December 23, 2012

Keara's Holiday Miracle! An Adoption Tale!

Donna and Dr. Kendall Bodkin of Hayden Pet Medical Center have volunteered for CARES in the Amazon.  Since then, they have been incredible supporters and friends to CARES.  We hope they return to Peru soon!  During their trip. Donna formed a bond with a very special and distinguished shelter dog, Keara.  Lucky Keara was adopted by the Bodkin family, and a smiling Donna retrieved Keara from the airport in Spokane!  It was quite a climate change for Keara, but she seemed to adapt very quickly!

"Beautiful picture of Keara playing in the snow! Recently adopted by the Bodkin's family, Keara is living a healthy and happy life in Idaho! We are truly grateful to the Bodkin clan!"
Molly Mednikow 

In November 2012 Keara celebrated her one year anniversary as a member of the Bodkin clan!

Looks like she is in the Christmas spirit!

Keara lived at our no-kill shelter in Iquitos for several years.  It breaks my heart to think that another shelter might have euthanized this beautiful girl.

The Bodkins have been huge supporters, and we are forever grateful.  I am reaching outside of our circle of supporters to ask that you "Chip In" $5 or more to help Amazon CARES survive into 2013, and so that our shelter dogs can thrive in a loving environment where all their needs are met.

December 16, 2012

The Saddest Blog I've Ever Written - Redux

This blog is reprinted from May 15, 2012

Our animal shelter where we cared for 50+ dogs has been completely destroyed. See video:

We relocated all animals into a treatment building that is built on stilts.   It was a very trying 2 months as the dogs were forced to live in a very crowded space.  Healthy, sick, small, large, puppies...all were forced to live together.  We always have promoted adoption, but it is not ingrained in the culture of Iquitos.  However, the flooding provided an added impetus to get the word out.  

We had a record number of adoptions in April and May, and now we are caring for just over 20 dogs.  Incidentally, we shelter cats as well, but at another facility, in-town at our Vet Clinic.  Our dog shelter is 30 minutes away by boat or land (currently only by boat, of course) from our in-town clinic.  We got an emergency grant of $4000  from the Fundación 30 Millions d'amis (30 Million Friends) of France , and our supporters stepped up also, helping us raise an additional $1200.

Last week we completed work on a new, smaller, shelter at the highest point of our property.  It is such a relief for the remaining animals to have space to roam again.  You can see these photos on Facebook.

The effort has nearly destroyed us.  We had to cancel our April Veterinary Trip.  We are currently $500 short on paying our bills this month.  Sadly, a matching grant Donor we depended on states that we misunderstood his original grant limitations.  We hope to receive the money promised to us, but that will not occur for another 6-12 months.

I have never earned a salary as the Founder or Executive Director of Amazon CARES.  I founded and supported Amazon CARES when I sold my part in my family's 125 year old jewelry business in 2005. Since 2004 I have supported CARES, but in late 2011 my money ran out.  I have enough to live on, but not enough to continue supporting CARES in the same manner.  Despite the fact that my travel to Peru will be severely curtailed, I am currently looking for full time employment to supplement my income and keep CARES alive.  Luckily, we have a wonderful Director in Peru and a wonderful, loyal staff (at least for now...if we can't pay salaries that would probably change).

We still run very active ABC programs, and thankfully, these programs and the medicines needed are paid for by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.

It is very hard to get grant money for shelters, however.  The WSPA doesn't believe in sheltering, for instance.  They believe that long term solutions are found through active ABC campaigns and Humane Education.  We are very involved with both of these strategies as well.  I would challenge any international animal charity of our size to rival our Humane Ed program, which has continued despite recent challenges.

However, we believe sheltering is an essential component.  Many dogs are abandoned, especially litters of puppies, or dogs suffer from infections (mange, parasites) that can be treated easily.  We have seen enormous transformations from former, sickly street dogs to beautiful, healthy adoptable pets.  We are a no-kill shelter, incidentally.

As the flood waters reside we will need to continue rebuilding our shelter.  The one we constructed quickly is well built, but too small.   We may try to salvage a small part of our old shelter, but it is preferable to continue building another small shelter building on the highest land, adjacent to what we have already built.  

We recently rescued a dog found starving to death on a small patch of dry land and surrounded by water.  His owners had abandoned him.  Even as we have improved our adoption rates, there will continue to be a need for shelter for dogs such as this rescue dog.  He will heal and be adopted, but it will require months of re-hab.  We simply refuse to euthanize him, when he is a dog with a bright future as a member of somebodys family.

Funds are badly needed for reconstruction and for dog food.

I am sad to report that the survival of CARES is a matter of weeks, not months.  There is no other charity like ours in the region.  In a matter of a few years, much of the work we have done will have come undone.

Thank you for reading this blog.  I am extremely saddened to reveal this heartbreaking news.  If you can help us with a donation of any amount, we would be very grateful.  

P.S. December 16, 2012 - I can't believe we are facing such dire economic circumstances again, and I hate to use the pity card with our supporters.  Please remember that 90% of your donation goes directly to our programs helping animals.  Our outlook for 2013 is good, if we can just get past these few months before grant money comes in.  We are a tiny charity achieving BIG goals, and we are working on doing more strategic planning for the future longevity of the charity.

Molly Mednikow
Amazon CARES Founder

December 13, 2012

What does CARES stand for?

As part of our continuing series "Why Amazon CARES Must Survive," today's blog is about the hidden meaning of our name, Amazon CARES.

As Dr. Patrick Mahaney recently noted in a blog post, “CARES” doesn’t just sound compassionate, it’s an acronym for:
COMMUNITY:  CARES is rooted in the Peruvian Amazon community, with a team of Peruvian veterinarians, shelter staff and volunteers.By working with local municipalities and using existing resources, we address and solve evolving issues more efficiently.  

Peruvian volunteers visiting the no-kill shelter to help bathe our shelter animals.

ANIMAL:  Animal Birth Control (ABC) reduces the size of unwanted, roaming animal populations and the attendant suffering due to disease, starvation, injury and want that accompanies these unwanted animals.
RESCUE: Many animals captured during our ABC campaigns are not healthy enough to be released. These animals are treated in our modern veterinary clinic and then transported to our no-kill shelter in nearby Cabo Lopez. Abandoned animals and countless litters of abandoned kittens and puppies are also welcome at our shelter.
EDUCATION:  Humane Education is a very strong component of our work. In the jungle towns and in local schools, Peruvian Director, Bruno Antoine works tirelessly to teach children of all ages about the importance of animal and human relationships, responsible pet ownership, and the importance of respecting wildlife in their natural environment. CARES appears on TV weekly to discuss sensitivity towards animals.

SAFETY:  As a component of our education efforts we teach about dog-bite prevention and the importance of animal health as it pertains to public and environmental health. We encounter many dogs with diseases that are transmissible to the human population. We conduct campaigns against domestic violence by demonstrating the proven link between animal abuse and said violence.

Again, we ask you, please help Amazon CARES survive and thrive in 2013.  Please donate whatever amount you can.  Please copy and share our ChipIn widget.

December 11, 2012

Diana's Story: We promised not to euthanize her.

August 2006, Day of Rescue

September 2006
In August of 2006 Amazon CARES rescued a very ill dog from the streets.  We named her Diana, in honor of donors Diane & Greg Paschell who sponsored her.

October, 2006 Photo by Molly Wald of Best Friends Animal Society
During October of 2006 I responded to an inquiry about Diana, and wrote:  Diana is still in treatment for an eye infection and anal gland infection. Her treatment has been lengthy. She still has a bit of distrust in her eyes, which is heartbreaking. She craves human companionship, and she does not live in the kennel area. She roams free, and she sleeps on this spot on the porch of my house. At night she keeps our security guard company on his rounds!

Recently somebody abandoned a dog and her 5 month puppy at our shelter in the middle of the night. The puppy escaped, and we hoped it would be lured back by his mother. I told my employees to secure the mother to an outer fence post with this hope. Later I went looking for the dog and questioned my employees. They told me Diana was guarding her. What?

Sure enough, they had the two dogs attached by two leashes, and Diana stood her ground in the most stalwart fashion.

January, 2008
Diana is the most loving, playful dog -- when she has her eye medication. She can not produce natural tears. We put natural lubricant in her eyes five times a day. She requires constant monitoring, therefore she will live out her best years at the Amazon Cares no-kill shelter!

December 2012
Over the years Diana's eye condition got much worse.  A Veterinary Opthamologist volunteered for Amazon CARES, and we made the decision to relieve the source of so much pain and irritation.  Diana was already blind, and the Veterinarian removed both of Diane's eyes.  Diane still accompanies our security guard on his nightly rounds, and she loves to bask in the sun, and then take refuge from the heat on the hard packed dirt underneath the Director's raised home on the shelter premises.  She has never been restricted to a kennel.

We made a lifetime promise to Diana.  We promised her a life with all her necessities are met, where she is walked several times a day and receives affection.  We promised not to euthanize her.  Please help us keep this promise.  We need your support now.


Molly Mednikow

December 6, 2012

"We Will Survive..."

We wish to apologize for the delay since our last blog.  Amazon CARES has made incredible progress during 2012, and we want our work to continue long past 2013.  However, financially, like many charities, we are suffering greatly.  I am sad to state that for the first time we will not be printing an Annual Calendar.  This keepsake had always doubled as a form of an Annual Report for CARES.  Despite Sponsorship money to pay for the actual printing, we had to measure reality vs. the costs and reality won.  Amazon CARES, it seems, is always hanging by a thread.  I can assure supporters that our costs are low.  I do not earn a salary and 90 cents of every $1.00 donated goes directly yo our animal and human welfare projects.  This year, due to the destruction of our jungle shelter facilities due to flooding and the resulting influx of abandoned animals, we utilized all our resources.

Director  Bruno Antoine catching a street dog for
sterilization along with a bystander and Vet Tech Harry.
I must congratulate and give special recognition to Peru Director Bruno Antoine, who enabled me to stop living in Peru full-time, and develop our name outside of Peru.  Bruno is a true visionary with compassion towards all living beings.  He is the glue that holds Amazon CARES together, along with Manuela, my Part-Time Assistant in the United States, who I will write about in the coming days.

Do not misunderstand the tone of this blog!  Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety WILL continue to exist.  I am determined to work harder and smarter in 2013 than ever before.  Let's call the last eight years a "warm-up"  From humble beginnings we became a charity to be reckoned with.  The culture of ignorance and indifference towards domestic animals in the Amazon Region of Peru has changed.  That is because of Amazon CARES.  The most dramatic example of this cultural shift occurred when we obtained the precedent setting legal verdict against an animal abuser in Iquitos, and secured a conviction.  It was a surprise for Iquitos, Peru, and much of Latin America!  Read about that case here.

After years of being sponsored by a Fiscal Sponsor Charity, we achieved our own 501 (c)3 non-profit status in the United States.  Now, in addition to our great foundation support from the Fondation Brigitte Bardot and other European entities, we can begin to build relationships with American Foundations that will help us survive and thrive.

Like everyone we hit hard times, and although we have accomplished so much during our eight years working in the remote Amazon jungle, we will not shut our doors and watch our work be undone.  Amazon CARES will survive, but we need your help. 

Please join us as a Member and/or Supporter today!  While shopping online, click on first and a donation will be made when you purchase at one of their many retailers!  We need your help to survive.  Thank you.

Molly Mednikow
Founder and Executive Director

October 15, 2012

A Changemaker for Animals, and a TOP TEN AWARD Honoree!

Patrick Mahaney, VMD
Dr. Patrick Mahaney exemplifies qualities that make up the best of any person.  Meeting Patrick with his bright smile and optimistic outlook on life makes you want to be his friend and be like him!  Patrick is more than that.  He is a top-notch Veterinarian with a passion for learning and teaching.

That is why today, on the Blog the Change for Animals day, I am writing about Dr. Patrick Mahaney.  He is an animal hero making positive changes for animals and their owners!  I am also awarding him one of our Top Ten Awards for 2012!

Dr. Mahaney became a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA) through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) in 2006.  In 2008 he founded California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW) which offers house call based integrative veterinary medicine to Los Angeles dogs and cats. Since many of his patients are geriatric or have cancer, he found a like-minded facility to offer his services: the Veterinary Cancer Group.

Dr. Patrick is also and always a student, however.  He is consistently attending (and often presenting) at conferences, going on site visits to animal wellness facilities and manufacturing facilities and learning about the core of a product before he would dream of endorsing it to others.  His active mind is always thinking of new ways to improve the lives of animals.  This includes an interest in other cultures and is why he is an integrative veterinarian who combines western and eastern perspectives...

Amazon CARES was very fortunate to have Patrick Mahaney, VMD as a volunteer on one of our Vets Abroad trips, sponsored by i Love Dogs, in April of 2011.  The short video below demonstrates his natural curiosity and willingness to experience new things.  Dr. Patrick has an extended playlist on YouTube from his Amazon CARES trip.

To satisfy his creative urges, Dr. Mahaney writes a pet health column (Patrick's Blog) and connects with animal aficionados worldwide through Q & A, videos, and radio interviews. He also guest blogs for Perez Hilton's,Fido Friendlyi Love DogsVeterinary Practice NewsHealthy Pets and People with Dr. Patrick on OutImpactRadio.comMSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt, and Pet Docs On Call. Recently, he's lent his holistic veterinary perspective to Jackson Galaxy’s My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet.

Through the media, he multiplies the reach of his knowledge on important pet topics.

Thank you Patrick for being you.  A friend, a collaborator, a volunteer and a partner in crime.  Joan Collins tweeted that you were her favorite Vet!  You are truly one of the Top Ten People Amazon CARES wants to recognize in 2012.  And thank you for being the change for animals!

Keep up with my hero through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow his adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

October 11, 2012

Vet Professionals: What's on Your Bucket List?

Alex Schroth dances the Salsa with
Amazon CARES Vet Tech Harry
Did you set goals for 2012?  Have you met them all?  Have you experienced something totally new and brave and different and exotic?  If that was on your bucket list, and you haven't met that's your lucky day!  You have just enough time to join the final vet trip of the year with Amazon CARES. And this trip is a great one...

After a week in Iquitos serving poorer areas with spay/neuter clinics and also TNR of street dogs and cats, we will travel by boat to Caballo Cocha, just across the lake from Columbia.

During the first week you'll be staying at the super comfortable Amazon CARES lodge eating delicious food by Marlene.  Seriously, all volunteers say the best food they get is from Marlene.

During the second week, we are guests of the government.  Accommodations probably won't be so plush, and the food with be what the Peruvians eat (lots of fish, chicken and rice)!  But hey, that's all part of the adventure.

Many people met some lofty goals this year with Amazon CARES.

Dr. Jackie Imai fell in love!

Dr. Sean Pampreen went on the trip of a lifetime!

Director Molly Mednikow learned to survive without a smartphone!

Amazing friendships are formed!
And more!  What will happen when YOU come to the Amazon?

Read more about this amazing trip and apply online TODAY!   $750 is an amazing price for two weeks with almost everything included!  Check out new routes on that fly you into Iquitos, bypassing Lima (and another flight).

October 9, 2012

Landmark Dog Abuse Case Makes International News

Posted on Blog Paws Be the Change on Oct. 4, 2012

History has been made, as an unprecedented verdict has been reached in the Iquitos area of Peru, where the not-for-profit organization, Amazon CARES, secured a conviction in the case of a woman who was charged with poisoning a 5-month-old puppy.

Many of you might have had the opportunity to meet Molly Mednikow, fellow BlogPaws' community member and founder of Amazon CARES.

In this particular case, Sandra Milagros Padilla Alvis, never imagined that an attempt on the life of Arthas, a 5-month-old puppy, owned by Alfredo Martín Díaz García, would result in being charged for a crime.  In the 3rd Counsel Magistrates Court, Padilla Alvis was sentenced for offenses against morality under an Animal Abuse and Cruelty Code and will pay fines of 2000 Peruvian Nuevo Soles, which will cost her one-fourth of her income for nearly seven months.

Earlier this year, Amazon CARES signed an agreement to work with the Iquitos Bar Association. MollymednikowTogether, these two groups have fought hard for a well-earned victory.

After seven months, this landmark verdict was recently handed down in an animal abuse case in this small town of South America. This is a legal precedent for all of Peru, and an example for many Third World nations.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Molly Mednikow received her MBA and began working in her family’s jewelry business. Though successful, she began traveling to the Peruvian Amazon to deliver school supplies to remote jungle villages. By 2004, her interests in Peru had grown to the extent that she made a life-altering decision. She stepped away from her jewelry business to spend a year in the Amazon. In 2005, she finalized her decision and made her move official, selling her business back to family members. Mednikow lived in the Peruvian Amazon until 2008, when she returned to the United States to open an office from which her charity could grow. Mednikow divides her time between Peru and the United States.

Together, we can make a difference. Learn more about Amazon CARES by visiting their website at
BlogPaws salutes you, Molly!

October 2, 2012

Dr. Sean Pampreen: "This trip was an absolute adventure."

Photo by Alexandra Schroth

I traveled to the Amazon with Amazon CARES for several reasons.  I love to travel, love adventure, and enjoy volunteering.  This trip definitely satisfied all of these for me.

I was definitely bitten by the travel bug early on.  My dad loved to travel.  As a family growing up, we traveled to most of the United States, parts of Canada and Mexico.  Always traveled by car and always camped so that we could see everything.  Since then I have been able to travel the world with various veterinary groups, still trying to see everything.

As a Scout I had the opportunity to explore and take part in other types of adventure and learned the value of community service.  Since then I have continued to explore the world and volunteer for my community.  Now, as a Scout leader I try to teach my Scouts by example the Venturing oath, “to help others, and to seek truth, fairness, and adventure in our world.

Thank you to Embrace Pet Insurance for many
pharmaceutical donations.  Photo by
This trip was an absolute adventure.  It was not a leisurely vacation, but a trip of a lifetime.  You had to adapt to “Peruvian time” and adjust to different people, different foods and different types of accommodations.  But, you also were able to see and learn a different culture.  These things are not always met on a tourist vacation.  On those trips, you are typically taken to see the “local villages” to buy their goods and then back to your fancy hotel.
In the Amazon, the work was hard.  The days were long, hot and humid.  Supplies were limited.  The surgical area conditions were no where close to ideal.  The food on the road was often times  ok at best.  The travel conditions between villages or sites was often “snug” and uncomfortable.  Most of the villagers live in exteme poverty.  There is little or usually no contact to the outside world.  But with all this, the trip to the Amazon was an awesome experience.  

September 29, 2012

Vaccines & Treatments & an Obedience Contest for World Rabies Day!

On World Rabies Day, Amazon CARES set up in a main plaza of Iquitos, providing free vaccines, ear cleaning and trimming of nails to pets.  Afterwards we had a contest in dog obedience!

Amazon CARES desperately wants to provide obedience courses to the people and dogs of Peru.  We are seeking volunteer dog trainers to come to Peru on dates convenient to them.  We need you to train a group of volunteers to train people to train dogs!

Please contact if interested!

September 28, 2012

Who Needs the Rabies Vaccination for Peru?

My Pet got a Rabies Shot
This article is a reprint from 

Rabies in Peru

Risk, Vaccinations and Prevention 

By , Guide

Today is World Rabies Day.

Who Needs the Rabies Vaccination for Peru?

Rabies is not generally one of the recommended vaccinations for Peru. You should, however, consult your doctor before traveling. The vaccination may be recommended for certain travelers, especially those falling into one or more of the following categories:
  • Travelers whose occupations might bring them into contact with infected animals, such as veterinary workers and wildlife researchers
  • Volunteer workers who expect to work in close contact with animals, be it in an animal sanctuary, national reserve, zoo or otherwise
  • Adventure travelers, particularly spelunkers (cavers), who may find themselves in close proximity to infected bats
  • Long-term travelers, including expats, who may be spending extended periods of time in high risk areas (particularly in regions with limited accesses to medical care)

General Prevention

All travelers should exercise caution when in close proximity to animals, including wild animals and strays. If you are traveling with children, tell them not to pet wild or domestic animals (especially when unsupervised). Children may not report scratches or bites, making them particularly vulnerable.
Peru is home to a large number of stray dogs. While the number of rabies infections caused by dog bites has decreased drastically in recent years, the threat of rabies through infected dog bites still exists. Most strays appear tame and docile, but that does not mean they are free from infection (a rabid dog does not always fit the image of a crazed canine foaming at the mouth).
You should be particularly cautious when handling wild animals and when in close proximity to bats. In August 2010, health workers gave the rabies vaccine to more than 500 people after a series of vampire bat attacks in the north-eastern Peruvian Amazon.

Rabies Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to those of the flu including general weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache.” These symptoms can last for days, often accompanied by an itching sensation at the site of the bite. As the disease progresses, symptoms such as agitation, hallucinations and delirium start to appear.

Treatment of Rabies

If you are bitten by a potentially rabid animal, you should first wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. You should then seek medical attention immediately.
Certain pieces of information can help your doctor assess the potential risk of infection, including the geographical location where the bite occurred, the type of animal involved and whether the animal could potentially be captured and tested for rabies.
If you had previously received the pre-exposure rabies vaccination shots (a series of three), you will still need two more post-exposure inoculations. The pre-exposure series gives initial protection against rabies, but does not offer complete resistance to the virus.
If you did not have any pre-exposure shots, you will need all five injections after being bitten by an infected animal, as well as rabies immune globulin (RIG).

Rabies and Bringing Pets to Peru

If you want to bring a cat or dog to Peru, it will need the rabies vaccination before traveling. If you are bringing your pet to Peru from the United States or other country with a low incidence of rabies, it will typically need to be vaccinated for rabies at least 30 days (but no more than 12 months) before travel. Always check the latest regulations before traveling to Peru with a pet.

September 26, 2012

What Was the Sentence in Iquito's First Animal Abuse Case?

Animal welfare advocates are celebrating in Peru!  Especially in Iquitos!

In a July blog we wrote about a milestone agreement with the local Bar Association and Amazon CARES.

Yesterday, the fruits of our labors smelled so sweet.  After working with the government to toughen laws and enforce existing ones, we brought our first animal abuse case to trial.

Yesterday, the judge handed down a harsh sentence in the case, a true victory for Amazon CARES and our wonderful pro-bono attorneys of the Bar Association.

Much press has been given to this news.  Below, I have done my best to translate the original article located at

The Poisoning Sentence

Sandra Padilla sentence for animal abuse

Sandra Padilla is Sentenced for the Mistreatment of Animals
Sandra Padilla previously appealed the judge's ruling, claiming a lack of evidence for the crime for which she is charged.

Sandra Milagros Padilla Alvis, never imagined that an attempt on the life of Arthas, a puppy of 5 months, owned by Alfredo Martín Díaz García, would result in being charged for a crime.  In the 3rd Counsel Magistrates Court she was sentenced for offenses against morality under an Animal Abuse and Cruelty Code.

On February 18, 2012, Sandra Padilla Alfredo Diaz threatened to end the life of Arthas.  The next day the woman stayed true to her word, poisoning and killing the little pet.

R.I.P. Arthas.

Arthas was poisoned

After seven months of court procedures,  Sandra Padilla has been sentenced to pay fines of 2000 Peruvian Nuevo Soles that will cost her 25% of her daily income for next 200 days.   She will be paying S/ 1200 to the state and S/ 800 in damages to Alfredo Diaz.  The convicted must pay the fine within ten days. *

Alfredo Diaz tells the story, remembering what happened to his puppy and saying that it was time to have justice for the life of Arthas.  His speaking up is a sign of progress for Amazon CARES, which constantly advocates that people should not remain silent about these abuses.

September 23, 2012

J. Peterman Discusses Philanthropic Shopping

Shop, Save, Earn Donations for Amazon CARES!

We at Amazon CARES have a trusted partnership with Your purchase through this site helps us further our important programming.  Supporting Amazon CARES directly affects our work. You do make a difference.

Getting the new iPhone 5? Use our link and we'll earn a donation! 

A Message from J. Peterman about

My writing abilities have been somewhat diminished my a bout with dengue fever whilst traversing the bountiful wonders of the Costa Rican Rainforest. The offer below is designed to surprise AND delight any discerning person with expert knowledge or training, especially in the fine arts. A person of informed and discriminating taste: one who would be a connoisseur of fine wines. 

The offer I am speaking of is not a difficult task. Simply click on this link, follow through to the merchant website, and the offer will be sent to your computer's address (I so much prefer the postal service. It is classier in every manner). Using that horrid email link, sign up for the newsletter (the sign up box is on the bottom left side of the web page), and $1.00 will be donated to Amazon CARES.  What a philanthropic company!  All you do is sign up for their e-mail newsletter and $1.00 is donated to the significant work by Amazon CARES in Peru. If the desire strikes you to make a purchase, a 2.5% donation is made to Amazon CARES! In addition to daily wine deals of up to 70% off, this magnificent and diverse site is perfect for its selection of gourmet gifts and wine accessories and crystal stemware as I have yet to find outside of my personal collection from around the world. Yours Truly, J. Peterman (via Molly Mednikow).

Please note that this is a satire and that I am in no way legitimately affiliated with the J. Peterman Company.

Getting the new iPhone 5? Use our link and we'll earn a donation! 

Current coupons from can be found on the Shop Page of this website.

September 14, 2012

Finding True Love in Peru...Part II

by Guest Blogger Dr. Jackie Imai, a Veterinarian volunteer during the Amazon CARES August 2012 trip.

The Mayor generously invited us out for beers , an invitation we all accepted. As we drank, danced, and interacted with the government people we could see how much effort they were putting into making us feel welcome! Boy did I re-evaluate my first initial impression of this “dreary little town”! We happened to be there for the conclusion of the “MISS REQUENA” contest and what a sight! Everyone was in the main town square, laughing, celebrating and screaming out their favorite contestant! There were Nine! The next day the Mayor and his workers again collected us, and on their day off, spent it taking us to the Amazonian river to swim, a local spot we would never have found on our own, and a hidden secret among locals. Later, although the Mayor was going to spend the rest of the day off with his family, he again, pushed that aside so that we could be taken out on the river to see the sights. We saw black and pink river dolphins and a Manatee! I was rapidly becoming very fond of this little town and in my mind it was transforming into that sleepy little perfect storybook fishing town!
It was back to work the next day and when we opened the gate, to our immense surprise there was that little terrier X female sleeping in the wire kennels! Trust me, stray dogs DO not stick around! We were truly surprised! She darted away and I followed her to the bathroom where she had tucked herself behind the toilet. She looked sluggish and I thought “oh my gosh, the poor thing went through a surgical procedure and hasn’t had any food or water for 2 days!” Being the sucker that I am, I grabbed a chicken sandwich that one of the other vets had purchased to medicate the street dogs with (nobody wanted to put their hands down a stray dogs throat to pill them..) and slowly gave the little dog small pieces. She ate them hungrily and all of a sudden became a new dog! Her tail began to wag and she followed me around begging for more handouts! What a smart little thing! She knew a good thing when she saw it! I noticed a pack of black flies following her (most dogs have mange and secondary “hot spots” open skin infections that attract flies) and sprayed her with more frontline. Although she yelped and jumped since it was stinging her open wounds, she never tried to bite me. Impressed, (she was a street dog after all!) I went to work but told her that if she was still around later I would buy her a chicken sandwich. That was my limit and it never even entered in my mind that I might possibly end up loving her and taking her home.

September 13, 2012

Finding True Love in Peru...Part I

by Guest Blogger Dr. Jackie Imai, a Veterinarian volunteer during the Amazon CARES August 2012 trip.

A friend told me the day before I left for Peru that he thought this was “it” for me, I was going to find true love on my trip!  While I laughed and scoffed, a part of me thought, maybe he’s right,….this trip must have SOME meaning.  It was a last minute, spontaneous can we really do this?  and a mad scramble to get the time off (that I didn’t really have and hadn’t requested in advance), find the funds, organize the flight, pack, etc. etc. etc.  This herculean effort is not something I am normally prone to, unless the reward is to sit on a tropical beach with a daiquiri in hand.  Yet for some reason, something told me I just needed to be a part of this trip!  So here I was, getting ready to embark on a 15 hour flight to meet up with a group of people I didn’t know, to spay and neuter street dogs on picnic tables, in rural areas of Peru!  Fun right?!  Since I was joining the group 4 days into the campaign, I spent 1 day in Iquitos and then it was off to Requena, close to Brazil, where the infernal heat is unescapable. It is is a 2 hour bus drive and a 5+ hour bumpy boat ride from Iquitos. And this is where my story starts….(Editorial note: multiple Internet searches make me wonder if Requena existed outside of my imagination.  But it does exist.  I finally found a webpage and social media links! MM)

I lost my heart to a beautifully ugly, mangy, feisty, adorable street dog and a small town with a lot of soul and pride.  Now, I know it’s cliché….., of COURSE  every veterinarian loves animals and wants to save them!  It’s not unexpected and surely this is not a story that hasn’t been told a thousand times.  But I wasn’t one of those veterinarians!  As much as I would love to take everything home, I knew I was in a poor country and the reality is that every case appeals to a bleeding heart.  You can’t rescue them all.  
Street dogs are like feral cats.  They are semi-wild, wary, hardened, and have had a tough life.  They don’t trust easily and why should they?  Life is tough and they have to scrape out a living.  Most, if not all of them have heartworm disease and erlichia.  They are covered in fleas, infection, mites, and flies.   Most definitely not snuggly or cuddly!  So we do what we can for them, sterilize them, provide temporary relief with de-wormers and flea spray (Note:  fiprinil spray!  Never use stuff from the local drug store!) and move on to the next.  I had already had this firmly etched in my mind and purposefully kept detached.
But some things are meant to be.  There was a reason I was on this trip and as much as I tried to deny this little dog, she chose me and wormed her way into my heart.  It began with our first day in Requena.  After a long exhausting bus and boat ride, we were tired, hungry, and not feeling benevolent towards this small, crowded, poverty stricken town.   We rolled up our sleeves and prepared to work.  But the people didn’t want to sterilize their pets.  They had no concept of the benefits of it and only wanted preventative parasite treatments. 

As I thought to myself, why are we here, when they don’t even want our help?, Molly the director and founder of Amazon CARES assured us this was normal and she would have to educate and talk them into it (and sure enough she did!).  Meanwhile, Harry, our amazing  Peruvian veterinary technician aka dog wrangler and a group of government worker volunteers, headed out to catch street dogs.   Not more than 20 minutes later they were back with a cage full of dogs and we were off running!
Now remember, I was tired, grumpy and frustrated, especially when no owners wanted to sterilize their pets….imagine my surprise, less than 30 minutes later, owners began handing over pets to be sterilized!  I could see the concern and love in their eyes and knew these animals were very much loved  family members!  As I continued to survey the commotion and bustle that was starting

I was surprised to note that many people were standing for hours watching us take care of the animals.  They began offering aid, or offering to watch their dogs recover.  They listened closely to go home instructions.   I noticed women assisting us with washing laundry- the used surgical drapes and towels, and the men stringing up lines for them to dry.  The mayor stopped in with his workers, bringing us soda and water during the hottest part of the day.  I realized these people are doing everything they can to help us.  What a lot of pride they have in their city!
Among the stray dogs brought in was a small terrier cross I barely noticed.  I was not the one who spayed her and would not have seen her, except the snatches of conversation heard while I was spaying an owner owned dog.  Apparently, this little terrier X spay was complicated because it turns out she had 2 ovaries, but only 1 uterine horn!   Her spay was completed, my spay was completed, all in all about 25 procedures were done during the day.  We wrapped up and headed home, excited that the next day we had a free day from work. 

Read more tomorrow as "Finding True Love in Peru...Part II" continues....

Dr. Jackie K. Imai is a 2007 Graduate of Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California, where she received a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.  Dr. Imai is a resident of Redding, California.

September 7, 2012

Lucky Dog, The One That Got Away

Lucky Dog, The One That Got Away

by MARY HAIGHT on originally published  SEPTEMBER 1, 2012

I was watching the stray dog wranglers do their work, capture and cage them. I thought each one was a lucky dog who would feel so much better after being checked and treated for any obvious problems, all part of the Amazon CARES spay/neuter program. 

There was one little dog who wasn’t taking his capture well. He watched how the lid on the cage had to be opened and just how far as each new animal was added. He saw his moment and jumped up to meet the gloved hand of one of the handlers. Undeterred, the little dog jumped and bit, jumped and bit, jumped and bit, relentless in his effort until the offending hand moved enough for him to leap to “safety”. “No cages for me, I’m free” he seemed to say as we saw his backside scampering down the lane… 

From the other side of the cage, a little brown and black terrier type “got away” in a very different sense. One of the vets, Jackie Imai decided she would take this quiet little dog back to California once she was well and the summer heat passed. The dog with no name had no idea she would be winning the doggy lotto the day that net came down and swooped her up =) 

This lucky dog got a flea treatment, prednisone, was fixed and is recovering well. She got a new basket lined with a towel and took to her new place with the vet as if she knew it was her destiny. She looked to Jackie for everything – she was her provider, her “person”. 

There was no convenient pet store for a collar and leash, so the dog had to be free to have a little walk and relieve herself. She always came back when Jackie called. She stayed overnight in the hotel and was quiet and unobtrusive there and in the boat going to Nauta, as if she did not want to jinx her good luck. 

I’ve seen a lot of dogs who knew they had been saved and were thankful, but it had been awhile since I had seen such a strong, fast bond form…a particularly wonderful memory of this jungle trip with Amazon CARES.