Getting Extreme

by Luke, in Peru
23rd October, 2009

Annie (one of the vets on the WVS team and worked for the charity last year) has stayed behind from the rest of the group to come with me and the film crew. There are apparently lots of animals lined up for us to treat in a community and I’m going to need an extra pair of hands. It’s great to work with Annie again and I’m glad of the back up it was looking like I would have been short of help with everyone else (including all the local team) having gone up river to run another neutering campaign.
The day started with a very sad case of a sweet little puppy that was badly jaundiced. We think it has leptospirosis (a horrible disease that we vaccinate against in the UK and spread by rats) and the prognosis is poor. We popped it on fluids and started a course of medicines so fingers crossed it pulls through. It won’t be in the programme as it arrived first thing and needed treatment immediately but we’re all rooting for it.

Then the adventure began; Molly’s shelter is outside Iquitos in the midst of the rainforest. A half hour boat ride down the Amazon took us to a cluster of huts and buildings and a yard comprising about twenty dogs. All the dogs were happy, healthy and in great form and clearly adore Molly as they leapt and cavorted about us. A few dogs we rescued from the meat market the other day were also there, trying to adapt to their new surroundings and receiving the appropriate treatments. It’s a very honest set up – the whole place almost got washed away last year in torrential rain so has been rebuilt in stages with more sturdy construction.

There wasn’t much for me to do from a veterinary sense, one dog had bad eyes which I had some medication for, but the shelter animals look great and it was more about filming an introduction to the programme than about surgeries. After a thorough look around, we headed back to Iquitos to check up on the hospitalized animals at the shelters city clinic, went on a reccie for a shoot later in the programme and then back to base.

Simon had it extremely tough today. He couldn’t bring his second pair of extreme shoes with him on the trip out – they wouldn’t fit in the bag. I think to be part of the extreme camera man club; you need to always be prepared by having two pairs of shoes with you for any extreme situation. Simon even has a ticket on his bag saying he is an extreme cameraman – prepared and poised to film anything extreme at extreme short notice. He is adapting to these extreme conditions – where we all go around with just one pair of shoes each day – extremely well. He also didn’t get lunch today – extremely hardcore. We’re all struggling to be anywhere near as extreme as Simon but we’re doing our best. Fingres crossed none of us slow him down.

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