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Vet Helen Purdam's volunteering experience in Yuendumu

I went to Yuendumu in the hope of making a contribution toward better dog health and to experience the Tanami desert, however I came away with much more.

I enjoyed being part of a small but capable team facing challenges that often revealed a silver lining. The calm resourcefulness that goes with the outback was first required when the car died in the night far from anywhere and anyone. What a magic starry sky we enjoyed until Anne and Stephen discovered the switch to the second fuel tank and we were on our way again! The pressure cooker for sterilising kits quit on day one only to be replaced by a wiz bang autoclave that had been gathering dust in the back of the Yuendemu clinic.

Our bush surgery was set up on the verandah of the house where we stayed, moving onto the kitchen bench when the wind picked up. Gloria Morales, the amazing "Dog Lady" had tabs on all of the community's dogs which helped make our visit more productive. Due to her efforts, many of the dogs are well fed and excluding the elusive mangy mob on the outskirts, we were able to catch and treat over 90 dogs. Sadly parvovirus took some puppies although the majority appear unaffected. Each evening we shared a sunset walk with Gloria and her dogs, enjoying the scents and beauty of the country and clambering around red rocky outcrops.

It was difficult to curtail my spending at the wonderful Warlukurlangu Art Gallery - so many great works!

Gloria also rehomes unwanted pups through Desert Dogs and to that end, we escorted four beautiful healthy pups back to the foster carer in Sydney. It was a wonderful sight to see the little one we called "Special" in his new owners' arms. Let's hope the other's find a loving home.

Find out more about volunteering with AMRRIC.


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