May 15, 2012

The Saddest Blog I've Ever Written

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 above.  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 somebody's 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.  Click here for more information.

Molly Mednikow
Amazon CARES Founder


  1. It makes me so sad to read this post. I know you've put so much of yourself into making this organization a reality and to experience such a setback is truly devastating. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Thank you Vicki. I am considering every option possible to keep CARES alive.

  3. Molly, This is so sad. I am hoping you got an email from yesterday or today from a group to whom I highly recommended Amazon Cares and you!

  4. Yes, David. I did hear from them earlier today and I responded right away. Like I said, praying for a miracle...

  5. Molly – I am so sad to read this. It truly breaks my heart. When I wrote my book, I had the grandiose and naive thought that I would sell so many of them, that I could donate proceeds to help organizations such as yours. Being a virtual unknown, the sales are unfortunately at a slow dribble and reality has set in that I can’t use the book to help the way I had originally envisioned … Anyhow, I am happy to send a donation your way, but know you will need so much more to help keep this amazing organization afloat. I pray for you and the animals and will keep you in my thoughts.

  6. Deb- Those are the kindest words. I understand good intentions. Everything I did...selling my clothes, jewelry, car, and eventually my home. I always had good intentions. I did my best. Tonight, I'm ashamed to say, I am drinking cheap wine and hoping to wake up to a better tomorrow.

  7. You are so correct in your assessment of international WSPA and others just do not understand what the local culture and needs are here in PERU. I have come across the same problems and that is what makes it so very hard to move forward. You are also so correct in stating that adoption is NOT engrained in the minds of Peruvians; however this is changing a lot in Lima but I can imagine it is nearly NIL in the Amazonia region. My heart goes out to you Molly, for all that you stand for. And I will continue rooting for you and having all the dogs I keep with their paws crossed for a miracle. God Bless!

  8. Oh Molly. Miracles are still possible.. I'm praying for you and sending my love.

  9. Happy to help, God Bless you for your efforts.

  10. Hoping we can help enough. Please don't give up. Your work touches me in a very personal way, it is necessary and so important. Our prayers are with you and your dogs.

  11. Hang in there, Molly! I'm spreading the word as far and wide as I possibly can...all fingers and toes are crossed that things will look brighter in the morning.

  12. Oh, Molly, I am so sorry to hear this. You've done so much and it must be difficult to see all your efforts put in peril. I hope there will be a solution, but please never forget all the lives you've saved already, the humans who have been touched by the animals that you've helped bring into their lives.

  13. I am confused about the status of the shelter and of the organization. I also see a section in the website where the June vet trip is on, and mentions visiting Europe also? What does that mean? Please post clarification on a blog so there is transparency for potential veterinary volunteers and donors. Thank you.

  14. Dear Dr. Hoban: Amazon CARES is a fully functioning non-profit in Peru with support from major international foundations. Due to recent record-level floods where we operate, our entire animal shelter was destroyed. We are having a hard time bouncing back from this tragedy. Our overall operating budget is less than $100,000 US per year. Thanks to generous response to my plea for help, Amazon CARES no longer faces immediate closure. The June veterinary trip is on and we have several people signed up. The blog refers to visits to Canada and Ireland. This was a headline making statement. The body of the blog states that both locales are very small villages on the Amazon River that they can't even be found on maps. So we are visiting Canada, Peru and Irlandia, Peru. I hope these statements clarify your questions. As you suggested, I will blog about these issues.

  15. After visiting the Iquitos region on our honeymoon back in 2010, my husband and I were shocked and heartbroken by the amount of homeless and sick animals in the region. My heart went out to those poor animals and I wished that we could do something to help. You were brave enough to actually make a difference. Thank you for all that you do, Molly! I am truly inspired by your courage and love for the animals! We made a small donation on the animal rescue site (I truly wish it could be more) to help you recover from the floods. Keep your chin up and keep fighting for those animals! ~Erin Sheffer (Chicago, IL)


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