Sunday, June 26, 2011

Not So Mean Streets

These Havana streets are strangely comforting for me.
The same is true for many dogs.
The one above seems to call home the Estacionamento (parking area) adjacent to
Parque Central.

Not all dogs in the street are homeless.
For some, the streets are their home and they are often supported by the community.

This morning we met with Directora Guadalupe Ramos and Dr. Fernado Gispert of
Clinica Laika.
We began at the Museo del Chocolate.
Sadly, they were out of the Aztec hot chocolate.
Then we moved on to La Marina for lunch.
Gladys had been very troubled with the health of one of her cats. Eric el Rojo (Eric the Red) had stopped eating and exhibited other symptoms.
She brought Eric with her so Gispert could do an exam.

After a thorough examination, as thorough as one can be for a non clinical setting, and lots of palpation ... Gispert suggested blood work be done.
This is not an easy feat in Cuba. Veterinary laboratories are near non-existent.

After Eric was back in his carrier we got back to our discussions.

Dr. Gispert, in addition to being proud of his hat, is very happy with the work of the
Comisión de Esterilización.
The number of stray dogs in the streets have been visibly reduced.
Guadalupe and Fernando filled us in on how the work in Habana Vieja is progressing.
They also informed us that the Consultorio Veterinario in the Santo Angel barrio will be totally renovated and ready for opening in September.

To help celebrate the re-opening we have been invited to collaborate in a
Desparasitación Masiva de Mascotas.
Bayer's animal health division is supplying Advantage for over 400 dogs and cats.


One of my favourite walks out of Habana Vieja is up Calle Teniente Rey.
It is a straight shot from Plaza Vieja to El Capitolio.
This route goes from the renovated and rejuvenated Vieja through real neighbourhoods to bustling Paseo de Marti.

This walk up Teniente Rey showed how successful the spay/neuter program for dogs has been.
In 2003 there were few cats visible except, funnily enough, in Barrio Chino.

Now that stray dog numbers have been dramatically reduced feral cats are populating the streets.

And the play grounds.

Preliminary discussions are ongoing with the end goal being a
Trap, Neuter & Release program for cats.
Spanky would approve.
These discussions will be picked up in September when the Spanky Project arrives with
Animal Balance.

El Capitolio

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