Our friends at Chengeta Wildlife put out a public ask for help to cover veterinary costs for K9 Mitch. Knowing how difficult it is to fundraise in the current global environment we donated $500 (USD).
We wish Mitch the best possible outcome and hope for a speedy recovery once treatment can be initiated.
Read More About Mitch
“The little canine heroes Mitch and Bobby.
Mali, 2017. During a lull in the deafening roar of machine guns and assault rifles blazing away during a firefight that had erupted after an ambush on our antipoaching patrol I heard a strange thumping sound…
Lying in the sun in the 45C+ heat, expecting to be overrun and fighting hand to hand at any moment I was momentarily confused. Was this some new weapon that I couldn’t recognize that had joined the fray? Had enemy reinforcements arrived on the scene? Or was the heat, stress and thirst driving my heart rate and blood pressure so high that I could literally hear it pounding in my ears?
I took a deep breath shook my head and listened again.
The sound was not a weapon firing but something infinitely more benign and also very close to me, both literally and figuratively. I turned my heard and looked into the soft brown eyes of Mitch, one of our brave little spaniel detection dogs from Chengeta Wildlife. He was peering at me through the wire door of his transport kennel with an inquisitive tilt to his head. The sound was Mitch’s tail whacking against he transport kennel as he wagged it… We had placed the kennels of Mitch and Bobby with us in a slight depression in the sand which we expected may be our last stand position.
While the battle had been raging these two little fury bundles of good will had been happily wagging their tails at us, no doubt hoping to join whatever (noisy) game we were so engrossed in.
In spite of the situation I couldn’t help smiling and called out Mitch and Bobby’s names. The sound of the tails escalated. I signaled to Erik Groenendijk and Nigel Kuhn what was happening and they too began to smile. Soon we were all laughing and calling out the dogs names who responded by joyfully hammering away with their tales.
The shooting soon began again and we got on with the business of saving our lives. During the short interlude the dogs had raised our spirits and the situation didn’t appear quite so desperate after that. Anyway, we survived.
Unfortunately, soon after it was decided that with the deteriorating security and the logistical difficulties caused by continuously having to move our base of operations it was wiser to only bring detection dogs into the country as needed for specific missions. Mitch and Bobby then spent a period of retraining in the Netherlands.
Both dogs have now been based in the Central African Republic at Dzanga Sangha National Park doing important work detecting ivory, pangolins and weapons.
Sadly, Mitch has had a bad eye infection. The Covid-19 lockdowns have meant it has been impossible for months to get any lab tests done. Fortunately Resi, a veterinarian from Germany has both looked after Mitch as best she could and also eventually managed to get samples out to a lab in Germany. We hope to hear shortly what can be done. However, we have been warned that Mitch’s eyesight is already deteriorating.
Please keep these wonderful animals and the kind vets and brave handlers who care for them in your thoughts.
Here are some pictures of Mitch, Bobby and Amy in the Gourma in Mali and in Dzanga Sangha in CAR.”
Co-Founder & CEO