One Thursday evening around 7pm, a couple came into the clinic with their dog. He had been hit by a car approximately 20 minutes before coming into the clinic. He had some deep wounds in his leg, and after an examination by volunteers Dr. Roxanne and Dr. Bianca, the Doctors realized that the leg was broken. As the team informed the owners, they became very distressed, and began to cry. Sacha needed to further explain that it was possible that they might need to amputate the leg, and that even if they did not have to straight away, then it would rely very heavily on the couple’s consistency in returning to the clinic for check-ups. Sacha sat with the couple and tried to comfort them, explaining that the Doctors would do whatever was possible to save the leg, but that if they needed to remove it, a dog could still happily lead a life on three legs.
The Doctors took Lucky into the clinic to examine her closely. She had been panting, and they needed to make sure that she was stable after the incident. On further examination of the leg, they still could not be sure that they would be able to save it; the wounds were quite excessive, and the break seemed quite severe. The owners had agreed for the Doctors to do whatever was possible to save the leg, so the team anaesthetized Lucky to begin cleaning the wounds and seeing if it would be possible to cast Lucky’s leg.
As the surgery began, Dr. Roxanne realized that the break was worse than expected; Lucky’s leg would have to be amputated.
Dr. Daphne called the family as Dr. Roxanne and Dr. Bianca begun the amputation surgery. The family was upset that Lucky would have to lose his leg. Thankfully, Mayra stepped in and continued the conversation with the couple so that they were well informed and comfortable with what was going on.
At about midnight, the team had finally finished the long and difficult surgery. The amputation was a great success, and Lucky was well on his way to recovery. The Doctors would continue to monitor the pup’s progress to ensure that the healing process continues well. Check back in with us to see how Lucky is going!
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This month, Darwin Animal Doctors shines our spotlight on an amazing supporter and all around animal protector. Sarah Darling is a London-raised artist who made her home in Galapagos 25 years ago. Sarah is known throughout the Galapagos Islands for her kind-hearted nature, her amazing art, and for her house of rescued street cats. Sarah lives in a living work of art – a mosaic filled house with 18 rescued street cats and her three rescued street dogs. During that time, Sarah has lived by a simple motto: the best thing you can do in life is to help an animal.
Sarah believes in leading by example. She was probably the first person to ever walk a dog on a leash in Puerto Ayora, the main town in the Galapagos Islands and she has rescued many cats during the past 25 years. Since Darwin Animal Doctors open its clinic and began treating animals in the Galapagos, Sarah has been a strong ally and supporter.
The real start of Sarah’s Galapagos rescue journey was Neptune, her first rescued dog. A friend found him wandering in the in the main square of Bella Vista, a town in the highlands of Santa Cruz. He was not much more than skin and bone and looked like the walking dead. In 2003, prior to the arrival of Darwin Animal Doctors, the sight of a starving, skinny street dog searching for food scraps was not uncommon on the four human-inhabited islands in the Galapagos. Sarah recounts seeing a huge number of street dogs on Santa Cruz Islands during this time, none of whom seemed to have a home or caregiver.
Neptune; as he looked when he was found in Bella Vista
Lucky for Neptune, Sarah and her friend pleaded with the government veterinarian to help save Neptune’s life. The compassionate vet worked alongside Sarah and her friend to save Neptune. For the first month, the poor pup was ill. With Sarah’s love, attention, and care, Neptune made a full recovery. Sarah began to walk him on a leash throughout Puerto Ayora. This leading by example and showing Neptune’s recovery was a clear demonstration of what love and care can do to a dog or cat.
Since Neptune’s rescue and successful recovery, Sarah has opened her home to many other animals in need of help and a home. When Darwin Animal Doctors opened their doors in 2010, many cats were rescued from the streets or left at the clinic with no place for them to go. Thankfully for these cats, Sarah came to their aid and began adopting them. Sarah now has 18 cats, in perfect health who live in harmony in Sarah’s incredible home. Sarah has built them a protected, art filled outdoor play area, multiple different mosaic perches and many comfortable beds. Sarah’s three dogs are equally spoiled and can often be seen walking through town with Sarah or sitting with her in her art gallery “Angelique Art Gallery” in the centre of Puerto Ayora.
Not only has Sarah been a lifesaver to many animals and an advocate for their proper care and treatment, she is an incredible supporter of Darwin Animal Doctors. Sarah is one of the main organisers of the annual Hash House Harriers run, an annual fun run through town to raise money and awareness for Darwin Animal Doctors. Sarah is also known to host the clinic volunteers. And she dedicated her time and effort to creating the beautiful Darwin Animal Doctors mosaic and logo that now decorates the clinic’s entrance.
Sarah recalls seeing a huge change in the population over the last seven years. Since the introduction of Darwin Animal Doctor’s humane education programs and having a fulltime vet in the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic, the human residents have come to understanding the need to sterilize cats and dogs and the importance of proper care for their animals. The young people are a big part of these positive changes. Young people are spreading the message of proper care and treatment of cats and dogs and more and more children bring cats and dogs found on the street into the DAD clinic.
A huge thank you Sarah, for all the animals you have gifted with a beautiful life, for all the times you have supported the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic, and for spreading your kindness and caring attitude to animals worldwide through your beautiful art.
If you are ever in Puerto Ayora, we encourage you to drop by Sarah’s art gallery to drop in and say hi, and to check out her wonderful art – where you will likely see Sarah’s favorite saying hidden in amongst the art: “Animals are little angels sent to teach us to love”.
Early this month, the Thailand team put down their scrubs and surgery kits and picked up some books, lesson plans and games and headed down to the local elementary school. The team had a big task that day; for some, a task more daunting than surgery. The Koh Tao school is the only local school on the island, and is comprised of approximately 300 children. The Doctors were there that day to ensure that every child at the school received an age-appropriate Humane Education lesson. Back in the US, Darwin Animal Doctors’ Humane Education Coordinator had been working hard to ensure that the team would have all the tools they needed to have the day run successfully, from lesson plans to games, books and take-home information.
For the Doctors to be able to visit each age group, and to have enough time to deliver a full set of classes, the school divided the students into four groups, where the team would have 90 minutes with each age group. By the end of the day, the team had worked with children ranging from 3 to 15 years old. Depending on the age group, the children were given different lessons to help understand how to best care for the animals and environment around them.
The children played games which taught them to identify and understand the difference between wild and domesticated animals, and the different ways that we need to interact with and care for them. They played other games that aimed to teach children which foods are safe and unsafe for their pets, as well games which taught children different animal names in English. With older children, they also played animal care focused trivia games where the students were taught and ‘tested’ on a wide variety of aspects of pet and general animal care as well as aspects of environmental care. Kids were also given talks on what it means to be a vet, and given vet related games for the school to keep for the children to be able to use on a regular basis. All students at the school were also given a colouring book and information pamphlet which outlines what your pet needs to be happy and healthy, with a strong emphasis on sterilization.
After a long day, the team of Doctors left the school tired, but feeling very positive about all the information they were able to share with the students. The children all had a great day, full of games and excitement, and left with a much better understanding of how to best care for the animals and environment around them.
A huge thank you to Dr. Carmen, Dr. Kate, Lisa, Antoine, Rebecca and Katheryn who put in a huge effort that day to ensure each child on Koh Tao had a fun and entertaining education filled day.
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A few days later, Peiton’s concerned guardian returned to the clinic as the poor little pup had begun vomiting again.
The Doctors began to check Peiton over, searching for the cause of her vomiting. After some delibertion, they were able to determine that due to the excessive vomiting during her illness, Peiton’s stomach acids had burned the oesophegas and she was now regurgitating all her food. The solution? It was actually quite simple. The team needed to make sure that Peiton stayed upright for at least half an hour after she ate to help the food get into her stomach.
As the concern for Parvo had passed, the team could keep Peiton in the clinic for a few days. Each member of the team took turns to assist the little pup with eating, by hand feeding her, and would then hold her after every meal, to ensure that she would stay standing for at least half an hour. If all hands were needed in the clinic, Peiton would find herself wrapped up and supported in a backpack, taken around everywhere by Sacha.
The plan was working. Peiton had stopped regurgitating her food, as was looking increasingly better. The little pup showed multiple signs of a healthy digestive tract, and so after a few days of care in the clinic, Peiton was cleared to go home.
Her loving guardian returned to pick her up and was very happy to hear that the little pup was finally better. She later reported to the clinic team that Peiton was doing very well, eating happily and playing energetically with her brother.
Help more animals – just like Peiton – have a happy ending to their story by donating today
Peiton and her older brother, Eileen, were brought into the clinic on a Friday as she had begun vomiting, had diarrhea and wasn’t eating. Due to the concern of Parvo Virus, it was not possible to keep the dogs in the clinic, and they would need to return twice a day to receive the life saving medication and treatments that they needed.
By Sunday, Eileen was doing much better and only needed to be monitored from home. Peiton, however, was still not better and she would continue to need twice daily treatments. The dedicated family drove in all the way from the highlands, twice a day to ensure that Peiton would get her life-saving treatments.
After one week of treatment, Peiton was starting to look better. She was no longer vomiting and had become more active. However, as treatment continued, Peiton’s rate of improvement did not continue as expected. As she still had not begun to eat, Dr. Daphne expected an issue with her digestion tract. As Peiton was now stronger thanks to the treatment, it was possible to conduct an exploratory surgery to see if it could be determined what was going on. The exploratory surgery revealed some interesting information to the Doctors, although not exactly what was expected.
After she had recovered from the surgery, Peiton strangely begun to eat again. It was great to see the little puppy eating, but the team knew they would have to keep a close eye on her to check for relapses. Peiton went home that evening, with strict instructions to return if she started to vomit again, or display any other abnormal signs.
A few days later, Peiton returned… Check back in with us soon to hear what happens next!
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