July - December 2008
Tenth Anniversary celebrations
GambiCatscelebrated its 10th birthday in style in November. Nine supporters from the UK joined us for a welcome dinner, visits and the party. Trips to see the clinic at Abuko where we worked in January this year; the cats and dogs at Denton Bridge; Banjul; Kombo cat cafe and Dr Ceesay's veterinary clinic all helped to give everyone a better idea of day-to-day work. Supporters were also able to meet Dodou again, the two assistants Alajie and Omar, as well as Dr Ceesay and his assistants and staff at the Department of Livestock Services.
The evening of the party (which was personally funded by
Trustees) started with a series of events typical of our work – one hour before
the party was due to start 2 supporters rang to report an injured dog near the
Senegambia Hotel. Dodou was contacted but our faithful Pajero was having its
lights repaired ready for the evening and could not come. We rang Dr Ceesay who
was in the shower getting ready to come to the party!
‘No problem’ – Dr Ceesay drove over, took the dog to his clinic, and came on to the party!
Thanks to Julie, our buffet at Luigi's Restaurant was a great success. More than 40 people attended including our UK supporters, Dr Daffe&staff from the Department of Livestock Services; Musa Dem, Ousainou Seneghore and Mr Martin from the Gambia Tourism Authority; vets Dr Ceesay and Dr Joof; Bijou Peters and reporters from The Observer and Foryaa, Rob and Yvonne Schell and the AWAG Committee, as well as many friends.
A Certificate of Appreciation and a watch were presented to Dodou for his contribution since 1998, and also to Alajie for his since 1999. The grand finale came when Julie presented GambiCats with a splendid iced cake, made by herself and complete with icing sugar dog and cat figures, as a thank you.
This 8-week-old puppy was found abandoned in the road near the Palma Rima. Both ears had been crudely cut back revealing large numbers of ticks and mango worms. We presume this was done in the mistaken belief that it is easier to keep the ears clean after cutting them. Luckily she was spotted by Julie and brought back for a lot of TLC at Luigi's. She was named Gemma and has a lovely, trusting personality despite this cruel treatment and it's hoped a good home can be found for her. We mentioned this incident to the two reporters who attended the party and hope that some form of animal care advice notes may be able to be included in these newspapers. It would also be valuable if the local radio and television could carry information slots – we will be working on this too!
PLEASE KEEP YOUR SUPPORT COMING IN! INCREASED COSTS AND THE DALASI EXCHANGE RATE ARE MAKING IT VERY DIFFICULT TO FUND THE VETERINARY WORK. THE PAJERO ALSO NEEDS SOME WELDING & OTHER REPAIRS AFTER THE DEMANDS OF THE RAINY SEASON. MORE VISITORS ARE CONTACTING US ABOUT NEEDY CATS AND DOGS – BUT WE NEED EXTRA FUNDS TO CONTINUE THE PROGRAMME.
NINTH NEUTERING PROGRAMME SET FOR FEBRUARY 2009
Dutch vet Rob Schell has generously volunteered to come again in February to run another neutering clinic, this time with his son Niels as assistant. Suitable sites are being visited with the hope that one near the beach can be found which will enable beach dogs to be targeted again for part of the visit.
DR CEESAY EXTENDING HIS VETERINARY PRACTICE
GambiCats’main vet is extending both his space and facilities at his clinic in Kanifing. There will be more room for consultations and operations and the Habib Veterinary Surgery will be adding a laboratory so that more analysis can be carried out to improve services. We have a list of required equipment, glassware and reagents and will be working to get items donated so that the facility can start work as soon as possible. It is very encouraging to see this initiative which will result in improved diagnosis and treatment.
SHERATON HOTEL JOINS GambiCats
The newly-opened Sheraton Hotel at Brufut askedGambiCats for help with its cat colony in the summer and around 12 cats have been neutered so far.
GRAVE STORY – HOW MYTHS ARE BORN !
On the visit to Abuko in November, one of our supporters wanted to find the place, where a sick dog she had rescued in 2006, had been buried. The dog had to be put to sleep and staff at Abuko buried it together with a name given by Christine written on a luggage label – ‘Brownie’. The staff remembered the occasion & how a small cross was also made to mark the spot. They then told us about the events following the burial. Animal burials are not usually marked and the rumour got about that a human body had been buried! A few days later they had to dig up the body to prove it was indeed a dog! It was then buried for a second time...
TWO MORE ORPHANS
This kitten was found wandering in the road and was also taken into care and named Oscar. The tabby had found her way to a local restaurant and was ear-tipped proving her to be a true GambiCat! We think she was a refugee from the Palma Rima hotel, and has since been adopted by a supporter.
US PEACE CORPS WORKERS HELPING STRAY DOGS
We were contacted by staff of the Peace Corps who have already been doing good work neutering stray dogs. This is a personal initiative – not an official programme! However, we hope to work together and extend the number of animals being helped.
Dodou has been monitoring his blood sugar levels and keeping to a strict diet – no more ice cream! So far this has been very successful and he continues to work 24/7 despite the diabetes. Sadly, his mother died in July.
WELCOME TO OMAR JALLOW
We lost one assistant after a few months work, but welcome Omar as a new recruit. Omar has had experience of work at Abuko and is proving a fast learner working with trapping and feeding in the hotels.
ALICE NOAKES TRUST GRANT
We are very pleased to report that the Alice Noakes Trust has again made a grant of £500 available to GambiCats to help with the feeding programme.
BURNS PETFOOD DONATION
Burns Petfoods also responded again with a donation of 50kg of cat and dog food in the summer and a further donation as a 10th birthday present. This has helped with the increase in feeding needed this summer.
ANIMAL MEDICAL CARE FOUNDATION
We were contacted by this very helpful organisation for the first time this year. They are based in France and help many charities all over the world with veterinary materials.GambiCats has already benefited from a donation and we hope to receive further material for the February clinic and other projects.
GambiCats’ baseball caps
If you would like to show your support for GambiCats, we now have baseball caps with our logo for sale in red, navy, dark green, and blue £10 (incl p&p). Please send cheque payable to GambiCats and stating colour to address on back page.