Helping over 150 dogs through out Nicaragua…

You wouldn’t guess he is scared of needles!

You wouldn’t guess he is scared of needles!

May 2019 was a busy month, not only was Jim learning the ropes on board Chuffed but also in the mobile and often hectic veterinary clinic! Between a spay day and three vaccine campaigns I certainly kept him, and myself, very busy!

Our first stop was San Juan Del Sur, a once popular tourist destination, which has seen a decline in visitors with the civil unrest experienced in the country these past years. There is no veterinarian in town, and the government has been otherwise occupied and is no longer running vaccine campaigns. So this is where we stepped in! An amazing local organization ‘Ikigai Rescue’ was finding its feet in a new town and we teamed up to provide vaccines for 75 animals and host a big spay day!

I guess he was scared of needles too! But he insisted on holding every one of his dogs!

I guess he was scared of needles too! But he insisted on holding every one of his dogs!

We vaccinated dogs in two locations North and East of San Juan Del Sur. These rural areas do not receive the veterinary attention they need, and are quite impoverished making regular veterinary care unobtainable to the locals. Lola, one of the founders of Ikigai, had been spreading the word in advance of my arrival, and organized the purchase of the vaccines.

People came from miles around to get their dogs vaccinated, at the low cost of around 30 cents per animal. This low cost clinic allows owners to take responsibility for their pets, whilst making it affordable for everyone. It was a real family affair, with kids holding dogs, and everyone patiently lining up to see the veterinarian.

While providing vaccinations we also took the opportunity to give every dog worming and flea medication, and treated any illnesses or injuries. Over the course of two days, in two locations, we treated over 75 animals, mostly dogs but even a few cats!

The dream team at the spay clinic

The dream team at the spay clinic

Towards the end of our time in San Juan we also hosted a spay campaign with a local veterinarian. Lola’s organization had never hosted a spay campaign, and it was very exciting to help establish their name as a trusted source for veterinary care in the area. We provided desexing for 25 animals, and proved to the local people and veterinarians that Ikigai Rescue is a wonderful organization to work with to help animals in need. The clinic ran so smoothly with the help of many volunteers from all over the world!

Since we have left San Juan Del Sur Lola’s organization has provided vaccinations for a further 75 animals and has a spay day organized for July! It is so wonderful to see the ongoing effects of the work we do.

Our next stop for animals was a town in the North of Nicargua, Asseradores, which also happens to be where the only Marina is located on the pacific side of Nicaragua! Puesta Del Sol Marina was a real treat after being in rolly anchorages for weeks, located deep in the estuary it is equipped with lovely showers, a pool, clean water and diesel it has everything a cruiser needs.

Asseradores is also famous for a big wave called ‘The Boom’, aptly names because the barrels really do BOOM onto the beach! The community here is impoverished and remote, many people are living in tin shacks with plastic tarp roofs, and of course when the living conditions are poor for the humans so too are the conditions for the dogs.

the vaccine campaign in asseradores was a real community event, and i think i put on a good show!

the vaccine campaign in asseradores was a real community event, and i think i put on a good show!

We came with 100 vaccinations in total, to provide rabies control and the core vaccines to 50 dogs. Once again we treated every other condition we saw and every dog (and the few random cats) received worming and flea medication during their visit. I really loved working here because we literally just rocked up and I walked down the street to where I had heard a group of young woman hold weekly exercise groups. After speaking to them the whole thing was organized and with in four days we were hosting a morning vaccine clinic completely organized by these local women! They took names, made sure people waited their turn, helped hold dogs and clean up. It was really special to see the community come together to help deliver vaccines to their dogs. And believe me people LOVE their dogs here! The kids would carry their puppies up like babies, and we even had an old farmer come in. I pre-judged and assumed he might be a bit harsh on his doggos, but they were held and reassured the whole time! So lovely to see…

The amazing women who helped make the campaign in asseradores come together so smoothly!

The amazing women who helped make the campaign in asseradores come together so smoothly!

In the end we provided treatment to over 150 animals in Nicaragua, no mean feat with one Captain Veterinarian and a Cabin Boy/Filmographer/Boat Chef… but we weren’t working alone which is why we were able to do this!

A huge thank you to all of those that helped make this possible. If you would like to make a donation to help provide treatment to animals in need please follow the links below!!!

Until next time, Stay Chuffed Everybody!!!

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