Adoption of Stray Dogs
Interview with Mohana Caesar & Romeo – “The reward is love.”
1. What animals do you care for?
At the moment, I’m fostering Romeo, a dog I found at the dump. I believe it was meant to be because I feed the strays at the dump area every Saturday; and on that day, I noticed a guy walking his dog and found it a bit odd. Knowing that a lot of people dump their pets on the dump, I followed him just to make sure the dog was okay. So I drove up to an area I usually never go to during my feeding round; and Romeo showed up out of nowhere. Romeo was skinny, hungry and thirsty and COVERED in ticks. He was very friendly and jumped in my car without any hesitation. It was as if he knew I would help him; he was waiting for this day to come. Now months later, he’s changed into a handsome, healthy fellow and he is ready for his forever home.
2. How long have you been a foster parent for stray animals?
I started fostering last year, right after Hurricane Gonzalo. I found a small, sick puppy. My boyfriend named him Basta; he was my first foster. Bonnie later came into my life; she brings a whole new meaning to the term Coconut Retriever (as strays are called here on SXM). After she climbed up a palm tree, I knew she was special. Basta and Bonnie both became part of my family and I can’t imagine my life without them anymore.
3. Describe your experience as a foster parent for stray animals.
Fostering is very rewarding. It gives those animals that are too young or are recovering from illness or surgery a wonderful start in life before moving on to suitable, lifelong homes! Of course, fostering comes with one big hazard that can also be one of its biggest rewards – you just might fall in love! “Foster failures” exist in the animal rescue world, and I know because I am one myself: Basta and Bonnie were supposed to be temporary foster dogs, but I soon realized I couldn’t imagine them belonging to anyone but me. I know that I can’t save them all, and even though my first two fosters were “foster failures” I still opened up my home for Romeo. Animal Defenders Sint Maarten and other foundations on the island work hard to help animals in need. However, if they don’t have a committed foster in place, it is very difficult for them to rescue dogs (or cats).
4. What benefits do you think people will gain from such an experience?
Fostering can truly be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have in your life. Fostering is about taking a deserving creature into your home during their greatest time of need; nursing them back to health; removing the pain of their past; loving, teaching and guiding them; and then sending them off to live the lives they deserve. Fostering is about giving a dog (or cat) the one thing they’ve never had – hope. And with the simple act of opening up your home to them, you are able to grant their one wish. You are able to make their dreams come true. You are able to save their life.
Animal Defenders visits St. Dominic Primary School
On the morning of Friday, September 18, St. Dominic Primary School pupils celebrated World Animal Day with a visit from Pete the rescue dog. Pete was amazed by the friendly teachers and all the lovely pupils. Pete was brought to the school by his caretaker, Mercedes of Animal Defenders Foundation. She showed some before- and after-pictures of rescued dogs and explained about what the volunteers of Animal Defenders do for the stray dogs and cats on St. Maarten.
The pupils learned what to do and what not to do; for instance, what to feed or not feed; how to lift/pick up a puppy/kitten and how not to lift them by their legs; how to approach and not frighten a dog. Some helpful tips were given on how to read their body language. Also mentioned was the importance of hygiene, grooming, trimming, nail clipping, spay/neuter and yearly visits to the vet for vaccinations.
The pupils really paid good attention and had lots of interesting questions. Pete had the time of his life with all those hands patting him on the back; he was kissed, hugged and carried to the car like a little, fluffy prince. We will check back in next week for a follow-up article about donated food and items for the stray animals so we can give them all a wonderful World Animal Day.
Animal Care Day – Oct 4.
Pet lovers in Belvedere and nearby areas are invited to bring your dogs and cats to Belvedere Community Centre from 2:00 until 5:00pm on Sunday, October 4. There will be free offers for your pets, like nail clipping and tick dipping. Remember to have your animals on a leash or in its carrying box/crate. Animal Defenders St. Maarten will have a number of vets on hand to give advice. Take this opportunity to have your animal seen to and – if necessary – be given medical treatment at a considerably reduced price.
For those districts not near to Belvedere, don’t worry; there will soon be an Animal Care Day near you.