Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series about a grassroots volunteer project in Cuenca to create the most modern and sustainable animal shelter in Ecuador and address the country’s pain of abused, abandoned and neglected street dogs.
By Rosemary Rein
The great news for the country’s animal welfare problem is FAAN has a plan for the most modern and safe shelter in the country. This includes an onsite clinic, adoption area, more extensive and much improved roaming and sleeping areas for the dogs, an eco-tourism area for public education about animal welfare and the importance of spaying and neutering and even a gato casa for rescue and adoption of felines.
There is no doubt that the problem of homeless dogs, a problem throughout Latin America requires a multi-prong, strategic approach (Problem of Street Dogs in Latin America). While the problem won’t be solved overnight, FAAN’S gathering of expat and Ecuadorian volunteers are lending their expertise to the creation of a tiered strategy that begins with the land purchase for the central animal rescue center.
The shelter will be partially supported on an ongoing basis through services including eco-tourism, education and a public cemetery for animals. Volunteers who bring expertise in fundraising are also working on an evergreen development plan that will support ongoing shelter services and public education so that the entire community of Ecuadorians and expats feels ownership and pride in the project.
The Foundation has until early 2023 to realize its dream when FAAN’s temporary lease expires and the organization will need to relocate the shelter and the animals in its care. FAAN’s initial goal is to raise $65,000 for the purchase of 10 hectares of land (proposed in Tarqui). Thanks to work and partnership of animal loving, Cuencanos and expats, we can report that this dream is on its way to reality. It will take the passion and support of Ecuadorians and expats working together to make it happen. One of the first fundraisers was the sold out “Walking with Dogs” Adventure on September 17th. This event was designed to introduce the permanent shelter project to Cuenca’s expat volunteers while enjoying a day in nature walking the dogs in the scenic area of Tarqui.
In this first volunteer event, we saw the amazing talent and generosity in our community, particularly if you hold to the belief that animal lovers are some of the best people on earth. 25 committed volunteers had fun and met new friends while lending their time, talent and treasure to a project that will truly make a difference for abused, abandoned and neglected animals.
Our second event was “Breakfast with Dogs” on October 15th!
During this event at Kolo restaurant, we had both our VIP shelter dogs and a few lucky dogs of our volunteers in attendance with special, nutritious doggy treats made by our own expert animal nutritionist, Victoria Lynne.
Highlights included volunteers “Braindancing for the Dogs” to the songs, Birddog, Hound Dog and Who Let the Dogs out and creating more than 50 ideas to achieve the goal of raising the $65,000 for the land purchase.
For more information, to volunteer, adopt or contribute and become a Paws Circle Member, write Rosemary or Barry Rein, FAAN Volunteer Liaisons at email@example.com.