Posts Tagged ‘spay/neuter’

“Humanitourism” in Greece

Greece has been, for a while, facing severe economic upheaval and so much that is beloved about the country is threatened by a collapse of the system. The fallout of any such shakeup is readily apparent in social circumstances, but the second and third-tier victims don’t make the nightly news. Greece has a pretty tough-to-see situation with stray animals on the streets and countryside. Dogs and cats, some of whom were pets, some feral, are subject to abuse and neglect, cruelty, abandonment, poisoning, starvation, and apathy. A volunteer vacation tour company, inside/out, has a program in Greece this month to come to the aid of dogs and cats, with work in the KAZ animal shelter outside Athens, and the public awareness campaign started last year in the mountain town of Ioannina. Participants work on shelter expansion and improvements as well as the local education programs about animal care, spay & neuter, feeding programs for homeless dogs, etc. After the volunteer portion of the “Humanitourism” excursion, eco-tour activities fill the rest of the trip, including sea kayaking, trekking, and river rafting.

Other upcoming inside/out Humanitourism adventure travel includes a sea turtle conservation trip on the Greek island of Zakynthos in June and Africa/Mt Kilimanjaro in August.  Projects vary by destination in conservation, education, building, animal welfare, and the environment.

Coalition to Unchain Dogs

Started in 2006 in North Carolina, the Coalition to Unchain Dogs is a pretty brilliant, grassroots, charitable organization run by volunteers dedicated to improving the welfare of dogs living outdoors on chains. They advocate for anti-tethering laws since it is well known that dogs suffer when they live their lives tied up. The US Department of Agriculture prohibits chaining as the primary means of confinement under the Animal Welfare Act. The American Veterinary Medical Association warns that chaining a dog can contribute to aggressive behavior. Over 100 state and local jurisdictions ban or severely restrict chaining dogs.

Not everybody who keeps their dog on a chain is a bad pet owner. Many simply cannot afford a fenced area on their property for their dog, so a chain is the only low-cost alternative they can think of. The really “WOW” work of  the Coalition is their volunteer efforts—they build free fences for people who can’t afford them, so they can give their dogs the liberty (and exercise and happiness) of being unchained. A team of volunteers comes, providing all the labor and all the supplies, to create a fenced dog run, often also building or supplying dog houses, and also providing free spay/neuter procedures for every dog they free…all at no cost to the dog owner. They have freed over 400 dogs this way and inspired similar volunteer groups around the country.

Sometimes the answer is so simple. Free fences. What a great project to get behind with your time, and with your financial support. Think of how much laughing you would do if you spent your weekend like this (see video below).

Dog Days

dogdaysWell we are definitely deep into the dog days of summer, and speaking of dog days, I missed it, but did you know that this past Saturday was INTERNATIONAL HOMELESS ANIMALS DAY? It is a day of reminding us about the tragedy of overcrowding at our animal shelters, pet overpopulation, and the incredible importance of responsible pet ownership–which absolutely must include spaying/neutering for non-breeding animals (and even then, you should consider very seriously whether your pet having offspring will make the world a better place, or add to some awfully tough circumstances). Learn more at the International Society for Animal Rights website.

It was also a great day for inside/out tour company to announce their new humanitourism tours focused on homeless animal projects. They will be running a June 2010 trip to Greece and a September 2010 trip to India for volunteer vacationers to work hands-on with animal welfare programs. The Greece program focuses on sterilization education, shelter work, and care of the homeless dog population. In Dharamsala, India, volunteers will help build kennels at the Himalayan region’s only  animal shelter as well as pitching in improving animal sanctuary spaces and spay/neuter programs. It’s not all work and no play, and in addition to your volunteering, there are adventure exploration activities built into your itinerary, so you can get a deep understanding of the environment, culture, and community where you are working.Sounds like a pretty dreamy combo to me.

Other upcoming inside/out Humanitourism adventure trips include Guatemala and Patagonia in early 2010 and a sea turtle conservation trip on the Greek island of Zakynthos in June 2010.