Friday, January 21, 2011

The last day in Santa Maria

We could write a book about all the things that happen each day at the clinic.  Yesterday the majority of animals at the clinic had been collected by volunteers from the street or from areas with a lot of strays. Nicky and Marika spent a lot of time collecting cats from Djadsal Residence where the cats are under continual threat of poisoning by the management company and other residents (hiss....)

Neal and Laura tried to collect dogs from the Paradise Beach construction site but the dogs were very spooked, in the end it was left to the security guards who the dogs know and trust.  They managed to get three pregnant girls and one sad looking boy with a very bad eye infection.  Untold puppies have been prevented.

Two caring tourists brought a puppy that had been living around the Morabeza and had terrible mange.  It's such a shame because there is no reason this poor little fella had to suffer for so long, mange is so easily curable and Dr Fatima will treat street dogs for free.  The little boy, called Surf, got a nice ride home with Jayne.

And here is one of our regulars, he has become a star around the clinic as he waits patiently for his turn to see a vet and tolerates the indignity of having half a bottle on his head.  His usual spot is sitting under a chair near Thomas making sure Thomas is giving the correct doses!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 7 at the clinic

It hardly seems possible that it is day 7 already - but so much has happened.  The vets are averaging 40 sterilisation operations a day plus other miscellaneous ones such as tumour removal and dental work.  As anyone who lives here knows, a lot of the dogs have problems with their teeth and jaws with many having a funny little underbite.

The tumours are usually a form of cancer found on the genitals of both male and female dogs that is spread by sexual contact, something that is becoming more and more common here and another good reason to castrate.

Felicity is one of the saddest cases, brought in by a tourist staying at the Novorizonte Hotel, she was red raw on her back end.  It probably started out as a simple case of fleas but must have been driving her so crazy that she has scratched and chewed until the skin is all gone.  She is staying with one of the volunteers at night and being the guest of honour at the clinic during the day.  Once she is all healed she will go back to the beach to be looked after by the kind tourists at the hotel.  Oasis Atlantico, the owners of the Novorizonte are very supportive of the programme and are not one of the hotels that poison.

During the week we have had visits from government officials, including the Vareador do Ambiente & Saneamento (Counciller for the Environment and Sanitation) who is responsible for this type of activity.  Then a couple of days later the President's dog arrived and was collected by the President himself later in the day.  Today we expect a visit from the Department of Health who in the past have been responsible for authorising poisoning campaigns.

It's almost the last day in Santa Maria, tomorrow we pack up early and head up to Palmeira.  Palmeira is the main port on Sal but is really just a small village.  Sadly it has a lot of street dogs and cats living in terrible conditions.  Every time I go to Palmeira my heart breaks, so I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in something that will improve the situation.

Once again thanks to all our lovely volunteers, it's been loads of fun so far.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Meet Sal's beautiful dogs!

As day three of the clinic dawns, it is hard to describe the amazing atmosphere and team work that is making a real difference to the lives of so many cats and dogs on Sal.

People are flooding into the clinic and yet it isn't enough for the dedicated vets, Thomas and Ines.  Working like German machines (Thomas's words, not mine) they call out "how many dogs waiting?" and it doesn't matter what we reply, inevitably the next thing Thomas shouts is "BRING ME MORE!!!"

Monica, our wonderful benefactor, is constantly on the prowl, like some kind of Pied Piper, enticing more dogs to the clinic with little bits of food and continually feeding the street dogs that have been sterilised but are hanging around outside.   We seem to have developed a band of doggie groupies as well as a big band of schoolaged helpers.

It is really heartwarming to meet the animals and to meet the people who care for them, on the whole they show a real understanding of the benefits of sterilisation and although they might not have the means, they really want to take care of their pets.   The system of registration means that we get to know every dog's name and each dog is getting a lovely home-made collar, so they will forever be part of "our pack"!

Thanks to all the amazing volunteers so far, you know who you are!  Anyone can come down and get involved, you can call first for a slot, or just come by.

Sunday today and I have a feeling it is going to be a crazy day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sal City Hall condemns poisoning and says sterilisation is the answer

In an article in a Cape Verde national newspaper, A Nação, Vareador (Counciller) Antero Alfama announced a partnership with Cabo Verde Cats & Dogs in a campaign of sterilisation beginning in Santa Maria this month.  He stated that the "the action of poisoning is condemned by many", an action that continues today especially by hotels, a fact that many tourists are ignorant of and would be horrified about.

The City Hall's strategy of beginning in Santa Maria is because of the high number of tourists and the need to improve sanitation and image.  Sr Alfama acknowledged the international help that was necessary to achieve this initial step.

Another important aspect is education and outreach and this is being achieved by distributing colouring books in schools, about caring for animals and handing out leaflets to the population about the benefits of sterilisation.

The online version of the article can be read here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Donate donate donate!!!!

Sorry, people tell me the donation links are a bit hard to find, so here they are!!  Thanks to everyone for the support.

€30 pays to sterilise a street dog Donate
€15 cures a street dog with painful and unsightly mange Donate
€10 pays for vaccination against killer diseases such as distemper Donate
€5 will give a dog or cat protection against fleas and ticks Donate

Or donate any another amount Donate

Sunday, January 2, 2011

FREE Dog & Cat Clinic Sal January 14-24th

Free* treatment, sterilisation & vaccinations will be available for cats and dogs on Sal in two locations, Santa Maria & Palmeira.

The aim of the clinic is to reduce the population of stray dogs and cats in a humane way and to encourage responsible ownership and treatment of animals.

Volunteers are needed - can you give a little time?  You can help with leafleting (8 and 9 January),  collecting animals or assisting at the clinic between 9h-12h and 13h-17h (even a couple of hours would be very useful).

Vehicles are needed - if you have a pick up and can make it available to collect animals for a few hours please let us know.

Donations of collars and leads and flea and tick treatment are very welcome as are cash donations.
€30 pays to sterilise a street dog Donate
€15 cures a street dog with painful and unsightly mange Donate
€10 pays for vaccination against killer diseases such as distemper Donate
€5 will give a dog or cat protection against fleas and ticks Donate

Or donate any another amount Donate

There will be a volunteer evening  on 7th January where you can find out more and sign up to help (venue and time will be announced shortly).

For more information, to volunteer or to make a booking 
call 957 2162 
or email info(at) (replace (at) with @).

This clinic is being made possible through the generosity of a private benefactor with the kind cooperation of the Câmara Muncipal do Sal & the Delegacia de Saude do Sal

* You will be asked to make a donation for any treatments/operations if you can afford it.