Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back to School



It has been a long time since our last posted. 
The Spanky Project’s mass spay and neuter campañas are still on hold.

We continue to seek a way to get the entry approval process for our
 anaesthesia and medications back on track.
As we work our way through the system other segments of our efforts and collaborations are on going. These include education programs and collaborations.

Frequenters of the Spanky Project blog will know of our excellent relations with 
Quinta de los Molinos. 
A large botanical garden in the heart of Havana.
  It also houses native species of Cuban animals.
Dr.Leyssan, Quinta’s Veterinarian, has developed workshops and classes for children in the areas of animal welfare and the environment.
The Spanky Project aids this initiative by asking visitors to Havana to save a little room in their luggage for art supplies and writing materials.
Many have done so ... and some often.

It is back to school time and the sales are on. Time to load up and help support Dr.Leyssan’s worthwhile programs.



 Susana, the Spanky Project’s coordinator in Havana, is often asked to speak at these gatherings. 

She is asked to give a presentation on the Spanky Project’s history and the work being done for Cuban animals and their care givers.

I am told that the children find it inspirational that from out of the loving memory of a furry companion a program like the Spanky Project can be born.
 
I’m sure some of these children will go forward and find their own inspiration to bring 
light, love and joy to the world.
 
It doesn’t have to be about animals.
They all have it in them to make a difference.
 
If a dog, that passed away in 2003, can inspire the young of today then it is a wonderful world. 

Below is an except from and email Susana sent to a generous donor...
"I want to send you the attached image that shows a very happy Leyssan - the veterinarian at Quinta de los Molinos - receiving your wonderful donation of educational supplies for the programs they're doing with kids.
He was particularly delighted with the PlayFoam modeling "clay," saying this would be great for the kids from the special schools and kids with autism, among others. I think I had told you the story about how last year, they did their first "hands on animals" program with kids from the school for special education, and it was so successful that this year they've been asked to expand to other schools for children with different kinds of social, physical and learning problems. This year they have the following schools: five special education, two schools for kids with behaviour problems, one school for deaf and mute children, two schools for kids with autism, two schools for kids with mental retardation and two centres for children with Downs Syndrome. Amazing, eh? And Leyssan said the PlayFoam clay would be great for all of them, especially as it's reusable. And he's already thinking of having them incorporate materials from nature for the eyes, ears, tails, etc. - seeds, leaves, fronds, little stones, shells, etc. And he was delighted to see so many colouring and painting materials. He thanks you profoundly for your support and says that the next time you're in Cuba, you should plan in time to visit the Quinta."


If you would like to help the children set the stage for a happier tomorrow we would love to hear from you.

Email Us!

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Passing

It is with sadness that we learned about the passing of Alejandro Noa.
Alejandro was a Havana artist that created hand painted greeting cards.

This is the first example of his work I ever saw. It was a card that Justo, a Spanky Project supporter in Havana had given me.



Through Justo we commissioned Alejandro to create Thank You cards and other material for the Spanky Project.

 Here is one of my favourite pieces.

 Justo has sent some detail about Alejandro.

"Alejandro was divorced. He used to live with his sister divorced too, but she died suddenly too about 4 years ago.  His only relative alive, as far as we know, is his nephew, son of his sister.  Lately he had been having problem with his heart and was under treatment, trying to control the high blood pressure, the beatings and arrhythmia  of his heart, etc.  But as the seller of the cards on Neptune street told me, he died quite suddenly at night, alone."

It is wonderful that he brought joy to others with his creations.

Adios Alejandro.
 You will be missed.

Earth Cries Heaven Smiles.




Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thank goodness that is over ..


Thank goodness that is over!!!!!!!!
2013 was not a stellar year for our efforts in Cuba.
 
A PayPal freeze, two cancelled trips.
All this and more resulted in lost opportunities to help Cubans help their animals.
It's a shame when governments get in the way of efforts to do good.

Forever the optimist I say to myself.
Let's kick 2013 to the curb and push on.

From the Spanky Project we send our deepest thanks to those that support the work in Cuba...
... or anywhere animals are in need.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

In ten years ...



It was a day, ten years ago this week, that I will forever remember.

December 13, 2003 was the day Saddam Hussein was "smoked out of his hole" and I visited my first spay/neuter campaña in Cuba.

I would have though that at least one of the events would have received a mention in the media yesterday.



This campaña was held in a private house with surgery done on a kitchen table. Thirty plus dogs were sterilized by a highly skilled veterinarian. A team of volunteers and "protectoras" would hold these weekend events because there were neither the supplies nor the willingness to do this in a government run clinic.


So, what has changed in ten years?
The USA still has a unhealthy paranoia of the outside world. Veterinary clinics in Cuba still do not have supplies to carry out emergency surgery on small animals-- let alone elective surgery like spay/neuters.
One of these constants should be easier to remedy that the other.

The Spanky Project has forged relationships and signed agreements which allow us to work with and in government veterinary clinics. This has allowed humane population control to go from the kitchen table to the surgical suite.

Recently, it seems that the care of small animals in Havana has been "flashbacked" to 2003.
And, unfortunately, today's "private" veterinarian is not always as skilled as the one I met in 2003.

The Spanky Project had to cancel two long planned trips to Havana. The first, in October, would have seen the official hand over of two anaesthesia machines to the University of Havana Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. A number of sterilization campañas were to be held, also.
The second, in December, was to be a continuation of the highly successful TNR for cats program launched in October 2012.
These trips were canceled because the Institute of Veterinary Medicine (IMV) in Cuba would not approve our anaesthesias and other pharmaceuticals for entry into Cuba.
Many of these supplies had been approved in the past.
The IMV now refers to a "Registro de Medicamentos", listing the only drugs that are permitted to enter Cuba for veterinary use. The bulk of the approved pharmaceuticals serve large animals. Few, if any, apply to small animals-- primarily cats and dogs.

The present rules of the "Registro de Medicamentos" require the manufacturing company to make the application and provide data as to use and safety of a drug they wish to have available for use in Cuba.
I ask you, what manufacturer would want to go through the effort to have their products registered in Cuba when there is no profit to be made?

We have sent our comments on the "Registro" to the IMV for consideration. We have also sent suggestions as to how a solution could be found to permit entry under special circumstances.
Suggestions such as the drugs we require would be used in designated locations only.
Used under strict reporting guidelines as to application and reporting of any negative effects or outcomes. 

At present, the clinics in Havana do not have anaesthetics. People are seeking out "private" veterinarians for treatment of their animals. These "private" veterinarian's access to anaesthetic would be less than legal.
Some of the "private" veterinarians are not qualified to call themselves veterinarians.

We have an excellent relationship with the Clinca Veterinaria Carlos III in Havana. This was the location of our mass TNR where 380+ cats were sterilized in one five days.
They have had cases where people bring in their pets that were operated on by a "private" veterinarian because of infections or other complications.
The situation in Havana, and likely other areas of Cuba, is critical from a small animal care perspective.

We want to work with the IMV to help Cubans help their animals.
The Spanky Project has reached out to the IMV... we are awaiting a response. We have over $9000.00 worth of supplies purchased packed and you have the paperwork for approval.
We are packed and ready to go. Just give us the word!!





What has changed in ten years? If one looks at the big picture ... not much.
There have been victories along the way but the struggle continues.
Why is it so hard to try to do good?


"Seamos realistas y hagamos lo imposible" - Ernesto Che Guevara
(Let's be realists and do the impossible) 


Waiting for a miracle!













Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday

It has been a while since we have had a 
WISHLIST WEDNESDAY.

Below are items that can be purchased and delivered by you to Cuba.
We have partners in several locals.

Ketchum 50D 7digit Tattoo Clamp.
We tattoo all pet dogs and cats.
3/16" Characeter Set 0-9 A-Z
Letters & Numbers 4mm
+
50 mL. 1% Ivomec
Injection for Cattle and Swine
Dosed at a rate of 1/10 cc per lb. this product goes a long way.
Ivomec is a brand name ivermectin product.
Other brand names include Noramectin and Bimectin.
USA  $34.95
 UK £14.57 + VAT
+ 
Dolpac
Broad spectrum solution for treating intestinal parasites in dogs at a lower cost

 UK £1.60 treats 10kg
+
Surgical Gloves sizes all sizes 
 +
DIGITAL VET THERMOMETER $4.79
We hand these out as a thank you to veterinarians and students that volunteer at our campañas.
Canada $4.79
UK £7.19
+
Oster #40 Clipper Blades
USA $18.31 on Sale
USA $29.30
UK £25.00 (Including VAT at 20%)
Australia 47.97
+
ILIUM PYRAQUANTAL DOG WORMER 10KG X 100 TABLETS
Broad spectrum anthelmintic (wormer) for dogs.
This is a low cost alternative to a leading brand name.
Australia AU$135.95
AU ebay  AU $144.31
+
Hot water bottles.
While under anaesthesia body temperatures drop.
Hot water bottles placed next to the patient help speed recovery.
+
Epson Stylus NX430 printer ink cartridges
-for delivery to Havana-
+
Please don't find yourself limited to the above items.
Grooming equipment (Shavers, brushes, scissors, shampoo, nail clippers, combs, etc)
Scrub shirts and pants volunteers.

You may find inspiration in some of our past
If you have any question sent us an email.

Destination delivery details will be provided via email.
We have contacts in
Havana - Varadero - Trinidad - Jibacoa (soon)

Thank you for your support.
Every delivery, no matter how big or small, has a positive impact.

One final wish!
We have received a generous donation of cat traps and transfer cages.
These will be a priceless addition to our December TNR in Havana.
But we need to get them there.
Air Transat may help us with some free cargo space.
If not, we will need another way to get them to either Havana or Varadero.
If need be we will have to pay full freight.
One by one may be an option.
If you are flying out of Toronto and have a second bag allowance you are not using 
we could use your help.
Air Canada and Cubana allow two free bags into Havana.
WestJet allows a second bag for a fee ($20) into Varadero.
   The traps look like the one above.
8 lbs        10”x10”x27.5”

We have seven other boxes ....
  30 lbs        20”x20”x31”
    32 lbs        14”x26”x32.5”
    29 lbs        20”x20”x27.5”
    29 lbs        20”x20”x27.5”
 32 lbs        20”x20”x31”
 32 lbs        20”x20”x31”
  32 lbs        20”x20”x31”
... if you have connections at Air Canada, Cubana, WestJet or a cargo company.

Email Us!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thank You Vet Techs


In North America it's
 National Veterinary Technician Week.
 NVTW Press Release
Technologists and technicians enhance the quality of animal and human life through their dedication to the well being of the animals placed in their care. In Canada and the United States, the third week in October has been proclaimed National Veterinary Technician Week and in some provinces, National Animal Health Technologist Week.
 
Thank you to those Vet Techs that took time to help the Spanky Project.

Whether it be Havana, San Jose de las Lajas, San Miguel del Padron or Jibacoa
they are there by our side.

We thank you for your caring and your commitment.


Thanks also go to the young Cubans that are working toward a Veterinary career

Cheers to you too Krystal.
Krystal traveled to Havana with us in 2012.
Before and after that Krystal was on the Yonge Street Animal Hospital Team.
Her prep work for each and every one of Cuba campaigns was immeasurable.
Krystal is now in Hong Kong for a three year stint.
with her fiancee Alex.

We miss you!!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Follow Us

As we lead up to the Spanky Project’s 10th Anniversary in December we have had a flurry of activity filled with joy, disappointment and anticipation.

On the disappointment level, a late October trip to Havana has been cancelled. We did not receive all the necessary permissions in a timely manner.

Visas were in place as was the permission to enter with “donations”.

Donations being all our supplies which for this trip were valued at over $7000.00. The supplies were to be used in our four planned sterilization campañas. Also some of these supplies were to be pre-positioned for our December TNR for Cats.

This is a follow up to our highly successful TNR in October of 2012.
The missing permission needed from the 
Institute of Veterinary Medicine 
was tied up in their bureaucracy. 


We simply could not wait any longer.

In addition to the campañas we were also slated to hold a presentation ceremony at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Havana for the two anaesthesia machines which were delivered in September.

So, our focus now turns to December.

Leading up to the December TNR we will keep you informed of our plans and related stories.

Make sure you don’t miss any of the action.
Follow us on Twitter.


There will be some great stories about our Cuban partners. 
One being Dra.Rocio . 
She, as a result of our 2012 TNR, has become known as the go to Vet in Havana for all things feline.

We are in need of your support to continue our work.

The Spanky Project works with individuals as well as our partner clinics
 for the betterment of animal welfare.
We have no corporate sponsors. 
We rely on kind, caring and generous individuals to fund our programs.

Help us help Cubans help their animals.


You can donate online through the CanadaHelps.
Be sure to note Spanky Project in the "message/instructions" field.

Cheques can be sent to ...
Mackenzie-Papineau Memorial Fund
Attention - Sharon Skup
56 Riverwood Terrace
Bolton, ON L7E 1S4
Canada

Please write Spanky Project on the memo line.

Canadians will receive a tax receipt.