Joy is now the face of the Sigatoka River Dog Mission.
Joy is now the face of the Sigatoka River Dog Mission. Supplied

Saving the dogs of Sigatoka

SIGATOKA River Safari has partnered with Canine Street Rescue in the USA to feed the dogs in the villages along the Sigatoka River.

When Stephanie Ferreira from Canine Street Rescue did the Sigatoka River Safari tour and visited the village of Koroua, she was alarmed by the malnourished dogs she saw.

As founder of Canine Street Rescue, a non-profit organization in America whose main mission is to rescue homeless dogs off the streets, Ms Ferreira decided to see what she could do to help feed and nourish these dogs.

"I really want to raise funds at home to not only help feed the Sigatoka river dogs, but to hopefully sponsor a veterinarian to come to the aid of the dogs and perform basic health screening and spay/neuter clinic. I also want to incorporate education for those in the village about the benefits and necessities of having a healthy dog," Ms Ferreira said.

Canine Street Rescue is aiming to raise enough money to send a veterinarian to the villages with a translator, so the dogs can receive the medical attention they need and teach the basics of canine care to the people of the village.

"I'm meeting with a veterinarian who has experience in travelling to foreign countries performing free clinics so with his expertise he can advise the best way for us to go forward," Ms Ferreira said.

Based on the advice of the SPCA, Canine Street Rescue will also start a dog food program.

"The SPCA made a very crucial point that if we feed the dogs before they are spayed/neutered they will then gain enough weight to be healthy enough to breed which will then greatly increase the number of dogs to feed." Says Ms Ferreira.

Canine Street Rescue plans on delivering one 40-pound bag to each of the 15 villages once a month.

After expressing her concerns and plans with Sigatoka River Safari, founder and CEO, Jay Whyte, Sigatoka River Safari quickly partnered with Canine Street Rescue to help Ms Ferreira with her mission.

Sigatoka River Safari will help Ms Ferreira organise and carry out each phase of the plan in Fiji.

When in Koroua village, Ms Ferreira became attached to a dog, who she adopted and called Joy. Joy is now part of Ms Ferreira's family in Los Angeles and is the face of the Sigatoka River Dog Mission.

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