Ofelia’s New Life

When our staff members were in Guatemala City last year, a call came in to our partner organization about a dog in distress.

That dog turned out to be Ofelia, a sweet but scared pup covered in matted fur. She hadn’t been cared for in a long time and she was frightened.

Our partner organization, AMA Guatemala, made sure Ofelia was healthy, and brought her to the groomer. The transformation was absolutely incredible.

But Ofelia’s journey didn’t stop with a new haircut. This lucky girl found a new home with an amazing family. She loves their big yard and playful kids. Just look at that smile!

They’ll live on in our hearts and memories

With tremendous sadness and a heavy heart, we must share that seven puppies in the Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide program recently contracted Parvovirus and passed away.  

Bucky, Kobane, Dexter, Sully, Barrett, Scout and Bandit will be missed tremendously. Each of these pups will forever be in our hearts and memories.

In developing countries, diseases like Distemper and Parvovirus are rampant. Here in North America, dogs are typically vaccinated as soon as they are old enough and pet parents often take precautions of keeping young pups away from public areas that could harbor these diseases. Unfortunately, conditions in the Middle East don’t lend themselves to these kinds of precautions.

Typically, SPCA International only accepts puppies to our Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide program that are old enough to be vaccinated, but we accepted several young pups into our care as soldiers quickly evacuated Syria. Many soldiers had been given just several hours’ notice and had no other options for their pets. In that time of urgency, we had a difficult decision: stick to our protocols and deny these puppies or accept them knowing the risk was still better than their chances if they were left behind.

You’ll likely remember Sergeant Virginia and her sweet pup Bucky. Orders had come down from base commanders to kill all dogs on base, so we quickly brought Bucky into our care. Another dog, named Kobani, was picked up from a soldier evacuating on short notice. We’re not sure where these pups contracted Parvovirus, but our team did everything they could to save them. 

All of these pups fought bravely, but there is no cure for Parvovirus[1]. They were quarantined and treated by the best local vet in Iraq. Our team provided intravenous fluids and antibiotics to support these pups’ immune systems, but in the end, their tiny bodies could no longer fight the disease. We take comfort in knowing they had the best treatment possible and were surrounded by kindness until the very end.

Everyone knew there was a health risk when we brought these young pups into our care, but it was a risk we had to take. Here at SPCA International, our hearts are heavy with grief for these dogs and the soldiers who loved them.

Even in her grief, one soldier reached out on behalf of her fellow soldiers to share this kind message in the wake of Dexter’s passing:  

“Thank you for doing everything you could. We all really appreciate it more than you know. I am so heartbroken right now but so thankful that you all loved him and made his last few days as easy as possible and filled with love. We are so grateful for the work you do and none of it goes unnoticed. We would like to stay in touch with you and help out with donations or whatever is needed to save other animals.” -U.S. Army Specialist Abigail Winters

Bucky, Kobane, Dexter, Sully, Barrett, Scout and Bandit will continue to inspire us to do our very best to prevent suffering and give more animals a chance to live a good life in this often cruel, senseless and challenging world. We are actively reviewing protocols to protect animals from this terrible disease in the future.

[1] No specific drug is available that will kill the virus in infected dogs, and treatment is intended to support the dog’s body systems until the dog’s immune system can fight off the viral infection…When a dog develops parvo it may die despite aggressive treatment. Learn more from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

SOS Galgos Celebrates 20 Years of Service

SPCA International has partnered with SOS Galgos in Spain since 2012. This amazing organization has saved hundreds of Spanish Greyhounds, known as Galgos, over the last 20 years.

The organization was founded in 2000 by Anna Clements and Albert Sordé. They realized that something needed to be done to save 700 Galgos that were living in terrible conditions after the closure of the Barcelona dog race track in 1999.

Since then, the pair has expanded SOS Galgos to include a network of volunteers, foster homes and concerned citizens. They provide educational presentations at local schools and actively work to change the laws surrounding the treatment of Galgos.

Unfortunately, Galgos are considered working dogs by the Spanish government. This means they are excluded from laws that protect other pets.

Each year an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 dogs are killed at the end of hunting season. That’s because it is easier and cheaper for hunters to buy a new dog than to feed and shelter a Galgo between seasons. Only the very best hunters are kept alive from one year to the next.

Most Galgos are kept in filthy and crowded underground spaces. Galgos are fed just enough to survive so they stay hungry for the hunt. They are used for just one or two seasons as hunters, then they are abandoned or killed. Even worse, many dogs are tortured to death by hanging, being buried alive and even being skinned alive. Many hunters believe that dogs who die slow and painful deaths will bring luck in the next year’s hunt.

SOS Galgos has now spent 20 years rescuing Galgos. They provide immediate medical care to treat dogs’ broken bodies and provide food to fill their starving bellies. Then they make sure dogs are trained and socialized by dedicated foster families. Hundreds of Galgos have found safe and loving forever homes thanks to SOS Galgos’ 20 years of dedication.

This year, SPCA International funding will help SOS Galgos co-sponsor a university project to develop a legal framework for the protection of Galgos in Spain.

You can help support the ban of this brutal practice by signing our petition today!

Feeding Stations for the Dogs of Chernobyl

The Dogs of Chernobyl were left abandoned for generations after the 1986 nuclear disaster. But that changed when SPCA International partner organization Clean Futures Fund stepped in 2017.

Hundreds of puppies were being born each year, but most of them died quickly from hunger, thirst, and predators. Since 2017, we have sterilized hundreds of dogs in the area and the birth rate has dropped significantly. Now, dogs are living healthier and longer.

In 2019, we learned that many of the workers who had been feeding the dogs on a daily basis would not be returning to the plant. So, since September 2019, Clean Futures Fund has been making daily rounds to distribute food to the 700+ dogs in the Nuclear Exclusion Zone.

Regular feeding locations are in areas where dogs congregate. The feeding stations are also in areas with humans. This means there are fewer predators threatening the safety of the dogs. For now, food is simply being distributed in small piles on the ground, but dogs are looking healthy.

Consistent feeding at known locations is helping the dogs build trust in humans. It gives Clean Futures Fund representatives the chance to treat injured dogs and monitor dogs that are pregnant.

In 2020, SPCA International and Clean Futures Fund have big plans to make the feeding stations even better. We are working with the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the Exclusion Zone Management Agency to install sturdy feeding troughs and solar-powered water stations that will keep water from freezing.

Saving Wildfire Victims

As you know there has been an overwhelming amount of heartbreak over the last month in Australia. But we are working with partners on the ground to rescue and rehabilitate any animals we can find in need of help. Hundreds of Joeys have been left orphaned — we believe their mothers fled for their lives and most likely perished in the bushfires. Many of the orphaned Joeys are found starving and dehydrated with badly burned paws.

Yet through the devastation, we are seeing hope. Rescues like Clover, in the video above, are helping us to stay positive. To see that we can make a difference even in the wake of such destruction, gives us hope. We want Clover to give you hope too and we want you to know that we are not done here. SPCA International will be unwavering in our support of the rescuers working tirelessly to save and care for animals like Clover.

Over 700 Animals Treated

Each year, SPCA International partners with under-resourced animal welfare groups in developing countries to put on spay and neuter clinics. One of our longstanding partners in this work is Spay Panama. This is an incredible group of volunteer veterinarians, technicians and local citizens that come together to offer sterilizations and veterinary care on a large scale. This December 14th and 15th, they held an event in Llano Bonito, Chitre, Panama where they treated over 700 animals, as shown in the photos below.

December 2019 Llano Bonito, Chitre, Panama – SPCA International partner organization, Spay Panama, treated 708 animals! All animals were spayed/neutered, dewormed, ears cleaned and treated for fleas.
Little puppy waking up from anesthesia after a quick spay. She has a long and healthy life to look forward to.
Caring volunteers include local animal advocates, veterinarians and veterinarians in training who donate their time. This volunteer is keeping a pup warm after treatment.
An owner holds his cat as she wakes up after her spay. Because cats can have multiple litters of kittens each year, this one spay can save hundreds or even thousands of kittens from being born.
Spay Panama has a well-designed system they use to organize sterilization and veterinary care events in communities across the country.
Professional veterinarians and veterinarians in training are joined by local volunteers that help organize the process and provide aftercare for the animals that have been treated.
Just another happy customer! Many families in Panama simply don’t have the financial resources to have their animals spayed or neutered. Events like this are essential for controlling the dog and cat population in low-income communities.
Wake up sleepy head! Your whole life awaits! This little pup is just one of many born in the last year. However, by sterilizing hundreds of animals in one area, the number of new births in the community will decline. This is essential for a healthy animal population.

Daisy’s Long Journey Home

Daisy is one of those special dogs that charms everyone she meets. She isn’t boisterous or attention seeking. She is, quite simply, sweet.

When SPCA International’s partner organization in the Middle East found Daisy, she was in terrible shape. She was lying in a ditch with a bloody stump where one of her feet should have been. It looked like someone had hacked off her paw with a sharp knife.

Daisy had mange and was so filthy that three veterinarians refused to even treat her. Finally, we found a kind and talented veterinarian who saw Daisy’s will to survive.

It was touch and go for a while. We didn’t know if Daisy would make it, but the SPCA International community stepped up in a big way to make sure her veterinary care was funded.

One member of our community, named Eileen, stepped up in an even bigger way. She offered to adopt Daisy. Eileen says, “Daisy took my heart from the moment I saw her picture. It was the look in her eyes.” 

After months of careful veterinary care, Daisy was finally ready to make the trip to the U.S.  Now, over a year after Daisy almost died in a ditch, she is finally home with Eileen.

Daisy is getting around well on three legs and takes a few walks every day with Eileen, her husband, and their Chihuahua, Tink. Eileen wasn’t sure how Tink would feel about a new dog in the house, but he immediately accepted Daisy. Tink and Daisy have no problem sharing their food and they act like they have been together all their lives. Daisy’s journey has been long, painful and difficult, but she is finally home with a family who will love and care for her for the rest of her days. Thank you to everyone who made Daisy’s journey home possible.

2019 Best Pet Gift Picks

Holiday lists can get long, but here at SPCA International, we’ve rounded up some great gift ideas for the animal lovers in your life.  Whether you’re looking for something practical or fun, we’ve got you covered. These gifts are SPCA International staff picked and approved.

During the cold winter months, snow, salt and ice can be hard on your furry friend’s feet. Thankfully Musher’s Secret forms a breathable barrier for your animal’s paws, keeping your pet’s feet protected from the elements!

BarkBox is a monthly surprise of dog toys, treats, and goodies! From super chewers to small pups there is a Barkbox for your canine companion. Use our code at checkout, BBX1SPCA, not only will your pup get spoiled by getting some goodies in the mail but BarkBox will donate $15 of your purchase to us!

You and your pet can look snazzy all year round with handmade bow ties! Ugly Yellow House creates standout bowties that easily attach to your pet’s collar so they can look fashionable year-round. They also have equally cool bowties and pocket squares so the humans in your life won’t feel left out.

Let your cat’s inner DJ come out with this creative gift. The DJ Cat Scratching Pad lets your cat scratch a record rather than your furniture. With a spinnable deck and poseable tonearm made from 100% recycled paper, this gift means hours of fun for your feline friend!

When giving holiday treats to family and friends, don’t forget your canine and feline pals. Polkadog Bakery makes all-natural and high-quality gourmet treats for cats and dogs. From festive holiday flavors to year-round favorites there is something for every cat and dog on your list!

Don’t forget the humans in your life! Author Chris Clews has released a sequel to his popular book, What ’80s Pop Culture Teaches Us About Today’s Workplace. In Book #2, you’ll find 10 more unforgettable ’80s movies and even more righteous business lessons to apply at work. Plus a totally radical foreword from ’80s silver screen sweetheart Diane Franklin. Plus Chris Clews will be donating a portion of the proceeds from book sales and speaking engagements to SPCA International!

Veterinary Supplies Save Lives in Romania

SPCA International is proud to provide veterinary supplies to partner organizations around the world. Dog Rescue Romania is one of these partners. They recently received a shipment from our Veterinary Supply Aid program and shared their thoughts and some pictures with us. 

Here’s what they had to say, “Our friends from America are always thinking about us. SPCA International sent us donations that are essential for our shelter. They sent us medical products that help us to save lives. Thank you, beautiful people! We send you lots of hugs!”

Every single SPCA International supporter should receive one of those hugs because this program would be impossible without our network of donors, supporters and sharers.

The shipment included thousands of dollars’ worth of medications and supplies. These supplies will help treat many sick and hurting animals.

Dog Rescue Romania is a small but mighty shelter that rescues some of Bucharest Romania’s most needy dogs and cats. They provide life-saving medical care to suffering animals. They also work to find loving forever homes for the animals they save.

Most Romanians take home less than $700 per month, so it is hard for them to afford veterinary medicine and supplies. That’s why donated veterinary supplies help animals receive the care they need before going home to adoptive families.

Our Veterinary Supply Aid program collects new veterinary supplies in North America and ships them overseas to developing countries like Romania. The cost of delivering these donated supplies is only a fraction of the actual value of each shipment. That means every donation to this program is multiplied! Shipping and customs clearance can get tricky, but shipping these supplies is worth it to save lives.