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August 30, 2011

The #1 Question People Ask

Who wouldn't love this view?
I just attended the annual BlogPaws conference for pet bloggers.  I love meeting new, interesting people doing a myriad of things to help animals.  Without a doubt, the first thing people ask when they meet me is "Why and How did YOU end up living in the Amazon Jungle?" 

My Former Life
It is true that my current vocation, rescuing helpless animals in Peru's Amazon region, is a contrast to my upbringing and previous career as an owner at Mednikow Jewelers.  It is also true that I sacrificed, sold, gave up almost everything to pursue this "crazy" dream.  My family still thinks I might be nuts, and I continue to sacrifice personal needs for this cause I believe in so very strongly. 

My eyes tear up at the warnings that I may soon be homeless, but I REFUSE to give up on Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety.  Luckily I have a wonderful safety net.  I can always return to live in Peru full time, as I did between 2004-2008.  Life is cheaper there, and very enriching. Nothing beats going to sleep to the sounds of frogs and crickets and owls, and waking up in the early morning to monkeys feeding off my fruit trees, and roosters crowing in competition with other roosters.

My New Life
I am free of the hustle and bustle and daily stress so many deal with in the Westernized world.  The food here is fresh and healthy.  Neighbors know one another and whole communities join together in the joys of a marriage and a new birth, just as they collectively mourn the passing of a loved one.  There is no Starbucks, McDonald's or drive-through anything.  Heck, there aren't even many cars!

When I first visited Iquitos and the surrounding jungle region, I became a different person.  It happened quickly.  My eyes were open for the first time, and the allure of selling a Rolex watch faded.

It took many years from my first trip, in 1996, for me to decide to stay in Peru.  After years of volunteer travel, in 2004 I decided to stay and rescue helpless animals.  I watched my plane depart and never looked back.

If you enjoyed this blog post you might also enjoy:
The Accidental Charity
The Dog That Changed My Life
Why I came This Way...
Sweet Memories Replace Jewelry for Valentine's Day

August 23, 2011

Who is a Humanitarian? Animal Advocates Are!

According to the official website, "World Humanitarian Day is a celebration of people helping people. Every day humanitarian aid workers help millions of people around the world no matter who they are or where they are. The day recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of those who risk their lives to give others help and hope."

Last year we blogged about Humanitarians to #FollowFriday.  This year I want to focus on animal advocates and why we are humanitarians.  To most readers of THIS blog this seems obvious.  But I am sure you have met naysayers, people that complain of your efforts towards animals when humans are in need.  In the case of Amazon CARES we get a double whammy, as we aren't even helping animals in the USA, where we are headquartered.

Helping animals helps people.  Everyday new studies demonstrate the vital link between animal health and human health.  As the animal health of a population increases, so does the health of the human population.  In addition to improving the lives of stray animals in Iquitos and the surrounding Amazon villages, Amazon CARES is reducing animal overpopulation through aggressive capture-neuter-release programs.  With a reduced number of sick animals roaming the streets, spreading disease and fighting for food, public health has improved.  We have Spanish language materials to teach dog-bite prevention and safety around animals.  And we have distributed human anti-parasite medications to over 20,000 humans since our start in 2004.

August 16, 2011

Your Tweet Can Equal $1000!

How powerful is that?  You can tweet for Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety and it could be worth $100 or even $1000!  To a small charity like Amazon CARES, $100 is a BIG SPLASH in our bucket!

This week we have a chance to win this money while promoting a great cause-minded company, SocialVest.  More about them below, but first, help us win the contest and the money we need to continue our vital programs in Peru.

Every day THIS WEEK ending on Friday, August 19, we have a chance to win $100 daily, and even the $500 Grand Prize simply by generating Tweets.

Tweet between 1 and 5 PM EST for your tweet to count!

Please take the time to Tweet a message that includes mention of @SocialVest and @AmazonCares with the hashtag #kickasscauses.  One of my favorite Tweets came from Jen at @Eukanuba.......... :look up  in the dictionary, and you will see a pic of 

What would $100, $200, or even $1000 mean to a tiny charity like Amazon CARES!  $100 would feed our no-kill shelter dogs for a week!  $1000 would enable us to hold a spay/neuter campaign for stray dogs in which we could treat and sterilize over 100 dogs!

August 15, 2011

Shannon's Amazon ZipLine Adventure!

Shannon Sullivan, a Vets Abroad Volunteer in June, 2011.  This is her blog posting about MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2011, originally posted on her blog.

Day Three - el Chino

Our first morning at the lodge, five from our group got up early in order to take in the canopy zip line.

Debby, Anthony, Donna, Shannon, and Justin

After a short hike we made it to the first platform for the zip line.

Getting geared up.

Excited to get going!

August 5, 2011

Are we done yet? A very busy first day!

Thank you to June volunteer Donna Bodkin for writing this post, which originally appeared on her blog.

So far our first day has included:  A jungle hike to the zipline.  Ziplining and hiking quickly back to catch our boat to work.  Learning how to set up a mobile hospital and spaying/neutering 19 animals.  Shopping in a village shop for souvenirs.  Repacking all of our equipment and loading back into the boat to go back to the lodge to relax.  Well, that's what we thought!  After a beautiful boat ride along the river, we arrive at the lodge.

Kendall and I enjoying the boat ride back to the lodge.

August 4, 2011

My Little Facundo

by Nicola Kopp

This is the story about Facundo, one of four newborn puppies who lived on the streets of Iquitos with his mother. He didn't have a home or a name, and no one cared about him – until he was rescued by Amazon CARES, and brought to live with his mother and brothers and sisters to CARES’ no-kill shelter in Cabo Lopez. When I arrived in Cabo Lopez, the puppy was still a new arrival and had not yet been named.

I named him Facundo after the beloved Argentinean songwriter, Facundo Cabral, who sang about love and peace on earth. It didn't take long to discover that Facundo was the runt of the litter, growing slower than his brothers and sisters. He always was hungry, and very weak, but his siblings would push him away from his mother when he was trying to nurse. We finally separated him from the rest of the litter to nurse; only then were able to see him eat and begin to grow.

One day as he was nursing, his mother stood up so quickly that Facundo fell down to the wood floor, his tongue still sticking out. His body was rigid; I quickly picked him up and he was unresponsive, his eyes rolling back into his head. I was frantic: Facundo, you cannot die here! He was so small, only the size of my hand, and had his whole life ahead of him. I tried to put his tongue back into his mouth but it wouldn’t work. I put him by his mother, thinking she would be able to revive him, but he remained unmoving, lifeless.

I shouted for Gustavo, my colleague in Cabo Lopez, to come, and gave him my little Facundo. I was praying, Please Gustavo rescue him, quick, quick, he will die! I then called Luis, the clinic veterinarian, who told me to bring the small puppy to the clinic. My heart sank - we both knew that if Gustavo was unable to revive him now, Facundo would be dead long before we got there.

Gustavo put water in the puppy's mouth and breathed, then more air and more water. Facundo began to show signs of life – I knew it! He wanted to live! I was overjoyed to see this sweet little dog’s eyes aware and alert. I hugged Gustavo, so thankful that he was able to revive our baby!

Facundo and I spent the whole weekend in town together. The vet examined Facundo and discovered he had a hole in his skull which could cause problems walking, seeing and hearing. Yet little Facundo showed no symptoms: he came when I called him, walking straight towards me with no hesitation. He was so adorable he would make my heart stop.

Facundo was stronger now, and able to play with his brothers and sisters, barking and defending himself when they are a bit too clumsy or rough. He slept snuggled with a plush toy turtle.

I became very attached to Facundo, and there was nothing I loved better than watching him play and grow. Even though I knew that he would soon have a lovely family of his own, I was sad to think of leaving him when my stay in Iquitos was at an end. When I left, I left a piece of my heart here with him, my own sweet special puppy Facundo.

Epilogue: After Nicola wrote this blog, her beloved Facundo passed away. The genetic defect was too great to overcome, and he leaves behind all of the clinic and volunteer workers who loved him, and admired his indomitable spirit. Vaya con Dios, Facundo; you will be missed.

August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Amazon CARES Clinic

The examination and retail area.

Thank you to Shannon Sullivan for the use of these photos!
The office



Luis and Justin cleaning surgery instruments from earlier in the day.

Cleaning surgery drapes.

Sonia, a sweetheart that is up for adoption.

August 2, 2011

Iquitos & The Tahuayo Lodge - Photo Blog

Day Two - Iquitos & The Tahuayo Lodge by Shannon Sullivan.

Sunday morning we arrived in Iquitos and headed to the Amazon CARES clinic.

Local street dog waiting for someone to let her in the clinic.

While we were waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, we were given a walking tour of the Boulevard and the Belen Market by a man who owned a jungle tour company just a few doors down from the clinic.

Volunteering with CARES - Getting There

Peru 2011 - Volunteering with Amazon CARES by Shannon Sullivan

For two weeks this June I had the privilege of traveling to Iquitos, Peru, and the surrounding area for a volunteer veterinary mission with the organization Amazon CARES. The group I traveled and worked with was wonderful! Here is our story. (A huge thank you to the Bodkins, Debby, and Anthony for sharing their photos!)

One of the hardest parts of the trip was just getting there. It took one day and four different airplanes to get to Iquitos, then a boat to get to the jungle.
A rough flight plan.

At the Spokane Airport. It may look like a lot of luggage, but the Hayden Pet Medical Crew brought along a lot of medical supplies to donate.

August 1, 2011

$25 Supporter Sponsorships Available! Limited Time!

In our previous post we discussed sponsoring the Amazon CARES 2012 Calendar.  This is a great way to have your name publicized to a year round audience of animal lovers and supporters!  Today we are thrilled to give supporters an even more economical way to support CARES.

For just $25 you can list your name or business name listed in the Supporter section.

These sponsorship funds help pay for us to print the calendar.  The sales from the calendar go directly to support the programs of Amazon CARES.

Our print deadline is only a few days away, so don't miss this opportunity to be a part of 2012 for Amazon CARES, and to help the needy animals of the Amazon region.