Saturday, September 16, 2017

There will always be hurricanes

This was my third trip this year to the Cuban Consulate in Toronto.
The Spanky Project Team are issued D1 Cooperation Visas.
We do not ender Cuba with Tourist Visas.
Therefore the need for a 500km round trip and an early start.
It was a sad visit this time.
Consul Susana Malmierca will be returning to Cuba.
I would like to say here Susana has been a joy to work and very supportive of our work.
With the visa in hand it was time to head to Yonge Street Animal Hospital...
... where Spanky Project's Medical Director Dr.Michael Belovich was waiting.
Once our hurricane relief fundraiser was up and running we set a budget for out first delivery.
Dr.B placed the order and I picked up while in Toronto.
 A big thank you to those who have donated to the relief mission.
Someone by the name of Anonymous has donated twice.
We thank you so.. so. very.. much!!!
Once home it was time to start packing and preparing the paperwork required on the Cuban end.

Antibiotic, pain relief, needles, syringes, shampoo, dewormer and heart worm prevention
were all on our list.
The bags are package and the paperwork done.
Now I need to go to the "secondhand" store and buy a carry on bag. 
Not much room left for scrubs and a change of clothes.
Our new initiative
Cuban Veterinary Disaster Relief, Recovery and Support Program
has been given the go ahead by the Oficina del Historiador in Havana.
"There will always be hurricanes we should be prepared"

Truly a good days for Cubans helping their animals.

To be prepared we need you to show some love and ..

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Some areas of Cuba have been devastated by 
Hurricane Irma.
The north shore, mid country, has taken the brunt.

Many of the supplies we have on hand can be used in medical relief but we may need to purchase other supplies depending on reports from our team members living in Cuba. Spanky Project and Spanky Project USA are consulting with their Veterinary Medical Directors to prepare a list of "Rapid Response" veterinary needs. Irma has brought into full focus that we need to further develop a program for future disasters in Cuba.
Cuban Disaster -Veterinary Relief, Recovery and Support Program.

Stay tuned for more details.

You can begin giving now!!!
The need is great.

For Canadians a tax receipt will be issued for online donations at
and for cheques mailed to...
Spanky Project
Box 63136
Picton ON  K0K 2T0
We ask that donations from around the globe use the above information.
For those in the USA a tax receipt will be issued for online donations to
or for checks mailed to

Spanky Project USA
2823 Colorado St
Long Beach, CA 90814
We are hoping Quinta de los Molinos has not been hard hit.

It is home to our mass sterilization Campañas.
In the model below you see our location is surrounded by trees.
We are due to begin our next week long Campana there on October 1.

With power out our communication with our Cuban Team is limited to cellphone/texting.
This eats up our budget.
Cellphone top ups can be done easily with many providers like Ding.
There is a wide range of amounts available.
If you can help this way please use the email link below to contact me.
I will provide wit the number for one of our Cuban cells.

 Let's stand in solidarity with Cubans helping their animals.

Friday, September 1, 2017

O Canada! Help Cubans Help Their Animals

You can now donate to the Spanky Project through CanadaHelps
Whether you would like to give once, give monthly, donate a security or mutual fund, CanadaHelps is your online connection to the 
Spanky Project.
You can even give in tribute or memory.
You will receive a charitable tax receipt.

It's quick and easy.
 Donate by credit card or with PayPal.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Our Paw Prints Are All Over This

Early June found us back in Havana.
But not for a campaña.
This was something very special.
Something historic!
The Spanky Project, a Canadian Not For Profit, is the first international group to enter into a collective agreement with the Oficina del Historiador de la Ciudad de La Habana(OHCH), for the benefit of animal welfare and humane population control.

This Convenio de Colaboración is an agreement between OHCH, Sociedad Civil Patrimonio, Comunidad y Medio Ambiente (SCPCMA) and the Spanky Project.
This document acknowledges our individual interests and how these can be brought together for the benefit of animals, people and the communities in which they live.
Martha O. Pérez Cortés - Terry Shewchuk - Perla Rosa Rosales Aguirreurreta
                                      SCPCMA                           Spanky Project                 OHCH

Here is an outline of each party
OHCH develops actions aimed at the historical-cultural, environmental and community rehabilitation of the province of Havana especially in its Historical Center and is supported by several planning documents.  In these documents the problem of the inadequate management of the domestic and wild fauna and their impact on the environmental health in their territory is acknowledged.

SCPCMA is a Cuban non-profit that coordinates and executes international cooperation projects and manages donations aimed at developing socio-cultural work in the Historical Center and supporting the OHCH's planning and management mechanisms.

The Spanky Project is a Canadian initiative that has among its objectives the development of international cooperation programs and that among its activities are the promotion of animal welfare and humane control of the animal population through sterilization. Also the continuing education of veterinary professionals on the welfare of animals.
The Spanky Project Organization shows total willingness to extend its collaboration regarding the management, control and care of domestic and street animals and other fields of collaboration that are necessary to support the Program for Management and Control of Urban Animals proposed by the SCPCMA.

The signing of this agreement leads to increased collaborations like the Program for Management and Control of Urban Animals 
The Spanky Project has had a very big role in the development of this program and in ensuring that the humane treatment and welfare of Cuba's animals is first and foremost.

Through our collaborations we bring a "world" of experience to Cuba.
With this Convenio our reach is only limited by the funding we receive.
You can help us extend our reach.
Look to the sidebar for donation links

It was such a honour to be surrounded by long time Spanky Project team members 
and our fabulous Cuban partners.
Also, a pleasure to invite to this momentous occasion a new team member. 
At this time we are pleased to announce a new addition to our Spanky Project team.
Please welcome Dr. Zeynep Guleryuzlu
Zeynep is a former Research Assistant in the Department of Surgery at
Ankara University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
She is from Ankara, Turkey.

Zeynep brings great passion and a wealth of knowledge and experience to our work in Cuba.
We are grateful she has joined us on this path.

We began in 2003.
It has been a long and often bumpy road.
We have been blessed with wonderful people joining us on the journey.

If you want to go fast... go alone.
If you want to go far ... go together.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Let's Give Them Something To Talk About!

When you hear about people talking behind your back.......

Sometimes you find out that people have been talking about you behind your back and it's been going on for a while.  It's only natural to wonder how these rumors got started or who said what.

We only recently found out about someone who was doing some sleuthing on the Spanky Project.  Turns out that Shelly Haines was planning a trip to Cuba with her friend Kim Lue.  Shelly is one of us - a lover of animals - and began researching the situation of homeless animals in Cuba.  One of her first contacts was to Cuba Libro, a book store in Havana, who mentioned the Spanky Project. 

Staff from the bookstore volunteered with us during our World Spay Day 2017 Campaña.
 Liz and Alberto working registration
 From there, the accolades kept coming in - from locals to Humane Society International.  Even her local vet in Austin TX had heard about our work.
Shelly was drawn to the Spanky Project because she understands that the solution to the stray situation in Cuba, or anywhere for that matter, is to get to the root of the problem by reducing the number of homeless animals via humane population control.  This is the driving force of our work at the Spanky Project.
Shelly is headed to Cuba in July and has created a blog so that her friends and family can follow along.  She's also sharing information and doing creative fundraising on our behalf.  

She has posted a list of needed supplies that we provided.... and ended up with questions like "why do they need duct tape and Sharpies?", "what's with the ziploc bags?" and "why do you want so many collars?".  Turns out the answers aren't as obvious as they are to ongoing Spanky Project volunteers.

Check out her wonderful blog here:

Oh and have you heard anyone talking about SPANKY PROJECT USA
The big announcement has not been made yet ... can you keep a secret?
In the USA, our 501(c)3 status is in place... you are only a click away from helping Cubans help their animals.

Friday, May 12, 2017

And so it began.

Each of our mornings began with a short walk up the Prado to meet our 
'57 Ford Fairlane
We had a great driver.
A sure ride in the morning.
At the end of our day a phone call would have him waiting for us at our designated time.
If you are looking for a reliable driver drop me a line.
How about this for a walk from the street to our "clinic"?
The first morning of our campañas is always a thrill.
To think of our humble beginnings is 2003 and how far we have come.
While giving my greetings to the team on our first morning I came
up with a Rock 'n Roll analogy.
"In 2003 the Spanky Project started as a garage band ... now we are playing arenas".
Yes in our early days we did hold our spay/neuter clinics on kitchen tables and in garages.
Now, thanks to the Oficina del Historiador we have a permanent home for our campañas.
The beautiful Quinta de los Molinos is our "clinic"
We had the great honour of having three veterinary professors  from the 
 Universidad Autónoma de México join us for our World Spay Day 2017 week.
Thanks to the Consejo Cientifico Veterinario de Cuba we we introduce to...
 Dra.Leslie Santiago Sánchez, Dra.Norma  Solis Alanis and Dr Eduardo Tellez Reyes-Retana 
We are so please to share with you this news!
Dra.Leslie will join us again in 2018
A big thank you goes out husband and wife team Drs. Nana & Leyssan.
They, in addition to their respective jobs, work tirelessly to coordinate our campañas.
On our opening day our first patient was a French Bulldog whose caregiver is 
a Canadian working in Cuba.
Dr.Travers did the clinical exam and followed up with the surgery.
Each campaña finds us with a special case or two.
Stella was a special case. The short nosed shape of the French bulldog was a cause for concern to Cuban Vets when considering Stella for sterilization. Her caregiver was waiting for the clinic she attended to get gas for their anaesthesia machine. He consulted with us. We said we would insert and airway and do the surgery with our injectable anaesthetic protocol.

Stella came procedure went without issue and went straight into recovery...
... where each patient is given the upmost of care and attention.
Note the hot water bottles on Stella to bring up her body temperature.
Anaesthesia decreases the bodies ability to regulate it's temperature.
Sometimes a little warming is needed.
 After recover it is time for discharge. 
Dr.Travers gives post op/recovery instructions to Stella's people.
 A big thank you to Bryant, Stella's caregiver.
He left us a very nice donation which covered the entire team's lunches for the entire campaña.
Join Bryant in supporting our work in Cuba.
"Help Cubans Help Their Animals"
Donating is made easy at 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On The Ground.

On February 25, 2017 the Spanky Project arrived back in Havana.
World Spay Day 2017 Week
This is, now, an annual event we in inaugurated in 2016.
Interestingly enough after check-in and before security in Toronto 
we were welcomed to Cuba.
What a great feeling to reach the Cuban coastline. 
Havana truly feels like home.
After securing our Cooperation Visas, waiting for us at the airport ... was off to Aduana/Customs.
They were aware of our arrival and cleared us quickly.
Above is a small sample of what we were hauling.

We have a GoFundMe appeal going to help pay for the supplies that have now been positioned in Havana for 2017

After the formalities it was off to Habana Vieja and The Prado.
What a joy to have this bit of down time to take in the Artisans on The Prado.
This is a Saturday tradition and one you should take in if you visit.
The first order of business, for me, was to meet with Claudia- Spanky Project Program Manager.
She is heading up a pilot project in Havana Vieja.
It is called Proyecto Plazas and you will hear more about it very soon.
Then off to HQ!
Well actually Terracotta 4. The workshop / studio of Amelia and Angel.
This is our home in Habana Vieja.
Amelia and Angel tend a colony in a park across from their studio. 
Here, Claudia and Amelia tend to a kitten that was dumped in the park.
Amelia and Angel do great work supporting other colony keepers.
It's a team effort!
 After some late night cat colony surveying it was time to call it a night.
Early morning in Habana Vieja is so peaceful.
Crowded streets by day are deserted and tranquil overnight and into the morning.
After a stroll through the streets it was off to a green oasis in the heart of Havana.
 Our deepest thanks go to Dr.Eusebio Leal and the Oficina del Historiador 
for granting us the use of this space for our activities.
It is a great show of faith and support for the work we carry out in collaboration 
with our Cuban partners.
The Spanky Project is pleased to announce that the pavilion at Quinta de los Molinos is now the permanent home for our sterilization campañas.
And as with any home we personalized it just a little.

 With each of our campañas we strive for constant improvement.
This campaña we had our own autoclave for sterilizing our instruments and supplies.
This improves upon the cold sterilization techniques we have used in the past.
Here Dr.Michael Belovich- Spanky Project's Medical Director, works with Dr.Leyssan Cepero Quinta's Veterinarian to ensure the autoclave is up to working standards.
Dr.Michele Travers once again joined us in Havana.
Her past experience with transportation woes and trying to buy a broom were solved.
She brought her own.
With the surgical area set up ..
....  recuperation area prepared and recovery cages (aka bird cages) assembled.
...our day at "Quinta" was pretty much done.
Dr.Leyssan shares a moment with one of the resident "Quinta" dogs.
There was one thing left to do.
 Promotional material for our World Spay Day Week 
activities was produced and printed in Havana.
 Only the folding of a few hundred was left to be done.
This would turn out to be our best campaña ever.
Education, collaboration, sterilization, deparasitization.
If we are to continue to expand this vital work we need your support.

We have an online site for donations at..
Should you prefer to mail in your support you can find us at..
Spanky Project
Box 6136
Picton ON  K0K 2T0