The Canadian Animal Assistance Team were invited by the Turks and Caicos SPCA to assist them in the animal overpopulation and health issues on the Island of Grand Turk. After months of organization, fundraising and planning our team arrived on the Island to hold an Animal Health Care Clinic with veterinary services given free of charge to the owners. Our first day of the Clinic was a busy one. There were animals and their owners lined up outside the clinic and many being brought in by our local volunteers (for those who could not bring them in themselves). The team worked non-stop to provide services to as many as possible as quickly as possible.
One very nervous, stray female dog was brought in with her four young puppies It was obvious that she had had several litters in her young life. Trying to raise litter after litter and scavenge for food had taken its tole on her body, she was thin, covered in ticks and fleas, and had a very rough coat. Her puppies, apart from fleas and ticks, were in good shape thanks to their mother's sacrifices. We gently coaxed her and her puppies out of her kennel. She quickly realized we were there to help. A short time later, in our recovery area, she, along with her four puppies, had been spayed, vaccinated, dewormed and treated for fleas and ticks. The local SPCA was going to care for them all and find them homes. This young mother was going to have a much better life from that point on.
The Island dogs are generallly mixed breeds that the locals call "potcakes". The name comes from the congealed rice and pea mixture that residents traditionally fed the dogs. There are hundreds and hundreds of dogs and cats, roaming freely around the Island. It is also a very common sight to see the many free roaming donkeys and horses walking down the street and along the shoreline. Some are well cared for by their owners but many are struggling with disease and overpopulation issues.
The Canadian Animal Assistance Team holds fundraisers each year to raise the funds to purchase the equipment and medical and surgical supplies needed to be able to provide these services. The team members donated their time and expertise to the project and the local people of the Island assisted with providing a place to stay and meals for the team while they were working. However, without our generous Aeroplan donors the Animal Health Care Clinic would not have been possible. The Aeroplan Mileshelped to get the team members to the Island to be able to provide the services to the animals. The expense of travel is substantial and having the ability to subsidize the travel expenses through the Beyond Miles Aeroplan Charitable Account is critical.
We plan to return next year to help continue to reduce the population growth and the spread of disease. The animals of the Island need these services to improve their future welfare. The Aeroplan charitable pooling program is a vital part of our success on this Island project and for many of our projects, within Canada and internationally.