Darwin Animal Doctors


Archive: Sep 2017

  1. A Huge Thank You!

    It is that time of year again, where we are brought into that strange balance of being quite saddened, and very excited – all at the same time.

    As September comes to an end, it becomes time to say goodbye to our amazing team in Galapagos, as Dr. Daphne and Sacha finish up their six months with us. We are also very excited to be welcoming our new vet, Dr. Alejo; a dedicated and motivated vet, who has donated much of his time to protect the animals and unique ecosystem of Ecuador. We are so excited to have Dr. Alejo with us in the Galapagos, to help protect one of his nation’s greatest treasures! Check back in with us soon as we catch up with Dr. Alejo after his first week in Galapagos.

    But first, we want to take a moment to thank Sacha and Dr. Daphne for all their incredible work over the last six months. This Dynamic Duo has been a true blessing to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team, and will be sorely missed.

    Dr. Daphne is a down-to-earth, no nonsense, incredibly talented vet. One of many volunteer experiences, Daphne has truly dedicated her skills and knowledge to helping the less fortunate animals – those without a voice, and those in need. It has been an inspiration to us all to hear and experience those times that Dr. Daphne would go above and beyond to help a sick animal. From the time she stayed throughout the night in the clinic, to wake every half hour to comfort Cosita and calm her back to sleep, to the time she came rushing back into the clinic at 6:30am on a Saturday to help Nessi give birth. Dr. Daphne has spend countless weekends in the clinic, staying through the day to monitor a patients’ progress (like with Rex), arriving extra early to the clinic to check on a patient (just like with Bonny), and running back to the clinic late in the evening to make sure an animal would have the help they need (lucky for Blacky). Dr. Daphne does not just work as a vet, but truly dedicates her life to her profession; caring for animals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


    Alongside all the cases, and all the animals that she has helped, Dr. Daphne has trained and supported 37 volunteers who have come through the clinic during her time. It seems almost impossible that one person could have done so much; and it kind of is…


    Standing right beside Dr. Daphne, and providing invaluable support over the last six months, has been Sacha; Galapagos’ onsite Clinic Coordinator. “Clinic Coordinator” is the simple title we give to someone who is actually clinic photographer, clinic writer, clinic reporter, clinic volunteer support and organizer, clinic generally support, surgical support, clinic campaign organizer and clinic education support. It goes almost without saying, Sacha’s commitment to supporting the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team in every way, has been inspiring, and has allowed the clinic to do more over the last six months than ever before. With such unfaultering support, the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team was able to support ABG in three campaigns on various islands, as well as run an education/sterilization campaign in the highlands.


    As well as her dedication to the clinic and its team, Sacha has always been the first to jump in to give a patient that extra TLC they need to help get themselves back to health. Sacha has walked around with Peiton in a backpack to make sure he stayed upright to help him digest, kept Oso by her side when he was too scared to be alone, helped the puppies of Nessi take their first breath, comforted the family of Lucky as he went into surgery, and has been there every time that Dr. Daphne or the team were needed out of hours to help an animal in need.


    Thank you both for six months of 100% dedication, and for always going above and beyond to help us protect the unique and fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. From everyone here at Darwin Animal Doctors, from all our volunteers, and all our patients and members of the Galapagos community; Thank you!


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  2. A gentle reminder…

    Every wondered why we recommend removing all small bones from food before giving it to your cat or dog?

    Meet Tita. Tita came into the clinic as she had had a bone stuck in her throat for the past eight hours. Poor Tita was not able to get it out herself and the uncomfortable, painful situation continued. By the time her family found out what was going on, Tita was so distressed, that she had become quite aggressive and the family were unable to remove the bone either.

    Thankfully, the family brought the poor cat to the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic, where the team were able to lightly sedate Tita and gently remove the bone.

    Lucky for Tita, the story has a happy ending. But let her be a reminder to you to be careful what you feed your cats and dogs!


    Help us continue to look after animals in need, just like Tita. Donate today.

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  3. A Campaign in the Highlands

    Parque Artesenal, Galapagos

    Recently, the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team headed to the highlands, to an area which had been identified as a possible “problem area” for un-spayed or un-neutered animals. This area would mark the first, in the plan to reach more families in the greater Santa Cruz Island.

    With the support of ABG, Sacha and Keyla, a representative of the Kemahe group, went into the “Parque Artesenal” to talk with the local community about sterilization and its importance. While there, they also asked the community members about why their, or other, animals weren’t sterilized, to identify potential barriers to accessing the free services at the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic.


    The community’s president and vice presidents were extremely supportive of the team’s plan, having actively encouraged sterilization themselves. They were forthcoming with advice, information and assistance throughout the program.

    After the questionnaire was complete, it was evident that one of the barriers faced by the community was not being able to bring their animals to the clinic in Puerto Ayora. In response to this, the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team brought the clinic to the community.


    With the permission and support of ABG, the entire DAD team, including Dr. Daphne, Sacha, Dr. Richard, Katie, Ximena, Lydia and Tifany, set up a temporary clinic in the area. ABG vet, Dr. Rita, and some support staff also joined the DAD team, bringing microchips and registration technology to ensure every animal that was sterilized was also registered and chipped.


    Two invaluable team members were Keyla and Lauren from the Kemahe group. These active young locals walked through the community to speak to any owners who mentioned that their animals were not sterilized to convince them to bring them to the temporary clinic. The community president also provided essential support, accompanying the girls to talk with the families.


    By the end of the day, eight dogs and one cat were sterilized, and one dog was brought back to the DAD clinic to treat a broken leg which he had sustained some time ago. According to the community, these were all the owned animals which were previously unsterilized in the area.

    Alongside the surgeries, the main goal of the program was to begin moving into the highlands and educating the wider community of Santa Cruz about sterilization. For that reason, the biggest achievement of the campaign was that 86 out of 89 families were reached, communicated with directly and given information on the importance of sterilization.

    A huge thank you to ABG, the Kemahe group, Ros Cameron and to the local community presidents, and the community themselves for such wonderful support in the first step of this program. Check back in with us to hear about how it continues!

    Help us continue to reach more communities with education and free sterilization services. Donate today.

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  4. Stubs’ Story

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Stubs first came in to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic in April, when he was only 2 months old. He had come in for a puppy health check with his sister Rose. Rose became quite well known to the clinic, as she faced a few health problems in her first months. Stubs, on the other hand, had not needed any extra attention or care.

    One day, however, Stubs stopped eating and drinking and became quite lethargic. After he still did not improve the next day, the family brought him into the clinic. After looking him over, Dr. Daphne noticed that the wound from his sterilization surgery (which had happened about a week before) looked a little infected. She gave Stubs an antibiotic treatment and something to help with the nausea, so that he would start to eat again. Stubs went home with his family with instructions to return if his condition did not improve.

    Three days later, Stubs returned to the clinic. He was still not eating or drinking very much, and did not seem to have any more energy. The family reported that there were no other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, although Dr. Daphne noticed that his abdomen did feel quite tense.

    That evening, and continuing over the next day, Dr. Daphne and the team began treating Stubs’ symptoms and running blood and urine tests to determine what could have been the cause. That next evening, however, Stubs’ condition got worse as he began to present with seizure-like symptoms.


    Dr. Richard was onsite when Stubs began his seizures. With the help of some volunteers, Dr. Richard was able to treat Stubs’ symptoms and return him to a normal, balanced state. Stubs remained in the clinic overnight for monitoring and to await the results of his final tests.


    The next day, the Doctors were able to determine that Stubs had meningitis, an infection of the membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord. The Doctors gave the little pup the treatment that he needs to help fight the meningitis. Over the next days, Stub’s condition improved. He began eating and drinking again, gaining 2 kilograms of body weight, and some of his energy was beginning to return.

    Stubs still has a long road to recovery, and the Doctors will need to continue to monitor his progress to ensure his continuing improvement. Make sure to check back in with us to see how the little pup improves.

    Help other animals, just like Stubs, get the essential medical that they need to survive. Donate today.

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  5. A family of cats

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Recently, the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic welcomed volunteer Andreina. Andreina is a veterinary student from Ecuador, with family living on the Galapagos Islands. Love and care for animals seemed to run in Andreina’s family, with one uncle having approximately 15 cats that he had accumulated through caring for strays over the years. The gentleman wanted the cats to be sterilized, but as he lived in the highlands and had not handled the cats too much, they were difficult to catch and transport to the clinic.

    The team contacted the government agency in charge of protection of biosecurity (ABG) for their help. The ABG team kindly organized and set traps to catch the cats, and brought them into the clinic one-by-one as they were caught. The Darwin Animal Doctors then sterilized each of the cats, and then ABG would return them to the owner. As the gentleman had requested that some of the cats be rehomed if possible, a few of the cats then went to the Kemahe group, who went on to find them loving family homes.


    After a few days, the teams had managed to catch every cat and sterilize them. A big thank you to ABG and Kemahe for such invaluable support in this effort!

    Help us continue to help support those who watch out for animals around them. Donate today.

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  6. Just in Time for School To Start: Humane Education In NYC

    On Friday, August 25, Darwin Animal Doctors brought our humane education program to Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (H.E.A.R.T) classes at Animal Haven.  This collaboration between Darwin Animal Doctors and H.E.A.R.T provides a unique opportunity to teach our A Piggy’s Tale humane education comic book to children who are already learning how and why to be more compassionate.

    The class on Friday consisted of six young women, ranging from ages seven to eight years old.  These young learners also had the opportunity to meet (and pet) Piggy, our spokesdog.  Everyone loves doing that!

    After meeting Piggy, the class read the beginning of A Piggy’s Tale.  The young learners then discussed how to create a superhero comic of their own.  By instilling the importance of compassion and proper animal care at a young age, we are helping to inspire and educate the next generation of animal advocates.

    Piggy was also busy on Saturday, August 26th at the at the 60th Anniversary of the George Washington Houses Family Day.  The George Washington Houses are a part of the New York City Housing Authority and are known as a safe, child-friendly community.


    Piggy and Darwin Animal Doctors were invited to join the event on Saturday to help foster a greater sense of community and to help teach the importance of compassion and proper animal care.  Local children participated in a variety of activities, including coloring, puzzles, and reading A Piggy’s Tale while sitting next to everyone’s favorite super pup, Piggy!

    Humane education is a key component of Darwin Animal Doctors’ mission.  While providing free veterinary care improves the lives of those individual animals we treat, humane education has a longer lasting impact by teaching the importance of proper animal care and the importance of being a compassionate and caring individual. Values built on compassion and care extends beyond just cats and dogs.  It helps Darwin Animal Doctors protect wildlife and the greater biodiversity of planet Earth.

    Help Darwin Animal Doctors continue to provide Humane Education, here in the US, and around the world. Donate today.

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  7. Supporter Spotlight: Kim Diaz

    This month, the Darwin Animal Doctors would like to shine the spotlight on another of our heroes of Humane Education; Kim Diaz. Kim has dedicated endless hours to the furthering of Humane Education within the US and abroad; from writing and developing curriculums to training teachers in how to implement them.

    Kim first got involved with Darwin Animal Doctors in 2013 when she decided to create and pilot the first Humane Education program based on the “A Piggy’s Tale” comic books. Kim had been using the books in her own classrooms to teach humane education, but was wanting to help Piggy reach more children, in more schools.

    Kim’s program was a great success, and began to spread; initially throughout the Northeast, and then further through the US. With the program already reaching many children, Kim began creating more and more curriculum activities, ensuring that the program was diverse enough to be used to teach students of all ages. Kim soon found herself travelling around the Northeast with Piggy, introducing the program to schools and training teachers in its implementation.

    Kim has further dedicated her time and effort to support Darwin Animal Doctors’ overseas efforts, assisting with writing Piggy’s environmental care programs and working with our teams worldwide to assist in various other Humane Education programs that Darwin Animal Doctors is currently rolling out.

    As if all of Kim’s work to further Humane Education in the US and abroad wasn’t enough, in her spare time, Kim continues to be an active member of the animal and environmental rights and protection world. Kim can be found on a variety of different missions; to protect everything from threatened hatching sea turtle colonies to misunderstood schools of sharks.

    A huge thank you goes out to Kim, for your endless selfless dedication to the protection of our environment, and to ensuring the next generation follows in the same footsteps.