Volunteers help dogs in Myanmar
Saturday, 13th April, 2019
By Emily McInerney
Emma Perry and Tarny Hoysted recently returned from a volunteer trip to Mandalay in Myanmar (Burma) where they helped hundreds of dogs in need.
Tarny, a qualified veterinary nurse, and Emma, an Animal Behaviour Assessor, took part in an initiative called “Go Pawesome”.
Tarny was part of team one which sterilised 285 female dogs in just six days and gave them other much-needed veterinary care.
Emma was in another team that helped spay and neuter another 282 dogs and cats.
Both groups helped a total of 570 animals, giving them routine surgery and treatment for parasites.
“We have both previously volunteered with the Go Pawesome on other projects, and had seen the Myanmar project advertised on their Facebook page and website,” Emma said.
Go Pawesome is an Australian veterinary volunteer organisation, run by vet nurse Sarah Wexler.
Their project was based at the Royal Heart Animal Shelter which houses about 500 animals.
“Our main goal was to spay and neuter all animals to control the population at the Shelter, though most animals required additional care for wounds, illness, infectious disease and parasitic infections,” said Emma who has worked in a few volunteer jobs.
“I find it very rewarding, though doing so in developing countries can be quite challenging and confronting.
“It can be a great reminder of how lucky we are to have a high standard of animal welfare and veterinary care in Australia.
“I think it is important to help improve these standards in countries which this isn’t the case through education on pet ownership and responsible practices.”
Tarny has also volunteered elsewhere.
“I have travelled to Thailand and the Philippines on recent projects for the same organisation,” she said.
“I found out about it on Facebook and then got into contact with Sarah, the lady who runs the programs.”
She said she was part of a team of five vets and several nurses.
“We conducted mostly desexing of dogs and some cats, and a lot of parasitic control and other surgery such as leg amputation, eye enucleation, stitch ups and wound cleaning.
“Medications were given such as antibiotics to help wound infections and certain diseases. These were done on animals that were left to the streets with no one to care for them.
“A shelter was set up where the local staff looked after and fed the street dogs in a large compound, keeping them off the streets and away from harm.
“This shelter is entirely run on donations and the good will by the local people.”
Tarny said she decided that volunteering would help build her skills as a nurse.
“It also gave me the opportunity to see what it was like to help in situations where there is not many options to get to a veterinary clinic.
She said she will go back and volunteer with Go Pawesome.
“I learnt to really appreciate the medicine and clinics we have available in Australia - and clean water.”
Emma said she will also continue.
“I am very likely to do more volunteering projects like this, though I am not sure whether that will be in Myanmar.
“Sarah has built a good relationship with the owner of Royal Heart Shelter and is hoping to work together on an outreach-type community project.
“I would be interested in helping out if this were to go ahead.
“Working in developing countries, I am always reminded of how much we take for granted.
“People tend to live in a simple manner and it is really interesting to see how little people need to survive.”