Friday, December 19
The Esther Honey animal clinic opened its doors (and cages) on Wednesday this week for some pre-Christmas fun for kids and their parents.
All the kids were given goody bags stuffed with lollies and toys, and spent time making tree decorations, having their faces and arms painted and of course playing with the orphaned puppies and kittens. Santa Claus rolled up on a scooter with his sidekick Santa Paws, a cute little puppy with a collar of Christmas bells, and the children played games like ‘pass the parcel’ egged on by Santa.
The first Esther Honey animal clinic opened its doors in 1995 in a small rented house in Vaimaanga. It was founded by American tourist Cathy Sue Ragan-Anunsen and since then hundreds of volunteer vets, students and assistants have made their way to Rarotonga and provided a much needed service for our local animals. In the old days the Agriculture Department sometimes had a vet on the staff but not very often and naturally enough farmers and their stock were the primary focus. Esther Honey later moved to the Totokoitu agriculture research station in Titikaveka but the landowners later reclaimed the area and now the clinic is firmly established at Nikao in premises it rents from the government. It’s just over the road from Nikao beach and you can often see the clinic’s current family of dogs going for runs on the sand or swims (usually accompanied by vets). Now the clinic has more room, volunteers have built several large, airy cages to house the animals in comfortable surroundings.
The main focus of the clinic is spaying and neutering cats and dogs to try to decrease the problem of unwanted animals but they also provide a hospital service for sick and injured animals – far too many are hit by cars – and once nursed back to health they find homes for the homeless.
The vets and volunteers do a wonderful job and pet owners (me included) are truly grateful to have them here.
The foundation has now spread to other Pacific islands. (Check out the organisation at www.estherhoney.org)
And who is Esther Honey? According to the website, Esther is the name of Cathy-Sue’s grandmother and Honey was the dog at the accommodation on Raro on her first holiday here.