Showing posts with label Nepal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nepal. Show all posts

Sep 24, 2018

Have a HART: Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust (Part Two)

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Our new baby Tux tells it like it is.
 In part two of my post on HART (Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust), I'll be sharing with you the first ever feline sterilization day held at the clinic! Our tomcat Spotty was one of the patients being surged upon here in Pokhara. The Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust works to improve the lives of animals throughout Nepal with public education, rescue, treatment, neutering, and anti-rabies vaccination clinics daily.

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No dogs were scheduled to be seen that day at the facility due to potential conflict with feline patients. There were a few canine malingerers outside in the clinic courtyard like this sad fellow wearing his "cone of shame" though.

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And the kitties began arriving for surgery in baskets, bags, and blankets! The only other time there had ever been anything like a kitty sterilization day was in 2010 when HART had just started and we begged them to neuter all 5 of our cats. Back then HART was so busy sterilizing dogs they simply did not have time to deal with cats.

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This lady brought her beloved cat to be spayed in a shopping bag. No Problem! Whatever works!

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Soon the entire waiting area in the office was full of ladies and their cats! It was quite warm on this misty Monsoon morning in late July.  In total there were 5 female cats and two males brought in by their owners for sterilization. I was really amazed because keeping pets is a new thing South Asia and cats aren't particularly well thought of here.

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One by one all the kitties were sedated, shaved, and prepared for surgery. This cat is female so her belly and side have been shorn, washed, and swabbed with Betadine.

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The waiting room became a little jugaadi (make-do) post-surgery recovery room. Flattened cardboard boxes, old newspapers, old towels, and even the owner's shawls were used as blankets and mattresses. This is definitely a "no frills" sort of clinic but it got the job done!

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And then it was our Spotty's turn! He is put in a special cage to receive his injection for sedation. The red plastic coated bars are attached to the floor of the cage which can be lifted to press uncooperative patients' bodies against the side of the cage. When the cat is secured against the side of the cage for injection it is safer for all parties involved.

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It was really heartwarming seeing the love and genuine concern these "pawrents" had for their cats. The lady in the red sweater is the one who brought her cat in a shopping bag. She is cradling her female kitty who just came out of surgery with her shawl.

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A veterinary technician attended the little improvised post-op recovery unit. She oversaw the recoveries diligently.

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Spotty was the third cat to be operated on. Here he is getting his temperature checked by the technician. (He peed on the tech after having his temperature taken.) One other male cat and three more female cats where successfully sterilized that day! YAY!

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Spotty & Tux!
And here's our healthy, happy, and neutered Spotty fully recovered! He's hugging his newly adopted little brother Tux (short for tuxedo.) Tux had a bit of tummy trouble when we first brought him home from Catmandu Lovers Cat Hotel & Spa .  We took Tux for a visit with the vets at HART  and he was soon on the mend!

animal rescue, cats, charity, dogs, HART, himalayan animal rescue team, Nepal, non profit, pokhara, rescue, sterilization, treatment, vaccination,

The important work  Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust is funded solely by donations.  HART needs funds, equipment, expertise and a lot of hard work to make a lasting difference in animals' lives. An online donation can be made here.  Whatever gift you choose will help save animals from suffering and give them the treatment and care they need. Any qualified vets and vet nurses who can volunteer their time and expertise are more than welcome. To find out more about this, please contact Khageshwaar Sharma. If you are traveling to Nepal and can bring a few items, please contact Barbara Webb. The cost of shipping to Nepal is high and delivery is not always certain, so a kindly carrier can assist enormously. Please see HART's "wish list"  for items they always need.

animal rescue, cats, charity, dogs, HART, himalayan animal rescue team, Nepal, non profit, pokhara, rescue, sterilization, treatment, vaccination,
And meows too!
Any pawrents out there? Tell me about your furbabies!
And how are you on this second day of Autumn? 
We're still scorching at 93F/34C daily although the Monsoon rains have tapered off and balmy breezes have started.
 Bella ciao, Bibi ;)

Sep 10, 2018

Have a HART: Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust (Part One)

HART, himalayan animal rescue team, pokhara, nepal, sterilization, vaccination, animal rescue, dogs, cats, rescue, treatment, charity, non profit,

"No Babies, No Rabies" is the motto of our local nonprofit veterinary charitable organization here in Nepal. The Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust works to improve the lives of animals throughout Nepal with public education, rescue, treatment, neutering, and anti-rabies vaccination clinics daily.

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The Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust was founded in 2010 and is a registered charity based just outside the city of Pokhara, about 200 km from Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. They treat all domestic animals, although most of their patients are dogs. HART strives to build an environment where animals are respected and cared for in their own communities. Through their many educational programs and mobile clinics, they work to eradicate animal distress, disease, neglect, and cruelty in Nepal.


Street dogs are a serious public health and safety menace across India and Nepal. Every year 100 to 200 people die of rabies in Nepal (mostly children) and 35,000 people are treated for dog bites. ( I can't find any numbers on dog maulings of humans or livestock in Nepal but I can say I have seen quite a few in years past.) The normal lifespan of a street dog is estimated to be around three years, due to the dangers of street life most puppies do not survive. It is estimated that there are 22,000 street dogs in the city of Kathmandu alone. In the past, local citizens and city governments here in Nepal would put out meat poisoned with strychnine in attempts to control the street dog population. This is a horrific form of death, throwing the dogs into violent seizures for up to nine hours before they die. The dog carcasses would then be tossed into the nearest river creating a further public health hazard. Thankfully, since the advent of HART and other animal rescue organizations, this inhumane practice has stopped. The mistreatment and neglect of animals in South Asia is really heartbreaking.

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I can recall when I first came to Nepal 20 years ago the packs of feral dogs roaming the street were quite scary. The late-night yowling, growls, barking, and yowls almost made it near impossible to sleep. Today, the street dog situation is vastly improved. Problematic dogs are now captured by a net and transported to the HART clinic for neutering and vaccination.

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This is one of HART's new Mahindra Bolero Campers used to transport both animals and crew members to and from the clinic. If you look carefully at the sticker on the door you can see this vehicle was paid for by Lush's Charity Pot funding program.




Charity Pot is a hand and body lotion made by the UK cosmetics company Lush featuring shea butter, rosewood oil, moringa oil, and ylang-ylang oil. With every purchase of Charity Pot, Lush donates 100% of the price (minus the taxes) to small, grassroots organizations that could use the helping hand to continue the incredible work that they do. It's really great to see those donations put to such good use!

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HART holds anti-rabies vaccination mobile clinics all across Nepal. HART's goal is to vaccinate over 70% of the dog population. This is the level at which statistics determine that the rabies risk to humans becomes minimal. This high level of vaccination coverage is achieved by walking through each ward injecting all the un-immunized animals found. Each jab is recorded in HART's purpose-written mobile phone app. The ward is revisited until the statistics indicate that a minimum of 70% of dogs are vaccinated. The anti-rabies vaccination mobile vaccination clinics are repeated annually and are quite an expensive and time-consuming program.

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HART regularly distributes leaflets on the avoidance of dog bites and rabies information at schools and public events. Basic pet care and respect for animals is also taught to school children in educational programs. HART staff frequently appear at municipal functions to improve public awareness on the humane treatment of animals and the long-term benefits of their sterilization program.

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After the 2012 earthquakes in Nepal HART traveled to the hardest hit region, Sindhupalchowk. The HART team hosted a group of veterinarians from Australia to treat livestock injured in the disaster.  Many livestock animals had been injured suffering everything from broken backs to minor scratches.

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This year the HART team was invited to return to the Everest region to conduct anti-rabies and neutering clinics. That's a long, long way from their home base here in Pokhara. The net, the autoclave, the entire mobile surgery, and a lot of anti-rabies vaccines had to be hauled by human, donkey, and yak up there. Over a hundred dogs were neutered and several vaccinated.







Our beloved kitty Baacha Khan had been feeling poorly, we had to wait for the HART team to return from their trip to the Everest region to take him to clinic. Above you can see him being weighed in on the left. On the right, he's receiving fluids subcutaneously and a blood is drawn for testing. We had to take the blood to a nearby hospital lab to be tested.

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While we were waiting for the results from the blood test I strolled about the open air clinic. As you can see by the sign behind the veterinary technician's head in the above photo the base clinic here in Pokhara is open from 9AM to 2PM daily. (That's only if the team isn't out and about on one of their mobile clinic and vaccination tours.) Having regular daily clinic hours is fairly new, a few years back they were always out about town catching, vaccinating, neutering, and releasing street dogs.

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The operating room for large animals (at least bigger than a cat) is also open air so I watched a dog's wounds being cleaned, debrided, and stitched closed.

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It was amazing to see so many Nepalis bringing their pets to the HART clinic. Pet ownership is fairly new in Nepal and a medical facility that treats pets is a new idea also. These women brought their pet dog to be seen at clinic. He's receiving fluids on a table in the fenced courtyard.

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Another concerned lady brought in a neighborhood street dog in for treatment that had a horrible case of mange. Street dogs often suffer severe skin infections and diseases here in Nepal.

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 A caring new pet owner also brought her healthy dog to clinic to be vaccinated.

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A concerned lady brought in this terribly emaciated pup from her neighborhood. Turns out he has a really bad case of gastritis and can't keep his food down very well.

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A cat! I have never seen anyone bring a cat to the HART clinic besides us. Poor kitty looks to be in bad shape and her owner was quite distraught. People kept bringing animals so they actually had to extend clinic hours that day.


Unfortunately, the Baacha Khan's blood work determined that he was positive for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) in addition to a severe liver infection and advanced kidney failure. The FIV had destroyed his immune system to the point that he could no longer fight off infection like a normal, healthy cat.  FIV is very rare in western countries but is unfortunately common in South Asia. The controversial FIV vaccine is not available in Nepal yet. To our surprise, HART now offers humane euthanasia at no cost and that is what the veterinarian recommended. So we said goodbye to our best and most handsome kitty and stayed with him until he passed. His Imperial Majesty will always reign supreme in our hearts.

HART, himalayan animal rescue team, pokhara, nepal, sterilization, vaccination, animal rescue, dogs, cats, rescue, treatment, charity, non profit,

The important work  done by Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust is funded solely by donations.  HART needs funds, equipment, expertise and a lot of hard work to make a lasting difference in animals' lives. An online donation can be made here.  Whatever gift you choose will help save animals from suffering and give them the treatment and care they need. Any qualified vets and vet nurses who can volunteer their time and expertise are more than welcome. To find out more about this, please contact Khageshwaar Sharma. If you are traveling to Nepal and can bring a few items, please contact Barbara Webb. The cost of shipping to Nepal is high and delivery is not always certain, so a kindly carrier can assist enormously. Please see HART's "wish list"  for items they always need.

HART, himalayan animal rescue team, pokhara, nepal, sterilization, vaccination, animal rescue, dogs, cats, rescue, treatment, charity, non profit,
To be continued!!!!

Yep, after 50+ day hiatus, I'm back to blogging! Coming at you via a brand-spankin' new fiber optic cable internet connection that's tripping the light fantastic too! Hope all is well with you and yours and I look forward to sharing my adventures with y'all just as soon as I get my photos sorted and about 3 tonnes of laundry done. And of course, I've got lots more new recipes to post!
So how have you been?
What's your favorite animal-related charity?
Anyone else go abroad for their summer vacation? Do share!
Whew,
Bibi  ;)

Jul 2, 2018

Please Stand By...


This last week has been a doozy. The other night after dinner our house started smelling like melted plastic. Then the air conditioning units wouldn't work. Then smoke began filling the rooms. So we shut everything off, called the electrician, and sat in the dark. It seems the Nepal Electric Authority was cranking out an alarming 370V current instead of their usual 220V.


This went on for four hours so we had to completely shut off all electrical items in the house. We've spent the weekend praising Allah that our house didn't catch fire, airing out the house, and replacing all the melted light fixtures, ceiling fans, and air conditioning units. Our neighbors all suffered the same problem and have had televisions and computers ruined too. (Luckily, our computers and televisions are routed through the invertor so they don't seem to have incurred any damage.) Still, I'm surprised there weren't any fires in our district.


All that and two sick kitties too.  We haven't heard anything from the Nepal Electric Authority, there were no lightning storms in our area either. I shall try to get a "real" post up next week. Sigh.

What next?
Hope things are going better where you're at!
Inshallah,
Bibi

Jun 11, 2018

Where the Streets Have No Name.


I want to feel sunlight on my face, I see that dust cloud disappear without a trace, I wanna take shelter from the poison rain, where the streets have no name, oh-oh, ........oooo! Not sure what Bono was blathering on about in 1987 but I really do live on a street with no name!


And slowly but surely it has become a paved street with no name.


Bucket by bucket, and possibly violating every safety, health, and labor law in existence in western countries- we slowly but surely are no longer living on a country dirt road anymore.



A baby steamroller and a few teenagers were employed for the finishing touches. His Imperial Majesty the Baacha Khan took a stroll over the sticky tar and soon regretted it. I regretted it too after spending an hour cleaning the tar off his royal paws with baby oil for two hours.




Taaa Daaaa! Our street with no name is paved. Unfortunately, the paving stops about 100 feet beyond that bend you see in the distance. The people who live at the end of the road decided they didn't need full paving just an upgraded dirt road about halfway through the project. This was declared amidst a screaming, yelling, heated argument during a homeowners' association meeting. Which is why I don't ever go to homeowners' association meetings nor walk in that direction on our street. Take a look at that rudimentary bamboo fence on the left- big doins' in the formerly vacant lot!


The ongoing saga of the vacant lot: it's being cultivated! Yes, the neighborhood garbage dump, cow pasture, parking lot, vagrant hangout, and nightly den of vice is being farmed. The wall of the drain has been built up with a rickety bamboo fence to keep marauding livestock out. Corn, beans, and pumpkins are growing there now.


Which means we'll probably be seeing less of these guys coming down our street. These are not exactly 'holy cows' but rather swingin' single maverick males. Here they are looking for shade from the blistering noonday summer sun. Although beef is illegal here in Nepal male cows can be utilized to pull a plow. Mostly they are just left to wander the streets aimlessly. Sometimes these feckless males get a little too maverick and charge or gore people. They are sacred, you can't kill them so what usually happens to troublesome bulls is that they get gimped. Often this is done by cutting a tendon on one of their back legs or worse smashing/chopping off one of their back feet with a hammer or ax. I used to wonder why there were so many lame bulls about.  Mind you, I have been charged by some of these bovine miscreants for simply carrying a bag of apples. Having two tonnes of determined steer come running at you is a scary thing indeed. I'm still sorry to see the days of livestock roaming the streets slowly coming to an end in our town as cars take over.


Here's a lady selling a popular seasonal summertime snack. Ears of corn roasted on a fire served with a fiery hot chutney. She's got her super SPF going with that umbrella, long-sleeved shirt, and scarf pulled over her face. The corn being roasted is not the sweet, soft, tender type we Americans like to eat off the cob. Rather it is the starchy, bland, somewhat hard sort that we feed cattle and chickens. I grew American sweet corn here in my yard one year and it was a huge hit. Unfortunately, the worms loved it too.


Looks like the snack lady has some modern competition! This truck showed up on our street a few days ago. I had never seen a rig quite like this anywhere in South Asia. Curious, I asked the owner within where he got the idea and how long he had been in business. Sure enough, he'd worked at a restaurant in my native California and got the idea from the ubiquitous taco trucks we have there. Despite the photos of hamburgers and fried chicken his menu was a bit more traditional featuring momos, samosas, and such. He wasn't doing much business so I suggested he try a busier place with a parking lot like between the airport and hotel across the way.


Too-riss! Too-riss! A group of nurses from the Netherlands came to visit our neighborhood and the specialty clinic on our street. Any westerner coming to Nepal is an instant celebrity! Nepalis often ask me why westerners dress so weird when they visit here. I try to explain that they are on vacation and this is like their "play" clothes. "What is a vacation?" I am often further asked. "It's like a non-religious holiday when westerners take a break from work," I reply. "What for?" seems to always be the next question. Eventually, I've realized that in a country where there is no "weekend" nor regular workday and the only reason to travel is to make religious pilgrimages or visit family- it is really impossible to make the idea of a western style vacation relevant or understandable.

Here's a trend across Asia I don't understand. Buying a huge purebred dog is considered a status symbol for the ever-burgeoning middle class. Since pet ownership is new here in Nepal many of the animals wind up deserted on the street when they are no longer puppies and their care and feeding become too time-consuming and costly. I think it is mean (or at least stupid) to have a dog like this St Bernard in such a hot and humid climate. Although he looks well cared for I'm certain he's suffering miserably in the Subcontinental heat.


A magic bus belonging to a curiously named institution called the Dream School was parked in our neighborhood for a few days. Love, excellence, and wisdom are certainly worthy educational aspirations. I'm curious as to whether this is a Christian school because of the cross on the left. There aren't many Christian schools in Nepal. Their motto "Love + Excellence + Wisdom" is certainly better than my Christian school motto which was the rather anticipative, terse, and tenuous "God With Us."


And in the cool, cool, cool of the summer evenings, the ChaCha Convention convenes. ( a "chacha' is an old uncle.) They've relocated from the Tibetan refugee school's bus stop to the new sitting area at the crossroads of our neighborhood. In a few years that tiny peepal tree will shade those iron benches completely.


A studied game of chess is ongoing in the shade of the taxi stand next to the local cold store. A cold store basically has a refrigerator and or freezer so you can buy milk, yogurt, cold soda, and beer there. They also sell many other things ranging from eggs, matches, cigarettes, potato chips, candy, onions, potatoes, fresh bread, fresh Chinese noodles, ramen, hard liquor, soft liquor, drinking water, cooking oil, and chickens butchered upon demand.


The first gardening casualty of the season. I planted three simi (green beans) plants along this wall in April. They were growing beautifully and had entirely overed the triangular trellis and the spiky wrought iron decoration above the cinder block wall. I was picking a basketful of beans weekly. One evening at about midnight a swarm of 40-50 huge winged beetles came and devoured all the leaves of the upper part of the vines as you see in the photo on the left. I hurried out and sprayed my DIY peri peri hot sauce and garlic pest prevention gunk on the remaining leaves the next morning. The beetles must have thought my spray was seasoning as they came back the next night and ate ALL the leaves as you see in the photo on the left. What is weird is that the beetles did not touch any other plants in the garden!


I don't know about y'all but when the weather turns steamy and sultry I go to Rio! From classics like the Getz/Gilberto album and Piano de Bossa to Ultralounge's Cha-Cha de Amor and Bossa Novaville. Although I might not have a lovely view of Corcovado I do have quiet nights of quiet stars and an iMac with upgraded audio quality. The lyrical fusion of samba and jazz is what Bibi swings so cool and sways so gently to in the summertime. O que é felicidade meu amor!


This is the newest member of our family, Spotty. He is now nine months old and really full of himself. This is how he sleeps, on his back with his tongue sticking out. He is our first "indoor only" cat. But Spotty sees his older housemate Baacha Khan go outside and thinks he should go outside too. So one day last week he pushed the screen door open and took off. My husband and I chased him for two hours over walls and through the neighbors' yards. Baacha Khan tried to talk him into returning home. A stray cat smacked Spotty in the face (that is what the dot on the right side of his face is) and chased him even further away. Eventually, my husband and I gave up and hoped Spotty was smart enough to find his way home - we had our doubts. About 30  minutes later I received a call from the hospital down the street wanting to know if we had a black and white kitty. As I was putting my shoes on to walk over to the hospital I looked out into the yard and there was Spotty. He lazed in the shade for a bit then wandered in the front door behind Baacha Khan. I guess we underestimated our bratty baby.


And Ramadan is going on and on and on. It has been absolutely sweltering here ranging from 90F/32C to 95F/35C daily. The humidity is from 80-85% making it particularly muggy. Normal temperature for this time of year is around 85F/29C. Monsoon rains do not start until August. We only have air conditioning in the bedrooms and there have been brownouts daily due to the heat. Ugh! I have to cook for iftar starting at 4 pm. Other than that I avoid the kitchen because it is the hottest room in the house. One more week.....

Anything exciting going on your way?
What are your favorite albums to listen too when it gets miserably hot?
Calmly currying on,
Bibi

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