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Four Paws enable surgical desexing in Papunya

Snap shots from Papunya: L: Resident, Roma MacDonald was grateful to have her dog desexed. Top R: AMRRIC volunteer Dr Graeme Blanch teaches some local students about surgical preparation. Bottom R: AMRRIC Education Officer Courtney Falls faceprinting

MacDonnell Regional Council, AMRRIC, Four Paws and the community of Papunya collaborated to deliver a companion animal surgical desexing program from the 4th to the 10th of March 2018. Papunya, being very remote (5 hours west of Alice Springs), was in need of long term companion animal population management outcomes. Four Paws generously funded the program with wonderful in-kind support provided by MacDonnell Regional Council.  

Together with Dr Bob Irving, AMRRIC organised a team of 4 vets (Dr Bob, stalwart AMRRIC volunteers, Dr Jemima Amery-Gale and Dr Graeme Blanch and AMRRIC Program Manager, Dr Jan Allen), experienced community vet nurse, Erin O’Connor and AMRRIC’s Education Officer, Courtney Falls. The team worked out of an old Nissan hut building which served as an ideal, spacious surgery and recovery area. Vet services were offered in Papunya and five outstations, to successfully deliver the first surgical veterinary program the area has received.

The outcomes were great with 87 dogs and 6 cats being desexed, and 184 animals treated for internal and external parasites. 

A concurrent AMRRIC education program saw the community enjoy a barbecue and face painting event mid-week to celebrate the dogs and cats of Papunya. Lessons were also delivered to the local school covering topics such as animal feelings, empathy and needs. One class also took the opportunity to visit the surgery site. Students were captivated by the surgery room and were even supervised to tattoo dogs’ ears with the desexing symbol, for ease of identification within the community. 

It was a fantastic week with tremendous support from the community. AMRRIC is grateful to the extraordinary team, as well as Four Paws for giving AMRRIC and the MacDonnell Regional Council the opportunity to provide a surgical program in Papunya. 

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