Saturday, April 30, 2011

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Tonga, Round II

On the eve of our 2nd month long trip to The Kingdom of Tonga I thought I would quickly write an update on whats going on.

Aside from the hours of work that has gone on voluntarily arranging our clinics on Niue, Tonga and Vava'u here in NZ, there are lots of people also busy on these islands helping co-ordinator logistics, arranging accommodation for our volunteers, dealing with media enquiries and fundraising - all to help animals. Its inspiring and SPAW is really proud to be associated with so many wonderful individuals who selflessly give up their free time and invest both financially and emotionally to this cause.

Our upcoming Tonga trip includes a week long visit to Vava'u and we are really excited about this aspect of our work - being able to send vets to very remote islands to deliver veterinary care that otherwise wouldnt happen. We are also proud to be assisting with the export of our first two "travelling" canines. One who is leaving Ha'apai for Whangarei in NZ and the other who is leaving Tongatapu for the sunny shores of Australia. What an honour it is to be able to help these expat families who have fallen in love with these local dogs, given them a loving home and are investing the money and time it requires to bring their canine family members back to their home countries with them.

One of these dogs Skupors is currently waiting on Vava'u for our vet team to arrive with his mum Jane. Jane is today driving from Whangarei, to make the flight back to Tongatapu, then up to Vava'u to be with Skupors until his export date in about 3 weeks. This is dedication and as you can see by the pictures, Skupors is one lucky canine. I think though, that Jane and her family feel like they are the lucky ones having Skupors in their lives.

It reminds me of when I was in the Cook Islands and helped 5 families export dogs home to New Zealand - I loved taking those dogs to the airport, bundling them up in the cages and waving goodbuy as they made their way onto the tarmack. Nervous as they all were, I new that feeling would be short lived once they settled into their new home.

Good luck to our team as they embark on an exciting journey to The Kingdom of Tonga. Im going to thank each personally, they deserve it, having paid their own flights, will fund themselves in full for their time on island and have given up their annual leave - all to help island animals and experience working on a tropical island in the pacific ocean.

Tongatapu Clinic: 4th to 28th May
Vava'u Clinic: 4th to 11th May

Dr. Alex Elson, Dr. Amy Douding, Dr. Kim Vickerman, Dr. Geoff Malcolm, Dr. Julie Brown, Dr. Laura Nettleton, Vet Nurse Luella Osborne and Vet Student Mallori Kaminski.

Also a special thanks to Jo and Vini Kupu, for their dedicated support and co-ordination on island.

Welcome to our awesome journey ....

Pictured is Skupors.