Saturday, 30 April 2011

A Fighting Chance: The Gift Of Fostering

 Young Danny was rescued from the pound in July 2010. He was scared, afraid and uncertain of what lay ahead. Medical tests performed at BHS revealed Danny had 10/10 for heartworm. Heartworm results like this usually result in having to euthanize the dog, but life it would appear had a different plan for Danny and it came in the form of a wonderful family who decided to give this beautiful dog a fighting chance at life.

Danny was in need of a quiet nurturing environment that would facilitate a higher effectiveness with this required medical treatment. Joanne Dods, Baark member and volunteer, decided to foster Danny and give him a fighting chance. The family environment and medical interventions were the effective pairing Danny needed to make a full recovery. Today, Danny is thriving in his forever home, thanks to the amazing love and care given by Joanne and her family. Joanne spoke well when she said “We do not
know Danny’s beginnings but we know he has the happiest of endings.”

Medical treatments are known to be more effective when the dog is living in a foster home rather than a shelter. Many of our dogs today need all the extra help they can get as they recover from the illness and abuse they have met on the street.
Fostering allows a dog to adapt to a family setting, to learn to live with and bond with
humans like only a dog can. Living in a home environment allows the dog’s personality to
develop, making the dog more adoptable and ready for his forever home.

Fostering a dog does not mean you have to keep them forever, but it does mean you will be able to see the beautiful transition of a dog moving from despair to hope, from illness to a picture of love, and from anxiety to trust. Joanne and Danny’s story is a beautiful and moving example of the power of love and the healing effect of fostering in the life of a dog. There are more stories waiting to be told, won’t you consider opening your heart to foster a dog and give them a fighting chance at a new life.

If you would like to make a difference and become a fosterer or would like more information, please contact us.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Baark! Spay Day Report 2011

Spay Day 2011
Baark joined the Humane Society International’s world wide Spay Day event on February 26th 2011 which encourages animal groups to implement spay and neuter programs. Since the problem of animal overpopulation is so huge in The Bahamas, Baark decided to go one step further and use the whole of month of February to offer FREE spay & neuters, raise awareness about the importance of sterilization and responsible pet ownership. We kicked off our fundraising efforts with a deliciously successful Valentines Bake Sale on February 5th. To get the word out about our free spay and neuters, we placed advertisements in the local papers and on radio, plus a perfectly placed banner on Shirley Street. On February 26th we walked around Bernard Road, an area known for its high population of stray dogs. We spoke to residents there and picked up some more animals that day. The public response to our campaign has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Our official numbers are:
224 TOTAL spays or neuters
179 were dogs and 45 were cats
201 in Nassau and 23 were done in Andros

We believe spay and neuter is the ONLY way to reduce the number of animals that are suffering, 
homeless or euthanized in the Bahamas.

Special Thank Yous
These amazing people dedicated their own time, resources and caring hearts to our important cause, without them Spay Day would not have been possible and we couldn't have made such a difference without them.

From Baark and all the suffering animals on our streets that do not have a
voice – We Thank You So Much!

All the Baark members and volunteers that came out, helped at and supported our events. Those who gave generous donations to help fund the surgeries.
•  The vets who performed all the spay and neuters; Dr Dorsett at Nassau Pet Clinic, Dr Sands at Central
Animal Hospital, Dr Johnson at Purrfect Pets, Dr Solomon at BHS, all their vet techs and clinic staff.
Our generous sponsors; Poop Deck Eagles, Purina, Micronet, Think Simple, ACL Shipping, Windermere, Island FM, 100 Jamz, Y98, more94, Adworks, The Sign Man, Graham Real Estate, Bahamas

Friday, 8 April 2011

Baark! representatives inspired by Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference.

I love learning! And Traveling! So what could be better than attending a conference in a place I have never been?

I had the honor of attending the Caribbean Animal Welfare Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico on April 3-5th 2011, hosted by Humane Society International. I was blessed to experience this conference alongside Kim Aranha, President of the BHS, and Lissa McCombe, Board Member of the BHS.  

As we arrived in Puerto Rico on Saturday evening, we had some time on Sunday morning to explore, so Lissa and I went on a zip lining adventure! 

The conference started with an afternoon registration on Sunday April 3rd and a cocktail reception to follow.  We introduced ourselves and started chit chatting to other attendees about what it is we each do in our little parts of the world.  As I imagined, we quickly confirmed that everyone deals with almost the exact same problems throughout the Caribbean.   I feel that the Bahamas is ahead of some countries as our the horse racing track was closed decades ago while many of the other islands deal with the suffering of horses related to the race horse industry. 

We were eager to get started on Monday, like little sponges ready to soak up new ideas. We were thrilled to experience an HSI conference that not only surpassed our expectations but left us inspired and even more passionate for animal welfare in the Bahamas. Monday and Tuesday were filled with top notch, knowledgeable and fantastic speakers.Some of the wonderful people we met were:

Alexandra Rothlisburger is the Program Manager of Latin America & Caribbean for the HSI  and is pictured to the left.

Dellia Holondenschi has implemented an incredible concept call the ‘Cat CafĂ© in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands  and we are inspired to find volunteers and supporters so that we can start implementing the program here to help cope with our feral cat population in Nassau.  We will be asking the support of local businesses and hotels. 

Marien Rodriquez from Save a Gato  gave us a tour of their project on Wednesday April 6th and we were so impressed with what this volunteer group has accomplished with the stray cats of San Juan.  (pictured right)  

Mike Arms, our most moving and empowering speaker of the conference, had those in attendance in tears twice when he spoke about the idea that “We are in the business of saving lives”. Mike took the time to build us up and told us that we we are not second class citizens because we care about animals. He reminded us that these animals will do anything for us, they are loyal and forgiving and loving, and in return it is our job to protect them.

On a proud  note, Dr. Mark Antonio Butler from the Ministry of Agriculture in The Bahamas was the only government official representative from any country in the Caribbean so we felt that was a great sign of forward thinking from our Ministry of Agriculture.

Listening to the speakers at the conference made me realize just how much more I have to learn, and that there is no end to learning because there are always new ways to see a situation.  The experience was invaluable and has allowed the three of us to come back with new ideas and new contacts in the animal welfare world that will benefit the welfare of Bahamian animals. The conference was concluded with a lovely dinner on Tuesday evening.  After just two days we had made friends with other attendees and shared great stories.  A new friend said to me, ‘It’s just so nice to be together with so many people that understand each others daily frustrations that we have to go through to help the animals.” I agreed.  Being involved with animal welfare is perhaps the most emotionally painful profession you can be in, but it is also the most rewarding and I truly believe that we can see the end to animal suffering in The Bahamas.    

Laura Kimble

p.s We hope to attend the ACES training program at some point very soon in California.

The kind man feeds his beast before sitting down to dinner.  ~Hebrew Proverb

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.  ~Will Durant

love came running

Our foster dog, "Bruno the brave" has been with us for two weeks now. When awake he spends about three quarters his time on our back porch the rest he has taken to wandering around our yard like a palace guard. He is really quite the charmer as he stands on guard or wanders around acting like he has been hired to guard our family.

Bruno still has some weakness in his back legs but just the other day he lifted his leg to pee, a great sign that he is regaining some strength! Another great thing to report is Bruno's hair growth, it is coming in well now and I think he knows he is looking handsome.

Yesterday Bruno made my heart swell. Bruno and my other two dogs were at the far fence of our yard. Snickers, my adopted potcake heard my back door open and came running up to see me, Bruno followed suit. Did you hear that? He ran to me. He was so excited to see me he ran. This was a dog who had a hard time sitting up about 10 days ago and he was running!
I knelt down and opened my arms as Bruno ran towards me and all I could think of was the phrase love came running! He enthusiastically welcomed my hug and affectionate pets. It was a moment of true gratitude and friendship.

I always thought I was the one giving love to Bruno as he was healing from his neglect and poor health, but yesterday Bruno was the one who showed me true love as love came running to greet me in an all out, unhindered way. Thanks Bruno, you are amazing.