October 4th is World Animal Day!
Help us celebrate as FAAN works to build the most modern shelter in Ecuador
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”Mahatma Gandhi
Neither Barry or I watch television or internet commercials about animal rescue. The sad images of abused, neglected and abandoned dogs and cats are just way too depressing. Instead, we look at our own happy and contented pets, Mr. Peabody, Mr. Ajax and Senor Guapo, who seem blissfully unaware of their elevated 1% status in the animal world. Those who know us and our TV viewing habits would ask, considering our favorite streaming shows include “Dexter First Blood” and the “Walking Dead”, “why are we so squeamish about the animals“? We don’t have an answer but suspect some of you may have the same sick feeling when you see a lost and wandering dog on an otherwise storybook street of Cuenca.
This may be one reason why Barry and I think it takes a special kind of person, an angel really, who works or volunteers in animal shelters. We know that left to our own devices working at the shelter, we would quickly have way more animals than people and live up to my niece’s prediction that she would one day find us in our Cuenca condo overrun by a pack of mutts and misfits.
So, we prefer to do what we can to help those angels and volunteers who are rescuing and saving the dogs that we ourselves cannot care for.
Introducing FAAN & their 130 dogs
This is how we found FAAN, Fundación Familia Amor Animal, now in its 8th year of existence and caring for 130 dogs at its temporary Tarqui shelter. To our surprise, our first visit to the shelter was overwhelming, not with sadness but with happiness caused by the excited greeting of the dogs clearly adoring their human visitors. Never mind that our clothes were transformed into a canvas of loving paw prints. I’ve often told Barry if he would just greet me like our dog does when I come home, he’d get many more treats. Today he gets it!
The pack represents dogs of all sizes and shapes and clearly takes its cues from pack leader and President of FAAN, Jose Gomez. Every day, Jose treks up to Tarqui from Cuenca on a dirt road with endless, winding turns to cook for, feed and care for these homeless animals, giving them a safe haven and opportunity for a permanent home through adoption. This is Jose’s mission and purpose in life. “Marabel, Lucas, Lucy.” He herds the pack and even the young puppies, not yet named, follow him like famous TV dog trainer Cesar Millan.
I say to Barry, “he knows each one by name.” Jose explains to us that the shelter is put together on a shoestring and through the generosity of donations. Fencing, cardboard boxes, pallets, blankets, metal bowls and the recent donation of a few glamping domes, represent the limited infrastructure. Those who know North American shelters might be horrified at these basic conditions, yet this is the temporary shelter and each dog is happy, healthy and well fed. This is also Ecuador.
The great news is FAAN has a plan for the most modern and safe shelter in the country. This includes an onsite clinic, adoption area, more extensive and much improved roaming and sleeping areas for the dogs, an eco-tourism area for education about animal welfare and the importance of spaying and neutering and even a gato casa for rescue and adoption of felines.
Previously we both served on the Board of SASY! Stop Animal Suffering Yes in Costa Rica and were looking for an organization here in Ecuador that was not only doing the everyday work to care for and adopt abused and neglected street dogs, but was also focused on a sustainable plan for an animal refugio. Due to the extent of the ongoing problem with abandoned animals, such a shelter could be partially supported on an ongoing basis through services including eco-tourism, education and a public cemetery for animals. The great news is FAAN had and has that plan.
Acquisition of Land for FAAN and Volunteering
The Foundation has until April 1, 2023 to realize its dream when FAAN’s temporary lease expires and the organization will need to relocate the shelter and the animals in its care. FAAN’s initial goal is to raise $65,000 for the purchase of 10 hectares of land in Tarqui. Thanks to the pawsome work and partnership of animal loving, Cuencanos and expats, we can report that this dream is on its way to reality. It will take the passion and support of Ecuadorians and expats working together to make it happen. One of the first fundraisers was the sold out “Walking with Dogs” Adventure on September 17th. This event was designed to introduce the permanent shelter project to Cuenca’s expat volunteers while enjoying a day in nature walking the dogs in the scenic area of Tarqui.
In this first volunteer event, we saw the amazing talent and generosity in our community, particularly if you hold to the belief that animal lovers are some of the best people on earth. 25 committed volunteers had fun and met new friends while lending their time, talent and treasure to a project that will truly make a difference for abused, abandoned and neglected animals.
If you’re not an animal lover, we know you’re awesome too and maybe you would like a good night sleep without roaming and barking dogs in your neighborhood, knowing there is a safe no-kill shelter. There’s a way for you to be part of the solution.
We welcome all of you and your lucky pets to join the FAAN family and reach our goal.
Did you know that World Animal Day is October 4th?
Here’s how you can celebrate and help build Ecuador’s most modern shelter
FAAN Volunteer Meeting
Attend our next FAAN Volunteer Meeting on Saturday, October 15th at Kolo Restaurant located on Luis Cordero 5-65 y Juan Jaramillo y Honorato Vasquez at 10 AM.
“Breakfast with dogs”. Order and enjoy breakfast while we plan our 2022-2023 calendar of events and discuss innovative fundraising ideas to achieve our seven-month fundraising goal. Your lucky dog will also be welcome at Kolo with a special breakfast treat.
Reservations required. RSVP [email protected]
Purchase Square meters
Purchase your Square Meters at $5.00 per square meter. Since your pet was lucky to find you, he and/or she can pay it forward to those less fortunate animals in Cuenca, with their name and yours noted on your square meters with a plaque on a property tree.
Become a FAAN Angel and Sponsor for $1,000. Angel Investors are key to achieving our critical Phase One goal to move the animals by April 1st. In addition to prominent recognition at the shelter, investors will be invited to a special FAAN reception for benefactors.
Volunteer your skills
Volunteer your talents in writing, photography, social media, fundraising, construction and events. This is where we need all of those talents you brought with you when you moved to Ecuador. From construction work at the existing and new shelter to experience in events and media, there’s a job just waiting for you that can be flexible while providing a rewarding purpose.
Donate a stay at a vacation destination, art, special services, hotel and/or restaurant gift certificates for our shelter gala auction. The date will be announced soon but for sure this will a “Who Let the Dogs Out” night to remember.
Celebrate World Animal Day on October 4th with your donation. FAAN will arrange to collect both cash donations and auction items in Cuenca or you can easily donate to FAAN through Pay Pal using this email address: [email protected]
Designate your gift for the new shelter and include any family/pet names you wish to be noted in your gift. To volunteer or contribute to our FAAN auction Write Rosemary or Barry Rein, FAAN Volunteer Liaisons at [email protected].
Mission of World Animal Day
To raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilizing it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. It’s celebrated in different ways in every country, irrespective of nationality, religion, faith or political ideology. Through increased awareness and education, we can create a world where animals are always recognized as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.
Rosemary and Barry Rein
FAAN Volunteer Coordinators