October 17, 2009

Vet Nurse First Impressions of CARES & Iquitos

 October 17, 2009, Iquitos, Peru
by Vet Nurse Debbie Baird

Hi I´m Debbie Baird and I come from UK. this is my first trip with Amazon Cares but not my first volunteer experience. I am a vet nurse, in the UK I do locum work. I joined WVS a year ago and have done 3 trips to
Croatia on a cat neutering project in the elephante islands. I only got home a week ago from the last trip. When I joined the Worldwide Veterinary Service it was with a Peru trip in mind, but it never happened in 2008, but  I was ready at short notice to do this trip. I live with my 4 children on a small farm in Surrey where I run a horse livery yard.  My daughter competes in eventing on home produced horses, so that is all fairly time consuming but great fun. I have an assortment of pets including a diabetic cat (aged 17), 3 dogs (One is aged 17), 2 goats (aged 18), chickens and my daughter´s first pony, aged 25 (same as her!). My 3 sons don´t do horses and are all aged 20 and above so my adventures are now possible once I have the animals sorted! I did have a bit of a conscience about being away so long, but my philosophy in life these days is `life is for living so íf you want to do it, and it is possible, do it!  I arrived in Lima last night and travelled up to Iquitos this morning. 

Iquitos is a buzzy, bright and friendly place not like anywhere I´ve seen before. Molly was at the airport to meet me along with 2 volunteer nurses, Carolien from Holland and Hazel from UK. Molly is lovely and enthusiastic and inexhaustible and I´ve only known her a couple of hours! Street dogs are all around and it was amazing to see two dogs lying together, one really friendly dog in great condition having been neutered and treated for mange by Amazon Cares (as evidenced by an inner ear tattoo) and one which growled at us.   He suffered with terrible mange and an infected leg.  We will catch him in a few hours when the clinic reopens from the long lunch period. This is what makes this type of work so rewarding...Many dogs treated by CARES still live as street dogs, but in good health. I am looking forward to later today when we get on a boat and head down the Amazon to sleep somewhere in the jungle.....

October 17, 2009, Iquitos, Peru
by Vet Nurse Carolien Grim

Hi everyone, my name is Carolien and I am from Holland. At home I work at an exotic animal rescue called ´Stichting AAP´.  I am the teamleader of the quarantaine. We rescue, amongst other things, monkeys, squirrels, chimpansees, racoons, dingo´s, bats, kangaroos, coati´s and much more basically everything that is exotic for Europe. We get them back to health and try to socialize them with their own species. Once we are successfull we try and rehome them with wildlife parks and good zoos.

This year I joined the charity World Veterinary Services (WVS) and  that´s how I ended up in Iquitos - Peru. They were asking for a team of vets and nurses to come out here and help neuter lots of dogs in villages along the amazon river. Thats my idea of a holiday:-) Its my first trip with WVS and I am really excited about being here. I got  here yesterday and met Molly and could see the great work she and her team is doing out here.
The dogs that have been neutered look much healthier than the ones that have not been. Today we saw a dog that is covered in scabs, probably mange, it looked like he had an infection on one of his legs and overall he did not look very happy. In a few houre we will go back to catch him and treat him and castrate him of course...

I can´t tell much at the time cause I have only been here one day, except for that its very hot and humid and the amazon river looks amazing can´t wait to get on a boat...  Molly made sure to introduce tme to a few Amazon specialties (and warned me of some too!).  I tried¨Chicha Morada, a sweet grape colored drink made from black corn.  We also enjoyed frozen smoothies made of 100% Camu Camu fruit.  The drink is pink, and tastes like a light strawberry with a hint of lemon. 

October 17, 2009, Iquitos, Peru
by Vet Nurse Hazel Taylor

Hi, I am Hazel and I come from the UK. This is the first trip I have done with WVS. At the moment I am very tired as I flew straight through from London overnight and I am also hot and sticky, so am not sure why I decided to come on this trip. It seemed a good idea at the time, something to do with adventure, doing something worthwhile, and it would be good for me.

Although I have been a vet. nurse for many years, I have not been in conventional practice for about 8 years, and have been working at a wildlife hospital, so I hope I can remember what to do. Let´s hope its like riding a bicycle - once learned, never forgotten. Looking forward to taking trip up Amazon river.

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