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  • Writer's pictureAnimal-Kind International

Animal shelter in Congo starts 2024 with rescues, outreach, and new volunteers

Our Partner Organization, Sauvons nos Animaux animal shelter in Congo, has already had an eventful 2024 and we're only a few months into the year-what a start for our Partner Organization in Congo in 2024!


The good news first, since we have a lot of good news from our animal shelter partner in Congo, is about new volunteers, community outreach, and rescues.


During February, vet students from the nearby veterinary college spent time at the Sauvons nos Animaux shelter. We're hoping this will be an ongoing partnership since everyone involved got so much out of it: The vet students learned much more than they learn in the classroom, getting real hands-on experience with actual rescue cases; the shelter got many more hands to assist with vet care; and the cats and dogs got some extra love and attention.


Vet students treating a dog at the animal shelter in Congo Africa.
Vet students got hands-on experience at the shelter, working side-by-side with the SnA vet, Dr Aristide, far right.

Vet students treating a dog at the animal shelter in Congo Africa.
This dog was rescued while the vet students were at the shelter, giving them a real-life shelter medicine experience.

Vet students treating a dog at the animal shelter in Congo Africa.
Vet students at the Sauvons nos Animaux shelter

Vet students at the animal shelter in Congo 2024.
Vet students

Vet students with a rescued dog at the animal shelter in Congo 2024
Vet students at work at the shelter
 

And there's more for Sauvons nos Animaux - Congo 2024. Sauvons nos Animaux's outreach centers on the nearest and largest city, Bukavu, and Sunday jogging days are a great way to reach so many. On Sundays, young and old gather in Bukavu center to jog, walk, meet up with friends. Paterne introduced the concept of including dog companions during Sunday outings, and the idea has really taken off.


Most importantly, it's changing perceptions of dogs, from guards and hunters to dogs as our companions.


Sunday jogging day, January 28:


A boy and his little dog at Sauvons nos Animaux Congo outreach 2024.
Showing off his companion at Sunday jogging day: definitely a pet-this is no guard dog!


Sauvons nos Animaux outreach in Congo 2024 with people and their dogs gathered around..
Sunday Jogging Day in Bukavu: Paterne is 2nd from left in the black shirt

March 17 jogging day:


Dog and his friend in Congo 2024 as part of outreach work.
A photo of a man and his companion


Kids and their dog in Congo 2024 during outreach community work.
An unusual sight in Bukavu, where most dogs don't have this much fur!

 

Sauvons nos Animaux has some new volunteers! Paterne and the shelter staff are working with these five young boys, preparing them to join the volunteer team. The kids were involved in SnA's Youth Club, and clearly cared about and had a real interest in the cats and dogs at the shelter, so they were invited to join the shelter as volunteers!


Kids at the shelter in Congo will be new volunteers in 2024.
In April, a new group of volunteers started helping at the shelter!

Kids with dogs at the shelter in Congo will be new volunteers in 2024.
New volunteers with Paterne and a few of the shelter dogs
 

Sauvons nos Animaux animal shelter has rescued several new dogs since the beginning of the year. In mid-February, these three frightened puppies were dumped outside the gate of the shelter:


Puppies abandoned outside the Sauvons nos Animaux shelter in Congo.
Puppies were abandoned, left to fend for themselves - but luckily they were left just outside the SnA shelter gate.


Rescued puppies with Aganze the shelter caretaker.
Animal caretaker Aganze with the newly rescued puppies; already they have been socialized and are no longer afraid!

Also in February, this very skinny dog was rescued and brought to the shelter:


Rescued dog with Aganze the Congo shelter caretaker.
Since this photo was taken, the new dog has gained weight and has been neutered, and he's happily joined the other SnA dogs.

During the 2nd week of April, Sauvons nos Animaux rescued an adult dog who was found abandoned at a house in Kadutu, tied up with a wire that was tight around his neck and it dug in deeper as he tried to get free. As you can imagine, he was aggressive - he was in pain and terrified. He had to be sedated before he could be taken to the shelter, where Dr Aristide treated the wound:


Vet treating a rescued dog at the Congo shelter.
Tied with a chain and abandoned, the horrible wound on his neck was treated at the SnA shelter.

That same week, SnA rescued a small puppy from the Ruzizi River. Hunters, who use dogs to help them hunt, often dispose of puppies there. The puppy had several injuries that Dr Aristide is treating.


Sauvons nos Animaux director with rescued puppy at the Congo shelter.
Paterne with puppy who was "thrown away" in the river

 

We're helping to safeguard the Sauvons nos Animaux animal shelter and their rescue animals. The shelter had to deal with two big challenges over the last few weeks, including an ongoing one.


In March, a few men were walking by the shelter and threw stones at the dogs. A few dogs escaped through a gap in the sheet metal fence and went after the men. The men submitted a complaint to the local government authority. Because Paterne is on good terms with local leaders and the community, he was only required to contain the dogs--he wasn't fined and wasn't required to go to court.


Since this was an immediate and critical need, AKI funds were used to construct the new escape-proof fence:


Shelter fence in Congo built in 2024 with funding from Animal Kind International.
The new fence at the SnA shelter: no one can get out, no one can get in

Two dogs check out the new shelter fence at Sauvons nos Animaux in Congo.
Shelter dogs checking out the new fence

The second challenge is a bigger one and so far there's no solution. The main road leading to the shelter was cut off by the local population, who are calling for it to be rehabilitated. They've made it impossible to pass -having dug this huge trench-as a way to force the authorities to repair it. This makes it even more difficult to get goods to the refuge and to rescue animals and bring them back to the shelter. It also makes it difficult for staff to reach the shelter.


Now it takes a much longer time to reach the shelter and the alternative route means that transport costs have increased.


Trench across road enroute to the shelter in Congo disrupts travel.
Trench dug horizontally across road to force government to repair the road. This makes access to the shelter so much more difficult and expensive.

But we want to end on this really nice note: the happy note the dog in this video is singing when Paterne returned to the shelter after being away for a few days:


This is just one of the reasons we all love dogs so much-they are always so happy to see us, they can always cheer us up, no matter how bad things get!


Read more about our Partner in Congo, the only animal shelter in the country.

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