Liberia Animal Welfare & Conservation Society - Adapting to the covid-19 world
LAWCS has had to adapt their programs to covid-19 restrictions, and they have come up with some innovative ways of doing that. They took their Humane Ed Program out of schools (which were closed; currently only 6th and 9th graders are in school getting ready to take the national exam) and into the community.
For example, the LAWCS Dog Washing Program: The LAWCS Team talks to children and their parents about the importance of bathing dogs to keep ticks and fleas at bay (protecting the dogs and the humans). In May, 150 dogs were bathed by their owners thanks to the LAWCS Team's advice. (2 of the lucky, clean dogs are below)
This family didn't have the money to purchase shampoo or meds for their dog who was suffering from a tick and flea infestation, so they gave their dog a bath using local herbs to get rid of the ticks and fleas.
With schools still closed, the LAWCS Dog Washing Program continued in September. It's proven a great way to keep kids busy while strengthening the bonds between them and their dogs. (2 pictures below from September dog washing)
Another example of how LAWCS has adapted to the covid-19 situation is the LAWCS Animal Ambassador Program for which LAWCS identifies school children who are inspirations and models for others. It turns out that almost every child is now aspiring to be recognized as an Animal Ambassador!
For example, Mary Cole, a member of a LAWCS Animal Kindness Club at her school, rescued her pet cat Kett because when Kett was tiny, her mother was killed by an unknown person and she was roaming the community crying. They have been glued to each other ever since (as you can see!)
Gawu is another role model. Gawu and her pet, Best Friend, go everywhere together and enjoy doing things together. The very short video shows how much they enjoy each other's company.
Mary is one of LAWCS's youngest Animal Ambassadors. She and her kitty Melo are great friends. Mary learned all about dogs and cats and how to care for them in her LAWCS Humane Ed class. (Mary and Melo pictured below)
During the pandemic, LAWCS has kept their animal care clinic open, while instituting safeguards. It's important to keep this service operating since it's the only animal care available in all of Lofa County.
This dog was brought to the clinic after he got in a fight with another dog and lost. He almost died. Lucky that the LAWCS clinic remained open and was able to treat him. As of September 10, he had recovered-2nd picture below (I hope he learned a lesson-no more fighting!)
In addition to the LAWCS Animal Care Clinic, LAWCS has continued their Outreach Animal Care Program, which was on hold during the strict lock down. Lofa County, Liberia is large-it covers 9,982 square kilometers (3,854 sq mi) and villages are spread out far and wide. Many people have no means of transport, so LAWCS goes to them. The team visits remote villages, educates people about animal care, and provides free health care for dogs and cats.
During the week of July 19, the outreach team provided rabies and parvovirus vaccinations along with treatments for ticks, fleas, mange, worms, and wounds to 309 dogs and cats. (2 pictures below from July's outreach clinics)
In August, LAWCS continued to visit remote communities bringing free animal care to areas where it was never before available. (2 pictures below from August's outreach clinics)
For International Dog Day on August 26, LAWCS held celebrations in honor of dogs and their contributions to humanity. It wasn't all for fun though - of course LAWCS used this opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of dogs in Liberia (where many dogs still get the brunt of human cruelty and dog meat is commonly eaten) and worldwide. (2 pictures below, International Dog Day celebrations)
That brings us up to date with LAWCS activities, as they've adapted to the current covid-19 situation. Of course we don't know what the next few months will bring, but we do know that LAWCS will continue to help Lofa County's cats and dogs to the best of their abilities. And I hope AKI donors will continue to be there for them. We are so grateful to our donors who have already helped us get so far and do such good in Liberia.