These past two weeks have been a really important time for my project. I had a meeting with the vet I’m working with who also owns the shelter, in which he gave me a lot of great advice and guidance. One crucial thing that changed my perspective regarding how I wanted to approach my project was recommending I find an area to focus on rather than have animals be reported as they don’t really have the resources at the shelter to host many more dogs/ it would be very expensive for only a few animals making it not the best use of resources. We also talked about the difference between a good owner that genuinely doesn’t have the funds to take care of their pets and simply a bad owner. He shared with me some of his experiences which made me realize some people could take advantage of the help they receive. He pointed out things like people selling the food or toys we give them, for which he also recommended to give portions of food and not entire bags. Because of this we came to a conclusion that what would be best and would have the most impact is working with families or individuals on a regular basis that genuinely need help to sustain their animal. To do this I would as I said before find an area and then we would likely do a general checkup and vaccination, to then bring them back to their home. I would provide the family with food and then do checkups every few weeks to see the progress of the dog and make sure they are actually feeding/ taking care of the pet. This also gives me an opportunity to build a relationship with different people and help them gain more respect for their pet/change the narrative of the culture.
Despite this being my new main strategy I still want to be able to take strays in and provide them with hope for a better life. In the past weeks an alumni made us aware of 5 dogs close to our community that were strays. I’m collaborating with another student that is also working to combat this issue so that hopefully we can each take care of a few. I communicated this to the vet and got a list of what the expenses would be, and reaffirmation that they would give a 40% discount on the treatment. Therefore my next steps are to actually go try and find the dogs over the weekend, hopefully take them to the veterinary and then the shelter.
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