Since stepping off a plane last week Thursday February 2, a team of veterinarians have had their hands full helping sick or injured dogs and cats, as well as helping to reduce the capital’s future dog population by spaying or neutering dogs.
The team from Aloha Affordable Veterinary Services in Hawaii partnered with the locally-based non-profit RMI Loves Animals and it’s been an eventful week. Majuro hasn’t seen a veterinary visit in over three years and the needs are large in the local animal population.
The vet team got right to work using the USP Campus’ conference room as a makeshift surgical and recovery ward. By Monday, they’d completed over 100 operations.
“The vet team are amazing,” said Prue Palmer, wife of Australian Ambassador Brek Batley and one of the local team that is supporting the vet team.
The visit to Bikendrik Island, on Majuro’s north shore, to perform surgeries last weekend might have been a high point for the visiting medical group. But that was before they returned to the downtown area Sunday evening to perform an impromptu operation for a dog literally at road side in Delap.
The group — which includes Dr. Kelly Dowdall-Garberson and vet technicians Kylie Hancock and Stephanie Dobbs — stopped to assess a dog on the side of the road, opposite Marshall Islands Resort. The friendly brown female dog they were looking at had had open neck wounds for four months.
After evaluating the dog’s situation, the team moved into operation mode in front of L2 store, with the owner’s consent. The operation was performed on the picnic table in front of the store at road side. During the operation, they discovered a rubber band had been wrapped around the dog’s neck, which they removed from deep inside the wound and stitched up the considerable wounds.
They also did a spay of the dog to help manage the dog population. Afterwards, the team spoke to the neighborhood children who had witnessed the unusual operation, and asked them to commit to treating animals with respect. L2 store’s Kathy Jitiam Chen was obviously delighted with the road side service for the family’s dog as she gave free banana shakes to the team after the surgery.
Animal surgeries continued — a leg amputation was performed Monday — along with the team visiting local schools to speak with students and teachers about care and treatment of animals. They visited Marshall Islands High School Tuesday and Delap Elementary School Wednesday.
The team is planning to return in April to continue work with the largely un-served animal population of Majuro. The RMI Loves Animals group is working with the Hawaii team to raise funds for the upcoming return visit as funds are needed to purchase medical supplies and medicines used for treating animals in the Marshall Islands.