Unfortunately, due to COVID 19, we had to cancel our June and August 2020 trip.  We are currently planning a November 2020 trip for November 1st thru the 7th. We have not been since November 2019, we expect a high volume of animals in 2020/ 2021 trips. We are currently going over protocols to ensure everyone is safe. Our operatives generally take place outside, so we have the benefit of fresh air and not being in an enclosed space. We have kept in touch the locals in Samana and luckily they have not been hit hard with COVID, while some areas of the Dominican Republic have, Samana Province has had a total of 38 cases to date and 1 death. Our trip keeps us confined to the hotel (which will have just re-opened), our makeshift hospital, and our free day to explore will most likely consist of relaxing at the beach at the resort. We are in need of technicians and doctors to fill the team if we are able to go. November trip will greatly depend on the recommendations from the state, CDC and if we have a second wave, all team members will be encouraged to buy trip insurance. We are also putting together trips for 2021, June 6th thru the 12th, August Tentative for August 8th thru 14th 2021 and November 7th thru 13th 2021. If you are interested in joining one of our operatives please fill out an application on our website https://www.projectsamana.org/application/

 

For anyone that doesn’t know what Project Samana does, we are a group of veterinarians and technicians from all over the country that goes to the Dominican Republic to operate a makeshift spay/ neuter clinic for dogs, cats, and horses. We offer low-cost spays/ neuters for owned animals and free care for the many street dogs. We counsel owners on proper care and nutrition, we have helped make a difference in the lives and welfare of many animals on the Samana peninsula.  Over the years, we have seen a marked decrease in diseases like Rabies, Distemper, and TVTS as well as a decrease in the stray animal population.  The large animal team has spent years educating local farmers on equine husbandry, we have seen generally healthier horses and a transition from farming to tourist-centered horse industry. Horse owners are seeing a benefit a healthy horse has with tourist satisfaction, horses now have hoof care, proper nutrition, and de-worming but we still have a ways to go. We are fortunate in that the locals believe in our project, the local government has stopped ordering the mass poisoning of beach dogs. The trip was started and organized by two Massachusetts vets. We have grown to become an internationally recognized organization with vets and vet techs coming from all over the country.  The trip is important as we need to be a constant presence to remind owners and the younger generation (who like to come and watch us) their animals need to be treated with love, kindness, and medicine.  You get to have an experience of a lifetime while getting back to the true spirit of what it is to be a vet tech, stripped of fancy equipment (though we have some), no phone calls, curbside care or stressed out pet parents and the local animals get much needed top-quality veterinary care.  We also stay at a very nice all-inclusive resort and always feel welcomed but the locals.  Yes, there is a couple of downsides, we are outside for the operative usually under a roof at least for the small animal but no AC, sometimes no running water,  sometimes no electricity. The large animal team has to tangle with being anywhere in the countryside, outside, no shade, no running water, no electricity, driving from place to place, and many, many bugs.  All of the animals we work with, even the owned ones, are not used to being handled and can be difficult.  Finally, we have to pay our own way. Though, the MVTA does offer a grant. But I cannot stress this enough, it is an amazing eye-opening experience, I have yet to meet someone that absolutely hated the trip. If 2020 has you a bit nervous, please consider applying to join us for 2021!

Thank you!

Sarah Quigley CVT

Project Samana Board Member