It has been another busy start to 2016 for the HSAM team! We returned in May from our most productive trip ever - helping 517 animals!
This edition's featured volunteer is Veterinary Surgeon Kirsteen Leake, who also acts as a trustee for the charity.
Community dogs have become a focus for us and we are delighted to be working closer than ever with the local people that look out for them. We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter and many thanks as always for your continued support. Please feel free to share this with your friends and help us spread the word!
May's dedicated team of 14 volunteers worked their socks off in the blazing heat to make this the most successful trip ever!
We now have Dr Adnan El Aji carrying out surgery for the whole of the two week period, with the assistance of the UK vets and nurses. This arrangement provides the added benefit of knowledge and experience being shared between professionals.
The statistics below give some indication of the hard work carried out by HSAM volunteers, and so we would like to thank the following; Claire, Kirst, Shaun, Rowena, Darrin, Sole, Keyly, Hannah, Deborah, Vic, Greg, Flo, Melissa and Jody.
A big part of our programme is to continue to help animals that we have previously treated.
We sterilised 'Asya' on 28/10/2013; she was the first dog that we caught and sterilised! This time we were able to help her again- her lower incisors were pointing inwards, as if she had caught them on something. We took this sweet girl to the surgery to be sedated and removed the incisors to prevent any further suffering.
On Sunday 15th May the team held an awareness day to highlight the dangers of traffic to the local street animal populaiton.
The event was prompted by the tragic news that 'Diane', an old favourite from Bab Marrakech had been hit by a car and killed. Diane was looked after by local people who worked in the area. They were delighted to see our leaflets and gave their support to our cause.
Dressed as cats and dogs the team braved the puzzled looks of passers-by to hand out 1000 leaflets. These were rapidly snapped up by the heaving crowds, families gathered to have their photo taken with the HSAM 'cats and dogs' and children were covered in 'I ♥ cats' stickers!
'This awareness day proved a great event with an important message;- we hope that vehicle users in Essaouira will take greater care on the streets in and around the Medina.' Daz - HSAM 'dog'
Helping Community Dogs!
Many dogs that we encounter are not pets and are not strays either; they fall somewhere in between, not having a 'home' as such but loved and looked out for by many local people.
'Rob', pictured right with volunteer Flo, was one such dog! A family in the Medina approached us asking us to help Rob as they knew we had helped so many other dogs in the area.
We will continued to help these dogs that otherwise would go untreated.
CEVA Animal Welfare Awards 2016!
Claire was a finalist for ‘Charity Professional of the Year’. She was one of just three picked from hundreds of entries!
Claire, joined by HSAM regulars Rob, Laura and Darrin had a fun night celebrating all that’s great about animal welfare. Many thanks to CEVA for a fabulous night and for taking the time to support animal charities around the world.
RIP Wonky-Eye Ginger
We are saddened to announce the passing of Wonky-Eye Ginger.
In 2014 HSAM volunteer Lieve collected him for sterilisation. Since then he had received ongoing treatment and became a focus of the team.
It's always sad to lose an animal that we have come to know but we gave him the best chance and a more comfortable life.
Kirsteen Leake, Veterinary Surgeon
Volunteered for HSAM since 2011 and is now a trustee of the charity.
Kirsteen has devoted most of her life to animal welfare and trained as a vet specifically to make a difference in the world of animal welfare.
HSAM if lucky to have such a dedicated member of the team.
1. When did you first get involved and why? I first went on a trip in November 2011. I have known Claire Sedgwick for many years since we both worked at Freshfield Animal Rescue Centre, in Liverpool. I began volunteering once qualified as a veterinary surgeon as I’d always wanted to become involved. I think it is a well-run, hands-on charity, doing very important work.
2. What changes have you seen over the years?
The changes seen over the years have been extremely rewarding. The number of sick and dying kittens has dramatically reduced, the neutered adult cats are friendly and look amazingly healthy. The charity can't take all the credit as the locals love the cats and look after them, keeping them well fed and watered. This can be partly attributed to the work of the charity as an important component is education, there was some distrust at first especially with neutering but seeing the health benefits, most locals are now 100% supportive; often seeking us out to treat both medically and surgically.
The charity has also started a scheme to neuter, microchip and vaccinate dogs against rabies. The main aim of this is rabies eradication by creating a stable population; this has been more challenging than the feline program, for a country living with rabies day to day- stray dogs are a huge concern.
3. What is you role and what does it involve?
I'm a trustee so we have regular meetings to discuss our work and future direction. I'm also a vet, so I’m involved in the surgical side of the trip; primarily neutering cats but there's always some other operations thrown in to keep us on our toes.
4. Tell us something about your background?
I became involved in animal rescue when I was 19. I worked at various animal sanctuaries around the UK with a wide range of species. I was the manager of a rescue centre in Wales for 6 1/2 years and became increasingly frustrated with people using us as a convenient dumping ground for their pets and came to realise neutering and education is the only answer to the unwanted animal population. I also felt my lack of knowledge was a limiting factor so I decided to go back to college to take A levels and then went on to veterinary school. Over the years I have personally taken on over 80 rescued animals.
‘The charity also demonstrates a well organised model which could be adopted in other areas.’
5. How do you feel your work is making a difference?
I feel the work of the charity is making a huge difference in Essaouira by creating a healthy street animal population, which in turn helps the locals by providing veterinary care which otherwise would be unaffordable.
The charity also demonstrates a well organised model which could be adopted in other areas. We have worked closely with the government every step of the way, adapting to different laws and customs to the ones seen at home.
I look forward to participating in many more trips and seeing the work continue to progress.
We need to purchase 20 of these cages for our next trip. Can you help?
Each cage costs £22.74
These cages are used to safely transport the cats to and from the surgery.
If you would like to buy one please click on the link below.
We would firstly like to thank the local people of Essaouira for their
acceptance of our project
Our work would not be possible with the valued support of the following:
Adil Jaohan - Arabic translations
Dechra Veterinary Products- Liz
Dr Adnan El Aji - HSAM Veterinary Surgeon
Brigitte de Jabrun - accommodation for volunteers
Marcia Rhodes for her ongoing support
Norbrook Veterinary Supplies
Scarsdale Veterinary Group - 'Tour de Scarsdale' fundraiser
St Francis Veterinary Clinic, Brighton
Veronique Duran - French translations
Valerie and Gerard at Refuge GEO
We would also like to thank our supporters who made donations and purchased supplies from our Amazon Wish List. Your support and generosity is hugely appreciated; we could not have done this without you!