May 31, 2013

Top Ten Memories of Volunteering With Amazon CARES (Part 1/2)

By Shannon Sullivan

In June 2011 I had the privilege of traveling to Iquitos, Peru, to volunteer with Amazon CARES. While the entire experience was memorable and life-changing, I have narrowed down the top ten memories of my jungle adventure.

You can learn about upcoming veterinary volunteer trips and other ways to volunteer (even from home!) at the Amazon CARES website.

After three of four planes on our way to Peru.
1. Traveling with Friends

I traveled to Iquitos with four friends. Leaving from North Idaho, it took four airplanes and a boat to reach our final destination. Needless to say, plenty of memories were made and laughs were had along the way!

After a rainy and adventurous MotoKar ride in Peru,
Justin & I shared a laugh. Not Dr. B. though!

2. Mobile Surgery

While I had assisted with countless surgeries prior to volunteering with Amazon CARES, I had never assisted with a mobile clinic. The clinics were fast-paced and efficient. The mobile surgery sites were much different than anything back home. I really put my skills to the test and was surprised at the quality of medicine that can be provided in such remote locations.


Ascending a rope to the top of the canopy.
3. Zip-lining Through the Rainforest Canopy 

Every volunteer trip with Amazon CARES incorporates some type of ecotourism. The first four nights of our trip we stayed at the Tahuayo Lodge, home of the Amazon's longest zip-line. Climbing to the top of the canopy and soaring through the tree tops
was exhilarating and an experience I'll never forget.

4. Boating to Work

Traveling by boat to and from work was definitely new for me! The tranquil boat rides every morning and evening allowed for time to reflect and a chance to take in the rainforest's beauty.

5. Meeting the Animals

While I met hundreds of animals while volunteering with Amazon CARES, two dogs stood out in particular. I met Jimmy at the CARES clinic shortly after he had been taken in. His sweet personality left quite the impression with me, and as I left I knew he was in great hands.

At left: Jimmy the day I met him.
At right: Jimmy after being treated by Amazon CARES.

Clotilde was a street dog that the crew came across during one of our mobile clinics. She was taken to the Amazon CARES no-kill shelter for care and treatment. Within a few months I could no longer recognize her! There is no doubt that she is a much happier and healthier dog.

At left: Clotilde the day I met her.
At right: Clotilde after being treating by the CARES team.

Read Part 2 of this series here!    

You can help support upcoming Amazon CARES veterinary trips by visiting our Crowdrise site!

Learn about upcoming veterinary volunteer trips and other ways to volunteer (even from home!) at the Amazon CARES website.

May 29, 2013

Amazon CARES Treats Over 600 Animals During Global Health Campaign

By Shannon Sullivan

Thanks to supporters like you, Amazon CARES is truly making a difference in the lives of both domestic animals and humans throughout northern Peru. In April, Amazon CARES hosted a Global Health Campaign in the city of Contamana. During the campaign, nearly 100 dogs and cats were spayed or neutered and 628 animals received treatment, such as parasite control.

Bruno discussing the work of Amazon CARES.
During the campaign, CARES' invaluable Peru Director Bruno Antoine was interviewed by local media outlets to promote responsible pet ownership. In addition, he spoke about humane education at surrounding schools and colleges.

A newly registered pet and his owner.
Amazon CARES also helped to register many of the dogs with the city of Contamana. Article 5 of the Contamana City Council states that "every owner of pets is required to identify, register and get local authorization." This policy allows local officials and organizations like Amazon CARES to have better control of stray animals and to punish owners who may abandon, neglect or abuse their own pets. This article makes the city of Contamana the first city in the region to take seriously the problems of animal abandonment and animal suffering.

In addition to the outstanding work at the Contamana mobile clinic, in April the Amazon CARES clinic also spayed or neutered 44 cats and dogs and treated 7 others.

View the entire photo album of the Contamana Global Health Campaign here! You can support similar Amazon CARES campaigns by visiting our Crowdrise fundraising website.

May 24, 2013

A New Beginning for Jack

By Shannon Sullivan

Jack is a very affectionate dog who was brought to the Amazon CARES clinic in April. The young man who brought Jack in was concerned because the dog was injured, and he claimed that the dog’s owner (the young man’s neighbor) did not have the resources to seek medical care for him. After assessing Jack’s injury, it was determined that his left hind limb had to be amputated.

A very happy Jack after surgery.
When Jack was coming out of the operating room, it was realized that the young man had disappeared. Whether the story the young man originally told about Jack belonging to his neighbor is true or not, we’ll never know. Jack was abandoned at our clinic and is now being cared for by Amazon CARES. Since his surgery last month, Jack has become the clinic’s mascot; he is always with the staff, receiving love and attention from the team and clients. We hope to find him a permanent, loving home soon!

Jack will make a wonderful addition to any family!

You can support the work of Amazon CARES and dogs like Jack by visiting

May 22, 2013

What You Gain By Giving - Volunteering with Amazon CARES

By Shannon Sullivan

Volunteering one’s time and skills is a wonderful way to support an organization or give back to a community. However, volunteering isn’t just about giving - there’s also a great deal you can gain. Amazon CARES is successful due to our many great volunteers, but we can always use more help!
Amazon CARES volunteers.

Amazon CARES currently has many volunteer opportunities, both virtual and in-person. Everything from veterinary volunteers to blog contributors to grant writing. There are many ways to volunteer with Amazon CARES. We are still in need of volunteers for our 2014 veterinary campaigns. Trip dates are March 16-30, May 11-25, and October 5-19. Learn more here! To learn about virtual volunteer opportunities, follow this link

There is much to gain by volunteering! 

Jimmy, a dog helped by Amazon CARES.
Improve the Lives of Others
Volunteering with Amazon CARES allows you to help improve the lives of domestic animals throughout northern Peru. In addition, many programs offered by Amazon CARES aim to improve the lives of humans.

Strengthen Communities

Amazon CARES feels that creating a culture of empathy and compassion is vital to the humane treatment of animals. Our programs help to educate and strengthen communities.

At right are community members supporting justice for a dog named Arthas at an animal cruelty court case. Read more here.

Career Experience 

With so many different ways to volunteer, working with Amazon CARES allows you to utilize your skills and gain valuable job experience.

Our mobile clinics are an excellent opportunity to learn and use veterinary and animal-handling skills.

Connect With Others

Volunteering allows you to meet other like-minded individuals with similar interests. You also have the opportunity to learn about other cultures and ways of life.

Benefit Your Health

Volunteering has been found to increase self-confidence, self-esteem, life satisfaction, and help combat depression. Volunteering can also help to improve your physical health. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, and volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain and heart disease.

Learn more about volunteering with Amazon CARES on our website!

Amazon CARES sincerely thanks all of our past, current, and future volunteers!

Veterinary volunteers in front of our clinic in Iquitos, Peru.

We love our volunteers!

May 20, 2013

Amazon CARES Welcomes Doctors Vargas and Castilla

By Shannon Sullivan

Everyone at Amazon CARES is happy to welcome two new doctors to our team! Join us in welcoming Dr. Julio Vargas and Dr. Reyna Isabel Castilla to our hardworking team of veterinary professionals in Iquitos, Peru.

Dr. Vargas at an Amazon CARES mobile clinic.
Dr. Julio Vargas has been working in veterinary medicine since 2007 and graduated from the National University Pedro Ruiz Gallo-Lambayeque. He has experience treating domestic animals, including companion animals and farm animals, as well as exotic animals. Dr. Vargas has a great deal of experience with dermatology, reproduction, pathology and immunology, and production animal management. Even though he has many skills and areas of expertise, he particularly enjoys surgery. In his free time, Dr. Vargas enjoys spending time with animals and swimming.

Dr. Vargas performing surgery.

Dr. Castilla with a friend.
Dr. Reyna Isabel Castilla graduated from the National University of San Cristobal Guamanga – Ayacucho in 2011. Her research thesis in veterinary school focused on gastrointestinal parasites in primates kept in captivity. How interesting! Dr. Castilla has been working in veterinary medicine since 2008, focusing on reproduction, wildlife management, and production animal management.

Dr. Castilla with a patient at the Amazon CARES clinic.
Everyone here at Amazon CARES is very excited to have both of these wonderful doctors join our team. Please join us in wishing them both a warm welcome!