Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Charitable Donation Tax Credit

Would you like to help Cubans help their animals and get a tax deduction at the same time?
Spanky Project and Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund (MAC PAPS)
can make that happen for you.

Donations by cheque or money order should be sent to ...

Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund
Attention - Sharon Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace
Bolton, ONL7E 1S4

MAC PAPS is a Canadian charitable organization.
Their registration and details can be found here
Canadian Registered Charities -Detail Page
 (Revenue Canada Charitable registration#88876 9197RR0001)

Make your cheque payable to the "Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund" and please write "Spanky Project" on the memo line.

If you file tax returns in the USA you can give to our partners
Animal Balance.
You can designate your donation to our TNR programs.

Should you care not for a tax deduction there is always PayPal.

Monday, December 24, 2012

TNR - Act I

On October 12th, we headed back to Havana.

This trip would feature Cuba's first massive
Trap - Neuter - Return
of cats.

Firstly, I would like to thank  ...
Their donation of 24 humane traps was a huge contribution to this pilot program.
 Air Transat 
for shipping the traps, free of charge, to Varadero.
Ingrid Bonamusa Medina
Ingrid lives in Cardenas, Cuba and is very active in animal welfare work with APAC-Varadero.
She retrieved the traps from the airport and delivered them to Havana.

Actually, this trip was three years in the making.
In July of 2009 Emma Clifford, founder and director of Animal Balance,
 sent me an exploratory email.
She was looking for ways in which her amazing group could assist our work in Cuba.
In September of 2011 Emma and I discussed how the stray dog population of Habana Vieja had been reduced significantly. To the point where colonies of cats were making themselves known.
The gestation period for project development is not short.
Despite all the logistically and bureaucratic struggles, in October 2012,
 Cuba's first TNR program was born.

The Players
Emma & Dairne

Emma Clifford
Emma holds a degree in Sociology with an emphasis in research from The University of Central England.  She moved to San Francisco in 1994 and for 12 years worked for animal protection gaining experience in the local, national and international levels. She managed and expanded the SF/SPCA Feral Cat program, working closely with The SF Animal Control facility to reduce the number of animals euthanized via community based volunteer programs and helped pave the way for similar programs across the US.

In 2002 she found out that the cats and dogs of the Galapagos Islands were being poisoned. She founded Animal Balance in 2003 to address the problem directly and humanely. Since 2003 AB has expanded to help islands globally. Emma speaks at conferences around the world helping other countries to start high volume MASH clinics and gives advice on humane animal management strategies.

Emma became vegan when a teenager, she worked to stop fox hunting and other cruel practices in the UK and continues to press for animal rights in the US and abroad. She is owned by her four dogs Isabela, Merlin, Zak and Sage and two cats Ra and Mac; but often has more beings in her care.

Dairne Ryan
Emma enlisted the expertise of a long time friend from the "TNR World"
Dairne was born in Seattle, Washington  She lived in Mexico City as a child, speaks Spanish fluently, and has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area throughout her adult life.  She is a health care account executive, working primarily with California public schools.  She is on the board of two humane organizations that provide high-volume spay-neuter clinics and promote spay-neuter as the method for humanely reducing overpopulation of dogs and cats.  
She has worked with Fix Our Ferals in the San Francisco East Bay for over 13 years, holding free high-volume spay-neuter clinics for feral and neighborhood cats.  Fix Our Ferals has now opened its own spay-neuter center with a goal of doing 5,000 sterilizations in the first year.   Dairne has participated in numerous Animal Balance spay-neuter campaigns and humane education programs in the Galapagos Islands and the Dominican Republic.

  Tony "El Tigre"
Our TNR mascot and demonstration model.

A lot of preproduction went into this program.
I will touch upon that in future posts.

For now ...
Welcome to our first TNR orientation for colony keepers.
Held at Quinta de Los Molinos, the areas of municipalities of 
Plaza,Vedado and Centro were represented.
Emma, with Dairne translating, presented the TNR program
After the benefits of TNR were outlined it was down to demonstrating trapping.

Tony played his role to the max as a captured cat.
As you can see, our colony keepers felt for him.
After orientation we visited the colonies.
At 5:30 pm --every day-- forty cats congregate at the entrance of this building located in the Plaza district.

They wait for Ada and their daily feeding.
Ada exits the building and walks them to the back of the property.
We soon discovered some of these colony cats could be caught by trusted hands.

Given that we only had 24 traps, this helped.
We hope to have more traps delivered to Cuba for our future TNRs.
But more traps mean nothing if you do not have community support.
Ada has that!

Another colony stop was to the one time home of the acclaimed 
Cuban poet  Dulce Maria Loynaz.
Although in a state of neglect, this is home to several families and many cats.
Our nocturnal colony tour ended near the Hotel Riviera.
I have to wonder whether Emma and Dairne were still looking for cats.
 This was a two week trip.
Our first week was preparation and orientation. 
Our second saw the arrival of the rest of our international cast.

Please check back.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Save a Mexican Mutt - SAMM

Hola Mexico Lovers

Over the next few months I am going to explore how Mexicans are helping their animals.
Less than a week after my return from October's TNR in Havana, I was on the road to Mexico.
Yes, on the road ... all 4,000 km.

I will begin the Cuba campaña report in the next posting.

During my stay here, in San Miguel de Allende, I hope to work with local animal welfare groups.

Thanks to serendipity I was introduced to Nancy Sylvor.
Nancy, a long time resident of San Miguel, knows all the "players" in this town's animal welfare circles.

Through Nancy I was introduced to Kelley Karger, founder of

Since 2003, SAMM has been rescuing Mexican dogs from unknown fates and sending them north to adoptive home in the USA and Canada
On July 27, 2011, SAMM held it's first spay/neuter clinic in Colonia San Luis Rey. Twenty animals were sterilized.  As they state on their website, "Now, we are getting to the root of the problem."

After speaking with Kelly on the telephone, I was invited to join in on one of their sterilization "Blitzes".
SAMM is focusing on the need to spay/neuter in communities surrounding San Miguel de Allende.

In the morning I hit the streets in the to meet Kelly for the drive to Cieneguita.
 Our rendezvous point was a dusty tract of land in front of the train station.

From there I followed her on a series of dusty roads-- we could have four wheeled through a creek as a short cut-- for the 19km drive to our destination.
 Our host, Holly, greeted us and we began setting up.
 What a wonderful location.

Sandra's registration area was open air.

 Prep, surgery and recovery were set up in the ranch's newly built tack room.

 Patient #1 got a combing.
 Dr. Octavio Capitan looked on as Paloma, his tech, preped patient #1
 A great group of volunteers tended to the patients in recovery.
 The dueños (owners) often took over as the patients were waking up.
 SAMM places a great emphasis on education.
 Signage and handouts were all around
 "No one should have to live on rooftop.
Let him come into your home and make him part of your family"

 At this event a horse trailer was turned into a "classroom".
Vicky went over the basics of responsible pet care.
 It was a great day. A combination of 35 dogs and cats were sterilized.

I'm looking forward to the January Blitz.

 Holly treated some of the ranch dogs to leftover chicken from lunch.

SAMM will be taking a break for December and half of January.
This is to give volunteers a rest and to spend time with their families. 
Many of which live north of the border.
It is also an opportunity to replenish the financial coffers.

Matching funds donation.
Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 2012 SAMM (Save A Mexican Mutt) has a generous donor who will match all donations dollar-for-dollar up to $5000 USD.

Donations can be made with a credit or debit card through the SAMM website at or checks made payable to Save A Mexican Mutt can be dropped off at Solutions, Recreo #11, Box 334.

SAMM is a U.S. 501.c.3 non-profit organization and donations are deductible on U.S. tax returns.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Spanky Project - The Film

Thank you to Jonathan Fortier and Rachel Heynsbergen for producing this short film.
Jonathan directed and Rachel shot and edited.
Their support of our work is much appreciated.
Welcome to the team.

 I would also like to express my thanks to Dr.Belovich for his ongoing participation in our aim of "helping Cubans help their animals".
Oh, and to Krystal who ended up on the cutting room floor.
I hear the director is saving her footage for the
Anniversary Edition DVD.

With your donation we can continue into a tenth year.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Amistad - CCFA Newsletter

The Spanky Project would like to send a big thank you to the
Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association Toronto.
They kindly gave us a page in Amistad their newsletter.

The Canadian-Cuban Friendship Association promotes friendship, understanding and co-operation between the peoples of Canada and Cuba.
Please visit their site and consider becoming a member.

Here is a peek at the page.

Here is a link to
September / October 2012 is where our article appears.

How The Spanky Project Helps Cubans and Their Animals

This initiative is named in honour of my beloved dog, Spanky, who passed away
on September 5th, 2003.  The original plan was to, with the help of foreign
travelers, get needed supplies to groups that were helping dogs, cats and horses in Cuba.
 It was my hope that with the millions of visitors to Cuba every year, a small portion would consider this a worthwhile project and extend a helping hand... or, as we say around here,a helping paw. Travelers from around the world have purchased and delivered supplies.

Fast forward  and now the Spanky Project has introduced international veterinarians to their Cuban counterparts.
In December of 2010, history was made when Drs. Michael Belovich, Michele
Travers and Linda Pallet and I were granted Cooperation Visas for a week long visit to Havana. This was for the first Cuba Canada Veterinary Co-operation week. This trip had many firsts including Canadian veterinarians being invited to lecture at the Consejo Cientifico Veterinaro de Cuba in Havana.

In September of 2011, the Spanky Project signed a “Covenio” with the Consejo Cientifico Veterinario de Cuba. This collaborative agreement allows us to work throughout Cuba.
As funding allows we will move beyond Havana to establish new programs.

With donations from individuals and donations in kind from animal health science companies we have focused our programs in and around Havana.  These efforts include massive free deparasitization and sterilization campaigns. This has resulted in the reduction of Havana’s stray dog population -- most notably in Habana Vieja.

Our work in Habana Vieja comes with the full support of the Society for Heritage, Community and the Environment (SPCMA) Sociedad Patrimonio, Comunidad y Medio Ambiente an NGO operating under the Office of the Historian.

With this success, our efforts are turning to “Gatos sin Hogares” aka, Cats without Homes.
In October, the Spanky Project will be back in Havana with international animal welfare group, Animal Balance.
We will launch Cuba’s first TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) of feral cats.
Working at the community level, we will train “colony keepers” how to trap cats and monitor the colony. The health of these colonies will improve thus reducing zoonotic disease transfers.
Our goal is to sterilize 100 pet cats and 100 feral cats in our five day campaña resulting in a humane reduction of the population.

If you, too, would like to help Cubans help their animals  ..
... your tax deductible donation can be sent to:

Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund
Attention - Sharon Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace
Bolton, ON
L7E 1S4

please write Spanky Project on the memo line.

Your support could not be more timely. We are still in debt for supplies delivered during our February program.

Please keep up to date with us by visiting the Spanky Project blog at ...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Skeeter, our dog, has a cause ...


Time to help another good cause and it won't cost you a cent.

Every vote Skeeter gets at the Fido Casting Call earns $1 for Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides!!!
Help her gets lots and lots of $1 for this great cause!!
PLEASE vote once a day until September 10th!!!

Skeeter also has a chance to win some prizes.
Here are her comments about that ...
"But... seriously... I don't want to win anything. I am happy in our truck and really would not like having to be clean and polite in a limo. I HATE even the thought of "doggy spa". I have a sneaky suspicion there is water, soap and brushing involved with that. As for the ad campaign? I really do not take direction very well. I'd be spending most of my time at the craft service table TOTALLY ignoring the director. I want lots and lots of dollars for the DOG GUIDES so I really want to come in second... :O)"

Please share this and help a good cause!

September 1 Update!!
Thanks to all that are helping Skeeter support Canada Dog Guide.
You have raised her in the rankings from the high 4000s to, as of this 9:00am Sept 1 2012
Please keep voting.
Once a day until the 10th.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Breaking News ..

... well -- actually-- from last September.

The Spanky Project held a sterilization campaña for pets in San Jose de las Lajas.
This event included veterinary students from the Agrarian University which is located in the town.

Each pet was escorted through the entire process by a student.
Forty students spent the day with us.
Much was learned.

This was also a historical event.
 It was the first mass sterilization of pets in the newly created Province of Mayabeque.

How's your Spanish?

We made the evening news.
Here is the recently obtained footage.

Totals for the day.
34 patients
6 cats ........ 5 female 1 male
28 dogs .... 27 females 1 male
No complications !

More than that ... our commitment to Cuba's future veterinarians will continue.

With us at this historic event were Emma Clifford and Dr.Byron Maas of 
  Dr.Slavek Zenkov who is a principal veterinarian with 

Please share this post on facebook or your Twitter feed.
Convenient buttons are located just below.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thanks Wally!

We, here at the Spanky Project, are grateful for the support we get from people that have been touched by Cuba and her animals.

Wally Moran sailing writer, charter skipper and soon to be movie maker, has contacted us about wanting to help the dogs of Cuba.
He has re-homed a dog from Varadero so he definitely has a connection.
That story I will leave to him.

Wally has set up a fundraising page on Indigogo titled
"Saving Cuba's Dogs".
He has some interesting awards for anyone who donates to help out, and the minimum donation is only $2. For less than the price of a cup of coffee, you can help us to help Cuba's dogs.

Thanks Wally from the Spanky Project.
Oh, and don't forget to share this fundraiser on your own Facebook page or Twitter.

This fundraiser begins August 2nd and runs for 45 days.

PayPal feels this campaign violates OFAC Regulations.

You can still help Cuba's dogs.
In Canada cheques can be sent to...

Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund
Attention - Sharon Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace
Bolton, ON
L7E 1S4

Please be sure to write Spanky Project on the memo line.

Canadian Registered Charities
(Revenue Canada Charitable registration#88876 9197RR0001)