Pets in Sun City Shadow Hills are pampered and loved. However, there are quite a few places in the world where dogs and cats have a much more difficult life.
When SCSH residents John and Carol Phelps decided to buy a home overseas, they remembered the wonderful time they had when they had visited Fiji, and decided that was where they wanted to live. So, about 10 years ago, they bought 2 1/2 acres of land in Savusavu, the second largest town in Vanua Levu, the second largest island in Fiji and built a home on the land.
Little did they know at the time that they would become very involved in animal welfare on the islands. When they moved to Savusavu, they discovered some sad truths about the appalling condition of dogs and cats in the Fijian Islands:
Veterinarians did not exist. Most dogs were not domesticated and lived outdoors. Pet food did not exist. Neutering and spaying dogs and cats was unheard of. The government did not (and still does not) spend any money on animal welfare programs. The drowning of female dogs was commonplace as was poisoning to control the animal population.
Being committed animal lovers, they decided they needed to take some action on behalf of the animals. They reached out to Animals Fiji, a grassroots group that took over from the SPCA when they pulled out of Fiji.
The Phelps supported the purchase of a permanent shelter and clinic for Animals Fiji in the town of Nadi on the main island of Viti Levu. This shelter can now house about 100 dogs at a time. Animals Fiji has also hired two full time veterinarians who work out of the main clinic in Nadi. They also have a clinic in Savusavu where the Phelps live, with one veterinarian who travels from island to island.
However, the Phelps support has not stopped with the purchase of a shelter and clinic. They have worked tirelessly when in SCSH to collect expired or soon to expire pet medicines, leashes, toys, collars, food bowls, blankets, etc. and twice yearly they coordinate large shipments of these supplies to the Fijian Islands. John Phelps said that this month they are sending over a record shipment of 21 boxes.
But the Phelps work is not finished. They hope to design and implement educational programs beginning in elementary schools to teach animal kindness. They also hope to get assistance in the education of the Fijian population from the village chiefs and church pastors.
Another project that they hope to start is a spay/neuter day, when Fijians can bring their dogs and cats to a clinic and have their pets spayed or neutered for no charge.
However, all of this takes money. What Animals Fiji needs most is monetary donations. If anyone wishes to donate to Animals Fiji, please visit their website at animalsfiji.org.
Anyone who wants to donate pet medicines and/or supplies, please contact John Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org.