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December 29, 2009

My Top 9 Veterinarian Tweeters

As I look forward to 2010, I am amazed that a small charity such as Amazon CARES has a platform on Twitter. We have found inspiration, made friends, raised awareness and some money even! We have recruited virtual volunteers and Veterinary volunteers that visit Peru!

Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety lists favorite tweets on our Home Page. These tweets mostly deal with Amazon CARES, but I love tweeting comments by others and having their twitter icon on our home page!

I keep trying to make a list of ten, but always get stuck at 8!   Today I found 9, and will keep trying on future lists!

Withour further fanfare, let me announce my
9 Favorite Veterinarian Tweeters,
listed in alphabetical order.

1.  @DrWerber
Century Veterinary Group
Culver City, California
Bio Like most little kids, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a veterinarian. Now, over 20 years out of school and practicing, I'm still in heaven!
Why he’s on my list: Dr. Jeff is a celebrity vet. A favored vet by Hollywood celebrities, he is recognizable from his former TV show, Petcetera on Animal Planet, as well as frequent appearances on Oprah and other talk shows. As of the writing of this blog, he is HERE in Peru assisting Amazon CARES with our spay and neuter projects. I had spent time with Dr. Jeff and his lovely wife, Mara, and they are both people that infuse any environment with optimism and enthusiasm. Dr. Jeff loves his vocation, is extremely successful, and has not let any of it go to his head. Be sure to visit his website to learn of his veterinary practice, specialized products and media projects!
Sample Tweet: Cool Stuff! Heading to Iquitos, Peru to work with Amazon CARES to provide vet care to homeless and stray dogs! Updates to follow!!!

Marc Abraham  (pictured at work in Peru with Amazon CARES)
Bio TV Vet and co-founder of Passionate about promoting responsible pet ownership issues including puppy farming, rescue shelters and microchipping.
Why he's on my list:  Marc came to Peru as a Veterinary Volunteer for Amazon CARES.  We both have strong personalities and didn't quite bond. I hope there are no residual hard feelings, as I hold him in very high regard as a veterinary personality spreading awareness on very important topics.  I am grateful for his support and publicity and work on behalf of the animals in this poor region in Peru. 
Sample Tweet: On Radio Sussex at 11am talking about @AmazonCares and #Banpuppyfarming as well as Christmas Dangers to Pets

3.  @NewportVet
Newport Beach Vet
Newport Beach, California, USA
Bio Welcome to The Newport Beach Veterinary Hospital. General & Internal Medicine Specialist Veterinarian serving dogs & cats of the OC in Southern California, USA.
Why he made the list: Friendly, interactive Tweets about his patients, animal issues, pet advice and RT’s of relevant articles regarding pets. His Tweets are useful and never repetitive.
Sample Tweet: the amazing black lab Jax just left for dog heaven from his mom's arms; run Jaxman, run

4.  @Pawcurious
San Diego
Bio Small animal vet, writer, dog lover. Come see my blog for VET SECRETS REVEALED! Actually it's just re-enacted days with my vet Barbie.
Why she’s on this list: Have you seen her website? It is fun and informative, as are her tweets. In addition to being interactive and friendly, she keeps us updated on her cases and doesn’t try to sell anything.
Sample Tweet: False modesty? Secretly cocky? :D Can you explain why such mellow-tempered dogs as golden retrievers walk with such a swagger?

5.  @PetDocsonCall
Dr. Jim Humphries
Location Colorado
Bio Veterinary Administrator @, President of Veterinary News Network @, and
Why he’s on this list:  Dr. Humphries received a strong recommendation from @DrWerber.  I checked him out thoroughly and like his tweeting style.  Since he runs a Vet News Network he is really in tune with what will capture people's attention.  He is generous with Re-Tweets and also tweets some fantastic animal quotes and even social marketing articles he finds beneficial!
Sample Tweet: From thunderstorm phobia to outright aggression, our pets can suffer from a variety of behavioral maladies...

6.  @petethevet
Pete Wedderburn
Bio I'm a companion animal veterinarian who likes to talk to the world.
Why he’s on the list: I love his updates on patients, which inform pet owners of conditions. He is always willing to answer pet questions via Twitter as well. He also tweets pics and videos of his work! He is the author of two entertaining books: My Dog Thinks He's Human: 50 Ways to a Happy Healthy Pet and My Cat's Ignoring Me: 50 Ways to a Happy Healthy Pet
Sample Tweet: yes, that's exactly my point. Humans have the intelligence to decide NOT to be cruel to animals, natural animal predators don't

7.  @TheCatExpert 
Dr. Arnold Plotnick
New York City, NY
Bio CEO & Veterinarian @ Manhattan Cat Specialists, a cats-only veterinary medicine care center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, NYC. Board Certified Cat Man
Why he’s on the list:  I love a man that will admit to loving cats (though I'm highly allergic).  I also wanted to give the East Coast some needed love.  Finally, sometime long ago we may have been related (Plotnick, Mednikow).  His blog is named "Cat Man Do," and we have followed each other for a while, though I don't have any personal interaction to speak off.  I just think he's great!  His interactive tweets (see below) are always fun too.
Sample Tweet:  Participate: Put a caption on this dog/cat photo:

8.  @VetLouiseMurray
Louise Murray DVM
Usually next to a cat
Location Usually next to a cat
Bio Vet with a mission: Tell pet parents the truth. Author of Vet Confidential: An Insider's Guide to Protecting Your Pet's Health. Love your pet. Educate yourself.
Why she’s on the list:  A no-nonsense vet that is friendly with others, interactive, talks about life tidbits and also tweets important pet care information.
Sample Tweet:  #woofwednesday tip! Severe dental disease can cause jaw fractures due to bone loss-keep on top of those pearly whites!

9.  @VetLovingPetsHB
Huntington Beach Vet
Huntington Beach, CA
Bio Animal Care Center of Huntington Beach veterinarian serving Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Orange County.
Why she made the list: This vet is very genuine. A foodie with many Twitter friends. Of course she also tweets about animals, supports animal charities, seeks lost animals via Twitter. I love her recent tweets about buying new tires and all the advice she collected. Now THAT’s Twitter interaction!
Sample Tweet: Top Pet Names of 2009 and some uuhhhh rather unusual ones too ;-)
Sample Tweet: So many happy endings for these pets that found their forever homes after being shot and starving

December 27, 2009

Top 8 TweetersThat Inspire Me

As 2009 ends I want to pay homage to the people that have honored us, and we want to honor some of our favorite Twitter friends. At this time last year I had less than 60 followers. What a difference a year makes!

Twitter has been good to us, and hopefully we have returned the favor. We try to entertain with animal quotes, and we try to minimize the completely self serving twits. Our blog entries are fairly in-depth, but we know we have quality followers that can use our blog as a trusted resource on animal welfare charity issues in the Third World. Thank you Twitter.

TOP 8 TWEETERS THAT INSPIRE ME (in alphabetical order, not by rank)

1.  Richard Bassett - @RichBassett
Boston, Ma
Twitter Bio:  Dedicated to the philanthropic work of Dame Elizabeth Taylor. HIV/AIDS/ Addiction/Crisis Intervention Counselor, Homeless Advocate, Humanitarian, Activist
Why he´s on my list:  Richard´s tweets are always filled with love and inspiration.  He is an advocate for many causes through his Re-Tweets and comments.
Sample Tweet:.  On Twitter, it is not about posting the insignificant tasks of daily life. It is about relating to the common tasks that we all must do-RtB

2.  Sue Birkam - @Beingswell
Shelby Township, Michigan
Twitter Bio: Loving Life and want others to Love their life too, trained Life Coach
Why she´s on my list:  Read the sample tweet.  Not only does Sue tweet the most provoking quotes and proverbs, but she herself is a philosopher worthy of admiration.
Sample Tweet: We always attract into our lives whatever we think about most, believe in most strongly, expect on the deepest level and imagine most vividly

3.  Martina Clements - @martisunshine
St Petersburg, FL
Why she´s on my list: As her name implies, Martina is full of sunshine.  It shines through in her profile photo and in her frequent Re-Tweets for wonderful causes.  Martina reminds me of a best friend!
Sample Tweet:  (Advice to another Tweeter) It will happen for you! Someone with as beautiful a heart as you will find someone who values all that you are.

4.  Melissa Galt -  @ProsperbyDesign
Global as Needed!
Twitter Bio: Creativepreneur, Marketer, Social Media Muse, Interior Designer, Lifestyle Creator, Visionary, Foodie, Bungee Jumper, Adventurer, Mentor, Optimist
Why she´s on my list:  Melissa is well known in Atlanta, GA, where I lived for many years.  She infuses people with the passion to make changes in their lifes.  Her tweets trigger people to improve their personal and business "clutter."  Of course, who can resist the word "Creativepreneur," and her smart Social Marketing Tips!
Sample Tweet: End of year to CONQUER: burn the troubles of 2009 and before, and invite in the fortune and blessings fo 2010!

5.  Marisa Herrera - @Marisa_Herrera
Victoria, BC Canada
Twitter Bio: Bio Green living consultant 4 animal lovers & their pets. Passionate about animals & Nature. I want 2 help as many animals as I can. Opening animal sanctuary soon!
Why she´s on my list: She almost made an animal-related list, but Marisa´s Tweets are not only green and animal friendly.  She has a universal appeal, and also regularly interacts with others and tweets helpful articles.
Sample Tweet:  Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass It's about learning to dance in the rain. - Vivian Greene - (this is why I like dancing! ;)

6.  DIOSA Communications (Heather Mansfield)- DIOSAComm
Springfield, MO
Twitter Bio DIOSA specializes in Web 2.0 Marketing, Social Media Trainings and Public Speaking, and Social Media Webinars for nonprofits and small businesses.
Why she´s on my list: This may seem a strange pick, but I choose @DIOSAComm due to the woman behind the company.  She has provided me and Amazon CARES and our volunteers an incredible amount of knowledge through her blog and webinars about Social Media and Non-Profits.  Her fees are reasonable for very small charities.  Do you like my Twitter background?  Heather designed it!  By the way - She is also a great, dynamic woman!!
Sample Tweet: New Blog Post :: 100 Word Review: Twitter Mosaic for Nonprofit Organizations:

7.  MARCOME  - @Marcome
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Twitter Bio: I'm a Canadian singer songwriter & I do a mixture of pop world music mixed with new age, jazz & ambient voices. My name is pronounced Marko-may. Love your way!
Why she´s on my list: Marcome´s tweets are not about herself, although she certainly deserves to be more self promoting.  They are inspirational thoughts that motivate and influence me every day.  And yes, her music is divine.
Sample Tweet: Raise your voice & join the chorus; The World is Singing! #music

8.  Lois Martin - @LoisMarketing
Atlanta, GA, Good ol' USA
Twitter Bio:  Marketing and PR diva. Chief Connections Officer. Loves Georgia Bulldog football, Formula 1, writing, art and gardening. After all, life must have balance!
Why she´s on my list:  Lois has an edge because she is a friend of mine from many years ago.  Although we never spent the time together that I wish we had, she has always impressed me with her intelligence.  Most of all, she radiates optimism.  I know her for real, not just from Twitter, so I can truly say it is true.  Lois is always smiling!  She is an expert on blogs and holds great webinars.  But she is a REAL person, a sports nut, and tweets some good recipes at times!
Sample Tweet:  On my blog: Formula 1 Friday: Oh wow, it's almost 2010 ... #sports

December 15, 2009

Dr. Erica Coleman: surprised by heat; impressed with clinic.

My name is Erica Coleman, a veterinary surgeon from England.  Arriving in Iquitos on a Sunday evening, the heat and humidity hit me like a brick.  I took a mototaxi (a hybrid between a motorbike and rickshaw) to the clinic, situated a stones throw away from the Amazon river.  The wind rushing through the open back was a welcome relief from the heat, even if the vehicle had all the safety features of a badly constructed amusement park ride.  The clinic looked deserted when I arrived, and I was a bit worried that I had remembered the wrong address. Ringing the bell, an Australian vet answered the door, and I was warmly welcomed upstairs to the sleeping area, where I met vets from New Zealand, America and Spain.  I was also introduced to the group photographer and the group journalist - also volunteers. 

The clinic itself was surprisingly well equipped considering its location and the non-profit budget with which it was built.  The front area had IV fluids, a centrifuge, a microscope and basic stains for looking at blood and diagnosing blood-borne diseases (which are common in the Amazon).  The treatment area held several dogs recovering from bad skin disease and one recovering from ear surgery (the cacaphony from the barking had to be heard to be believed).  There was also a surgical room with a stainless steel table, surrounded by counters with various (slightly out of date) drugs, syringes and needles which had been donated by vets from first world countries (they still work).  The clinic is staffed permanently by two vets from Peru and two lay nurses with wonderful animal handling skills.   From the warm welcome I received and the conditions in the clinic, I could tell I was going to be in for the experience of a lifetime!

Photo of Erica Coleman by Anthon Cauper

Vet Barbara Bennett to continue "working" for CARES!

For many years I had wanted to do volunteer veterinary work but was severely restricted by time and the pressures of running my own veterinary practice. Having finally sold up and semi-retired 18 months ago,  an advert appeared through my locum agency for a spey-neuter program in the Amazon basin in Peru.  I grabbed the opportunity with both hands! It has in many ways exceeded my expectations of fulfillment and reward although I realise that what we are doing is a mere drop in the ocean of want; it is sorely needed. At least a few less of these animals will be reproducing at an alarming rate, spreading disease amongst themselves and their owners. Besides the fact that this is a fascinating and wonderfully biodiverse area, the whole package has made for a travel experience that is entirely unique. I plan to continue assisting Amazon CARES with their protocols and volunteer selection and I intend to return for more!

Barbara, pictured at "Monkey Island," is photographed by Anthon Cauper.

December 3, 2009

An Outsider´s View on Volunteering for CARES

Thank you to Veterinary Nurse Debbie Baird for this report.  All below is in her own words.

Thank you again for making my trip so memorable and fantastic. You are all so amazing, and the work you do is inspirational. All the animals that come across you are the lucky ones, you make their life better. Take care, love Debbie x


What a fantastic trip this was. I love veterinary work and I want to see more places in the world, not by the tourist route but by working and living with the locals and this trip filled every criteria for me.

Peru is an amazing, crazy country. The people are lovely and happy and humble. We were looked after by Vladi and Marlene at the jungle lodge so well, even when we returned from Caballo Cocha sick, Marlene kept tempting us with her cooking until we were feeling better and able once more to do it justice.

The team at Amazon CARES is brilliant. Miguel and Esther are both competent and quietly efficient. Bethany, the nurse, works tirelessly in the background and Harry the master dog catcher and gigolo on the dance floor, was always cheerful, always helpful and always tolerant of us demanding gringos whenever we wanted something and couldn't find it or wanted him to catch a dog for us to premed.

Molly, the whizz kid behind the charity, is lovely. She has endless enthusiasm,energy and is utterly determined to make a difference. A special lady. She also kept us highly amused with her stories, her singing and her jokes! There is only one 'Molly' on planet Earth.

The team was multinational...British, Italian, Kiwi, Aussie, Dutch and German, but all with a common passion for the care of animals and the desire to educate people to do better by them. We got on brilliantly throughout the trip, had plenty of laughs, some tears and many priceless memories.

I have no doubt the Peruvians love their animals. Generally the dogs were amenable, many hung around after they had been neutered and released. They enjoyed human company and what was so amusing was how cats, dogs, parrots and other animals were brought to a clinic. The dogs were led by their front legs, the cats were in sacks or in arms and parrots were on shoulders and there was no malice or fear shown. The dogs mingled, the cats were chilled. It was amazing and absolutely not something one would see in this country. Five dogs may be put in a cage post operatively, yet as they woke up there was rarely a grumble between them.

There was nothing 'normal' or 'familiar' about our facilities, but we just adapted and made the best of it. When there were no lights, we used head lights and torches. The vets were amazing because it was challenging spaying a heavily pregnant bitch by torch light. I know they sweated a bit sometimes!!! But testament to their brilliance, we lost no dogs or cats during or after surgery. That in itself is amazing.

At every site we were watched by hordes of children, some clutching puppies or kittens, all wide eyed, they watched all the gory stuff, without blinking. When we took photos and showed them, they giggled amongst themselves and couldn't believe the image they saw of themselves.

My favourite memory was at our last clinic in appalling conditions (wooden hut, mud floor, one electric light bulb and most of us compromised by sickness). A pig had escaped its pen and was wallowing in a puddle outside the hut while a small child was tying its leg and trying to pull it out the mud. Three times it got loose and flopped back down in the puddle. We did laugh, the poor child was as muddy as the pig and had a huge audience. Eventually, knowing it was in trouble, the pig got up and wandered meekly back to its pen.

Great memories:

pink dolphins, sunsets, the river( not when Molly put us on a sand bank!), river life, bottle feeding the maniti's, playing with the monkeys, the night club in Caballo Cocha, Belen market and the pigs.

but my greatest memory will be the motor taxis in Iquitos. No rules/ non contact bumper cars...sooo funny, every journey an adventure in itself.


December 1, 2009

Going with the flow....

by Molly Mednikow, Director of Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety.

Something is definitely different tonight.  The majority are out at the Cabo Lopez shelter enjoying Danilo's delicious food and sharing a laugh and a beer.  I've been going over a unique and wonderful opportunity for Amazon CARES.  Two wonderful ladies, Veterinarian Barbara Bennett and Veterinary Nurse Georgina Simon are lodging in the clinic with me, however they are out to dinner.

Me, I'm sitting on a chair outside the door of the clinic, enjoying the music of the neighboring club -- yes, the same club I usually complain about.

We're in the midst of an ambitious spay/neuter volunteer trip.  Competition for the spaces were high.  We had to turn many people away.  That was so many months ago that I wonder exactly what the original criteria was to join a trip.  I have much to learn, and hopefully, this group of veterinary volunteers, the majority of whom have never worked on a campaign such as this in the Third World, will take away some good memories.

One way to avoid seeking the best in a situation is a constant comparison to "home."  That's not we sterilize instruments at ....  We don't use razors to shave animals in ....  You don't provide our scrub tops?

Wow!  Just a few years ago we barely had equipment to sterilize, and out scrub tops are new to us as well!  We would love to have good electric shavers, but when there's no electricity, they are sort of useless.

The beauty of travel is exploring new things, seeking the beauty of a new culture, accept rather than criticize.  GO WITH THE FLOW.

Going with the flow is not easy for me.  I am set in my ways.  There is one thing in my life that brings me enormous pride - the good work accomplished by CARES.  After receiving a multitude of awards and international recognition for our work, it's hard on the ego to have a 23 year old volunteer focus on all of the things perceived to be "wrong" with our work and protocols.

Each day can only get getter.  Enjoying the disco - definitely a change of attitude for me!