This Family Sanctuary Is Giving Abandoned Cats A Loving Home
Venezuela resembles a land from a post-apocalyptic novel. You can see modern skyscrapers but cannot charge your phone. You can have a computer, a mobile and a flat-screen TV but still have to cook on wood-burning stoves. While shopping it’s more practical to weight money rather than count it. Millions of people are running away from the country and those who stay, often starve.
Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. They were discovered during World War I and up to 1980s country experienced a massive economic boom.
Hugo Chavez, who came to power in 1994, believed in radical socialism and nationalization of industries (which he pursued to an extreme). He personally participated in most of the decisions being taken which, given his ideas, led to frequent overspending outside the budget. Venezuelan economy obviously started to collapse, but Chavez stated it is a result of „economic war” fought against the country. He replaced directors of state agencies and other crucial specialists in various areas with trusted followers. Obviously, this led to greater chaos. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, maintains a similar strategy (yet without Chavez’s ideals and charisma) – under his rule Venezuela plunged into chaos.
Recently, in early 2019 inflation peaked above 1.7 million percent. It means that salary can barely get you anything – average monthly pay of a doctor is enough to get a pack of eggs.
My friend, Javier Reinoso, together with his parents Juan and Ellia, live in a small town of El Tocuyo in west-central Venezuela. They always loved animals, helped them and fed the needy. Despite the dire economic situation, they run a sanctuary for abandoned cats and promised never to leave the country without their 50+ animals.
In the past few months, the situation has become even worse – if that is even possible. Days go by without any drinking water available, electricity is being rationed, medical care is nonexistent.
The house in which the Reinoso family lives is an old building requiring an urgent repair. Rainfalls mean sleeping in wet beds and walking in an inch of water and struggling to secure a dry spot for people (and animals).
Electricity is rationed to a few hours a day, but people are not being informed about the next blackout, so they are unable to plan.
No electricity means you can’t charge your phone, thus call an ambulance if needed, work after dusk, use a refrigerator, a computer, an electric cooker. No meds mean if a feral cat bites you, you may lose your hand. Internet shortages mean you can’t talk to your friends abroad and feeling of isolation is even greater.
Many people would run away, be consumed with depression or at least anger.
But not Reinoso family. Every so often they take in yet another cat who was left behind. Despite little food available they always manage to provide their furry friends with some nutrients. They know and love each and every one of them.
Zoe is particularly playful and mischievous. One day she got out of the premise – they looked for her relentlessly, put out fliers and offer a reward for any information about her. They’ve found her safe and sound.
Birdie had neuter done by a poorly-trained vet. This gave him an infection which due to a lack of medicine was very dangerous. Yet Reinoso managed to save him and he’s all happy to assist in writing posts on Twitter.
Little Pinticos (grey siblings) found by Javier while he was looking for a source of drinking water. They were adopted not only by a human but also by the feline family.
Sweet Cirillo enjoys his sunbath before he will be taken to the vet for his neuter.
Popy and Popina
When Popy and Popina were found, they had an eye infection, which may be dangerous (again, given the lack of meds). Thankfully, water and leftovers of eye-drops were all that was necessary.
Little Samuel and Mr. Juan clearly love each other.
Javier and his parents are kind despite the circumstances. I admire their attitude and hope one day they will have a home somewhere, where they won’t have to fight for every bit of food.
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