By Molly Mednikow, Founder and Executive Director of Amazon CARES
READER GIVEAWAY: A $100 Value. See details below on how to enter! My name is Molly Mednikow and I am the Founder and Executive Director of a great charity called Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety, also known as Amazon CARES.
I started CARES after witnessing the hardship companion pets face in the Peruivian Amazong region. I first traveled to Peru on a dare. I had been supporting a charity, Rivers of the World, that delivered school supplies to remote villages on the Amazon. The Director came into my place of business, a high-end jewelry store, and invited me along.
My salespeople laughed, so I stubbornly said yes, I would love to go. That and subsequent trips changed my entire perspective on life. I am part of a 125 year old family jewelry tradition. I was fortunate to own a successful store in Atlanta, Georgia. Yet with every visit to Peru the jewelry business became less important to me.
Whenever I sold an expensive piece of jewelry I would think about how the same money could help so many people and animals in poverty-stricken Iquitos, the capital of the Peruvian Amazon region. Every time I went to Peru, I was saddened by the high volume of very ill street dogs that fought to survive. After hearing horrifying stories of mass, inhumane culling of the stray dog population, and learning of the practice of feeding strays to circus tigers, I knew I had to do something.
Despite global concern over environmental and wildlife issues in the region, there were no programs in place for domestic animal welfare so I created CARES. In 2004 I stayed in Peru, and my family graciously purchased my jewelry business from me. Privately, nobody thought I would last 6 months. I really surprised them, and most of all, myself.
CARES’s focus is on humane education and the reduction of animal overpopulation through free spay/neuter clinics and street dog capture-neuter-release programs. We have a veterinary clinic and a no-kill shelter, a successful adoption program, and we have excelled in the area of animal assisted therapy.
Because there are many more issues in our region, we also deal with environmental education and the importance of leaving wildlife in their natural habitat. Pet ownership in the Amazon is quite different from that in the USA. Pets are not pampered. Very few have collars or identification. A pet shop might carry food bowls for pets, but they are of the cheap plastic variety. When one’s life depends on survival, pets are not a priority. Most don’t even have official owners that care for them on a regular basis.
We call these free roaming dogs, as they usually have a territory and often they once belonged to a family that abandoned them or moved away. My beloved dog, Marilyn Monroe, started her life this way. We found Marilyn on the harsh streets of Iquitos, Peru and she was one of the first rescues of Amazon CARES. She was emaciated and young, and her outlook for survival looked grim. Once back at the shelter, eating regular meals, she gained weight quickly. Then we found out that Marilyn was pregnant! We saved three animals, and when her two puppies were born, we kept them until we could sterilize them, and then found them homes. Marilyn knew to trust me, but she has always been protective of her food. She still eats in a seated position at times, with her arms around the food bowl.
When I moved back to America from Peru in 2008, Marilyn joined me, of course. I’ve never really bought anything extravagant for her. Does she wonder why I’ve never provided her with special food and water bowls? Since coming to the USA, she has been eating out of a bowl I created at a pottery café in 1997. The bowl even bears the monogram of my former pet, Gretchen! I always meant to return to a pottery café to make Marilyn her own bowls, but most of my dog related purchases are limited to items we need for the shelter in Peru. In truth, I don’t think Marilyn is actually offended.
But, things have changed for Marilyn thanks to PetSafe. She and I are proud owners of a beautiful new feeder and a watering station. They have a modern, clean look that really fits my décor. I am thrilled she has fresh, filtered water all the time. With better tasting water, your dog or cat will probably drink MORE water, which is essential for bodily functions and pet health.
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Food Station is revolutionizing her food and my home environment. Marilyn will get fresh food AND FILTERED water whenever she needs it. Both are served in stainless steel bowls, which is the most hygienic material one can use to feed or water a pet. Plus the bowls are removable and dishwasher safe, which means clean up is easy.
Not only does Marilyn love these products, your pet will love them too! To win the PetSafe Healthy Pet Food Station and a PetSafe Healthy Pet Water Station including two water filters plus the Amazon CARES tote bag, simply
1) Leave a comment on this post about why your pet needs these products
2) Like AmazonCares on Facebook and make a comment there as well (for 1 bonus entry)
Be sure to enter the PetSafe and Amazon CARES give away so your dog can enjoy the benefits of a Healthy Pet Water Station and Healthy Pet Food Station!