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.

September 1, 2012

"I Learned as Much as I Gave." by Dr. Erin Z.

by Guest Blogger Dr. Erin Zimowski

What a whirlwind, amazing, interesting, challenging, difficult, exhausting and gratifying experience this was! I participated in the August 10, 2012 to August 25, 2012 veterinary volunteer trip in Iquitos, Peru for Amazon CARES.  Because I was only able to squeeze a week off from my “normal work” in the states, I had to leave early on August 17. That said, I feel as though I got the full experience in this week! My normal work” is as an emergency veterinarian for a 24 hour ER and general practice hospital in Monterey, CA.  My original goal for volunteering was to come to Peru with an open mind, ready and willing to help in all ways that I could. I accomplished this goal, and although I knew that there would be challenges, I overcame these challenges and more, learning new solutions during this trip.  I learned as much as I gave of my time.  

Alex Shroth, Molly Mednikow and myself.
On August 11, after a long, exhausting night of travels from California through Panama City, I finally arrived in Iquitos, Peru. I arrived at the Amazon CARES office and met Alexandra Schroth, one of the young volunteers working as one of our veterinary nurses.  
The tour of the Amazon CARES' office and Veterinary hospital proved that despite meager facilities, they run a very efficient practice! On my first day, I met this adorable kitten and very loving male cat which both greeted me with lots of love and purrs! We traveled back to the animal shelter and Molly's home where we would be living.  We traveled by MotoTaxi, of course (How fun!) to meet the rest of our “team”. The team for the 1 week that I was able to take part in was: Molly of course, the director of Amazon CARES; Dr. Sean Pampreen of CT; Dr. Racelle Lamar of CA; Dr. Megan Prendergast of Sydney, Australia;  Dr. Susan Cunningham, of Northern Ireland; the aforementioned Alexandra  of NY; Sophie Sage, a third year veterinary student from France; Dr. Jackie Imai, of Redding, CA and myself. 

We would also be working with the Peruvian vets and their amazing veterinary technicians. Plus, there was Mary Haight, who would be our professional blogger documenting our every move, and Darifa and Jan, a young couple from the Netherlands that were going to be filming our trip! A very diverse team indeed! We all had dinner and then early to bed as we were exhausted from travels.