December 23, 2012

Keara's Holiday Miracle! An Adoption Tale!

Donna and Dr. Kendall Bodkin of Hayden Pet Medical Center have volunteered for CARES in the Amazon.  Since then, they have been incredible supporters and friends to CARES.  We hope they return to Peru soon!  During their trip. Donna formed a bond with a very special and distinguished shelter dog, Keara.  Lucky Keara was adopted by the Bodkin family, and a smiling Donna retrieved Keara from the airport in Spokane!  It was quite a climate change for Keara, but she seemed to adapt very quickly!

"Beautiful picture of Keara playing in the snow! Recently adopted by the Bodkin's family, Keara is living a healthy and happy life in Idaho! We are truly grateful to the Bodkin clan!"
Molly Mednikow 

In November 2012 Keara celebrated her one year anniversary as a member of the Bodkin clan!

Looks like she is in the Christmas spirit!

Keara lived at our no-kill shelter in Iquitos for several years.  It breaks my heart to think that another shelter might have euthanized this beautiful girl.

The Bodkins have been huge supporters, and we are forever grateful.  I am reaching outside of our circle of supporters to ask that you "Chip In" $5 or more to help Amazon CARES survive into 2013, and so that our shelter dogs can thrive in a loving environment where all their needs are met.

December 16, 2012

The Saddest Blog I've Ever Written - Redux

This blog is reprinted from May 15, 2012

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.  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 somebodys 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.  

P.S. December 16, 2012 - I can't believe we are facing such dire economic circumstances again, and I hate to use the pity card with our supporters.  Please remember that 90% of your donation goes directly to our programs helping animals.  Our outlook for 2013 is good, if we can just get past these few months before grant money comes in.  We are a tiny charity achieving BIG goals, and we are working on doing more strategic planning for the future longevity of the charity.

Molly Mednikow
Amazon CARES Founder

December 13, 2012

What does CARES stand for?

As part of our continuing series "Why Amazon CARES Must Survive," today's blog is about the hidden meaning of our name, Amazon CARES.

As Dr. Patrick Mahaney recently noted in a blog post, “CARES” doesn’t just sound compassionate, it’s an acronym for:
COMMUNITY:  CARES is rooted in the Peruvian Amazon community, with a team of Peruvian veterinarians, shelter staff and volunteers.By working with local municipalities and using existing resources, we address and solve evolving issues more efficiently.  

Peruvian volunteers visiting the no-kill shelter to help bathe our shelter animals.

ANIMAL:  Animal Birth Control (ABC) reduces the size of unwanted, roaming animal populations and the attendant suffering due to disease, starvation, injury and want that accompanies these unwanted animals.
RESCUE: Many animals captured during our ABC campaigns are not healthy enough to be released. These animals are treated in our modern veterinary clinic and then transported to our no-kill shelter in nearby Cabo Lopez. Abandoned animals and countless litters of abandoned kittens and puppies are also welcome at our shelter.
EDUCATION:  Humane Education is a very strong component of our work. In the jungle towns and in local schools, Peruvian Director, Bruno Antoine works tirelessly to teach children of all ages about the importance of animal and human relationships, responsible pet ownership, and the importance of respecting wildlife in their natural environment. CARES appears on TV weekly to discuss sensitivity towards animals.

SAFETY:  As a component of our education efforts we teach about dog-bite prevention and the importance of animal health as it pertains to public and environmental health. We encounter many dogs with diseases that are transmissible to the human population. We conduct campaigns against domestic violence by demonstrating the proven link between animal abuse and said violence.

Again, we ask you, please help Amazon CARES survive and thrive in 2013.  Please donate whatever amount you can.  Please copy and share our ChipIn widget.

December 11, 2012

Diana's Story: We promised not to euthanize her.

August 2006, Day of Rescue

September 2006
In August of 2006 Amazon CARES rescued a very ill dog from the streets.  We named her Diana, in honor of donors Diane & Greg Paschell who sponsored her.

October, 2006 Photo by Molly Wald of Best Friends Animal Society
During October of 2006 I responded to an inquiry about Diana, and wrote:  Diana is still in treatment for an eye infection and anal gland infection. Her treatment has been lengthy. She still has a bit of distrust in her eyes, which is heartbreaking. She craves human companionship, and she does not live in the kennel area. She roams free, and she sleeps on this spot on the porch of my house. At night she keeps our security guard company on his rounds!

Recently somebody abandoned a dog and her 5 month puppy at our shelter in the middle of the night. The puppy escaped, and we hoped it would be lured back by his mother. I told my employees to secure the mother to an outer fence post with this hope. Later I went looking for the dog and questioned my employees. They told me Diana was guarding her. What?

Sure enough, they had the two dogs attached by two leashes, and Diana stood her ground in the most stalwart fashion.

January, 2008
Diana is the most loving, playful dog -- when she has her eye medication. She can not produce natural tears. We put natural lubricant in her eyes five times a day. She requires constant monitoring, therefore she will live out her best years at the Amazon Cares no-kill shelter!

December 2012
Over the years Diana's eye condition got much worse.  A Veterinary Opthamologist volunteered for Amazon CARES, and we made the decision to relieve the source of so much pain and irritation.  Diana was already blind, and the Veterinarian removed both of Diane's eyes.  Diane still accompanies our security guard on his nightly rounds, and she loves to bask in the sun, and then take refuge from the heat on the hard packed dirt underneath the Director's raised home on the shelter premises.  She has never been restricted to a kennel.

We made a lifetime promise to Diana.  We promised her a life with all her necessities are met, where she is walked several times a day and receives affection.  We promised not to euthanize her.  Please help us keep this promise.  We need your support now.


Molly Mednikow

December 6, 2012

"We Will Survive..."

We wish to apologize for the delay since our last blog.  Amazon CARES has made incredible progress during 2012, and we want our work to continue long past 2013.  However, financially, like many charities, we are suffering greatly.  I am sad to state that for the first time we will not be printing an Annual Calendar.  This keepsake had always doubled as a form of an Annual Report for CARES.  Despite Sponsorship money to pay for the actual printing, we had to measure reality vs. the costs and reality won.  Amazon CARES, it seems, is always hanging by a thread.  I can assure supporters that our costs are low.  I do not earn a salary and 90 cents of every $1.00 donated goes directly yo our animal and human welfare projects.  This year, due to the destruction of our jungle shelter facilities due to flooding and the resulting influx of abandoned animals, we utilized all our resources.

Director  Bruno Antoine catching a street dog for
sterilization along with a bystander and Vet Tech Harry.
I must congratulate and give special recognition to Peru Director Bruno Antoine, who enabled me to stop living in Peru full-time, and develop our name outside of Peru.  Bruno is a true visionary with compassion towards all living beings.  He is the glue that holds Amazon CARES together, along with Manuela, my Part-Time Assistant in the United States, who I will write about in the coming days.

Do not misunderstand the tone of this blog!  Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety WILL continue to exist.  I am determined to work harder and smarter in 2013 than ever before.  Let's call the last eight years a "warm-up"  From humble beginnings we became a charity to be reckoned with.  The culture of ignorance and indifference towards domestic animals in the Amazon Region of Peru has changed.  That is because of Amazon CARES.  The most dramatic example of this cultural shift occurred when we obtained the precedent setting legal verdict against an animal abuser in Iquitos, and secured a conviction.  It was a surprise for Iquitos, Peru, and much of Latin America!  Read about that case here.

After years of being sponsored by a Fiscal Sponsor Charity, we achieved our own 501 (c)3 non-profit status in the United States.  Now, in addition to our great foundation support from the Fondation Brigitte Bardot and other European entities, we can begin to build relationships with American Foundations that will help us survive and thrive.

Like everyone we hit hard times, and although we have accomplished so much during our eight years working in the remote Amazon jungle, we will not shut our doors and watch our work be undone.  Amazon CARES will survive, but we need your help. 

Please join us as a Member and/or Supporter today!  While shopping online, click on first and a donation will be made when you purchase at one of their many retailers!  We need your help to survive.  Thank you.

Molly Mednikow
Founder and Executive Director