June 29, 2013

Veterinary Volunteers Highlighted In Peruvian News

By Shannon Sullivan

A group of Amazon CARES volunteers, who came together from all over the world, recently wrapped up a two week veterinary trip in Peru. Earlier this week their efforts were highlighted by Pro & Contra, a major Peruvian news source, in an article titled "Pets Benefit From Medical Campaign."

Amazon CARES volunteers, June 2013.

Volunteers helped host mobile veterinary campaigns in twelve different villages along the Nanay River. While the mobile campaigns are intended to provide basic veterinary care to dogs and cats, there is also a public health component, providing anti-parasite medications to humans.

When interviewed by Pro & Contra, Peru Director Bruno Antoine explained how Amazon CARES has changed the culture and perception of pet ownership through the use of mobile campaigns and humane education programs. "The population is now well aware of the benefits of this type of activity that allows the medium-term to reduce the number of strays and unwanted births, and the positive effects for health, in terms of transmission of parasitic diseases, not to mention the benefits for pets."

Amazon CARES volunteers treated over 500 animals for internal and external parasites, and spayed or neutered 180 others. In the article, Pro & Contra acknowledges that spaying and neutering is the only 100% efficient and humane method for animal population control.

Upcoming volunteer veterinary trips with Amazon CARES are in August and October 2013. Visit our events page for more information. Consider being a trip leader for discounted trip fees!

Help sponsor one of our upcoming volunteer veterinary trips by visiting our Crowdrise fundraising site!

June 27, 2013

Little Piece of The Big Puzzle: Amazon CARES Volunteer Describes Her Life-Changing Experience

By Shannon Sullivan

Amazon CARES is able to help hundreds of dogs, cats, and humans in the Peruvian Amazon Basin every year thanks to our devoted volunteers. In June 2011, Debby Dayton joined one of CARES' volunteer veterinary trips. Debby recently recalled her experience, sharing touching moments and a call for others to volunteer.

Debby, right, assisting Dr. Betti in preparing
a patient for surgery during a mobile clinic.
While volunteering with Amazon CARES, Debby assisted the doctors and veterinary nurses in preparing patients for surgery. She also stepped in wherever help was needed, cleaning surgical instruments and drapes, setting up and tearing down mobile surgery sites, and much more.

Debby zip-lining through the rainforest
canopy, 100 feet off the ground.
Debby explained that she learned a lot about herself during her two weeks volunteering with Amazon CARES. "I learned that I could do more in the heat of the day than I imagined. I learned I could climb a lot of stairs with arthritic knees. I learned that with my little piece of the big puzzle, I could make a big difference. I learned I could jump off a platform many feet up in the trees, harnessed to only a wire and not be afraid. I learned that I need to be more grateful for the things I have and the people in my life. I learned how to give of myself in a way I never had before."

While volunteering Debby met a dog named Scott at the Amazon CARES No-Kill Dog Shelter. Scott, pictured at left, had undergone orthopedic surgery prior to Debby's arrival and was recovering at the shelter.

"He had a broken leg and, it seemed, a broken spirit," she recalled. "He would roll his lip and start to growl when I first approached him. After a few days of sitting and talking with him, I was able to reach out and pet him. That felt so good and like a huge accomplishment."

The people of Peru also made an unforgettable impression on Debby. She described the people as being "happy, helpful, and genuine." Debby explained that the children had the biggest impact on her. "They were so happy with so little. They laughed so much. There was one little girl in the village of Buena Vista who for some reason took a liking to me. She became my shadow that day. She sat by me, held my hand, admired my red hair and my watch. We didn't speak the same language, but somehow we were able to communicate. We only spent a few hours together, but she will forever be in my heart."

Debby certainly worked hard while volunteering for Amazon CARES, but she was still able to enjoy her time in the Peruvian Rainforest. She recalled spending one morning fishing for piranha --- even catching a larger fish than her boss!

Another memorable experience for Debby was visiting a monkey sanctuary. At the sanctuary she was able to interact with many monkeys, including a Red Howler Monkey who climbed into Debby's arms in order to be held and lay his head on her shoulder.

Debby with fellow volunteers.
While giving her time to help Amazon CARES achieve its goals, Debby personally gained a great deal. "I gained a lot from volunteering," she explained. "I gained an appreciation for the things and opportunities we have in the United States. I gained an understanding of how I could better myself. I gained a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction after each hard day of work in the jungle and the joy in feeling a 'good tired.' I gained an experience that only a few have the privilege of having. I would tell anyone considering volunteering to GO, don't think about it, just GO. Don't let anything stand in your way. Amazon CARES needs your help to continue the work they do. It is worth it."

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities with Amazon CARES, both in Peru and in the United States, visit our Events Page. Consider being a Trip Leader and receive discounted trip fees!

If you have volunteered with Amazon CARES and wish to share your experience, e-mail Blog Editor Shannon Sullivan at shannon@amazoncares.org.

June 25, 2013

Sponsor An Abandoned Kitten During Adopt A Shelter Cat Month!

By Shannon Sullivan

Many of the cats and dogs that Amazon CARES care for have been abandoned at our animal clinic in Iquitos, Peru. This spring was no exception. Our clinic has been inundated with many kittens the last few months.


Once in our care, the kittens are vaccinated, treated for parasites, altered, and of course provided food and shelter until they find their forever homes. We are able to provide that care thanks to generous donors all over the world.

In honor of Adopt A Shelter Cat Month, please consider making a small donation to help these abandoned kittens by visiting our Crowdrise fundraising page. Every donation goes directly to helping the animals we care for, ensuring bright futures for these sweet souls.

Click here to donate today!

June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day From Amazon CARES!

By Shannon Sullivan

The team at Amazon CARES would like to sincerely wish every father out there a very happy Father's Day! Whether your children have two legs or four, there is no arguing that being a dad is hard work.

Peru Director Bruno Antoine
We hope that everyone will join us in wishing Bruno Antoine, our Peru Director, a very happy Father's Day. Bruno is an extremely dedicated team member and our organization would not be as successful as it is today without his hard work.

Bruno works tirelessly to organize mobile veterinary campaigns throughout northern Peru. He also visits area schools to discuss the humane treatment of animals and he works with legislators to strengthen and enforce animal cruelty laws.

Late last summer Bruno became a dad, so this is his first Father's Day. Visit our Facebook page or Twitter to join us in wishing Bruno a happy Father's Day and thank him for his hard work!

The Amazon CARES team would also like to wish a happy Father's Day to all those men who have adopted dogs and cats from our shelter. These new "dads" provide a loving, forever home for dogs and cats in need. We are extremely grateful for every person who chooses adoption first --- and the animals are grateful too!

Fernando, at left, adopted Mixy earlier this year.

Thanks to these kind men,
these wonderful animals have great homes!

If you are still looking for the perfect Father's Day gift for dad, consider making a donation to one of Amazon CARES' fundraisers in his name. Visit our Crowdrise website for current fundraisers.

Once again, Happy Father's Day from the Amazon CARES team!

June 13, 2013

Dogs In Amazon's Only No-Kill Shelter Need Your Help Now!

By Shannon Sullivan

Amazon CARES operates out of one of the most remote cities in the world. Iquitos, home of our animal clinic, is the largest city in the world that cannot be accessed by road. That means all supplies must be brought into the city by air or by boat. Our no-kill dog shelter is located a short distance down river from Iquitos in an area called Cabo Lopez.

The river dock for the Amazon CARES clinic.
Photo by Debby Dayton

The Amazon CARES clinic.
Due to the remoteness of the city, many consumer items that are easily available in other parts of Peru are not available in Iquitos. In addition, those items that are available for purchase in Iquitos are significantly more expensive than items purchased elsewhere. The difficulty of obtaining products and the increased cost of many products is problematic when running any organization. It's especially problematic when operating a non-profit animal clinic and a no-kill dog shelter!

The Amazon CARES team was recently informed that Pedigree dog food, the food we feed our shelter dogs, is currently unavailable in the entire country of Peru! For the last several weeks we’ve been forced to buy lower quality, but more expensive, dog foods that are available in Iquitos.

The Amazon CARES no-kill dog shelter.

Dogs at the CARES shelter.
Although the concept is very foreign in Peru, our Peruvian office is considering running a food drive in order to provide the dogs we shelter with better quality food at a more reasonable price. We’re unsure how successful a food drive will be, but we are willing to do whatever we can to help these dogs in need!
You can help too! You can help us with the extra expense of food by making a small contribution to our cause by following this link: www.crowdrise.com/dogfood Please consider sharing our cause with your friends!

Any contribution you make will go a long way in helping us to provide great nutrition and care for these wonderful dogs!

June 11, 2013

New Vision, Leadership for Amazon's Only Domestic Animal Charity

NOTE February 21, 2016:  This blog is from June of 2013.  An official blog about Manuela's exciting RETURN to Amazon CARES is forthcoming!!

By Shannon Sullivan

Molly Mednikow, founder of Amazon CARES, is stepping down as the organization’s Executive Director. Replacing her as Executive Director is longtime associate and Amazon CARES team member Manuela Rodrigues. 

Founder Molly Mednikow and Executive Director Manuela Rodrigues.

CARES' founder Molly Mednikow.
Molly had a vision for a domestic animal welfare organization, and nine years later that vision is a reality. Molly explains, "I have dealt with the complicated aspects of setting up an animal charity from scratch in a poorly developed area of the world. I lived in Peru during the initial five years, handling minutia and cleansing kennels to teach my employees what their standards should be. One of my most challenging endeavors was to find and train employees to be sensitive towards animals. This sense of caring is not built into the culture. It is so exciting to turn the leadership over to Manuela, who is better able to see the big picture."

Molly has a B.S. in Political Science and a M.B.A., and will now be attending Mercer University School of Law in Macon, Georgia. She plans to earn a legal degree so that she may be a part of the bigger picture in the prevention of cruelty to animals. Molly will continue to serve on the CARES Board of Directors.

New Amazon CARES Executive Director
Manuela Rodrigues.
Manuela, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has lived in the United States since 2004. Manuela has volunteered her time and skills since she was a teenager, and she has worked with nonprofits in Brazil and South Africa. Manuela first worked as a virtual volunteer for Amazon CARES and over time she has become more involved and a more integral team member. Manuela is a wonderful and skilled member of the Amazon CARES team and we are excited for her new leadership role.

Please join us in welcoming Manuela to her new role as Executive Director of Amazon CARES, as well as wishing Molly great success in her new endeavor! Leave them both a message on our Facebook wall or on Twitter!

June 7, 2013

June Is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month!

By Shannon Sullivan

This kitten was adopted earlier this
year from Amazon CARES.
While Amazon CARES works all twelve months of the year to find homes for the cats and kittens we rescue, we are very excited about this month, June, as it is Adopt A Shelter Cat Month! We hope by discussing adoption, people will be more inclined to choose adoption first.

Most shelters around the world have large numbers of cats in need of permanent, loving homes, so adoption is vital to their well-being and happiness.

Pet overpopulation, due to cats and dogs not being spayed or neutered, is the leading cause of high numbers of animals in shelters. Cats in particular can reproduce frequently and with moderate to large litter sizes, leading to many cats and kittens without homes.

Image from Friends of HCAS, Inc.

Because of the large number of healthy and friendly cats in shelters, Amazon CARES encourages adoption rather than buying cats from pet stores or breeders. While Amazon
CARES operates a no-kill shelter, not every shelter is able to operate with a no-kill policy. In turn, adoption truly can save lives!

Firago sleeping soundly in the arms
of his new family member.
A cat can make a wonderful addition to any family. If you are considering adding a cat to your family, please consider adoption from a shelter first. If adoption is not an option for you, consider instead making a donation to help those cats that are already in shelters.

Like many shelters, Amazon CARES gets an influx of kittens every springtime, and this year was no exception! If you would like to donate a small amount to help feed and provide veterinary care for these sweet kittens until they find their permanent homes, please visit our Crowdrise website. Be sure to recommend a name when you make your donation; many of our cats and kittens are named by donors!

Amazon CARES relies on supporters
like you to help care for these kittens.

If you've adopted or rescued a cat, we'd love to hear about it! Please visit the Amazon CARES Facebook page and share a photo and story of your shelter cat! Also, share with us why adoption is important to you!

At left, Candy cannot contain her excitement about finding a permanent home with Jhonatan. Candy was adopted from Amazon CARES earlier this year.

June 3, 2013

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

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 at
and other ways to volunteer (even from home!) the Amazon CARES website.

6. Experiencing Another Culture

Seeing firsthand another culture and another way of life was quite fascinating and humbling. I was lucky enough to attend a carnival celebrating the holiday Fiesta de San Juan during my visit.

At left: traffic to the carnival. At right: enjoying ice cream at the carnival.

7. Making New Friends

During my two weeks volunteering, I made many new friends who I still keep in touch with today.


8. Touring A Village Hospital  

In Nueva Esperanza, a village we worked in, we were given a tour of the village's hospital. The hospital provides services to fourteen local villages.

Only a few days before our visit a woman had delivered a healthy baby at the hospital.

9. Meeting the People

Meeting the locals at each mobile site was wonderful. Everyone I met was very kind and friendly. The children were playful and their laughter was contagious.  I was taken aback by the generosity of everyone I met. We were welcomed into homes for meals, and if we needed help transporting our supplies from village to village, we never had to look very far.


10. The Rainforest 

The rainforest's beauty and size cannot be accurately conveyed in words. The sights, sounds, and smells of the rainforest were soothing, yet exciting at the same time. Observing and interacting with the rainforest's animals was an experience I will never forget. The Peruvian Rainforest is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

During a day off from work we visited a monkey sanctuary.
Missed Part 1 of this series? Read it 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.