Ecuador Goes to the Dogs


Here is a story about Ecuador’s dogs by Super Spanish teacher, Rick Brown, in Cuenca.

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Inge Palmer

This will be my last post from Cuenca until after Christmas.  I will be on an extended trip to Canada to visit the family and see my new grandson.  I expect to return on or about the 27th of the month.  This one is about a very worthwhile group in Cuenca that is helping to stem the tide of unwanted dogs and cats that seen to overrun many South American Cities.

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The organization is “Happy Dogs in Cuenca” and they go pretty much unsung in the Cuenca area.  Founded by Inge Palmer, “Happy Dogs” is making a substantial dent in the problem of homeless and unwanted dogs and cats here in Cuenca.  From a modest self funded start “Happy Dogs in Cuenca” (HDiC) has over the past four years developed a program of spay and neuter clinics that could prove to be a model for a lot of jurisdictions in South America.

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This is an issue that plagues many areas here in the southern hemisphere. The proliferation of dogs and cats here would stagger many of us in North America.  There are strays and homeless dogs on almost every street.  They are simply a part of the landscape to most Ecuadorians. Don’t get me wrong here, Ecuadorians seem to adore their own dogs but the sense of owning a dog is simply different here than it is other places.

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Rather than the dog remaining home in their yard, they are allowed to roam the streets at will and to procreate at will.  This leads to unwanted litters and animals winding up permanently on the streets.  Inge’s figures on the procreative end of things will really open up your eyes.  If you have a hundred dogs on the street and fifty are female you can look forward to a minimum of two litters of five pups per year for about ten years from each fertile female.

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That makes for ten pups per year for ten years. One hundred pups over her fertile life span times fifty dogs makes for five thousand unwanted dogs who live fairly short and miserable lives on the streets.  The pups grow into dogs and procreate as well.  The problem is staggering!  You can look at a rate including descendants of more that 67,000 dogs from one female over 6 years.  There are estimated to be about 20,000 to 30,000 homeless dogs on the streets of Cuenca at any given time. This is in a city of five hundred and thirty thousand people. As I said before, the street dogs have been there so long that for most people here they are simply now an ever-changing part of the landscape.

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Starting with self funding between herself, her husband and some friends Inge started offering free spay and neuters to Ecuadorians.  Catching and neutering street animals then releasing them back to the environment so that they are unable to increase the animal population any further.  She believes that each life is important but that the chain must be cut at some point to prevent the suffering of subsequent generations of animals.

In 2012 there were about 400 spay and neuters carried out by “Happy Dogs in Cuenca”.  The same was true for 2013, and 2014.   In 2015 “Happy Dogs in Cuenca”  began to work in cooperation with the municipality of Cuenca which recognized the value of the work Inge was doing.  The number of surgery’s tripled and jumped to 1500 partly subsidized by the city and utilizing HDiC volunteers to run clinics both in Cuenca proper and in outlying areas as well.  There are currently four active vets and about 16 volunteers who staff the clinics voluntarily.

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The clinics run once a month on average and the last several have done one hundred and forty procedures at each clinic. It is a very long day for all involved. The cost is approximately $40 per procedure at the moment due to the volume and is about as low as it can go while still providing a comfortable experience for the animals. Costs include pain medications and antibiotics both during and after the surgery to minimize pain and potential infection.

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The staff moved into a building donated for the weekend by one organization or another and sets up like a blood clinic and works a twelve to thirteen hour day.  Then the clinic is broken down, packed up and prepares for the next clinic!

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As Inge says she takes the service to the people and she has met with good success and now is recognized for the work and effort. There is hope the contract with the city will be extended for the next year and that the pace can be maintained.

As with any organization of this type there are a good many expenses to be dealt with and funding is always a problem.  While the city pays for some surgeries Happy Dogs in Cuenca must raise the rest. There are a great many dogs out there to be processed and the costs continue to escalate.

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I told Inge Palmer about Gary Scott’s readers and how they like to get aboard with good works and help out where they can. If you have an urge to help out the Happy Dogs in Cuenca organization you can help with a donation at :

www.happydogsincuenca.wordpress.com. If you feel like getting involved and helping out a bit.

Rick Brown

Ecuador Export Update

Here is a note from Roberto Ribadeneira about Export Tours to Ecuador.

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When you join the Export Tour from Ecuador, you’ll find that Ecuador is not only a beautiful place to visit, but is a good place to do business.

On this Export Tour, there is a wide range of products in various different towns north of Quito.  Let’s have a quick look at what we do before we show you the schedule.

Upon arriving to Quito (Ecuador’s capital), we will take you to Cotacachi, where we base our tours in search for amazing products.

You will be presented with lots of amazing artisans that create unique products of great quality.  There are hundreds of different items that we will explore and numerous ideas that we will share  with you.

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Most of the craftsman that we introduce to you are people that live in rural areas, that are hardworking and that make their products by hand. This means that the quality is outstanding but also that we have the flexibility to make small orders and/or big orders.

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Schedule

You will arrive at Quito’s airport, which is brand new and also the most important one in Ecuador. Depending on your time of arrival, we either take you to a hotel in downtown Quito (which is about 40 minutes from the airport) or travel from there directly to Cotacachi.

Cotacachi is one hour and thirty minutes north from Quito. The road is also new and there you will see a beautiful landscape surrounded by mountains. Cotacachi is warm during the day, a little cold at night, so bringing sweaters is recommended.

We will spend three full days exploring products and towns around Imbabura’s Province. Most of the towns that we visit are small and full of kind people. Most of the workers that we visit work from home.

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After the three day tour, we will take you back to Quito if you like to stay there, but if you would want to explore other cities, we will take you to the airport in Quito.

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Tour Day 1:  Leave from Quito to Cotacachi at 09:00.

Starts 12:00 in Cotacachi: visit to leather town, what products you can make in leather, suppliers, manufacturers and ideas on what you can make.

Lunch break: 14:00 – 15:00.

16:00:  Go to San Antonio de Ibarra, see the wood products, manufacturers and designs that we can export from Ecuador.
18:00 ending.

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Tour Day 2:  Starts at 10:00 after breakfast at the hotel.

Visit Otavalo for Tagua and Textiles, see manufacturers, get products to make, personal labels, volume, etc.

Meet with supplier for new products to make high-end tagua items, new products of bamboo, baby blankets, baby products, Christmas products. Products made of Alpaca, specific designs.

13:00: Lunch.

14:00: Talk to cargo agency, see packing, costs, how to ship, taxes, etc.

15:00: Visit manufacturer for handmade sweaters, shawls, and other textiles, he can make specific designs for you.

17:00: Create a website, a shopping cart, manage logistic, storage and shipping cost with FedEx or Mail Service.

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Tour Day 3:  Starts at 10:00 after breakfast at the hotel.

Visit Otavalo Market, fair day. See all the products available, purchase items for business, talk to all the vendors, see different products, low cost textiles, low cost jewelry, ponchos, sweaters, shawls, products for under $2 a piece.

12:00:  Tagua, jewelry, what designs you can make, cost of personalized items. Jewelry store for Tagua products, which they create designs for inexpensive jewelry.

13:00:  14:00 lunch.

15:00:  see rugs, alpaca products, honey products, flowers, etc.

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*    We change the schedule depending on what you would like to see. We found out that some people show more interest in certain products so we spend more time showing them those items. We always adjust to what will be most beneficial to you.

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Towns to visit.

Among the towns that we will show you:
Cotacachi
Otavalo
Iluman
San Antonio de Ibarra
Ibarra
Cuicocha
Atuntaqui

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Products to see:
Tagua
Alpaca
Textiles, such as ponchos, sweaters, shirts, table runners, table cloths, etc.
Bamboo
Wood products
Leather, such as duffle bags, purses, jackets, accessories, shoes, etc.
Jewelry at the Otavalo market, such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.
Art, paintings on different materials and styles, textiles manufactured at Atuntaqui.

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Optional

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If you are also interested in the flower business, we can show you a beautiful rose farm, that takes around 2-3 hours for the tour, so we recommend doing that if you are interested in that area of business. Most farms are in towns about 40 minutes north of Quito, either Cayambe or Tabacundo. It is a great experience, and you will get to see how they grow roses and the fields.

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Extras

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We also encourage people to bring ideas of products that you want to make and things you want to create. There may be purses that you want to design, hand made leather jackets or a certain wood carvings. There are also other ideas to explore like creating ponchos with your own University’s colors or bracelets with school’s colors.  Perhaps you want to engage in corporate products and want to have beautiful leather laptop bags with special logos, or different colors or a unique design.

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You can talk to the manufacturers and get the pricing on items, timing of when they will be ready, and what they can do.

We will also show you how to calculate the pricing, how to do the packing and what better way to ship items from Ecuador to the USA. This way it will be easier for you to know the costs and put the right sales price for your customers.

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All the contacts and information for everything that we see and all the manufacturers is yours. This will allow you in the future to contact them directly and work with them if you like. So you
will be able to work with the suppliers on your own if that is what you choose.

There are thousands of ideas that we can explore, and also hundreds of products that we can make. Not only you will find that working with people in Ecuador is a great experience, but also that we are able to create amazing homemade products for every need.

Once you get to see how people work and the help that everyone buying from them brings, you will get a better idea on the progress that exporting from Ecuador brings to this people. You will get beautiful products and in exchange people in Ecuador will work very hard, and also be rewarded with a better quality of life.

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We do hope to get to see you soon on this business adventure.  Roberto

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Individual Export Tour for one $799 or a couple $999

Please call me at 1-888-482-3850 or Email me at roberto_ribadeneira@me.com



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