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.

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