Dahab – retrospective

We’ve been home for a week now. Actually enjoying this weather – even the rain. Karen’s arm looks good and feels good. We think that the seawater helped the healing process.

The Dahab story continues; we are beginning to notice the impact that the Trap, Neuter, Release programme has on the animal population – especially the dogs. Often when we spot a dog, Karen or Lisa will exclaim: one of ours! The cat population still presents a huge problem. So we will be going back to Dahab next year.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank so many of you for the support you have given us. As you may know, Cogges Veterinary Surgery is taking part in the ‘run or dye’ run at Cornbury Park on Saturday (26th Sep) and we have already collected more than £1,000! We will keep you posted about the equipment and materials we will buy for that money. Thank you.

Here are some more pictures, including some that I took last Wednesday, when I helped Lisa and Karen at the ‘surgery’.


Return from Dahab

We’re back. Late Tuesday night Karen and I flew into lovely Luton and were greeted by the kind of cool and fresh weather we’ve really missed.

Our last few days in Dahab did not quite work out as we’d anticipated. We dropped out of the diving course after realizing that we were not enjoying it. In part this was that, although Karen was now officially on holiday, work still interfered.

One evening we were called out to look at a ‘Bedouin dog’ whose left hind foot was badly mangled.  Karen soon decided that the foot (virtually split into 2, with bones sticking out) could not be saved. The choice then is simple – you put the dog to sleep, or you try to amputate.

Karen, Karin (AWD) and local vet Dr Amira made the decision: amputation. Although it was the foot that was damaged, the amputation had to be done in the middle of the thigh, to prevent the dog from attempting to walk on a remaining stump. Although conditions were not ideal (especially regarding instruments and anaesthetics), the room in Dr Amira’s shop was cool, which was a blessing. Dr Amira gave Karen a hand, while I did my best  to monitor the anaesthetics. This was also an educational exercise, as Dr Amira had not performed a successful amputation before. It was hard work, using small clippers to cut through the bone, and it was bloody too, but eventually Karen sewed up the wound and we carried the dog to Karin’s car, warning her that she could be in for a difficult night.

The next day we heard that the dog seemed to be doing well. The following day we went to Karin, who lives in a wadi, to check progress. Karin keeps a lot of dogs, and we were amazed to see ‘our’ dog mingling with them, looking fit and healthy only 30-odd hours after losing a leg. It never ceases to amaze us how quickly these guys adapt, and simply get on with it. We left him with Karin in the safe knowledge that he will be fine. As the original ‘owner’ (owner, in this area, is a very loose term), a Bedouin, will not want him back, Karin will find a new home for him. Another positive outcome.

Over the next few days I’ll post some other photos from Dahab.


Dahab.. the final days

Yesterday (Wednesday) I spent the day with Lisa and Karen at the Dahab branch of Cogges Vets. Up close it was quite an experience. At times it reminded me of an episode of MASH – there was blood and drama. But throughout, both Karen and Lisa remained calm and simply got on with it. On the ops table (a wooden table supported by bricks to bring it up to a more convenient height), on top of some plastic sheeting, appeared a seemingly endless array of dogs and cats, sometimes at the same time. I took some photos that I will post next week, after we get home.

Throughout the day (from 0900 until 1600, with a short lunch break) I was impressed by the way Lisa and Karen worked under extreme conditions – it was hot and humid, and there was no air-conditioning, just a fan that actually served its purpose by occasionally allowing someone to stand in front of it to dry the perspiration from their face, or their hands after scrubbing. When we arrived the taps did not run, so we simply used bottled water. Whenever a problem arrived, an impromptu solution was found quickly and quietly, no panic. People popped in and out – ‘time for another 2 cats and dog?’- while dogs were recovering on the floor next to prepped cats, with everyone carefully stepping over all the obstacles. And maybe I’m a little bit partial here, but I found out that Karen and Lisa are stars. During this abbreviated visit they neutered 60 dogs and cats.

Last night I unfortunately suffered from a mild migraine, so our first diving lessons have been delayed until tomorrow (Friday) morning. Karen’s arm, though still looking bruised and damaged, feels much better and she is confident we’ll both be okay for our first lessons.

Chris, Lisa and Maya are going home. They’re waiting for their taxi as I write this. It will be quite quiet without them.

The weather is still strange – the sunshine is brighter today, after 2 days of dust-filled skies. There’s no wind and it’s very hot, very humid, not particularly comfortable. We’re not, however, complaining.


Dahab days

Karen and Lisa took most of the day off today, as Karen wasn’t really able to work as a result of injuries received from a cat- bite and scratch wounds. We expect her to able to continue tomorrow (Wednesday).

I arrived here yesterday evening, my first visit to Dahab. After a foot-on-the-floor drive from the airport I arrived safely at the house where Karen, Lisa, Chris and Maya are staying.

After a good night’s sleep I had my first view of Dahab – my first impressions are a little strange, as I’ve heard such a lot about Dahab, and posted so many pictures. I took quite a few pictures yesterday, but uploading them is turning out to be a big problem because of the low broadband speed.

Finally, I was introduced to our Dive Instructor. She’s quite young, I think, but apparently very experienced…

Dive instructor Maya

Dive instructor Maya


Dahab day 3 & 4

We had the day off today (Saturday). Managed to neuter another 10 animals yesterday. We met one of the dog spays on the beach this evening. Gorgeous girl who came to lie down with us for a while – wound looks fine and she still likes us!

Lisa and I got up early this morning to run 5 km as preparation for the ‘Run or Dye’ event that Cogges Vets are participating in on the 26th of this month. We’re doing this in aid of Animal Welfare Dahab.  We started at 5.45, but it was very hot by the time we completed the run. We ended by diving into the sea in our running gear – first took off our shoes! Dahab dogs had the same idea later in the day. We saw these 3 street dogs paddling in the sea to cool off. Having a great time. (click to enlarge)Dogs cooling off in the sea

Ticks continue to be a big problem. Most of the dogs have a large number on them and the dogs do tend to bleed more than our dogs at home so I am sure their clotting is compromised by a tick borne disease. This is a photo of the abdomen of a dog showing the small ticks which will engorge themselves and then drop off. (click to enlarge)0202

We spray most of the dogs with Frontline but this will only be effective for a month.

Bonus picture: dog on cool tiles (click to enlarge)



Back to work tomorrow.


Dahab – the heat is hot

Up early on day 3 of our Egypt escapade. Studying on the roof of the house in which we are staying. Harry and I are planning to learn to dive next week and we need to review the theory before the course begins. This is the coolest time of the day although it is about 25 degrees at the moment (7 o’clock). The sun came up at about 5 – it was stunning.

Working in this heat is quite a challenge. We are drinking litres of water during the day. I brought some netting along to cover the windows to prevent flies and other insects from disturbing our surgery. Unfortunately forgot to bring drawing pins so the net has been taped in place (see picture below), but it works!

We neutered 20 animals during the first 2 days. Everything is a bit slower  but we are trying to keep both ourselves and the animals as comfortable as possible. We managed to acquire a fan from Ruben yesterday which has helped enormously.

The volunteers of AWD are from all over the world. Yesterday we had 1 American, 1 Belgian, 1 Dutch and 3 English. Lunch was provided by a lovely Russian lady called Catherine. The volunteers do all the catching and releasing of the animals, all the cleaning and provide food and top us up with water continually during the day. A great bunch!

Return to Dahab

This morning Karen & Lisa left for Dahab, Egypt, for their third stint at helping AWD (Animal Welfare Dahab) with their TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) programme. I received a text from Karen just half an hour ago to say that they have arrived safely.

We will post regular updates about their progress and the impact the programme has on the dog and cat population of Dahab.