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September 24, 2011

Philanthropist Pledges 150% Match for Animal Health

Rick Britton with Marilyn and Mo, rescue dogs from Peru.
Rick Britton Challenges Donors and  Animal Advocates

As a friend of the Mednikow family, I am extremely impressed with the personal sacrifices Molly Mednikow (the Founder and Director of CARES) has made to keep Amazon CARES alive.  She is extremely committed, and told me of some of the hardships that exist in running an animal charity and shelter in the Amazon.  I wanted to donate money right away, but quickly realized that I could do more good by becoming a matching donor.  I am getting great pleasure out of seeing Molly "beg" for Amazon CARES.  I'm sort of kidding.

I decided upon a figure of $12,000, thinking I could donate $1000 a month.  Molly had mentioned this sum to me as an amount of money needed to buy a new boat motor, install solar power, and reinforce the infrastructure of the no-kill shelter which is constantly battered down by the elements.  I knew I wanted to do something, but then I thought of it as an investment, and realized my best investment would be to teach Molly to be a better fundraiser.  With a matching funds donation I figured I could plant some seeds and watch things grow.  As a further incentive, I decided that I would give Amazon CARES a bonus donation of $6000 if they could raise $12,000 in 6 months!  So I have pledged to donate $18,000 if Amazon CARES can raise $12,000 by March 1, 2012.

As an animal lover and rescuer, I felt a need to do this as a "global citizen".  This is a global world in which we are increasingly connected.  Yet the citizens of Peru's Amazon Region remain disconnected,  Without Amazon CARES, none of their amazing programs would exist for these people and animals.

September 23, 2011

TOP TEN AWARD: Artist BZTAT and Okey's Promise

By Linda Schwefel

Amazon CARES has long been aware of the connection between animal abuse and domestic violence, and through our humane education campaigns in the Iquitos area, we have worked to create a culture of empathy and caring, for animals and humans.

I was therefore delighted to learn of an initiative which addresses the animal/domestic abuse link called Okey's Promise:  Art for a Cause Project. The project's purpose is to create six highly visible public works of art to bring the awareness of the connection between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.  The connection to these three problems is deep - the fact is, when animals are suffering in a society, children are too. When abuse of animals is tolerated by a community, it cheapens all life, and trivializes suffering, be it human or animal.  Perhaps even more insidious is that if a child is allowed to harm an animal without retribution, he learns that it is acceptable to abuse those who are weaker - in the case of a child, the victim may be a kitten or a puppy; when an adult, he graduates to a child, or a spouse.  

Okey's Promise, named for a small rescued cat, is a public art initiative to create six highly visible public artworks to bring the awareness to a national and global audience. (Watch the video for the first project that explains the genesis of Okey's Promise.)  By treating our animals well, with respect and kindness, we show a regard for all life; such empathy serves to lessen the prevalence of child and domestic abuse.  Merely passing along statistics about the ties between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence serves only to educate the public, but does little to change behavior.  It is easy to ignore a fact sheet, but hard to dismiss a powerful public artwork that moves your heart and soul.

The first project was a large scale mural that is now hanging on a building in the Canton Arts District. The second project will be a group of paintings that all form one large artwork. It will consist of a group of animal and child faces that each tell a story of hope and triumph over the ugliness of abuse. They will have multiple options for display, and will be able to travel for widespread exhibition.

The goal is is that Okey's Promise artworks will start a dialog about the combined issues of animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.  Anyone who makes a pledge or supports the Okey's Promise project becomes part of a special group of people called Okey's Promise Keepers. Do you know someone who would like to be an Okey's Promise Keeper?  Pledges can be made here.

BZTAT & Director Molly Mednikow
Please check out the Okey's Promise: Art for a Cause Kickstarter Campaign, and become  an Okey's Promise Keeper today!

Amazon CARES Director Molly Mednikow first wrote about BZTAT and Okey's Promise in January 2011. At that time we awarded Vicki Boatright, aka BZTAT our 1st "Top Ten Award" of the year.  Read all about it here.

We are pleased to honor BZTAT with yet another Top Ten Award!  
This is the first time one person has won two Top Ten Awards from Amazon CARES!

September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Photography by @PatrickMahaney

This beautiful image is featured in the 2012 Amazon CARES wall calendar.  This dog was photographed by Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA, who volunteered during our April Vets Abroad trip.

Show your support for animals and Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety with our beautifully photographed 2012 calendar.  You will be proud to display this hanging wall calendar throughout the year.

$15 each and free shipping!  Buy one for you and one for a friend!  Thanks to a 150% matching donor, your $15 purchase actually means $37.50 donated to Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety.

Click here to purchase a calendar via PayPal today!

Wholesale calendars are available for you to use as a fundraiser!  For information contact

September 20, 2011

A Non-Vet Volunteer Discovers Iquitos and Amazon CARES

By Guest Blogger & Amazon CARES Volunteer Nicola Kopp

There was a moment in Peru when I found that there was no better place for me to travel to than Iquitos. I fell in love with the Amazon Jungle.  Iquitos is many things to me. It´s hot, sunny, rainy, green, lush, flavoursome, friendly, hospitably and extremely welcoming.  A visit to one of the many jungle lodges is a must. It´s a trip into a remote world.  When I first arrived, I had a two hours boat trip on the Amazon river and then three very special days in a jungle lodge. Several days excursions took me  into the territory of thousands of animals and plants, noises and aromas. Here I feel a true visitor.  Among all the impressions, I most love how the jungle smells! It´s the most wonderful aroma on earth!

Back in Iquitos I found the city full of excitement.  Miles of Mototaxis, rocking chairs in front of the houses, an amazing malecon, splendid facades of the rubber times, clubs full of cumbia music and happy people allover. 

Jessica, at the time of her rescue.

But in Iquitos I also found a street dog. She was one of many. It made me suffer until I found the most wonderful animal community – AMAZON CARES – Amazon Community Rescue, Education and Safety. They seek better health and living conditions for ALL living beings of the Peruvian Amazon region. This includes appropriate care, respect, and protection from cruelty and neglect.

Jessica with her new family!

They invited me to bring them the dog I found, cured it in their clinic and brought it to their no-kill-shelter, named it Jessica and found her a family. A long time after being back to Lima, Amazon Cares mailed me pictures.  Jessica had turned into a completely healthy dog.

My goal: I wanted to go back, help Amazon Cares, help so many other animals. It took me a year, and I was back to Iquitos! This time to stay 4 weeks at the no kill shelter! Thanks to Molly, the wonderful founder, and Bruno, the wonderful director and thanks to all the other clinic and shelter staff, I had a very fulfilling time of my life! My dream came true as I was a volunteer for animals!
Madhu and Kimberly

Every day I got up early and  first thing Kimberly and Madhu, two wonderful little puppies, welcomed me stepping out of my door. Then, we prepared the food with my bowl for each dog + vitamins compliments of i Love Dogs, Inc.!  Read more here.  First the puppies , then the small dogs , then the big dogs ate. We watched them eating, happily. Then all dogs would get fresh water, clean shelters, their treatment, and above all much attention, play and walk! The dogs loved it and ended happily relaxing after a fulfilling day.


I got very attached to my dogs, especially to Facundo, my very special baby.  Facundo's life was cut short, and you can read my memorial.  

The farewell was like leaving behind a big family. I also visited Jessica in her family before I left.  She is a happy dog now.  Back in Lima I got the wonderful news that 16 dogs got adopted in 20 days! Amazon Cares is amazing.  They have accomplished miracles since 2004.  Read more and convince yourself of the great job those guys do in the Amazon Jungle of Iquitos.

Nicola walking Bruno, Canela and Barbara

Between now and March 2012, a donor has challenged CARES to raise $12,000.  If we reach this goal, the Donor will donate $18,000 to CARES!  Please find it in your heart to support our animals today.


September 16, 2011

A "Less Adoptable" Pet Transforms His Owner's Life.

Rusty is a beautiful boxer whose family abandoned him.  We do not know what led to several characteristics that made him "less adoptable," but he suffered from a lame leg, and his tongue always stuck out of his mouth.  Other dogs at our no-kill shelter had a hard time "reading," his facial expression.  He was often bullied by the other dogs.

Benefactors David and Dottie Bonnett sponsored Rusty, and we expected him to become one of our "lifelong" residents at our spacious jungle property.  Despite his troubles, Rusty remained extremely affectionate.

One exciting day a family came to adopt a dog for their teenage son.  This sight impaired young man did not see any of Rusty's "imperfections."  The two bonded immediately, and Rusty was adopted!  We follow up with our adoptive families to see how the pets are being treated and if they are well integrated into their new home.  In this case, Rusty lived near the Amazon CARES Veterinary Clinic located in the city of Iquitos.  One of our Veterinarians passed by Rusty's home everyday while walking to work!

I will never forget the day this male Veterinarian came to the office with tears in his eyes.  He had just come from visiting Rusty.  Emotionally, he described his experience.  The teenager was alone in the family room with Rusty.  No training exists in Iquitos for Guide Dogs or Assistance Dogs (see "Assistance Dogs in the Amazon").  Yet Rusty was a natural.  The veterinarian explained that this dog and teenager communicated on human terms.  When the boy spoke, Rusty understood.  They behaved like brothers.

Dog abandonment is rampant in Iquitos, and the Amazon CARES Animal Refuge has a wonderful lifetime resident program.  We are forever appreciative to David and Dottie Bonnett for sponsoring Rusty as well as many other wonderful animals.  Between now and March 2012, a donor has challenged CARES to raise $12,000.  If we reach this goal, the Donor will donate $18,000 to CARES!  Please find it in your heart to support one of our less adoptable pets today.


September 14, 2011

Lupine Gives CARES Dogs a New "Leash" on Life

Lupine® has long supported Amazon CARES' No-Kill Shelter by donating its famously rugged leashes and collars, allowing us to provide one to each family adopting a CARES shelter dog.

As I've written about in the past, in Iquitos the notion of dog ownership is very different from that in the States - most dogs are not "owned" as we would consider it: i.e., having a home in which it lives, with a human providing food and water and caring for its well-being. There are many dogs which Iquitos people claim as their own, however these dogs usually have only a loose area where it lives, scrounging for food and water, living on the edges of the households which profess "ownership." The simple act of putting a collar and leash on a dog imparts a psychological bond of guardianship, because once you have restrained the animal, you are now responsible for its care as it is dependent upon you for its very survival. Instead of being an animal at large, not unlike a bird or a squirrel, which one can be fond of and enjoy watching and interacting with, it is now something closer to a member of the family - a creature for which you must actively protect and provide.
At the shelter, we work with dogs to acclimate them to the collar and leash; no easy task as most of the animals are accustomed to having more autonomy in their movements. However, gentle, consistent training along with lots of positive re-enforcement wins over the most stubborn dog, making it a prize pet for the lucky new family. During the training period, however, the legendary Lupine® toughness is really put to the test as the dogs do their level best to bite through the unfamiliar restraint!

Walking a dog in Iquitos is a novelty, and having a dog that has a collar and is trained to walk on lead is something of a status symbol. These trailblazers serve as positive role models for other dog owners to emulate, making them ambassadors for good canine stewardship.

Thank you, Lupine® , for your generous support!

Thank you for reading this post.  Subscribe to our blog by typing your name in the "Receive Posts by Email" box to the upper right.  Also, please Like our Facebook Page and Follow us on Twitter!

September 12, 2011

Disney's Spooky Buddies Delights All Ages!

Molly Mednikow with Director Robert Vance.
Check out our Spook-tacular Give-Away!

During BlogPaws 2011, Disney presented the first and only press screening of a Halloween family film.  SPOOKY BUDDIES, the latest Disney release in the popular ―Buddies franchise of direct-to-video movies, features that adorable gang of talking golden retriever puppies. Produced and written by a dynamic filmmaking duo, Robert Vince and Anna McRoberts, SPOOKY BUDDIES was created with one of their favorite holidays in mind. Realizing that Halloween is equally popular with both kids and adults, they knew they had to write a compelling script that incorporated fun, humor, friendship and some family-friendly frights!

Dressed in their costumes, the Buddies hit the streets along with a witch‘s brew of Halloween characters. Sheet ghosts, goblins, ghouls, skeletons, devils, even a fairy princess, are all followed by their parents, who will soon congregate at Sheriff Dan‘s annual Halloween Brew Ha-Ha.

September 10, 2011

BlogHop: Spook-tacular Give-Away for Dogs!

Our Superbarket Premium Pet Food Giveaway ends Monday, but we are ready with a Spook-tacular Give-Away to get your pet ready for Halloween!  

This contest is being held in conjunction with our movie review of the Disney Film Spooky Buddies, which will appear on tomorrow's blog!

This give-away includes the following items!

September 9, 2011

Meeting Marilyn Monroe

This post is my entry into the BlogPaws Blog Carnival Contest sponsored by BISSELL Homecare, Inc.

The beautiful blonde had backed herself into a dark corner.  At least four males surrounded her.  I watched her helplessly, knowing this was a fight neither of us could win.  She snapped and growled at the male dogs to no avail.  She was in heat.  I could not help her.  

That was 2004, the year I founded the charity Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety, better known as Amazon CARES.  Four weeks later I rescued that blonde dog.  Of our early rescue dogs, she was the healthiest.  She did not suffer from extreme mange, yet she was clearly malnourished, and something inside of me told me to take her with me to our newly rented animal shelter.

Marilyn at the CARES jungle animal shelter in 2005.
Little did I know I saved three lives when I rescued Marilyn.  As soon as Marilyn began receiving healthy, regular meals, she plumped up and we realized that she was pregnant.  She gave birth to two beautiful puppies:  A pure black male and pure white female, and my workers exclaimed and wondered HOW WAS THAT possible!?

September 8, 2011

Assistance Dogs in the Amazon

September is National Guide Dog Month, a time set aside to raise both funds and awareness about the critical role guide dogs play in the lives of disabled persons.

The training and adoption of guide and therapy dogs in Iquitos has always been one of Amazon CARES' most cherished goals, but in our efforts we have met with a great deal of resistance.
Before Amazon CARES came to Iquitos, the prevailing attitude about dogs was that they were unclean, something closer to vermin; the bands of roaming, flea-infested street dogs do little to discourage the notion. Hospitals refuse to even entertain the possibility of using therapy dogs, fearing the introduction of disease. In addition, in the Amazon, persons with disabilities are largely left to their own devices - the social services we take for granted in the United States are simply not present. It is felt that nothing will improve the disable person's life or ability to care for him or herself, so why bother - the motto seems to be the same as late-night rotisserie infomercials: "set it and forget it."

Rejected by hospitals, we approached and began working with individual families. One of our first candidates for therapy dog placement was a largely unresponsive developmentally delayed boy who was confined to a wheelchair. Our informally trained therapy dog was very gentle with the child, and after only a few visits the boy would smile and laugh when the dog visited, interacting with the dog and even throwing a ball for him to fetch!

September 7, 2011

"Forest," Then and Now

Nearly Wordless Wednesday:
"Forest," Then and Now
Forest the puppy, as featured in the Amazon CARES 2012 Calendar, now on sale!

Amazon CARES Peru Director  Bruno Antoine with Forest, all grown up and in a loving home!

September 6, 2011

Bruno's Blog: August Stats

Report from Bruno Antoine, Director of Amazon CARES in Peru: (translated from Spanish)

The NGO Amazon CARES is mostly known for its campaigns of sterilization and veterinary services in poor areas of our region. In August, CARES has undertaken a new campaign of environmental health from Nauta, Bellavista-Nanay and the Yarapa River basin.

 However, even during our campaigns, our full service Veterinary Clinic on Pevas Street is open and committed throughout the year to those most in need.

In August, for example, the social agenda of the NGO, funded by contributions from veterinary clinic customers, served 34 animals in the clinic (in addition to the campaign) for a sum of Nuevo Soles S/ 1,280. (USD $470)

The following is a summary of actions taken:

Clinic costs incurred by the NGO:
5 Sterilization dogs / cats with owner S/ 100 (USD $36.66)
2 Sterilization dogs / cats of the street S/160 (USD $58.65)
16 Other animal actions with owned animals 16 S/ 980 (USD $359.35)
1 Other animal acts with animal from the street 1 S/ 40 (USD $14.67)

Apart from medical procedures, CARES has given has 8 talks (in the market for Bellavista Nanay, Puerto Miguel, Nauta, Iquitos and Isla College C├ęsar Vallejo), there have been 6 interviews (Channel 2, Amazon channel, The Ribenero Nauta and Channel 19), 5 press articles, and 6 dog adoptions (Ball, Vania, Lilian, Canela, Gustavo and Ana) and 4 kitten adoptions. Sadly, we performed one euthanasia on a very ill street dog.

 As an institution, we are in the process of coordinating a health partnership with the community of Bellavista Nanay.

During our small veterinary campaign during August, we sterilized 68 animals, treated 352 animals including de-worming, flea and tick control, and treatment for mange, and distributed 1,171 Albendazole 400 mg anti-parasite tablets to humans. We also lectured to over 150 students, and adults about responsible pet ownership.

Thank you for reading this post.  Our Peru Director, Bruno Antoine will have regular posts on our English blog from now on.  Subscribe to our blog by typing your name in the "Receive Posts by Email" box to the upper right.  Also, please Like our Facebook Page and Follow us on Twitter!

September 5, 2011

Superbarket Premium Pet Food Giveaway!

Thank you to for providing us premium pet food sample packs to give-away to our readers.  I have learned so much from their "Dog Food Ratings - Where Does Your Favorite Rank?" brochure.  The rankings are quite elaborate.  You can perform your own analysis of your pet's food and you can see the rankings of many brands here.

Our prize give-away includes 5 Sample (4 ounce) bags of Natural Balance Ultra Premium Dog Food.  That is 20 ounces in all, and should give you an opportunity to see if your pet likes the food.  When switching pet foods, always start by mixing the new food with your pet's current food so that your dog's stomach can adjust to the new formula.

Additionally we are giving away a sturdy, reusable tote bag from PetSmart and a brand-new style dog toy from Martha Stewart Pets (TM) available only at PetSmart.  This owl-like squeak toy is made extra tough for aggressive chewers!  We are also including the 2012 Amazon CARES Calendar!

Enter this give-away by commenting on our Facebook page.  Simply make a comment about why your pet deserves to win our Natural Balance Giveaway! We will select one Grand Prize winner on Tuesday, September 13.  Four Runner-Up Winners will receive the 2012 Amazon CARES Calendar.