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Aitutaki’s cats will be purring

Monday October 05, 2015 Written by Published in Outer Islands
Dr Barry Nicholls and his wife Anna are long-serving volunteers at the Esther Honey Foundation, and will both be on Aitutaki this month to off er their services there. Dr Barry Nicholls and his wife Anna are long-serving volunteers at the Esther Honey Foundation, and will both be on Aitutaki this month to off er their services there.

The cats of Aitutaki will be getting some well-deserved attention next week with a special visit from Esther Honey volunteers.

 

The clinic in Nikao has several senior vets covering operations on Rarotonga, and they are excited to be able to provide veterinary services to Aitutaki.

Dr Barry Nicholls, an American veterinarian and long time board member of the Esther Honey Foundation will be leading the ‘Vet Trek’.

Nicholls and his wife Anna have a long standing relationship with the Foundation, spanning 20 years.

Nicholls says on Aitutaki they will treat pets as well as trapping, neutering and releasing any feral animals.

They will also hold two official clinic days a week from October 6 through to October 31.

Nicholls says the biggest need for veterinary services in Aitutaki  involves de-sexing of animals.

“We don’t usually see many parasite problems like fleas. But we’ll take everything over just in case.”

When de-sexing animals, Nicholls says they will also tip the ears of cats so it’s easy to see which animals are neutered and which aren’t.

On previous trips to Aitutaki, they have also gone to local schools to talk to students about biology, anatomy and animal welfare.

While on Aitutaki, the couple will also reunite with a kitten they rescued and re-homed on Valentine’s Day earlier this year.

Nicholls says he and his team were heading back to their guesthouse at night when they spotted a small black and white kitten scrambling across the road.

They stopped to catch her, and in honour of the day of love, they named her Valentina.

Valentina is now safe and sound in the hands of newly-crowned Miss Cook Islands Felicia George, and Nicholls says they are excited to reunite with the locally famous pair.

Nicholls says Esther Honey has more of an opportunity to make a real difference on Aitutaki.

“You can go to a lot of places and do a lot of things. But here, you can really make a difference in the small communities.”

Anna says caring for animals really benefits the people too, although sometimes they may not realise it.

“Animal welfare also makes for a cleaner, healthier environment and more appealing to tourists in general. It’s important to offer a quality of life all round.” 

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