Thursday, April 30, 2020

Cuba Travel Network - A Victim of COVID19

It was with much sadness we learned of 
ceasing operations.
Last week the announcement was made on their website.
"Dear Customer 
As a result of the devastating effects of the coronavirus crisis, we regret to inform you that after 18 years Cuba Travel Network is no longer in business."

How Sad!
Eddie and CTN were the first "corporate" supporters of the 
Spanky Project. 
On occasion they provided free or discounted accommodations to our veterinary team.
They made us an "affiliate". Travel, accommodations or car rentals booked with CTN though the Spanky Project website or blog saw a small "commission" come back to us.

Eddie also visited our campañas.
Check out our blog post from the day they visited

Below is their recollection of the visit as published on 

Terry Shewchuk and his team of Canadian veterinarians, extend a paw to the dogs and cats of Havana, Cuba who cannot afford proper healthcare.

The Spanky Project was initiated in 2003, the year when Terry visited Cuba for the second time and his beloved mutt Spanky died. These two events prompted Terry to do something for the Havana mutts. He named his initiative “the Spanky Project”. In recent years cats and other domestic animals have been welcomed to take advantage of the free medical attention.

It needs to be said that Cubans love their domestic animals and happily drum up some patience for a stray dog that deems the middle of a busy road as the ideal place for a siesta. Fact is that parasite treatments, sterilization and preventive care are costly and veterinarian medicines are scares if not non-existent.

Over the last nine years, the Spanky Project has treated thousands of animals, both that live on the streets or with their owners. The initiative has developed into an official international collaboration between the Spanky Project and the various veterinarian organizations in Cuba including the veterinarian clinics of Havana.

I decide to go and visit Terry at the Clinica Veterenaria Laika in Old Havana and cannot believe my eyes. In a room of roughly 4x5 meters, the Spanky team managed to put up 3 improvised operating tables. I count at least 20 bodies in the crammed quarters, but no one seems to care. The Canadian surgeons are working closely together with their Cuban counterparts, demonstrating new techniques and fully incorporating freshly graduated Cuban vets who are introduced to new generations of medicines and anesthetics in the process.

I realize that this professional interaction is what makes the Spanky Project really shine. Terry tells me that soon he plans to move on to other Cuban cities, knowing that the medical supplies he will keep on sending to the various Havana clinics will be put to excellent use.

During my short visit I witness the sterilization of one dog and six cats and cannot help to ask wonder if Spanky would approve of all this loving attention to his natural adversary. Terry assures me Spanky would have been fine with it, after all, the fewer cats she would have to worry about, the better.

The 85 kilos of medicine that Terry and his team brought with them were paid for by donations from individuals. The Canadian team paid for their own passage on Cubana Airlines. Cuba Travel Network provided free accommodation for Terry while in Havana.

For more information on the Spanky Project, please visit

Thank you Eddie and CTN!
We hope to see Cuba Travel Network rise again when Cuba opens the border.

With the lose of affiliate commissions from CTN your support is crucial in these times.
If you are able and if you can please....
Donate Now Through!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Isolating and Donating

              Greetings All,
The last months have been very hard for the whole world.
I hope you and yours are well.  
Isolation may be a bore but physical interaction is a danger.
Be careful..
As you know the Spanky Project have been at the forefront of 
humane population control of cats and dogs in Havana, Cuba. 
With the onset of COVID 19 the pause button has been pushed.

We are still looking forward to the resumption of campañas in 
Havana and Trinidad to round out 2020. 
With this time of isolation you may find 
you have some new found savings. 
It's been 15 years since we have seen prices like this

It would be so very supportive for our work to have additional perpetual monthly donors.
Please consider if you are able to manage a monthly donation of $5 or $10 dollars.
Over a 12 months that would equate into 2 or 4 sterilizations. And the benefit is exponential having another two or four sterile cats/dogs in the community.

If you have been thinking about helping Cuba's animals and would like to become a $5 or $10 monthly sponsor, click here  and choose the "Donate Monthly" option.

In just a few minutes, you can make a difference supporting the Spanky Project
Make the donation that fits your needs.
Your scheduled monthly donations will help both you and Spanky Project plan ahead. 

If you would like to dedicate your donation,  an e-card can be sent to announce your gift.
Pay for your donation using your credit card or PayPal account.
You will receive an instant tax receipt.

Your tax receipts will also be store in your Canada Helps account for use come tax time. 
Start a fundraiser
It’s great for donors like you:
Save time and protect your budget: Pick an affordable amount each month and it’s automatically donated on your behalf.
Stay in control: Create, modify, or even cancel a gift online, anytime.
Make tax time easier: Receive one tax receipt at the end of the year for all CanadaHelps donations.
Feel good: Once your donation is set, you can feel good knowing you’re making a difference every month.

And it’s even better for the Spanky Project:
Easier planning: Reliable monthly income makes it easier to plan ahead.
Better budgeting: We can easily budget for their most important programs.
Less costly: We can reduce administration costs related to payment processing and tax receipting
Increased Focus: We can worry more about the important work and less about fundraising.

Schedule a gift today and make an impact every month.Donate Now Through!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

We Can't Stop Now...

Our goal for 2020 was and continues to be 1000 sterilizations.
February saw us perform 522 sterilizations in Havana.
That leaves us to complete another 478 to meet our goal of 1000.
Havana and Trinidad are planned for the next two campañas.
Right now, you are the best chance we have at making our September campaña happen! 

Please do your part to follow physical distancing measures and WASH your HANDS!
Wear a mask!

NOW is our time to stop the spread.. where ever you are.
We are confident our September and December campañas will
 be a go…
if we all take measure now to stop the spread of this virus.
... Cuba's animals still need your help!
Donate Now Through!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Feliz Día del Veterinario en Cuba

Veterinary Day is a day celebrated on different dates in each country of the world, based on the most representative historical events.
Until 1853, there was no formal veterinary education in any country in the Americas. The first veterinary school in Latin America was founded in Mexico for this year (1853), the second in Guelph-Canada in 1862; and the third in Ames-Iowa in the United States of America in 1879.

On March 24, 1961, it was chosen to pay homage to the veterinarians in Cuba in remembrance of the signing of Resolution 254 of the Council of Ministers, which unified all the country's veterinary services into the Revolutionary Veterinary Services, the first state organization dedicated to the free care of breeding animals and pets.

Before this, the day of the veterinarian in Cuba was celebrated on April 10th, since 1907; due to the fact that on that date the First Free School of Veterinary Medicine was founded in Cuba, which was incorporated to the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the University of Havana according to Decree No. 126 of January 27th, 1908.

The first attempts to include the teaching of veterinary medicine in Cuba date back to 1857, when on the recommendation of the Sociedad Económica Amigos del País, the creation of a school dedicated to the teaching of the specialty in Cuba was attempted without success, but more obstacles than contributions held back the good intentions of its promoters.

In 1937, the Veterinary School acquires the category of Faculty and months later establishes a new curriculum of four years of duration. In 1942 it opens its new building on the corner of Carlos III and Ayesterán, where it remained until 1976 when the Higher Institute of Agricultural Sciences of Havana, now the Agrarian University of Havana, was created.

According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Cuba currently has five faculties of Veterinary Medicine and 14 schools of middle-level studies, in which more than seven thousand specialists dedicated to the care and protection of animal health have graduated, as well as several research centers, among which the National Center of Agricultural Health and the Institute of Animal Science stand out for their results.

Every March 24, the workers dedicated to animal health in Cuba receive a well-deserved tribute in recognition of their work.

Since 2003 the Spanky Project has come to know many Cuban veterinarians 

Help us help them......
Thank you to all the Cuban veterinarians.
Thank you to those student who aspire to join this noble work.
Thank you to all who we have come to know in our 16 years.
Thank you to those we will come to know in the future.


Help us help them.......
Donate Now Through!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Helping Flipper and Fin Too!

Veterinary student Yohany joined us for many our campañas.
After graduation Dr.Yohany Afonso Pérez was posted to the
All graduates must fulfill a three year work commitment in return for their education.

Meet Aisha
She was born July 2007 in the aquarium.
A few months ago Yohany sent us a message about Aisha.
"She has a purulent secretion in the left hear. 
She also in the last days have been moving her head to the side where we see the infection" 

Dr.Michael Belovich
He is the owner and lead veterinarian at 
Michael is Spanky Project's Veterinary Medical Director.
In consultation a treatment plan developed

The following meds were donated by Dr.Belovich

 TrizEdta Aural 

and a 10 day treatment plan was proposed.
While the meds were awaiting delivery Aisha's trainers went to work.
They prepared her to accept the treatment 
which was on it's way to Havana.
Aisha's Trainer Anibal  prepared her 
to helped the medicine go down.
Once the meds arrive treatment was well received by Aisha.
A short time after delivery of the medications and the treatment Dr.Yohany sent us a message on behalf of the aquarium
"I would like to say how thankful we feel at the aquarium with Spanky people, especially you and Dr Michael for helping us to help our animal health.
Also our trainers are very grateful and thank you. Aisha is doing well now!!!"
On a recent trip to Cuba I had the opportunity to visit the National Aquarium.
The main reason to visit Aisha.
She was one happy sealion.
We are very proud of the graduating students 
who have worked with us. 
We never know where they next call for aid will come from.
We will do our best to help!
Help us help Cubans help their animals.
Donate Now Through!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Giving Tuesday ...

$30 is the cost of one sterilization in our Cuban campañas
We need you to donate, a minimum, $25
CanadaHelps will at add $5
That sterilization will prevent future 
abandoned cats and dogs in Cuba.
Less need for rescues
Today we want to fund 10 sterilization.
We need you on this Giving Tuesday
Donate Now Through!
GivingTuesday 2019 Extra $5 Offer valid beginning December 3, 2019 at 12:01 a.m. Newfoundland Standard Time (NST) through December 3, 2019 at 23:59 Pacific Standard Time (PST).

Saturday, November 16, 2019

La Habana 500

Today, November 16, 2019, is Havana's 500th Anniversary.
The commemoration has taken place throughout 2019
The Spanky Project was part of these celebrations.
In February our goal was to provide sterilizations for 500 dogs/cats and in addition
 500 deparasitizations in separate events.
We even made up buttons to announce our goal.
Our Cuban team came from as far as far away as Guantanamo.
Veterinary students came from as far as Santi Spiritus to join us.
   Caregivers and their pets came from other provinces for the opportunity to have their pets sterilized; a service which is seldom available to them.
Our international team came from Canada, Mexico and the USA.
 Sterilization and education are what the Spanky Project is all about.
Every day at our campañas, while caregivers are waiting for their pets, we offer educational talks on animal care, health and welfare.
It is the path to humane population control and a reduction in the number of
 those abandoned in the streets.
The Spanky Project collaborates with
 They educate and facilitate adoption and rehoming of those rescued from the streets.
 Together we achieved our goals and more.
We blew past our target of 500 with an amazing 628 sterilizations done in 6 days.

 Much has been said in the past couple of weeks about 
Zoonosis (the dog catcher) 
collecting dogs in the streets ahead of the 500th anniversary.
Some of the comments have been sensational and less than truthful.
Zoonosis does have a purpose.
By definition Zoonosis is "a disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals."
I do not agree with the methods of collection and end of life for the street animals.
There is no guarantee these methods will change any time soon.
 Zoonosis supports our work in Habana Vieja.
They provide rabies vaccine 
 Dr.Luis, head of Zoonosis in Habana Vieja ,brings us rabies vaccine and issues the certificates.
This supports their mission, the prevention of transmissible disease.
Though the facts about Zoonosis collecting street dogs ahead of the 500th anniversary are murky, one thing is certain. 
They did not enter the tourist center of Habana Vieja where SP has been working to reduce the population of homeless dogs and cats.
The success of our sterilization campañas are proven in this fact.
STERILZATION and more STERILZATION is the path to less Zoonosis intervention.

Sterilization is what we are all about.
Our feet are on the ground and our hearts are in Cuba.
Help us help Cubans help their animals.
Be a part of our next Campaña.
 February 2020
We are aiming for 500 again.
$30 sponsors a sterilization
Donate Now Through!
Help us put an end to homeless animals living lives of peril, disease and hunger.