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.
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.
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.
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.
Amazon CARES Founder