Yesterday we visited the second of the four villages along the Amazon river basin on our trip, a small town called Tamanco.
We rose early, having planned to go do some sloth viewing at 6 am. Of course it had been pouring rain since midnight and was continuing to pour as we got up, so no sloths for us. Instead, we sat around in the common area and hatched up a plan to borrow the resident dogs of the ExplorNapo lodge for some much-needed care. Paco, an older male, and Lola, a 12 week old female puppy, both were intact and both had what looked like botflies, swellings under the skin with airholes for the parasitic larva to breathe through. Now that we are botfly experts and all we can pick those up a mile away. Paco had them under his eye, poor thing.
With the blessing of the owners, we scooped up the dogs, climbed into the boat, and floated to Tamanco. Little Lola was understandably anxious, but fortunately had June Allison the wonder tech there to comfort her.
The children are always the first ones to greet newcomers, hopeful for some crayons or maybe a cookie.
There were actually less children about than there normally are. A local volunteer explained that this is because the children had assumed the doctors were human doctors, and we would be arriving with shots for them.
Well no wonder they were scared of vaccinations!! AND clowns! Come here little ninos….
Scary needle wielding clowns notwithstanding, it really was a gorgeous green town, perched on the edge of the Napo river like a postcard from another time.
The clinic doctor graciously offered us his building for the day. It was a relief to have one day where we had the use of an actual flushing toilet, a separate room for surgery, and the curious eyes of an entire village turned elsewhere for the day. In this case, to the prep room.
Patrick, myself and Amazon Cares staff veterinarian extraordinaire Esther Pena enjoyed perhaps the finest view in town from our surgical suite.
So pretty I was almost able to forget I was pulling maggots by the forcep-ful out of a poor dog riddled with mange while the fleas fell to the table in a thick mat. I have never before had to beg a person “Please. Please let us fix this dog, at no cost to you.” Different world, different rules.
At day’s end, scabby, dirty, itchy, and exhausted, we turned the dogs back to their owners so we could file back to the boat for the ride home. Paco, feeling much better after having two botflies removed from his lower eyelid and enjoying his post-neuter pain meds, got to ride shotgun at the bow. He seemed to enjoy the breeze, as did we all after a long sweaty day.