Monday, 12 September 2011

Baark! and Straybusters make a difference!!!

A day in the life of a straybuster

Baark! and Straybusters are a force to be reckoned with, these two organizations have teamed together to help address the stray and unwanted animal issue in Nassau. Together they are endeavoring to help end the unneeded suffering of our Bahamian animals due to the large numbers of homeless cats and dogs.

Recently I had the privilege to ride along with a straybusting team.  A team of two dedicated and caring women who spend a good deal of their spare time tackling the stray population of Nassau one animal at a time.  This team spares the streets of Nassau many unwanted litters through a spay and neuter program. Baark! is proud to partner with them.
The process of straybusting not a simple one, it involves dirt, sweat and lots of sardines. A humane trap is set and the animal is lured to the trap by the tantalizing smell of sardines.  Once inside, the trap closes and the straybusters move the dog and the trap to the waiting vehicle and then transported to the “waiting area” of the veterinarians office where they will be spayed or neutered. The next day the dogs are released back to the neighborhoods with instructions to the owners or caregiver so that if they have further concerns they can call for help.

Approaching the day that I have to admit I was nervous, I mean these girls were pros and I was really just an observer ready to help when needed but I had no idea how you approach random people and ask them if they want help with their animal or how to trap a dog that is untrusting of humans.

Our first stop of the day was a known area to the straybusters; they had just been to the area few days ago but were called to return to see to a dog whose stitches had come out prematurely. While we were there a dog was noticed that had previously eluded the traps of two days before, she did not have owners who would claim her but was relatively comfortable around the men who hung out on the property. The trap was once again set but this time the men who lived there helped out by placing the sardines in the trap, as our presence made the dog nervous.  What I was impressed with was the community cooperation; the men really did want to see the dogs in the neighborhood happier and healthier. All of a sudden we had gone from a team of three to a team of seven, all with the interest of the dogs in common.  We left with friendships formed, dogs in hand and the smell of sardines wafting not so gently through our clothes.

The next stop was a few blocks away in more of a residential area where there were owned dogs who were having many litters. This time, under direction from their parents to help it was the children who were assisting us in telling us where we might find certain dogs that needed to be spay or neutered. These children had wonderful questions to ask of us, what were we doing with the dogs?, when will they come back? How does that help? The floods of questions were answered patiently and kindly. The children were reassured that the dogs would be returned after they had a quick operation that would stop them from having more puppies. By the time we were finished capturing the dogs, the children in that neighborhood knew a great deal more about animal welfare and were even exciting to help support our cause by telling others. We left with more dogs (and a cat) and clothes sticking to our backs from sweat, all still smiling!

 The drama of that day was went a young, determined female dog decided to lodge herself under a shed to avoid our trap, this is where the dirt and sweat comes in to play.  The straybusters were on their stomachs in the dirt trying to coax this dog out, the dog was eventually captured and transported safely to the vet to be spayed the clothing of the straybusters however might not have made it through the laundry without stains. All for a good cause they both said as their faces shone with satisfaction.

One more thing I want to report. Once the dog is spayed or neutered they receive a purple collar which helps the straybusters determine which dog has already been done. The purple collar also helps raise awareness, kind a marketing ploy for the dog advocates. The purple collar says, Baark! and Straybusters have been here!  So next time you see a dog with a purple collar; please know Baark! in partnership with Straybusters has made a difference not only for that dog but for the dog’s whole neighborhood.

So what is needed from you? A generous donor had recently given Baark! enough funds to purchase a vehicle to assist in the spay and neuter endeavor.  Baark! needs funds to keep the vehicle gassed up and ready to roll.  We need donors to support the cost of the spaying and neutering process. We need alliances in neighborhoods, alliances that care for strays by providing food and water for them.  Alliances that can report abuse or neglect cases to us that can be investigated.  Foster homes are needed for the abused and neglected animals that are found, animals that without the love and care of a home would die thinking only knowing the ache of an empty stomach, the pain of an untreated injury or illness. Baark! and Straybusters need your help, however small or larger you can give, whether time or money, we need your help curb the population of unwanted and uncared for animals on the streets of Nassau.

 Want to help??  Follow this link to Baark!’s website