Wednesday, October 12, 2016

If you have much ....

It is a tough haul for Not For Profit and Charity groups working in the animal welfare field.
One would like to say it is feast or famine as far as fund raising goes.
More often than not it is famine for many.

Back in August I took part in an emergency run for Critter Cabs.
A near drowned squirrel needed emergency treatment.
 The run was from Smith Falls to Napanee. 
A 134 km road relay. I drove the last leg of of 50km.
"Rocky" was headed to Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre.
SPWC do amazing work in recovering and rehabilitating wildlife.
Be it squirrels, raccoons, skunks, birds ... you name it.

While there I had an opportunity to let them know of the Spanky Project's work in Cuba.
They offered to call if they had supplies donated to them above their own needs

A big shout out to 
I got the call.

Syringes, gauze, NG tubes dressing trays and much, much more.
All will be heading to Cuba over time.
If you are in Southern Ontario and have some space in your luggage we would love your help in getting some these supplies to Cuba.
Drop us a line if you can help.

If not please consider a donation to Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre .

Thank You!

"If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart."
-Arab Proverb

Saturday, September 10, 2016

International Team WSD 2016

Bienvenidos Leslie!!!!
The first of our International Team arrives.
Leslie, from Canada, first joined us in 2012 for Havana's first mass TNR.
It was so good to have her back with us.
Leslie did say she was hungry so we took her out for a burger.
Next to arrive was Dr. Michael Belovich (Canada)
Dr.B is Spanky Project's Veterinary Medical Director.
Oh, and Leslie was still hungry.
A fix of Churros on the street did the trick.
Arriving with Dr.B was his partner Nelson (Mexico/Canada)

Audrey from the USA and her dear friend Katia from Guantanamo, Cuba ..
and a "photobomber".

Taru from Finland!

 Meet the team from Animal Balance.
Animal Balance were our invited guest collaborators.
Meredith, Amanda, Raymond, Emma

 Dr.Raymond Deonanan (Trinidad & Tobago) and Dr.Amanda Bruce (USA)
Animal Balance's -Director of Field Operations
Meredith Hippert (USA)
Emma Clifford (UK), Founder and Executive Director of Animal Balance.

Rounding out the Animal Balance Team is Dairne Ryan (USA). 
She is the Latin American Program Director.
Her and Emma look like a couple of cats that just ate canaries.
Obviously plotting and scheming in the corner. ;)
A special thank you to Emma.
Several years ago Emma extended a helping paw to us as she does here with Yindra.
At my invitation she and her teams have joined us, in Havana, on three occasions.
Their RSVP for this trip came down to the wire.
Animal Balance committed to our World Spay Day in Cuba about 
eight weeks before the event.
A close call for us to get their visas processed in time.

I have deeply valued her advice and friendship over the years.

Thank you Animal Balance for your contribution towards the cost of our supplies for 
World Spay Day 2016

Emma has decided that Animal Balance will forge their own 
agreements and chart their own course in Havana.
We wish the best for Cubans ...  their animals ...  and Animal Balance

...we believe that also extends to animals.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Before / After

For our February campaña we needed a space larger than 
Clinica Veterinaria Laika or Consultoiro Santo Angel.
Eusebio Leal, Historiador de la Ciudad de La Habana, 
designated this building to be our "ad hoc" clinic.
We are very thankful for the support of Sr.Leal and the Oficina del Historiador Ciudad de La Habana (OHCH).

Casa Calderón is located Habana Vieja (Old Havana).
In it's century and a half of existence it has been repurposed many time.
I first visited here over ten years ago when it was known as the Casa de Tejedoras.
A cooperative of knitters and needle artists.
In it's next incarnation the casa, and adjacent park, is to be a boutique hotel.

Between our initial inspection late in 2015 ....
... and February 2016
 Sr.Leal saw to it that some improvements were put in place.
A big thank you to those structures under the OHCH that turned Casa Calderón into our home for World Spay Day Week.
·      UPI Grupo Avenida del Puerto
·      Servicios Generales OHC
·      Gestión Cultural OHC

 They made sure that the interior ...
... exterior ...
... and street were looking their best for this historic week.
They even brought in some heavy equipment to get the job done.
Years of building relationships, trust, respect and true collaboration have brought us to this point. 
Ahead of this, Cuba's first, World Spay Day an organizing committee was put in place in Havana.
The meetings were held at the Society for Heritage, Community and the Environment (SPCMA).
Headed by Aldo Vega Calderín -Especialista Cooperación Internacional (SPCMA) the Spanky Project brought together over thirteen Cuban groups, organizations and structures. 
Spay/Neuter of pets
Rabies Vaccinations
and more would round out our week.
With all the beautifying going on I had to get a little work done on myself.
Walking by my barbershop in Habana Vieja my guy Gerrardo was nowhere to be seen.
Gerrardo has retired and Josefina has taken over.
With her direction we did track down my old friend.
Hey who's that....

Monday, June 6, 2016

We're back!

Meet Marta and Nano.
Marta is the Plaza de Armas colony keeper.
We first met her in 2012 when we surveyed cat colonies in Old Havana
Nano is a resident street dog. Marta and others in the plaza see to his well being.
Here is a short video featuring Marta and her cats.
It was shot on a follow up trip after our first mass TNR in 2012.
It was such a pleasure for Dairne and I to reunite with Marta and see how the cats are doing.
Her main colony has shrunk since our last visit.
The re-construction site where many of the cats resided has wound up.
Some cats have dispersed from the plaza.
Others have taken to the old sewer network in Habana Vieja.
They travel from street to street via this subterranean freeway.
Our campaña priority on this trip was to return to the colonies we visited in 2013
 and continue to sterilize the cats.
We call this a "Regreso".

We did make new friends along the way.
Katia is a shopkeeper on Calle Oficio at Muralla.
She cares for street cats, and as you can see, their offspring.
Although our time in Havana is serious work ...
... we do manage to have some fun.
At the invitation of, my artist friend, Yainiel Martinez ...
... we dropped into the Taller Experimental de Gráfica de La Habana for the opening of Homo Pinocho

Check out this short film by Katie Monk about art in Cuba.
It features an interview with Yainiel.

Another "regresso".

Ada lives in a high rise apartment building in the Municipio Plaza area of Havana. 
As the name suggests it is near the Plaza de Revolucion.

We went from Parque Central to Calle Tulipan in style.

Our driver "Marinaro"( he was a sailor in the Cuban Navy)
has his car decked out with a serious entertainment system.
But that did not overshadow his persona.

Ada and other residents were awaiting our arrival....
.... cats too!
Here is some video of our visit.

Ada's colony is well known.
Some, see it as a dumping ground for unwanted "pets".
We see it as refuge.
A shelter without walls. 

Then, there were new locations to check out

We had several reports of a colony being in Plaza Cristo located on the western edge of Habana Vieja.
Dairne and I went to check it out.
While surveying the area we met a church employee who feeds the cats.
Apparently, the Padre is not fond of the cats and would rather they be gone
This will be the perfect opportunity for some "education" and a future TNR.
Our visit was timely.
We noticed a cat in distress under a hedgerow bordering the plaza.
Upon closer inspection the cat was in dire straits.
We needed a veterinarian.
Dairne went with employee to her nearby home in hope of making telephone contact with one of our collaborating veterinarians.
I hustled back to my casa particular to retrieve a carrier.
We could not make contact with one of our veterinarians so we took the poor cat to the main veterinary clinic in Havana.

The main veterinary clinic in Havana locks up their "pharmacy' for the night.
So, even though the clinic is open round the clock critical drugs are not available.
Our hope of euthanizing the cat was not possible.
We took the cat back to my casa for the night.
I provided food and water which was consumed overnight.
 In the morning we met with Dr.Leyssan at  Quinta de los Molinos.
Upon opening the carrier we heard the horror that had befallen the cat.
Someone tossed boiling water on the poor creature.
Leyssan immediately administered a sedative.
Euthanasia was the only option.
The injection was intracardiac (directly into the heart).
The end was quick.

The reason I bring you this story is ... our work is real.
It is not all purrs and wagging tails.
Along with all the joys and successes...
... there is heartbreak waiting for us.
One way or another ... we shed tears on every trip.

We need your support.
Help Cubans help their animals.

Here is some additional footage of Nano.
He is a happy dog.