Dog trainer closes out 2021 in Cuenca with this report

I’m crazy about dogs. No creature on the earth is born so sweet. Here in Cuenca, here in Ecuador, they deserve better than what they get.

As the new year opens, I want to invite all you other dog lovers to consider how you can involve yourselves on their behalf. Think about your talents, think about what brings you joy. Our dogs need you.

Is your heart in rescuing abandoned and abused animals? There are excellent rescue groups – Patan, Faan, Rescate Animal come to mind (but there are others) — who need funds and volunteers. Maybe more work could be done to consolidate the efforts of mom-and-pop rescuers. These dogs need shelter, food, and often medical care. And then what? Do they go to foster care or new homes? Or do they stay confined forever?

Rescate Animal:

Are you a matchmaker? Does it thrill your heart to introduce a deserving pup to a good home? What could be more satisfying than that? You would have to be the go-between for rescue groups, the veterinary clinics that help them, and would-be homes. You would need to place notices, follow up with the new homes, and maybe even take back dogs who don’t work out.

Do you want to make perhaps the biggest difference? Reduce the number of unwanted dogs by volunteering at the spay/neuter clinics organized by ARCA. Join the vets and volunteers who work their hearts out every few weekends to reduce the numbers of unwanted dogs. If 50 or 60 dogs are sterilized at each weekend event, that could be about 400 more puppies who won’t be homeless. Check out ARCA Check out Kim Curls’ Facebook page “PetCareEcuador” =

(And a shout-out here to two gringas in particular. For lo these many years, Kim Curls and Jeanne Chiang have traveled to just about every single sterilization clinic. Their contributions are simply heroic! Kim mans her own station, administering all the post-surgery shots, and looking after the dogs who are coming out of anesthesia, and processing all the paperwork for the families. I really have no idea how she does all this! And Jeanne is behind the scenes ensuring all the medical instruments are properly cleaned and sterilized for re-use. They could really use your help!)

Are you a natural educator? Boy, do we need you! You can help challenge the prevalent notion that males are more – eh – “manly” if they have their balls. Or that females have a god-given right to have babies. Or that it is cruel to keep dogs indoors, that the kind thing to do is to send them out into the open air (the streets) all day. Or the notion that dogs are too dirty to keep inside. You will need to explain why neutering the boys will cut back on dog fights. People don’t know! You can look into the claim that guard dogs are needed to protect property in el campo. Or in town. You can debunk the idea that dogs need to be shown who’s Alpha.

But you’ll need marketers to spread the word. Our dogs definitely need talented marketers! First, what’s the best way to market in our area? Is it using GringoPost, social media, or posting flyers in the windows of participating groomers, vet offices, etc. How can we target both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking dog lovers?

And what do we want to say? We want to speak up for the dogs. We want a Central Clearing House of information. And we want accountability.

Are you a native Spanish speaker? Please find us. Everything seems so gringo-driven! Can we change this? Share what you know.

Do you get a special ping from organizing? Data on spreadsheets? Like-minded professionals into sharing resources? Well, there are so many ways you are needed.

Here’s one: the community needs a Dog Resource Directory that identifies the best vets, groomers, pet-sitters, dog walkers, etc. There are outstanding and dedicated professionals out there. And then there are the others. There are vets with technologies new to Cuenca – like physical rehabilitation, like prosthetics – but no one can find them. There are individuals breaking new ground with concepts like doggie day care, pet hotels, dog massages who need to get the word out.

Are you an activist? Find out about groups that have tried to legalize dog rights. Try to organize getting a dog run off the ground. How do we report abuse or unqualified professionals?

Do you have more money than time? More interest in helping dogs than actual skills? Or maybe you have talent in fund-raising? Money alone won’t save the world, but our dogs could sure use some. What are safe and guaranteed ways to make sure funds go where they’re needed?

Make a conscious decision to support area restaurants that raise money/awareness for dogs. Like Kolo. Like La Yunta. Name your favorites.

Do you like to drive? Are you good with directions? Maybe you didn’t realize we need you, too.

And if you’re mulling things over and want a little more grist. Here are two inspiring dog videos. The first is about Faan’s work, produced by Warren & Julie. The second is about the blessings of fostering.

In September this year, I threw my bit into the ring. I’m a very experienced dog trainer, certified in using positive reinforcement to bring out the best in our dogs. I made my training services available to any and all. I answered each of your inquiries in depth. I offered free consultations for people who took a rescue. I offered free Puppy Workshops. I reached out to many dog professionals engaged in different lines of work. And I met many amazing dog lovers along the way, including those who invited me to train their dogs. I also identified two big holes in the dog product market here: tools that support training and products specifically for large dogs. And I hosted Christmas pop-up shops for same.

Now, as the year closes, I’ll be taking some time off to evaluate the results of my efforts.

I also want to thank GringoPost for the opportunity to post! You are a fantastic service and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

In the meantime, please reach out to me if anything I’ve said above speaks to you. We’ll start with brainstorming. I offer my pandemic-safe garden for this purpose. Please come meet me. Introduce yourself. Come share your ideas. Happy New Year!

Heather Conley: 099 900 3991. Call after: 6 AM.

City: Cuenca
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