As a vet nurse in Melbourne, Australia, she had never previously volunteered to work in another country but says she had always wanted to.
“I saw this voluntary position advertised on the vet nurses’ Facebook page and made a snap decision.”
Whye works all week, but hopes to have a look around the island and go for a snorkel over the weekend. She will be here for three weeks before returning to her job in Melbourne.
She says the three weeks will be a great experience and adds, “it’s also interesting to work in an environment where you just have to learn to work with what you have.”
The surgery has recently moved from a van into a fully equipped room at Te Are Manu, which, when the programme is finished will be left for the animal clinic’s use.
Over 110 dogs have been desexed for free so far, in a pilot programme which aims to desex 800 dogs.
“We are well on target,” says SPCA country manager Tony Jamieson. “We are seeing about 10 dogs a day and people usually book in around two days prior, which has been working well.”
The campaign has been launched in the Cook Islands and is primarily funded by Dogs Trust UK and run by the SPCA in conjunction with Care Vets NZ and Te Are Manu.
Jamieson says the free programme has a number of benefits as desexed dogs are less inclined to fight, and there are fewer wandering around the roads.
When the programme is finished, anyone wanting to desex their dog will have to pay.
Jamieson says if dog owners are unsure whether they want to have their dogs desexed they are welcome to call in to Te Are Manu and have a look and a chat, before making their decision.
“But really we want people to get their dogs in as quickly as possible. We do have limited time and limited resources, so it is a case of ‘the first up, best dressed’.”
Care Vets founder Keith Houston says that according to a recent SPCA survey, there are 3,982 dogs on the island. Of those, about 2,500 have been desexed, leaving about 1,500.
“So if we can do 800, it will have a huge effect on the dog population.”
Points to note:
• Dogs should be over four months of age
• Pregnant dogs can undergo the treatment
• Nursing dogs should wait for about eight weeks after the birth of their pups
• Dogs should not be fed at all on the morning of their treatment
• Dogs should be dropped off from 8.30am and picked up the same afternoon.
Female dogs will need special care in the week following their operation, needing to be kept tied up in the shade with water, so they can heal safely.
The desexing service is strictly by appointment only – phone Tony Jamieson on 25097.