Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dump No More!

Dr. dela Cruz, Director of DLNR, has received his euthanizing license and solution, so DLNR is ready to put to sleep any dog that needs this service. Unfortunately, DLNR is not able to administer the solution to cats.

DLNR will be charging $10.00 to $20.00 per animal for the euthanasia. For now, proper disposal of the dog’s remains will be the responsibility of the owner.
The service is currently available on a case-by-case basis.

For more information or to bring a dog in to be euthanized, please call Dr. dela Cruz at 322-9830/4.

It is important to spread this information far and wide so people know they can afford to put an animal to sleep if it is sick and/or suffering, rather than dump it in the jungle or at the beach.

Tip of the Week - Cleaning Your Dog

Cleaning Your Dog:
Keeping your dog clean is important. If you've adopted an adult or older dog who isn't used to being groomed, start by gently handling her legs, feet, mouth, ears, and head several times a day for a few weeks. Most dogs will come around to this kind of handling once they get used to it.

To ensure your dog’s health, we suggest you take the following precautions to avoid bigger and more costly problems down the road:
  • Gently brush your dog on a regular basis;
  • Wash your dog with a flea and tick shampoo on a regular basis;
  • Check your dog’s eyes and gently remove any discharge. To clean your dog's eyes, simply moisten a cotton ball or washcloth with warm water and gently remove any discharge. A moistened baby toothbrush is gentle enough to remove dried debris from the hair near the eyes. If you notice a lot of discharge or if it's thick and greenish or yellowish, call your veterinarian. These signs could indicate an eye irritation, known as conjunctivitis, or an infection;
  • Check your dog's ears once a week. If they look dirty, moisten several cotton balls with mineral oil, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide. Lift each earflap and wipe the skin folds and any visible parts of the ear. Never insert anything into the ear canal. If your dog's ears smell bad or ooze thick, dark brown, or yellow-green discharge, she could have an ear infection. Call your veterinarian if you see any of this yucky stuff.

Lesson Planning Has Begun!

The PAWS Education Committee has started to lesson plan, which means we will be in the schools teaching children about responsible pet ownership by mid-April or early May!
We are looking for enthuasistic people who can:
  • Color with crayons;
  • Read children's books using fun voices;
  • Hand out candy, magnets, stickers, and other fun give aways; and
  • Watch 15 minute videos.
If you can do any of the above, and have an extra hour to spare, or just want to participate in our efforts to educate children about the benefits of being a responsible pet owner, sign up to be a volunteer presenter!! Please contact Katie at busenkell@gmail.com or Rose at italiarose@hotmail.com.

If you've got space - please come forward!

You’re help is greatly needed. A couple (Brian and Nina) contacted me last week regarding a dog that they had found abandoned near a quarry a little over a week ago. Since the couple found the dog, they have been feeding and watering him three times a day, in addition to giving him vitamins. According to the couple, over the course of the last week, this dog’s spirits have improved immensely, but obviously, he has a long road to a full recovery.

Brian, the gentleman who found dog, and I took the dog to Dr. dela Cruz’s boarding kennel this afternoon. He had hoped that the dog could stay at the kennel for the next month while he recovered and received numerous skin treatments from Dr. dela Cruz.

Unfortunately, upon seeing the dog, Dr. dela Cruz was unable to accept the dog into the kennel facility because the dog’s mange is too severe. Dr. dela Cruz must keep his kennel as clean as possible to abide by quarantine regulations, thus, his inability to accept the dog is understandable.

Dr. dela Cruz did start treating the mange today, and apparently the injection he gave the dog will start to kill other internal and external parasites. So, the dog is already on the road to recovery, but…he needs a safe and secluded place to stay until he receives his next treatment shot in two weeks. (He should be secluded because mange is contagious to other animals.)

Because Dr. dela Cruz could not accept the dog to the kennel, and Brian is unable to take the dog back to his apartment complex, we had to take the dog back to his roadside bed and leave him. What a crappy feeling – leaving a sick animal behind to fend for himself on a road where large dump trucks drive by every 20 minutes. (It is also important to note that this particular area where Brian found the dog seems to be a favorite dumping spot for dead animals – today we found one dead cat wrapped in a plastic bag and last week, Brian found his rescue eating a dead cat. Thus, this is not a nice place.)

I promised Brian that we (PAWS and the Animal Welfare Committee) would try to find this dog a place to live for the next couple of weeks while he regains his strength. In order to do this – your help is needed. We are looking for someone who has a secluded, and perhaps even fenced off, shaded area on their property where the dog can stay.

Brian is willing to pay up to $150 a month towards this dog’s medical care and boarding fees, in addition to providing food and vitamins. This means that Brian is willing to pay someone rent if they will let this dog stay on their property for the next two-four weeks.

Does anyone know of a neighbor, friend, or family member who has a place on their property where we can board this dog? As I said, Brian is willing to pay for the space ($20-50 a month maybe?). Naturally, Brian and his wife intend on visiting the dog and continuing to nurse the dog back to health – so it would be important that they be able to enter the property daily.

Normally, I would push for a dog like this to be euthanized, but I understand and admire Brian’s determination to save this dog. In less than a week, the dog has already shown great improvement. And, as Brian said to me today, “Everyone else in this dog’s life let him down. I just can’t let him down. I have to help him.”

So, let’s help Brian, this dog and ourselves. Let’s rid this island of one more homeless, mangy dog and make ourselves feel better by helping two individuals that need our support and help.

If you can help Brian and his dog friend, please contact Katie at 256-0243 (home) or email me at busenkell@gmail.com.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Blogger Meetup

There will be a Blogger meetup for interested people at 7pm at Java Joes on Wednesday, March 28.

If you have a blog, are interested in having a blog, have questions that you want answered, or just want to hang out with Bloggers, please join us!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Beautify CNMI! Animal Welfare Committee

The Beautify CNMI! Animal Welfare Committee will be meeting this Thursday, March 29th at 6:15 pm at Cafe on the Park.

It is important that this committee get up and running. Some people in our community and government think animals are a small issue in the wake of rising CUC bills and a shrinking government. I think it is a small issue but a BIG problem.
Just this weekend, I encountered FOUR dogs that had been abandoned and left to die. Two of the dogs were hanging around roadways that are used by tourists: Airport Road and the road to Bird Island. I had received numerous phone calls about the dog that was abandoned at the airport. When I finally saw him this weekend, I couldn't help but wonder about the tourist that saw the dog shortly before departing and how this starving, suffering animal would be the tourist's last impression of the CNMI. What must our animal-friendly tourists think of our island and our people when they see a dog suffering this way?
I saw the other dog on the road to Bird Island. He's in bad shape and in need of help. I'm willing to bet that his haunting presence polluted some one's vacation day, and if not their vacation day, maybe their pictures and/or view.
I'd like to get a group of people together who are willing to tackle animal related issues so our island is a safer and cleaner place to live. Ideally, we need a group of people who are willing to accomplish the following:
  1. We need a spay and neuter clinic that is accessible to indigent people. If we don't start spaying and neutering animals on this island, than our efforts are futile. They can reproduce a lot faster than we can pick up after them.
  2. We need to resolve the issue of dead animal pick-up. And, now that Dr. dela Cruz has his license to euthanize animals, we need to get a group of people together who are willing to pick up live abandoned animals. I know there are people out there would love to rescue them all - but that's not financially possible. Until we get a shelter that is up and running, euthanizing suffering, starving, and abandoned animals is a viable option that needs to be seriously considered and addressed.
  3. We need a shelter - regardless of how primitive it is - we need some place to put animals so they may be euthanized and/or adopted. Also, if we are to start receiving grants to improve a shelter, we must first have an operating shelter.
  4. We need animal related legislation, namely anti-cruelty legislation. As of today, it is legal to abandoned your unwanted dog in the jungle or at the beach, tether a dog and deprive it of food and/or water, and beat an animal to death or harshly/cruelly punish an animal. The residual of this behavior is seen by our tourists and felt by our communities. It needs to stop. The legislature must raise the bar and impose on members of the community a sense of responsibility to their animals and to the community.

Beautify CNMI ! would greatly appreciate your time and energy in accomplishing these goals so our island is a safer and cleaner place to live and visit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

PAWS is looking for schools!

The PAWS education committee has been diligently working to plan lesson plans to present to Elementary and Middle schools on Saipan. We are planning short 30 minute age appropriate presentations to teach children about caring for animals, including proper feeding and vet care.

If you are a teacher or principal, and are interested in having a PAWS volunteer come to your school, please leave a comment here with your name and school information, and someone will contact you. You may also email Katie at busenkell@gmail.com or Melissa at melissasimms56@hotmail.com.

PAWS is very excited to begin our presentations, and teaching children about how to properly care for dogs and cats, and showing the love they can bring to families!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Dogs in the Media

There is a great story in Slate Magazine explaining people's relationships with their dogs. It explains exactly how and why, from a psychological perspective, our four legged friends are so beguiling. It shows the health benefits to pet ownership, and it goes into when dog people and non-dog people get together.

There is also a pretty good story in the New York Times about "Take Your Dog to Work Day," and the civilizing aspects of pets in the workplace. This initially began to attract workers during the dot.com boom as a way to lure and retain workers, but the concept has continued.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

How to Be a Responsible Pet Owner

Beautify CNMI! Animal Welfare Committee and PAWS have joined efforts to created a list of quick tips on how to be a better pet owner. One tip will be published weekly, but the entire print out can be obtained at the PAWS website at www.paws-saipan.org.


Warm in Saipan Weather:

In Saipan’s warm climate, pets are at high risk for overheating. Even if your animals are outdoors, you’ll want to be watchful of danger signs. Here are some simple pointers to keep your dog or cat cool.

  • Water: The most important way to prevent your dog from overheating is to make sure you have clean water available. Dogs and cats have a higher body temperature than ours; they get hot long before we do. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion. In dogs, a couple of signs are rapid panting and a bright red tongue; in cats, signs are panting and dark red gums, among others.
  • When taking your pet to the beach, provide a shaded spot and plenty of fresh drinking water. Be sure to rinse them off after they have been in the salt water.
  • Make sure there's always plenty of shade available for a pet staying outside the house. A properly constructed doghouse is best. Bring your pet inside or make sure they have shade during the heat of the day. Always provide plenty of cool, clean water.
  • Watch out for antifreeze coolant leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste of coolant. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat, and less than one tablespoon can kill a 20-pound dog. Consider using animal-friendly products that use propylene glycol rather than those containing ethylene glycol.
  • A clean coat can help to prevent summer skin problems, so keep your pet well groomed. If she has a heavy coat, shaving your dog's hair to a 1-inch length will help prevent overheating. But don't shave your dog's fur down to the skin; this robs her of protection from the sun. A cat should be brushed frequently.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Update on Vet Ventures in American Samoa

Dated: March 5, 2007

Our first week of the campaign went well! It was about the best "assembly line" spay neuter set up that I've seen on one of these trips. We have an incredibly strong group of volunteers. With a total of 6 anesthesia machines there are virtually no "MARTEEEEEEEE!!!! " or "SANDYYYYYY!!!!" hollers across the hut as animals decide to wake up on the table, only halfway through surgery. Blessed gas anesthesia. We're accomplishing about 50 spays and neuters per day. George and Duane and Sharon and Karen and Nicole are out on village visits, giving that extra little arm twist in the outskirts. The rest of us are stationed in the Tropical Medical Hut---where the critters come to us.

We've been in the news a couple times---you can probably find the 2 newspaper articles at samoanews.com.

Jen and Duane fixed a broken femur. Jen and Julie casted a broken leg. Mostly a lot of desexings going on. A couple tumor removals. A heck of a lot of spays. There are way fewer big mamas than last year. It is quite evident that we made an impact with our first campaign last year--we are being presented with healthier animals than we were last year.

Jackie, you'll be glad to know that Sally the cat (now known as Mary Jane as Tiara apparently often changed their names) is doing well here at Sadie's by the Sea. Tom, the TVT dog that you did the "extreme vulvar makeover" on last year is doing great. Julie took pics for you.

11 of us just got home from Ofu, a small outer island. I hear the population is 289. It was just my speed. The airport is even smaller than the one in Aitutaki. There are 2 hotels on the island, lovely snorkelling, gorgeous little island, healthy reef, nice shell picking. We got rained upon a bit, but we all still had a great time. At the beach yesterday George found a tarp which Martee hung when it began to rain: Survivor Ofu. Except for the nice snorkelling it was a weekend of rest and reading and overindulgence. This nonprofit may have been my idea, but frankly at times I think I am the misfit of the crew. On Sat night when most of the crew was playing poker and drinking Vailima beer and Duane's cocktails in the hotel, I was having one of the nicest evenings I've had in months, just sitting on the beach, treasuring the joy of the South Pacific. It was perfect. Oh, I wished I had Twinkle with me, for there were lots of little sand crabs coming over to my towel to check me out. (Twink, one of my island kitties, loved chasing those crabs!) There was a distant roar of the ocean and the softer lapping of the waves at my feet, just enough light to see how beautiful the sea is.

The runway at Ofu is very short, so trips can be cancelled if the weather is inclement. We were supposed to go on Friday, but rain hit at the wrong time and didn't get to go til Sat morning. And, just like when flying to Independent Samoa, they weigh all the passengers. It was $150 round trip, and accomodations quite reasonable. At the airport today I briefly chatted with the owner of the other hotel (who clearly loves her dogs) about possibly getting Byron (who will be doing vet work the week after we leave) out there for a "village visit", swapping accomodation for vet work.

Good news: Pete Gurr, head of agriculture stopped by the Tropical Medical Hut last week. He told me that he has kept his promise not to euthanize any pets that have our tattoo (showing that they have been desexed). (He now has 3 dogs at his home that were desexed last year by us.) He renewed that promise to me this week.

:) Joi Sutton, DVM

Volunteer Vet Clinics underway in American Samoa

Beautify CNMI! and PAWS are posting the adventures and experiences of Vet Ventures, a non-profit organization that operates out of Oregon. The organization is comprised of volunteer veterinarians and assistants, who visit rural or remote international areas and offer low-cost or free veterinary care. Dr. Joi Sutton is president of Vet Ventures and narrates her experience weekly.

Beautify CNMI! would like to host a low-cost or free veterinary clinic here in Saipan so low-income families could afford to experience life with healthy dogs that have been spayed and neutered.

By posting her stories, we hope to inspire some of Saipan's residents to help us with this effort.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Katie Busenkell at busenkell@gmail.com.
Dated: February 25, 2007

We've arrived back in American Samoa. The trip (for most of the volunteers) went very smoothly. Hawaiian Airlines and TSA gets big kudos for managing 2100 lbs of supplies (42 32-gallon bins) in such an efficient and courteous manner. Hawaiian Airlines without a doubt provided Vet Ventures with the best customer service I have ever received from an airline. They were amazing!!!

Cheryl and Esther (welcome faces from last year) and a bunch of big strong Samoan men met us at the airport with leis and vans. It took us probably 8 hours to set up hospital between yesterday and today, twice as long as last year but then again we've got well over twice the amount of supplies. Our hut got a paint job and even some gravel out front. After building up a decent sweat these last 2 days in the Tropical Medical Hut (setting up hospital) we've come back to Sadie's by the Sea for R and R: hanging out in their fancy-smancy new pool, lounging on the beach, playing in the ocean, some much needed sunning of pale and pasty skin. Our hotel-in-progress from last year is now altogether snazzy! And lemme tell ya, the weather is perfect!!! I've had a smile on my face for much of the last few days. I think our volunteers (some repeat offenders, some new faces to Vet Ventures) are great. Tomorrow we head north to Tisa's Barefoot Bar. Monday we start surgery. And now I'm about to head to the pool area for Fia Fia night. ;)

The best news of all is that there is a noticeable difference in the number of strays wandering the streets compared to prior to our first campaign. Thanks to many of you for helping to make these campaigns possible. I'll keep you posted as the adventure begins.

Joi Suttun, DVM