DAD: Dr. Carmen, please tell us about your exciting, new adventure. Where are you headed next?
Dr. Carmen: I will be traveling to Koh Tao, Thailand to work with NoiStar Animal Foundation to help run their animal clinic.
DAD: What is the overall focus of the upcoming campaign in Thailand?
Dr. Carmen: In addition to treating animals at the clinic, Darwin Animal Doctors will set up a high-volume TNR (trap-spay-release) program in order to humanely control the overpopulation of feral and free-roaming dogs and cats on the island. As more people populate the island, the population of feral dogs and cats continues to grow out of control. Feral animals impact the local wildlife as they disrupt the breeding grounds for birds and endangered sea turtles. Furthermore, we aim to create awareness about basic animal welfare and care, spread compassion for animals, and build recognition for humane animal control programs in Koh Tao.
DAD: How long will you be in Koh Tao?
Dr. Carmen: Darwin Animal Doctors will be on the island from May to July of 2017.
DAD: Dr. Daphne, first let me start by saying “Welcome to the team”! Please tell the readers a little about your background. What inspired you to join Darwin Animal Doctors?
Dr. Daphne: I graduated veterinary school in the Netherlands in 2013 and worked in different clinics all over the country. Last year, I helped Darwin Animal Doctors with a spay and neuter campaign in Cañoa, Ecuador. There I learned about the impact stray dogs and cats have on the local wildlife and on the community. I was impressed by the Doctors’ work and was enthusiastic about helping out in more campaigns in the future. I was not very happy with my current job in the Netherlands, so when I heard Carmen was planning to leave Galapagos and head to Thailand, I quickly applied for the job!
DAD: What has been your experience in the Galapagos so far?
Dr. Daphne: I have worked in the clinic for three weeks now. Every day is different. We can have two life threatening emergencies at the same time, or we can have mornings when boxes of healthy puppies come in for a de-parasite treatment. I am happy to see that a lot of the clients really love their animals and are very concerned about their well-being. But on the same hand, some of people here are not aware of how to properly take care of their animals. Sometimes they wash their animals with chemicals or feed them food that is not healthy for a dog or a cat. This is not because they want to intentionally harm the animal, rather they do not know that is it wrong. Educating the local community about how to take care of their animals has been a giant task for us.
DAD: What do you look forward to the most over the next six months?
Dr. Daphne: I really enjoy working with the volunteers. I can learn something from every single volunteer that comes in the clinic. I hope that I can teach them something, too. I am also looking forward to seeing more of the amazing flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands!
DAD: Dr. Carmen, after a year in the Galapagos, you have seen and done a lot for animals. We thank you so much! What are your top three favorite memories or moments at the Galapagos clinic?
Dr. Carmen: It is hard to pick my three favorite memories or moments! We have treated so many patients here and you really build a personal bond with each of them. One I will never forget was Ralph, the pitbull with a mysterious disease. We were able to save his life and now, he is a happy, healthy puppy. I spent many hours cuddling him, trying to get him to eat something and just trying to cheer him up. I am so happy he survived. Furthermore, it is the people of the Galapagos and the volunteers that make this a very special place to work.
DAD: What in the Galapagos will you miss most?
Dr. Carmen: I will miss being so connected to nature. There is no other place in the world like Galapagos, where you are surrounded by animals that are not afraid of you. You sit next to a sea lion on a bench waiting for a boat ride. You swim next to marine iguanas and with sea turtles below you. The birds come up to investigate you. You can snorkel with penguins and chill with giant tortoises. It’s like living in a zoo, but better because all the animals are free and live in harmony together. For an animal lover like me, this was like living the dream!
DAD: How can our readers continue to support the clinic?
Dr. Carmen: You continue to support us by spreading the word about what Darwin Animal Doctors does in the Galapagos and around the world. The more people who are aware of us and what we stand for, the more support we will receive. You can also donate one-time or become a monthly member of Darwin Animal Doctors so we can continue to carry out our life-saving work at the clinic in Galapagos and any of the upcoming projects we have internationally, such as our work at the animal clinic in Thailand.
Your monthly contributions allow Darwin Animal Doctors to provide free veterinary care around the world and educate future generations in local schools about animal welfare. Your generous support contributes to a kinder, more compassionate Earth for animals. Click here to become a monthly supporter.