Thursday, July 1, 2010

The P.U.P.P.Y. Project Day 2

It was certainly fun to wake this morning to 5 puppies romping in the yard along with our 4 dogs and the puppy's mother who we decided to name Ginger.  It was amazing that each puppy was completely different; with one being all white with brown ears, one tan with a black nose, one black, one grey, and one brown.  Although, a lot of fun to see them romp, we knew we couldn't continue with 10 dogs!

In the past we had boarded our dogs at Judy's Pet Lodge in Sosua, DR and knew that she also did considerable work with homeless animals.  Judy Liggio, who runs the pet lodge, is a retired vet tech who also has buildings near the pet lodge to work with needy  animals on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic.  Her program, Friends of the Animals of Sosua (Asociacion de Amigos por los Animales de Sosua AAAS) , was started in 1998 to provide free or low cost spay/neuter programs to animals in the DR as well as medication and emergency housing for sick and injured dogs.  Volunteer vets and other volunteers operate many spay/neuter clinics throughout the year to try to control the vast number of animals living in the villages of the area.

So my first stop was to talk to Judy and Jeanette at the AAAS to see if they could adopt out these dogs for us.  Unfortunately after talking with them we learned that because of the sheer numbers of homeless dogs and the limited visitors to the country, who stayed long enough to be able to adopt a dog, they really couldn't run an adoption type facility.  If someone really wanted to adopt a dog they could easily find one on their own on the street and so there was little need for an adoption facility.  So we were stuck.                                                                   However, Judy mentioned that they were hoping to start a new program to find homes for animals with Dominican families in dominican villages.  If enough adoptions were going to happen, to take care of the great numbers of dogs, it would probably require dominican families to start the process.  The problem was that many dominicans consider dogs a nuisance and it is not uncommon for them to throw things at or hit strange dogs.  Many children also have been taught to be afraid of dogs. With many families subsisting on little or nothing a dog, as well as its medical care, were out of the picture.
The thought was that if we could integrate puppies into local families and teach them how to take care of a dog that it would be a great benefit for both families and the animal.  The hope was that children could be taught how to properly take care of a dog, how to be responsible, and the many benefits of having a dog as a friend.  We figured we had few options but to try this program or end up with 10 dogs in our house!  It also made a lot of sense to us from what we had seen, in regards to the treatment of dogs in the small village we live in of Boca de Yasica.  We were excited to give it a try as a test program to hopefully be used on a wider scale in the future.

Judy and Jeanette provided me with worming medication for the puppies and Ginger as well as flea and tick medication.  They also provided us with bowls for all, leashes for all, and collars for all.  The hope was also to be able to provide dog carriers for each puppy.  They also included a number of booklets "Doggy Speak" in Spanish for the children to learn about taking care of a puppy.  It was filled with different activities including stickers so that each child could learn how to properly care for their pet.  Loaded with all this ammunition I headed home to get started, but knew we would have at least one more night with the puppies!To Contribute to the AAAS go to their website and click on donations.

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