Relentless Dario

by Luke, in Grenada
18th April, 2009

Hot day, I kicked off with a quick cat castrate at the clinic and the crew did some GVs (general views) in town. We then got the stuff together and met up with Charlene who is one of the islands agricultural workers. Essentially she is one of the islands unofficial vets (there are two agricultural workers – Charlene and Princess who work under the direction of Mr Moses). They travel around the island treating sick animals as best they can. Under resourced but government funded, they treat what they can and make the best of the situations they’re presented with. Sadly, their lack of drugs leads to some welfare issues. A dog that was euthanased for attacking a sheep was killed with some Epsom salts I/V – a bad death, I’ve promised to leave Charlene with some lethobarb so at least they can make a clean job of things. it’s tricky because they aren’t a charity or non-profit organisation, they are a government funded programme that is poorly equipped and under staffed. I can’t change that and although not technically the right thing to do, I am going to give them some drugs because I simply can’t bear them euthanizing the animals like that. I’m working on trying to get them to stop operating and leave that to volunteer teams because none of them are vets and they are doing the job on virtually conscious animals with no pain relief. There are no laws to prohibit them doing this so it needs to be positive cooperative action and I think they‘ll actually be fairly relieved when the volunteer teams come to give them a hand with the huge workload they have on. I liked Charlene, although not having the drugs or the training, she clearly did care about the animals which is why she brought the issue up withy me. She was light hearted and also very keen to show us around and visit cases that her team and the GSPCA are struggling with.

The GSPCA isn’t geared up to help livestock – all the vets tend to be small animal, so it was a good opportunity for us to get stuck in. We visited a sheep that had been mauled by a dog, built a wallow for a pig with sunburn, saw a goat with a huge inguinal hernia, and I tried to sort out a kid (baby goat) with bilateral contracted tendons. Desperately sadly, I couldn’t fix it with a simple operation as there was some bony fusion and other genetic abnormalities that meant despite anaesthetising it and trying to cut the tendons, I had to put it to sleep. I was so disappointed about it and it was heartbreaking to see the Mother goat calling for her baby which I had just taken away and ended up euthanizing but if left, that little baby goat would have grown deformed, twisted and ended up with huge pressure sores on the sides of its legs. It was a kill or cure operation and just desperately disappointing that I couldn’t have had a better result.

We also met back up with Dario who had rescued another hawksbill turtle – he is a great guy, really enthusing about his protection of these critically endangered animals and a very likeable man. It’s a controversial thing to effectively buy the turtles off the fishermen but the bottom line is that although he will come under criticism for the way he is trying to protect these animals, at least he is actually doing something and making a stand.

There aren’t any other options available and I admire him for his courage and passion. Combining this work with the school education puppet shows that he runs around the island performing, I think Dario and Marina are together solely responsible for bringing awareness to the locals of the problem.

Adam got some great shots and Marc had a whirl with the underwater camera so fingers crossed it makes the cut.

Really hot day and we were all exhausted by the end of it, went for a quick swim to cool down and debrief on the events – we’re all on tender hooks for a night call to go and look at nesting turtles so fingers crossed it happens!

Very exciting news at home – spoke to Cords and Noah has started walking! Can’t wait to see him in action!

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