Dr Michael Baer is the main vet at Te Are Manu. Photo: Sian Solomon/22051332
Banjo Patterson, the man who wrote the words printed on the Australian $10 note, described his office job as “the round eternal”. It never ended, it never really started, and it was very difficult to see any progress, writes Dr Michael Baer.
programmes to reduce unwanted puppies and kittens from being born, neglected,
and dumped, sometimes feels the same.
example, on one Wednesday in August 2022 we desexed 21 dogs.
It was a
good effort, the team operated well, the animals were all well cared for and
the owners were involved and interested.
But on that
same Wednesday the SPCA were handed 22 puppies.
outcome for all that work was minus 1.
pointless. It seemed like the round
eternal was in fact a death spiral. It
seemed that there was no point.
sometimes it is hard to see the point of all that effort immediately.
sports teams, consistent small gains made over thousands of hours of training
eventually result in incredible, seemingly immediate success.
long as you aren’t a Wallabies fan. And
so it appears to be with our work.
start of the desexing clinics in July 2021, we had a serious dog problem in
unwanted dogs were everywhere.
moving overseas to seek employment during the tough times of Covid-19 left dogs
and cats to fend for themselves.
animals roamed the island, turning over rubbish bins and attacking
had more dogs than homes, and more puppies kept coming in.
changed. Hungry dogs still knock over
bins, and the SPCA still have more dogs than homes.
still come in. But the numbers are
less animals being abandoned.
fewer animals being attacked, fewer accidents on the roads from dogs, and our
nights are quieter because there are fewer dog fights.
getting easier. On the equivalent
Wednesday in August 2023 we desexed 10 dogs, and the SPCA had no new
puppies. Serious progress. We can let up at last. Or can we?
One pair of
dogs (or cats) can have a huge impact.
year they can produce two litters of puppies, say 16 new pups.
pups start breeding, and the numbers really ramp up.
down the track there are 500 odd extra dogs.
A few years
later there are 64,000. That is quite a
So, at this
point we have a choice. We can slack off
and enjoy our success.
Wallabies, that will result in years of failure, disappointment and questions
of where it all went wrong.
Or we can keep
grinding, working harder for seemingly less of a result.
Crusaders. Constant small gains add up
over a long period to give great results.
being a lifelong Wallabies fan, I prefer the Crusaders’ results (can’t bring
myself to say the All Blacks).
As do the
team I am lucky enough to rely on.
Wednesday TAM and the SPCA will be in Nikao, desexing all the dogs we can.