Healthy dogs mean healthy people.
Aboriginal people have always lived very closely with their dogs and a distinctive feature of most remote communities is the large number of dogs. Warlukurlangu Artists runs a dog health program in Yuendumu.
This program involves feeding hungry dogs, managing ticks, and caring for sick and abandoned dogs. Staff regularly provide advice to community members on better care of dogs. Warlukurlangu Artists also fund vets to visit the community to sterilise dogs and treat them for various diseases. Over the years the Veterinary services have also been extended to the neighbouring communities of Nyirripi and Mt Allan.
In recent years the art centre has collaborated with Central Desert Regional Council and Central Land Council GMAAAC (Granites Mine Affected Area Aboriginal Corporation) to bring a vet to the community to take stock of the dog population and insert birth control implants or de-sex as many dogs as possible. This program is repeated regularly and has helped to control the number of dogs in the community and to improve the health of the remaining dogs. Despite this there are many unwanted puppies and Warlukurlangu Artists arranges for dogs to be adopted all around Australia and some puppies are taken to the RSPCA in Alice Springs.
Although the dog program is run daily by Gloria Morales, the art centres’ Assistant Manager, we could not afford to continue to provide such a high level of services without the financial support from GMAAAC and the local Council. We strongly value the relationships with both these organisations. GMAAAC contributions are voted on by the community members and is a direct acknowledgement of how much they value the dog program.
Over the years Gloria has become the local animal rescue person, her care of animals in distress is not limited to dogs. For more information visit her Facebook page Aussie Desert Dogs.