Reflections from Samana
Dr. Arthur Freedman
I travel to the Dominican Republic every June, as some of you know, volunteering with Project Samana, a nonprofit organization for animals much like Doctors Without Borders. During our week on the Samana Peninsula, we (veterinarians, vet students, technicians, and assistants) provide free medical and surgical care to as many animals in need as we can. (“In need” describes a large part of the animal population there.) This year’s trip was my fourteenth, and, I’m happy to say, was a successful one. The group consisted of 24 members, many from MA, and some from CA, GA, CO, and VA. Our small-animal team (about half the group) performed 160 surgeries in 4 days, and the large-animal team traveled many miles from farm to farm to castrate and care for 40 horses and mules—the DR’s mainstay work animals. The animals we weren’t able to treat will wait until November, when another group goes down.
What made the trip really special this time was our stay at a newly renovated, grand old hotel, where we were treated much like royalty. The food and accommodations were wonderful. The staff really appreciated why we were there and went out of their way to make our after-hours pleasant. We were happy we all chipped in a little more this year for the relaxing end-of-day experience.
I feel very fortunate to be a part of this group and its mission to educate the underprivileged about animal care. It positively reinforces my decision to become a veterinarian and reminds me of how advantaged I am to have so many resources at home that aren’t available everywhere. If you are able to donate, I hope you might consider this cause. www.projectsamana.com