Wednesday, December 22, 2010

VetTrek - Day 2

Day two November 30- at 8:00am we were at the ready in the lobby for our transport to San Miguel del Pardón.
Located on Havana's south eastern outskirts it is one of the 15 municipalities into which the city is divided.

View Larger Map
Numbers from 2004 show the municipality of San Miguel del Padrón had a population of 159,273.

Our day began with a small spay/neuter campaña at the Consultorio Veterinario of
Dra.Danis. The campaña location also happens to be her home which she shares
with her husband, Tony.
The government has sanctioned a small consultorio clinic in her home to supplement the larger municipal clinic. A sign is posted on the entrance ... Don't bother "NO MOLESTE" .. outside of the posted hours. In reality, urgent cases are not turned away.

Upon our arrival, our first patients were waiting for us.
Danis (green scrubs on the left) and Dr.Edgar (red cap) met with the caregivers.
Edgar is a veterinarian from Havana who joined us for the day.
Thanks to Susana, I have come to know Edgar.
He is a talented surgeon and is always very keen to upgrade his knowledge and skills.

Above is Dr.Travers with the municipal veterinary director.

Here, Edgar is doing a flank spay while the dog's caregiver looks on.
It is quite common to have caregiver involvement during these campaigns.

Dr.Linda Pallet has also been donating supplies in Cuba--along with her time-- since 2003.
In the past couple years, Linda has joined forces with the Spanky Project.
This is the first time we have visited Cuba together.

In addition to the spay/neuters performed during this campaña, Linda provided the extra services of checking dental health and giving "manicures"

Throughout Cuba, all veterinary facilities have educational materials posted.
Danis' "consultorio" is no exception.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The final tally was ...
Dogs 11 Cats 3
Not bad for a mornings work.

These little pups were brought by for a visit.
I hope we see them at a future campaña.
photo:Susana Hurlich

Next we were off to Finca Vigia/Museo Hemingway.

These are four of the 13 resident dogs.

It was good to be back at Hemingway's home.
We were warmly greeted by Ada Rosa Alfonso -Director Museo Hemingway.
My first visit was back in June, 2010. It was then that the seeds were planted for an ongoing project.
June 2010 visit to Finca Vigia

After a wonderful lunch we got down to a little work.
The Spanky Project is continuing it's commitment to Las Mascotas de Finca Vigia.
On this visit, with Danis the project veterinarian, we delivered supplies for ongoing care.

All of the dogs were vaccinated and orally deparasitized with Ivomec.

We had the honour of being given a guided tour of Finca Vigia by Ada Rosa herself.

It was great to have such a glimpse into Hemingway's days spent on the edge of Havana.

Hasta la próxima vez Negrito
(Until next time, Negrito)

After a day full of emotional highs it was back to reality.
Due to economics, the veterinary infrastructure in Cuba is under great stress.
In San Miguel del Padron the only clinic for the municipality is crumbling.

As you can see in this photo, water infiltration is causing problems.
This area of the clinic had no lighting.
Dr.Travers provided illumination via her cell phone.

In true Cuban style ....
Despite the day to day struggles caring for animals a smile is always there.

After our fun-filled afternoon at Finca Vigia, Dr.Travers suggested we continue the Hemingway theme into the evening. She heard that Ernest frequented a spot called the Floridita-- this bar also lays claim to being the originator of the daiquiri.
Our next stop was the Hotel Ambos Mundos where we enjoyed the roof top view over Habana Vieja. A few floors down we were able to then drop by Ernest's room on the fifth floor. Note Dr.Belovich count cat toes in the photo on the right.
Finally, we strolled past La Bodeguita del Medio (another Hemingway drinking hole) before calling it a night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

VetTrek - Day 1

Our first day was one of "greetings & orientation"

After a roof top breakfast at our hotel we were off to our first official event.

We delivered over $7,000 worth of supplies to our sponsoring Cuban counterpart -
Society for Heritage, Community and the Environment (SPCMA)
Sociedad Patrimonio, Comunidad y Medio Ambiente
Pictured from let to right ...
Ana Lourdes Sotto - Directora Ejecutiva
Ulice Acosta Llanes -Especialista Principal en Cooperación Internacional
Fernando Gispert, DMV - Veterinarian Laika Clinic
Susana Hurlich the Spanky Project's Havana Coordinator and translator

SPCMA is a Cuban not for profit organization that concerns itself with “the preservation, rehabilitation, management, development and promotion of the historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the City of Havana, and in the community and environmental issues that affect the City.”

After introductions and welcoming words it was down to the paperwork.
All the supplies we brought to Cuba were documented for importation and now were signed over to SPCMA for use during our visit and into the future.

After our morning event we walked to the nearby
Jarden del Oriente.
(Amargura No. 12, e/ Mercaderes y Oficio)
This shaded courtyard eatery is few steps from Plaza de San Francisco de Asis.

It has been a favourite of mine for simple, well-priced meals.

As you can see, this eatery is frequented by a number of cats.
The Spanky Project has put forth the prospect of implementing the Cat Café
concept at Jardin del Oriente.

After lunch we strolled to Clinica Veterinaria Laika.
It is located near the train station on the western edge of La Habana Vieja
Out front was a gentleman with his goat that was suffering from a skin condition.
Clinica Laika is a full service veterinary location.
Dr.Gispert explained the work that is being done in the clinic and with the
community outreach programs.
One program is the "Comisión de esterilización".
I will expand on this later but in short, they are reducing the number of strays in
La Habana Vieja.
The clinic is open seven days a week to serve the community.
The two veterinarians, along with the technicians, do great work with limited resources.

This was an event filled week.

Coming soon-
Day 2 - San Miguel de Pedron - sterilization campaña
Finca Vigia / Museo Hemingway

Day 3 - First Annual Cuba Canada Veterinarians Day
Conference at Consejo Cientifico Veterinario de Cuba
Visit to Clinic Veterinaria José Luis Callejas
Visit to Quinta de los Molinos
Day 4 - Presentation of SPCMA programs
Day 5 - La Habana Vieja sterilization campaign
Day 6 - Early morning workshop with Cochero's and their carriage horses

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On The Air

The video is on the net. Check it out while you can.
Dr.Michael Belovich appears on Animal House Calls. The link is to Toronto's CP24.
Click here and then select Dec 7 Part 3
Dr.Belovich speaks of his recent trip to Havana with the
Spanky Project.
I am not sure how long it will be up - so please take a moment and have a look.

Monday, December 6, 2010

We're back.

On November 29th, the Spanky Project embarked on a one week VetTrek to Havana, Cuba.

We arrived to learn ...

... and to teach.

Most of all, we arrived to help Cubans help their animals.

Dr. Linda Pallett

Dr.Michele Traver

Dr.Michael Belovich

We attended to dogs ...

.... cats ...

... and horses.

We visited and worked in veterinary clinics ... well as in the streets.

Even though we worked hard, we also managed to have some fun.

Please come back as we share our visit.