August 24, 2012

Volunteer Vets, Amazon CARES & Dancing Dog Blog in Peru

by Guest Blogger MARY HAIGHT, originally published on DancingDogBlog.com on AUGUST 15, 2012


Imagine rolling around in a covered cart affixed to a motorcycle carrying you, swaying back and forth with the potholes and rain-soaked sandy ground, deeply gouged by the 50 other moto-taxis who had previously negotiated the road, creating constant opportunities for tipping over(and a rather nervous back-seat driver). It’s a talent to stay upright and sometimes it’s a close call – drivers seem to operate well in this chaotic environment of no lanes and following bumper to bumper to jockey for position.



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 At the next turn, the waste from a logging operation covers the streets in timber slivers, slabs and chunks. The shanties built here are what shanties the world over look like, dogs, puppies and children running in the street or lounging at the entrance of a house slapped together with boards. I wondered how surgeries would be done here. [Note the street described could not be photographed for fear of having the camera fly out of my hands.]

We arrived at what was an outdoor government sponsored health fair complete with chiropractor. Since this practitioner was just next to the Amazon CARES area, some vets thought it would be great if they could do so many surgeries followed by some back work (they did not do it in the end). Many people responded and the large open lot was teaming with those ready to help their dogs or themselves.
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There were four operating tables I was told were provided by local folks – well, wooden dining tables actually – that were sterilized and covered with plastic. I felt for the vets who had to bend over that table case after case, or try to do surgery sitting once their backs demanded it. The working conditions make everyone think how lucky we are to have so many conveniences at home. Like running water and refrigeration…oh, and bathrooms.

 Molly Mednikow, Founder and Director of Amazon Cares, gave the children an extemporaneous talk about what is necessary to care for your dog. (A short clip will hopefully be at the end of this post but upload times may make it impossible.) There was someone who represented the Patch Adams group keeping kids amused while their parents attended to business.


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Once again, all cats and dogs that showed up were serviced after 6 hours. There was an emergency case of bleeding, so the vets went back in found a problem and fixed it. That dog came back to clinic for an overnight watch (the dog was fine the next morning).

After work, we were back in the business district having dinner at a place claiming to have “better than Starbuck’s” coffee and frappacinos – that made me laugh – it was so far from what this place is all about. There are some expats living here. Joe from Texas runs a place that is open 24 hours and has what must be a ten page menu. His is one of the few establishments with actual air-conditioning (this is no small thing here)!

It was the end to a productive day, and tomorrow another day in a neighborhood without service. The volunteer vets are working very well together as a team and it’s gratifying to watch. Hope you’ll come along with me for a photo tour of where I am, up next =)

The view from the cafe…

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