Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Las Mascotas de Finca Vigia

June 8, 2010
This was a very exciting day.
It came together quite quickly and may be the seed of a proposed larger project.

For a little background check out this earlier blog posting.

We arrived on schedule at 10:00 at Museo Hemingway.
After intros and a photo op it was off to the task at hand.
It's Spay/Neuter Day at Finca Vigia.

Photo:Susana Hurlich
On the left is Tony of Pata-Paws Cuba .
Tony was a great help by providing transport and food for the dogs during recovery.
Check out their website.
They assist existing Cuban groups in their work with animals.

Photo:Susana Hurlich
Me , Tony, Dra.Danis, Dr.Alexis
-Alexis, the veterinarian from the vet clinic in Centro Habana who came not only prepared to demonstrate how to use propofol anaesthesia, but also to do the surgery if necessary.
-Danis, the veterinarian from San Miguel del Padron who Museo Hemingway would like to be the permanent vet but who doesn't know how to use propofol
-Tony, the husband of Danis who, while neither a vet nor a veterinary technician, has worked at her side for 15 years and has learned a great deal

Tony wrangles Pinto for the long walk

The two Vets get acquainted while heading to our assigned surgical area.

Alexis was lead surgeon on the first neuter.
After some prep of the "surgical suite" ...

Photo:Susana Hurlich
....and a double check of supplies ...

... all we needed was some power.
Not only is Tony a "Veterinary Assistant"
he doubles as our electrician running a line for us to power the tattoo outfit.

Omar, one of the workers at Finca Vigia and who is particularly fond of Pinto, carried him down to the operating area while the rest of us followed. He held Pinto in his arms while he received the injected sedative and was with him until he more or less passed out, feeling very sad that Pinto would blame him for what was happening. Susana told Omar that quite the contrary, rather than blaming him, Pinto will know that Omar was with him throughout a frightening and difficult ordeal, giving him love and comfort all the time.
Omar seemed a bit comforted by that thought.

Photo:Susana Hurlich
Omar and Pinto

After some careful calculations for the anesthetic dosage ...

Photo:Susana Hurlich

It was sleep time for Pinto.

Oh did I mention we operated poolside.

Photo:Susana Hurlich
We were quite the attraction.
As tours came and went we were a stop of interest.
Here Susana took the opportunity to speak with the various management groups of Hotel Acuario Marina Hemingway.

She also made sure to hand out some information about the Spanky Project.
They were impressed with the Cat Café concept.

Once the procedure is completed it's time for a little "ink".

The Spanky Project ensures that each dog or cat in it's spay/neuter programs receives an identifying tattoo in the ear.
In the case of strays it ensure that the females are not opened up again in another campaña.
All tattoos are entered into a database and reunification can be accomplished in the case of found pets that have gone missing.
It will be no different for the dogs and cats of Finca Vigia.

Pinto is FV1

Tony takes Pinto to recovery.

Within an hour Pinto was up ... out and about... charming the staff.

Photo:Susana Hurlich
Negrito, a small black male was next.
This time, Danis did the surgery with Alexis and Tony assisting.

Photo:Susana Hurlich
Before surgery these nasty ticks were removed.
A tick borne disease known as Ehrlichiosis is a big problem in Cuba.
The proposed program "Las Mascotas de Finca Vigia" will provide tick control
and treatment if necessary.

Ada Rosa Alfonso, the director of Museo Hemingway,
checks on our progress and make sure we are all hydrated.

Photo:Susana Hurlich
Cucara the only female operated on this today.
Upon consultation it was decided that all the males be neutered and Cucara, having just come out of heat, be spayed.
This immediately curtails any chance of the dog population increasing uncontrolled.

While Susana and I were off meeting with Ada Rosa the Director of Museo Hemingway there was a spontaneous decision to do Feo, the third adult male. Feo means ugly but he's not an ugly dog. One of the workers at Finca Vigia, Ricardo, a guard, loves Feo and plans to eventually take him home with him as his own dog.

Photo:Susana Hurlich
Result: three males and one female successfully sterilized and with tattoos in their ears, and one other, already-sterilized female, with a tattoo in her ear.

Near our poolside surgery, Hemingway's fishing boat the Pilar is proudly displayed.
Beside that, the resting places for four of Hemingway's favourite dogs.
A testament to his love and caring for those that resided with him at Finca Vigia.

The goal of the proposed project Las Mascotas de Finca Vigia is to create and maintain a stable
population of cats and dogs that Hemingway would be proud to call his own.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"5ta Desparasitación masiva de mascotas"

Well, it's Monday morning (June 7) and an eventful day is ahead.
This day is the "5ta Desparasitación masiva de mascotas"
A number of us were requested to arrive at 8:15 for a meet and greet.
So I hit the streets at 7:45 for the 15 minute walk.

As per normal, this morning was hot and steamy.

Calle Obispo was quiet enroute to Convento Belen.

My introduction to Convento Belen was in 2003. We toured what, at the time, was a re-construction site for a wonderful social concept.
This massive structure dating back to 1712 now provides ...

Housing for the elderly

Health clinic and pharmacy

Shelter from natural catastrophes

Services for disabled youth

Choirs and bands

Mass and religious ceremonies

Eye care and glasses

Computer and internet training

Physical therapy and exercise

Occupational training for all ages

Art, music and cultural activities

Meals for those in need

Community outreach

Support for single mothers

Crafts, art and music workshops

Upon my arrival I came upon the morning exercise in progress.

Set up and ready to go to work were the Vets and Techs.
Four stations under two tent provided the treatment area.

The balloons were being filled using a bicycle pump.

As early as I arrived, so did the dogs and their escorts.

Each person was given a number to facilitate orderly treatment.

Some showed up with more than one.

No one got past Susana and into the treatment until a space opened up.

These people truly love their dogs.

Ana Lourdes - Directora Ejecutiva of Patrimonio Comunidad y
Medio Ambiente Sociedad Civil (SPCMA)
opened the event with introductions and recognition of contributors and participants.

As you can imagine, it takes a group effort to put on an event like this. Showing us she has all her fingers is Soledad Pagliuca of the St.Augustine - Baracoa friendship Association. In addition to the wonderful support they give to the Baracoa area, Soledad and her group delivered 1000 needles and syringes for this event.
The St.Augustine group, as part of their varied good works, publishes educational material including Spanish language colouring books on Cuban endangered species.

Mags was happy when I presented her with a copy of 'El Manati" upon my return home.
If you know of a publisher / print house that could help their cause contact Soledad

Dr. Fernanado Gispert, of Clinica Veterinaria “LAIKA”, is the Veterinary Director for this event.
Before the first dog was seen he briefed the crowd on the treatment, which dogs would be excluded, the potential side effects and where to seek follow-up treatment if needed.

Each arriving dogs and escort were registered and interviewed by a Veterinary Technician.

Information was recorded ...

...then it was over to see the Vet were measurements are taken to calculate the appropriate dosage.

Where you have dogs you will have .... well... you know.

Members of Covento Belen diligently kept the streets clean to the point I was only able to use my Poop 'n Scoop bags once.

Seeing that we were going to have a large group waiting we took the opportunity to distribute educational materials. These included the "Benefits of Spay & Neuter".

On display was artwork by school children with the theme being environment and animal welfare.

This art piece points out the need to vaccinate your dog.
They came in all ....


... and sizes.

Some, too young to treat.

It was all over, as scheduled, at the noon hour.
The final total showed 428 dogs registered as treated. Some showed up after the tents were taken down - no one was turned away.

By time the big bottle of Ivomec was put away.....

...I would guesstimate a number of 440 for the day.

On this day I made some new friends that I look forward to working with in the future.
Standing beside my dear friend and adviser Gladys Morales is Sergio Chan Valdes.
Sergio is the Bayer - Animal Health Rep in Cuba.
Bayer has sponsored previous mass parasitization events.

Juan Gálvez Anllo - Director del Grupo de Fauna del Centro Histórico.
If you see an animal in a hotel or tourist establishment in La Habana Vieja they are Juan's responsibility.
I look forward to taking him up on his tour offer my next trip.

Congratulations go to Anna Lourdes, Ulice Acosta and their SPCMA crew.
Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler; Director of the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana.
Dr.Fernando Gispert, Clinica Veterinaria"Laika", and all participating Vet & Techs
Everyone at Convento Belen and the surrounding community.
The dogs and those that care for them.

Special thanks go to Susan C. for the generous donation of 1000ml of Merial's Ivomec which made this event possible.