'll look in on her tonight and again tomorrow before flying to Vumbara, before sending her back home.