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Dec 10, 2009

A young girl waits for the clinic team to treat her mangy dog 5-Dec-09

Andrea is a vet student who is often found volunteering her time with Dr. Miguel in Panajachel.  She has also been working with the nonprofit group World Vision in their location at the Lake Atitlan village of San Juan.

This past week Ayuda sponsored a special clinic which Andrea organized in the lakeside village of San Marcos.

Setting up for surgeries 5-Dec-09

The clinic was supported by the professional services of Dr. Miguel, as well as donated services by Ayuda Board Member Dr. Dennys and veterinarian intern student Astrid.

Several other vet students and family members provided additional volunteer support.    And hands on help was also provided by volunteers Steve and Selaine from Ayuda, who brought with them some very needed medical donations, including the vaccines to prevent parvo, distemper, and other local deadly diseases.

By the end of the day, 17 animals had been sterilized and 25 had been vaccinated.

Family owned dog in very bad condition 5-Dec-09

Although the turnout of animals was lower than hoped for, a number of lessons were learned from the experience of this village.

As with so many other poor villages in our region, San Marcos is yet another which has impoverished people who can barely feed themselves, yet still care about the well being of their animals.  Several very unhealthy family owned dogs were treated during the course of the clinic.  In addition to leaving with their pets sterilized and vaccinated, several families were given needed medications and special instructions to better care for their very sick animals.

Operating expenses for the San Marcos clinic were provided through the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.  Building facilities were provided by the local health department.

Man waiting for the team to treat his faithful companion Salchicha (Sausage) 5-Dec-09

Dec 3, 2009

Santiago Atitlan

Volunteers Anthony and Karlis greeting a young family 1-Dec-09

After a successful clinic in Santa Catarina the day before, Dr. Jim and his team set up operations in the southern shore village of Santiago Atitlan.  This would be the first Santiago clinic assembled by Ayuda as a formal organization.

Many of the previous day’s team of volunteers also held together, including the donated professional services of Board Member Dr. Dennys and student intern Astrid.

The municipal salon was made available through the Santiago mayor.  This very large and open area provided for more than ample space and excellent location.

Operating Room Atitlan Style 1-Dec-09

Special challenges were overcome through team resourcefulness and creativity.  This included overcoming the burn out of Dr. Jim’s brand new conclave due to third world electricity.

The operating room was established on the open stage in front of a wall mural.  Privacy was created through ropes and sheets purchased at the local paca (flea market).

Staffing was temporarily hindered due to an impromptu, but very important,  meeting in the Santiago mayor’s office.   A nearby appointment was set with Ayuda Board Members to present a community plan to more humanely and more effectively manage the village’s animal population than activities which are currently underway.  These activities include the planned death of 80 feral dogs before they migrate into the village from the city dump.

Volunteers Linda and Selaine explain the benefits of sterilization to reluctant local men 1-Dec-09

During the course of the day, many instances of cultural differences emerged in the Admitting process.  There was particularly strong resistance to the concept of removing testicles.  Dr. Jim and his team will be researching possible alternatives to sterilize male dogs without performing actual surgery.

By the end of the day 21 animals had been sterilized, and 34 were vaccinated against rabies and other local deadly diseases, such as parvo and distemper.

Operating expenses for the clinic were provided through the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.  Much of the equipment was provided through funding by WSPA.  Overnight lodging was donated by David at the Posada Santiago.   The Santiago health department provided the rabies vaccines and a staff to do the injections and keep records.  The mayor’s office provided the salon and its services.  As a symbol of community recognition of the animal welfare issues, local residents provided whatever cash donations they were able.

Left to Right: Cindy, Astrid, Dr. Dennys, Dr. Jim, and Teryn 1-Dec-09

A terrific group of people who live in Guatemala showed up and volunteered.  And last but not least, Dr. Jim, Cindy, and Teryn generously gave their professional services, blood, sweat, and tears to help the animals of Guatemala.

Dec 2, 2009

Santa Catarina Palopo, Guatemala

A young girl waits for Dr. Jim to treat her puppy 30-Nov-09

Ayuda was greatly honored this week by a visiting volunteer team of medical specialists from the US.   In honor of their visit, Ayuda facilitated a special clinic in the impoverished village of Santa Catarina on Lake Atitlan.  This was the second 2009 clinic which Ayuda arranged for this village.

Volunteer Linda collects Admitting information as Selaine teaches a boy how to use a stethescope 30-Nov-09

Dr. Jim and his assistants Cindy and Teryn were supported by volunteering Guatemalan professionals, including Ayuda Board Member Dr. Dennys from Guatemala City, Dr. Miguel from Zoo Mascota, and vet student Astrid from the University.

During the course of the one day clinic, 24 animals were spay/neutered and more than 30 animals received vaccinations for rabies and other local deadly diseases, such as parvo and distemper.

Volunteer and future vet Anthony checks on animals in Recovery 30-Nov-09

The clinic was honored by a visit from the Santa Catarina mayor and members of his council.  This included a special meeting during which village issues of animal population control were discussed.   A formal appointment was set for Ayuda to present a plan which will help the village avoid exercising population control alternatives, such as the traditional use of poison.

Operation costs for the clinic were provided through the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.  Equipment such as operating tables and cages were provided by funding from WSPA.  Building facilities and rabies vaccines were provided by the Santa Catarina public Health Department.  Blow pipe tranquilizing of uncooperative street dogs was provided by Dr. Dennys.   Village residents provided whatever donations they were able to give.

Volunteer Steve with a recovering kitty 30-Nov-09

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Posted: Dec 2, 2009 3:43pm
Nov 12, 2009
Bandit

Mangey little Bandit 10-Nov-09

Bandit wandered into the bus stop bookstore coffee shop this week.  The regular customers quickly realized that this puppy was all alone and looking for sanctuary so they called Ayuda.

With a mangey face, and perhaps his very first day away from his mother, Bandit was carried through the closest neighborhoods where residents were asked if they knew this puppy.  Although he had been seen by the neighbors, no one knew where this little chow had originated.  The popular suspicion is that he was probably dropped off from a passing bus.

The neighbors were made aware that Ayuda was taking him to Zoo Mascota for treatments, and that he would then go to a temporary foster home while he recovers.

Bandit is about 9 or 10 weeks old and we think we may have already found a nice family of humans for him.  But first he will complete his mange treatments, become sterilized, and receive our standard series of vaccinations.

Despite our daily efforts to control the dog population, we still have a continuous supply of puppy adoption opportunities.  Please Contact Us if you are interested in helping to find homes for homeless animals.  Our supplies of basic medications for Bandit and others like him continue to become painfully reduced.   In order to rebuild our inventory of supplies we desperately require cash and/or in-kind donations.  We ask for support from local residents,  visitors, and people like you who care about the plight of helpless animals.

Nov 9, 2009
S5032230

Church Mom in recovery 8-Aug-09

The name Church Mom has been given to this homeless girl because she spends most of her time around the courtyard in front of Panajachel’s Catholic church.  She has always been one of our favorite street dogs.

We have seen and fed Church Mom almost daily for many months.  We know that she has had at least one litter, and we were led to believe that she had been sterilized before we met her.

However, as this most recent and very intense “heat season” has progressed, we have come to learn that we were not given correct infomation.  As evidenced by the encounter of yet another terrified female being pursued by a pack of males, Church Mom had not been previously spay/neutered.

Just like Little Sister, Feathers, Xela, and others whose stories have not been published, a very frightened Church Mom was similarily pulled from beneath a parked car while determined males postured and surrounded her.

Unfortunately, Church Mom’s sterilization surgery the next day did not go as well as normal.  She was anemic upon arrival with a suspected blood disorder similar to sickle cell anemia and then lost a great deal of blood. It became necessary for this very gentle girl to receive blood transfusions from Dr. Miguel’s adopted dogs, Socks and Tzizu the tripod.  She also received specialized medication and supplements for her anemia.

Church Mom has been brought to the home of Selaine and Harold where she is receiving close care and monitoring.  She is very weak, but still makes it clear that she wants to get back to her freedom and street friends.  Her condition appears to be improving every day and we hope to release her before the end of the week.

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Posted: Nov 9, 2009 6:16pm
Oct 31, 2009

Saving Little Sister

Sister postop

Little Sister, very confused right after surgery and her first chemo treatment 30-Oct-09

Little Sister is a street dog who is usually seen near the mercado and the Catholic church.  She is probably about one year old.

Since Ayuda first discovered this dog we believed that she had been doing well.   She received worming and other parasite treatments right on schedule with her regular feedings by Ayuda volunteers.

This week Little Sister was sterilized and vaccinated for Rabies and local deadly diseases.

However, during her surgery, vet student Astrid discovered that Sister has a small cancerous tumor.  It is the  CTVT cancer and most likely contracted in the usual sexually transmitted way.

The good news is that Dr. Miguel believes the tumor was caught in early stages and can possibly be cured through 2 or 3 chemo treatments.  Little Sister will be fostered at the home of Selaine and Harold until her cancer has cleared.  She will use the same quarters recently vacated by former cancer patient Mamushka.

But there is much more to the story of how Little Sister made it to the operating table this week.

On the morning of Little Sister’s surgery, Selaine had arrived early for a meeting at Panajachel’s city offices, which are commonly referred to as “the Muni”.  The purpose of the meeting was to follow up on an earlier meeting during which the subject of poisoning dogs had been discussed.

As she started to walk up the front steps she noticed yet another pack of dogs working the street.  It was the all too familiar seasonal scene of a young female in heat leading a gang of crazed males.  But this time they were approaching the front of the Muni, right where Selaine was now standing, in front of the very building where a meeting would soon start to discuss the issues of street dogs and their gangs.

As the pack got closer, Selaine came to see that it was Little Sister who was out front being mounted and roughed up.  When close enough, Selaine reached down to see how Sister would react to her touch.  The terrified female was fine with this;  perhaps sensing some relief or salvation by the familiar hand.   But a large male pit was not to be compromised by the human.   He snarled and growled viciously at Selaine’s hand.

Selaine wasn’t quite sure about what to do next.  But she knew she had to get these dogs away from the Muni as quickly as she could and before other members of the meeting arrived.

In her backpack was her usual supply of dog food, and a spare leash and collar.   She thought that if she could lure Sister away with some food then perhaps she could capture her and get her to Zoo Mascota.  Pulling out a handful of kibble, Selaine started walking towards the professional building next door to the Muni.  It was working.  Sister was following her.  But so were 6 very large male dogs, including the big pit who had just growled her away from Little Sister.

The building next door has a series of exterior doors which were in their usual wide open positions.  Selaine quickly developed a plan to get Sister inside and keep the males out.  But it needed help and quick actions.   After a fast explanation of her plan, some men sitting in a waiting area helped her open and close some doors as she continued to lure Sister with food while side stepping the males.    The plan was successful, but did require Selaine taking the big handful of kibble and spray throwing it into the face of the aggressive pit.  As the pit stood in bewilderment contemplating what had just happened, the door closed in his face and Sister and Selaine were safely inside a business.

As Selaine started to put the collar and leash on Little Sister, the proprietor of the business they had just disrupted appeared and wanted to know what was going on.  Understanding and appreciative of the explanation, she showed Selaine a back door through which they might be able to make a quick getaway.  While this conversation was going on between Selaine and the proprietor the angry pit could be heard banging loudly at the front door.

Selaine and Little Sister darted out the back door and started running up the street.  However, after a few steps the little street dog seemed to question this strange thing around her neck and the purpose of her running.  So she stopped.  Which lead to coaxing, dragging, carrying, and a series of other means to quickly get as much distance as possible between Sister’s scent and the frustrated male dogs still circling the front of Las Casitas.

Amidst street calls of “Where you going with that chuch?”, Selaine was able to successfully deliver Sister to Dr. Miguel and still make it back to the Muni in time for her meeting.

 

Sister flower child

Little Sister, feeling more confident with flowers in her hair 31-Oct-09

The next time the big pit and his pals see Little Sister it will be “Ya no mas muchachos.”

But now that we know Sister has the CTVT cancer, the challenge is on to track down the males from the pack and quickly get them treated, as well.

All donations to help with sterilizations, vaccinations and medications, food, and special needs such as cancer treatments are gratefully accepted and guaranteed put to good use.

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Posted: Oct 31, 2009 9:54pm
Oct 31, 2009

Saving Little Sister

Sister postop

Little Sister, very confused right after surgery and her first chemo treatment 30-Oct-09

Little Sister is a street dog who is usually seen near the mercado and the Catholic church.  She is probably about one year old.

Since Ayuda first discovered this dog we believed that she had been doing well.   She received worming and other parasite treatments right on schedule with her regular feedings by Ayuda volunteers.

This week Little Sister was sterilized and vaccinated for Rabies and local deadly diseases.

However, during her surgery, vet student Astrid discovered that Sister has a small cancerous tumor.  It is the  CTVT cancer and most likely contracted in the usual sexually transmitted way.

The good news is that Dr. Miguel believes the tumor was caught in early stages and can possibly be cured through 2 or 3 chemo treatments.  Little Sister will be fostered at the home of Selaine and Harold until her cancer has cleared.  She will use the same quarters recently vacated by former cancer patient Mamushka.

But there is much more to the story of how Little Sister made it to the operating table this week.

On the morning of Little Sister’s surgery, Selaine had arrived early for a meeting at Panajachel’s city offices, which are commonly referred to as “the Muni”.  The purpose of the meeting was to follow up on an earlier meeting during which the subject of poisoning dogs had been discussed.

As she started to walk up the front steps she noticed yet another pack of dogs working the street.  It was the all too familiar seasonal scene of a young female in heat leading a gang of crazed males.  But this time they were approaching the front of the Muni, right where Selaine was now standing, in front of the very building where a meeting would soon start to discuss the issues of street dogs and their gangs.

As the pack got closer, Selaine came to see that it was Little Sister who was out front being mounted and roughed up.  When close enough, Selaine reached down to see how Sister would react to her touch.  The terrified female was fine with this;  perhaps sensing some relief or salvation by the familiar hand.   But a large male pit was not to be compromised by the human.   He snarled and growled viciously at Selaine’s hand.

Selaine wasn’t quite sure about what to do next.  But she knew she had to get these dogs away from the Muni as quickly as she could and before other members of the meeting arrived.

In her backpack was her usual supply of dog food, and a spare leash and collar.   She thought that if she could lure Sister away with some food then perhaps she could capture her and get her to Zoo Mascota.  Pulling out a handful of kibble, Selaine started walking towards the professional building next door to the Muni.  It was working.  Sister was following her.  But so were 6 very large male dogs, including the big pit who had just growled her away from Little Sister.

The building next door has a series of exterior doors which were in their usual wide open positions.  Selaine quickly developed a plan to get Sister inside and keep the males out.  But it needed help and quick actions.   After a fast explanation of her plan, some men sitting in a waiting area helped her open and close some doors as she continued to lure Sister with food while side stepping the males.    The plan was successful, but did require Selaine taking the big handful of kibble and spray throwing it into the face of the aggressive pit.  As the pit stood in bewilderment contemplating what had just happened, the door closed in his face and Sister and Selaine were safely inside a business.

As Selaine started to put the collar and leash on Little Sister, the proprietor of the business they had just disrupted appeared and wanted to know what was going on.  Understanding and appreciative of the explanation, she showed Selaine a back door through which they might be able to make a quick getaway.  While this conversation was going on between Selaine and the proprietor the angry pit could be heard banging loudly at the front door.

Selaine and Little Sister darted out the back door and started running up the street.  However, after a few steps the little street dog seemed to question this strange thing around her neck and the purpose of her running.  So she stopped.  Which lead to coaxing, dragging, carrying, and a series of other means to quickly get as much distance as possible between Sister’s scent and the frustrated male dogs still circling the front of Las Casitas.

Amidst street calls of “Where you going with that chuch?”, Selaine was able to successfully deliver Sister to Dr. Miguel and still make it back to the Muni in time for her meeting.

 

Sister flower child

Little Sister, feeling more confident with flowers in her hair 31-Oct-09

The next time the big pit and his pals see Little Sister it will be “Ya no mas muchachos.”

But now that we know Sister has the CTVT cancer, the challenge is on to track down the males from the pack and quickly get them treated, as well.

All donations to help with sterilizations, vaccinations and medications, food, and special needs such as cancer treatments are gratefully accepted and guaranteed put to good use.

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Posted: Oct 31, 2009 9:50pm
Oct 31, 2009

Family Success Story

cumatz exploring

Cumatz checking out her new digs

We recently received some photos from our friend Mer.  The pictures are of Cumatz, a former street dog, who is now doing very well living on Mer’s property.

When Ayuda first discovered this dog we called her Lucia.  She was found nursing a litter of new puppies beneath the hull of an old boat.

But we soon came to learn that mama dog had a friendly sponsor.   As a lake commuter, Mer had come to know this dog very well, named her Cumatz,  and was planning on adopting Cumatz to her home in a western shore village.  In fact, Mer had already brought this homeless dog to Dr. Miguel to begin her vaccination series, and then returned Cumatz to her home base as a temporary measure.

cumatz guardian

Cumatz the guardian

With birds-of-a-feather common interests, Mer and Ayuda teamed up to care for this beautiful new family.

Temporary shelter was created near the family’s home base.   At the right time, Cumatz was moved to her new home in a village which is only accessible by boat.  Volunteer Marilena fostered (and sang to) the puppies in her home.  All family members were sterilized and fully vaccinated.  And last but not least, all of the puppies went to the homes of families which Ayuda interviewed.

Overall, a story book ending for a beautiful family of homeless dogs.

cumatz at ease

Cumatz enjoying the good life

Oct 26, 2009

Numerous times over the course of a year the streets of Panajachel become plagued by large packs of roaming dogs.    Somewhere at the front of the steadily moving pack there is almost always a female in heat.   She may be trying to break away from the pursuing males, or she may be inviting them to have sex with her.

During these times it is very common to encounter a pack with as many as 15 or more dogs who have thrown caution to the wind.  Vicious fighting among the males is also common as they move carelessly through the streets, contending to be the next in line, and often intimidating humans they encounter along their way.

When conditions have permitted, Ayuda volunteers have managed to grab a female and make an escape in a fast moving vehicle.  However, many times conditions are not safe to do this.  Even if a female is willing to be removed from a gang bang, it is not uncommon for the sex-crazed males to restrict her exit.

When unable to perform a capture safely, our standard practice has been to get as much information as possible about the female (ideally, a photo), and then try to track her down for her spay/neuter at a safer time.  Unfortunately, many of these females go under cover and are not seen again until they are weeks into pregnancy.   And as a further obstacle, sometimes a pack dog has a human family who, for various reasons, does not believe in having their animals sterilized and may even want their females in a constant state of pregnancy.

****************************

Yesterday, Selaine was walking up a busy side street when she was approached by an unusually large pack of dogs.  The street was busy with honking buses and trucks during rush hour traffic.   Annoyed business owners and frightened pedestrians tried to shoo away the dogs by throwing water and other things at them.  But the crazed dogs refused to cooperate.

Running directly towards Selaine in front of the pack was a little female whom we have named Feathers.

Feathers is not an unfamiliar face to Ayuda.  We have seen her many times around town, but never before in heat and being pursued.   When observed, Feathers consistently appears to be on the move and as if she has a purposed destination to get to.   Judging from her breed and general condition, we have always assumed that Feathers most likely has a human family.

As Selaine continued up the street she quickly came to realize that Feathers was in a state of terror.  In desperation, the frightened dog went under a parked car seeking sanctuary, but still crying out for help, while a male dog also crawled under the car in hot pursuit.

Pushing the stubborn male suitors aside, Selaine tried unsuccessfully to reach far enough under the sheltering car and grab hold of Feathers.  At this same time, one of the Ayuda volunteers who watch over the church courtyard dogs arrived on the scene.  Rudy was able to crawl under the parked car and pull Feathers out to safety.   As he handed the little dog over to Selaine, Feathers wrapped her paws around Selaine’s neck and clung to her for dear life.

Selaine then carried Feathers through the neighborhood, pushing away the anxious males at her feet, and asking business owners and residents if they knew if Feathers had a family.  As she received steady replies of “no” she briefly explained that she runs a program for street dogs and that Feathers was going to Zoo Mascota to be sterilized.    To which all gave her replies of support, ranging from “Good!” to blessings and pats on her back.

However, the journey to safety was not yet complete.

With Feathers still clinging to her and surrounded by the males, Selaine jumped into a tuk tuk taxi.  But one persistent big boy would not give up.  He too climbed into the tuk tuk trying to introduce himself to Feathers.  Using her feet, Selaine was able to push him out.  But then he chased them the entire way to the clinic, continuously jumping in and getting kicked out each time the tuk tuk had to stop.

Finally, Feathers and Selaine made it inside Zoo Mascota, but so did the pursuing male.  He followed them in the front door.  As soon as Feathers was secure, efforts were made to capture the male and sterilize him too.  But he slipped away.  This time.

By the end of the day, Feathers and another female who was captured from a different pack that same morning had both been successfully treated.

Xela, another healthy street dog  19-Oct-09

Xela! A happy, healthy, and appreciative street dog 19-Oct-09

Photos of Feathers have been omitted from this publication.

However, above is an “after” picture of another female who was also saved from a pack of males a couple of months ago.

Since her operation, Xela has put on a good deal of weight.   With her keen sense of street smarts, we are very happy to say that Xela is doing very well in all ways.

Always a pleasure when we see each other, we have come to discover that Xela loves to show appreciation for the help she has received, including a daily meal of healthy food.  We often encounter Xela if we are out in the evenings and she very dutifully accompanies us safely to our gate.  Click here if you would like to read the original article about Xela.

Oct 5, 2009

A Close Call for Bobi

Bobi survived Parvo  5-Oct-09

Bobi survived Parvo 5-Oct-09

It was only a few days ago that we thought 2 month old Bobi wasn’t going to make it.

Bobi was found in an indigenous neighborhood.  He had all appearances of dieing.

We took Bobi to Zoo Mascota where he was diagnosed with Parvo.  Dr. Miguel admitted him and after a few days of hospitalization and treatments Bobi  showed remarkable progress.

Bobi is also one lucky dog because he has someone waiting to take him home with her, and also because his hospitalization expenses have been sponsored by a kind local person.

Cases of death and near-death due to Parvo and Distemper continue to occur in our area.  As the animals die a slow and agonizing death they leave behind diarrhea and other unhealthy bodily fluids.  We have unconfirmed suspicions that there may be linkages between the spread of these diseases in the neighborhoods and rumblings from neighborhood leaders about wanting to poison.

We are working hard to find acceptable anti-poison solutions for the neighborhoods.  Our plans include a series of regularly scheduled walk-around visits to the neighborhoods during which we offer vaccinations and other treatments.  Our goal is to stabilize the deadly current circumstances, and work towards sustainable levels of Parvo/Distemper vaccinations administered throughout the communities.

Please help us to fight these killing diseases and prevent future epidemics.   We are seeking donations to help us purchase these life saving vaccines.


 

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Selaine D'ambrosi
, 2, 2 children
Panajachel, Guatemala
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