by Mary Haight.
Amazon CARES’ no kill shelter was engulfed by 6′ of torrential rain, the worst seen in Peru in 25 years. Molly Mednikow, Founder and Executive Director of the lone organization working in the region to protect and assist domestic animals, said her heart sank as she watched the waters quickly rise to cover the spacious kennels that took so long to build. Molly imagined seven years of the difficult work of social change being swept into the Amazon. That was a moment. It is never more clear what stuff you are made of than when disaster erupts.
For those who don’t know Molly or Amazon CARES beyond the no kill status and rainforest location, we talked briefly about what drove her to make such a drastic change in her life. She moved away from a successful Atlanta business to live in Peru and change people’s minds about street dogs. She opened a modern veterinary clinic in Iquitos to perform free spay/neuter to help stem teaming populations from overrunning the streets.
Relating details about Amazon CARES Humane Education program, Molly offered that volunteers are in the schools in town and surrounding villages every day teaching how to care for, respect and have compassion for animals. You take note of what she is saying not only because of the value of the programs, but because of the passion in her voice and the persistence of her actions.
Molly has had a grant from Humane Society International for her Humane Education program, Best Friends volunteers have visited, and Brigitte Bardot’s Foundation recently sent a grant that will help Amazon CARES start again. Many individuals have donated, and help is crucial right now. If I had to bet, I would put my money on who I’ve now come to think of as the unsinkable Molly Mednikow.
Author Bio: Mary Haight has been in animal welfare for more than 15 years. She is the Founder at Animal Cafe, author of DancingDogBlog, and a writer for Be The Change for Animals.
She had cats as she was growing up, and loved watching horses on tv but knew a pony was not in her future - city kids can only dream. She didn’t get a chance to ride horses until she went into government work overseas, and seeing how horses in particular and animals in general were treated in other countries made her think about the role of animals in our lives. She found her first dog in New Delhi, a Lhasa Apso, and so it began. Having seen the place of animals in society in the UK, Austria, India, Cyprus, and Nepal, Haight knew that animal welfare was something that would be a lifelong pursuit. She did not know it would become a mission.
Haight is Vice President on the Board of Directors for Lake Shore Animal Shelter, Chicago’s pioneer no-kill shelter, and serves as a board member at the Chicago Animal Shelter Coalition (CASA).