Last week I wrote about the first week of the Trap, Neuter and Release Project that I’ve been involved with.  After a very successful first week, our expectations were high to achieve a great second week.  The total count at the end of the first week was:

Cats: 30 female and 18 male = 48
Dogs: 14 female and 27 male = 41

With the targets set at the start of the project being 50 cats, and 50 dogs.

So the first day of week two started off with a tally of 3 cats and 5 dogs.  The animals treated were from the wadis making them considerably more wild and feral than the other animals that had been treated so far.  Karen, the vet thought that as the dogs were heavy tic-infested it caused additional inflammation inside them, making the operations go much slower.

One of the spayed cats, a cat from Ralph’s German Bakery at the Lighthouse, nicknamed Broken Leg also had a hernia repair, and then performed a leg amputation-triple operation!  This cat who has suffered for months, with a lame leg, will now hopefully be a lot more comfortable. The Cogges team were ill-equipped to perform an amputation, their focus being on neutering, so, in typical Dahab fashion, time for some innovation.  A sterilised set of nail clippers proved more than adequate.  Undoubtedly the three-legged cat will receive lots of sympathy and pastry at Ralph’s, and looks like she will now have a new name…we thought Tripod!

As we’d been so successful on the first week, we started to notice that supplies were running low, which limits how much the vets could do. We occasionally received some supplies, but this restricted the vets to working on an op-by-op basis to see what we can do. The AWD team and myself were trying to source supplies from anywhere we could think of…

The following morning we’d planned for consultations- but the day began by checking up on the Ralph’s Bakery cat-Tripod who underwent a triple operation the previous day: leg amputation, hernia removal and spay.  It was fantastic to see her doing so well – she was very lively and keen to learn to walk on 3 legs. Generally, both cats and dogs cope amazingly well with the loss of a limb – they just get on with it.

Tripod with Lisa


By the end of the day a total of 17 animals were seen, some cases were fairly simple, like a mysteriously vomiting cat, where the problem turned out to be a hairball.  Others were more complex, like Bobby, a dog who was almost incapable of walking.  After a full reflex and spinal check, the diagnoses: a long-standing neck injury which affects most of his body. To fix this problem would have been very complex and expensive, even at home. Bobby seems quite happy, so he was given anti-inflammatory pills to help ease the problem. Little else can be done.

In addition to the above, we did another male and female cat neuter, while having scheduled the removal of a mass for the following day.  The total operations now an impressive 111.

The afternoon was spent with Karen and Lisa exploring Bannerfish Bay (snorkeling) right out the front of Sea Dancer Dive Center, while Chris was offered a chance to try sidemount diving with Adam. As can be expected, all of the vet team saw a huge variety of sea-life and had a great afternoon.

Chris enjoying his Sidemount dive


Myself and Adam  hosted a  barbeque for all of the AWD/TNR team.  Thankfully no-one was sick the following day….


Day 10′s tally for the day: 5 dogs, 6 cats.  In addition, a concerned local brought in his heavily pregnant Bulldog Sushi, who un-beknown to him was actually in labour and then proceeded to give birth.

Sushi with her new pup

Total number of operations for the project was now at 122, already way over our target of 100.  As such, it meant that for the final few days the vets needed to carefully control the amount of medication administered to each animal. This is a difficult task as it is hard to predict how much sedative each patient will require.  We were also paid an impromptu visit by 7 members of Dahab  city council, and although communication was limited, they wanted to see the project in action. Apparently they expected to see 20 vets at work… Karen replied: “Nope, just me!”.  They were due to return the following day accompanied by the mayor, to see more.

Friday, day 11 was the final opportunity to do some operations. If was difficult to work out the most efficient way of making the drugs last, but Karen and Lisa succeeded to work all the way down to the very last millilitre of anaesthetic drug, and so achieved the maximum possible result before packing up the clinic.  The ops went smoothly, with Lisa keeping a close eye on drug supplies.

Total for the day: 2 dogs, 4 cats. In addition, an operation to remove a mass from a dog that had been brought in during the consults.  So this left us with a grand total of 128 neutered animals during 10 days of ops, easily beating our target of 100.

Friday began with Karen taking the plunge with a PADI Discover Scuba Dive with myself, in which Lisa, an already experienced diver, tagged along, along with Adam to get photos and video of the occasion.   Karen at the start of the project was adamant that she could not dive as she has asthma, but after taking her to one of our excellent dive physicians Dr Heikal and getting clearance to dive, she appears to be a natural, clocking up a whopping 72-minutes for her first ever dive.  What a dive, as well!!!  Turtle, seahorses, octopus, to name but a few of the many delights we have here in Dahab.

Myself, Lisa and Karen after her amazing 72 min DSD

For our final evening in Dahab, Karin invited all of the volunteers up to her incredible house up in a wadi outside the town for a barbeque. We enjoyed a beautiful evening and lovely food cooked by Karin and her husband. The starry sky was amazing, and, as the temperature began to drop, the team enjoyed a warm bonfire.

Saturday was clean-up day.  Our makeshift clinic was returned to its original state, which didn’t take long, as we all worked together to move out furniture, scrub walls and floors, so we could eventually close the gate for the last time.

Everyone feels the financial squeeze, due to the current economic situation, but we can guarantee you that if you can spare anything at all for the AWD, it will ALL be used to the benefit of local animals here in Dahab. Not a single penny goes to administration. To donate, contact either myself, Jose or Karin from AWD, or if you are in the UK then you can contact the amazing vet team that have given us so much, by popping into their surgery or contact them (01993 772627,

With so few tourists in restaurants, there are no scraps for the dogs. Many locals suffer from a vastly reduced income and have stopped feeding the street-dogs. This has lowered the number of dogs in the town, but as they look elsewhere for sustenance, they create other problems, and this has led to a spate of poisonings.  We hope that this TNR campaign will help control and eventually reduce the population numbers in the town, thus giving the remaining animals an easier life.  As we say in Arabic, Inshallah!!!


Photo credits go to Chris Knight and AWD, thank you for letting me use them