August 19, 2009

Bonnie: A Cocker Spaniel's Will to Survive

Bonnie is one of the first rescue dogs of Amazon CARES. She is a Cocker Spaniel, a favorite breed in the remote Amazon city of Iquitos. Though there are favorite breeds, pet owners are unaware of responsible pet care. It is common to wean puppies at 2-3 weeks and to forgo veterinary care, thus these pets do not have vaccines or other necessary medical attention. Many people coming to the Amazon CARES shelter see Bonnie and want to adopt her. However, Bonnie will not be adopted by anyone.

Why is this? Sadly, Bonnie was abused in her hip area, probably in the form of kicking, before being abandoned. because of this cruelty, Bonnie does not trust easily. The CARES staff knows Bonnie well -- when showing her affection, we never touch her from her mid-back down -- and is able to see the warning signs she gives prior to the occasional snap or bite. If she was to be adopted and someone was bitten, it could provoke more abuse and we would feel terrible for all involved. Households in Peru are very open for the purpose of ventilation and that could result in a child being bitten. To prevent this possibility, the decision was made to include Bonnie in our "Lifetime Pet Program," and she is a much-loved member of the CARES family.

Bonnie does not have a kennel. She lives free outside of the spacious fenced area. She can usually be found at the hut of the security guard and his wife, Marlena, who is our cook and housekeeper when we have volunteers. One thing about Cocker Spaniels is that they tend to be very loyal to ONE person, in our household, that person is Marlena. Sometimes Bonnie and Marlena disappear for a bit and Bonnie returns decked out with ribbons and bows! When others call Bonnie´s name she turns on her heel and runs the other way!

When Bonnie isn’t playing dress-up, she enjoys demonstrating that she is unusually gifted in rat-catching. Rats can be a problem in the thatched-roofed huts of the jungle. At least once a week, she catches a few and tortures them to death by banging them against the ground. She then sits proudly over her "trophies" awaiting praise for her work...Unfortunately, her desire to hunt has not always been limited to rats, and we have had to reimburse a few neighbors for chickens, a duck and a rooster!

Bonnie has even posed for Amazon CARES as a Christmas Card Model!

Tragedy Strikes! Unjustified Animal Cruelty.

During the flood (blogged here and here), she ventured to an adjacent property, probably to hunt, where she was not welcome. She suffered horrible damage from a man and his chainsaw. She traveled back to the shelter, wounded terribly, through chest-deep flood water. She needs sponsors to pay for her extensive treatment and rehabilitation. CARES is fortunate to have skilled surgeons who were able to sew her up.

So, how is Bonnie now?

She is healing PHYSICALLY, and has already returned to our sanctuary. Bonnie has come a long, long way. Yet her surgery and medical bills have not been sponsored, so we continue to seek help from generous supporters.

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