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November 21, 2011

Training Iraqi Vets

HSI welcomes two Iraqi veterinarians to our training center in India

Humane Society International/India

  • Drs. A-Wali (left) and Al-Sudni came all the way from Iraq for the training. HSI

  • Drs. A-Wali and Al-Sudni during a class at HSI's JVTC. HSI

  • Participants interact with HSI's Dr. Chawla. HSI

  • Dr. Chawla addresses a question from Dr. A-Wali. HSI

  • !

    Dr. Al-Sudni assists with distribution of the surgical equipment. HSI

  • Dr. A-Wali closely observes a spay surgery. HSI

  • Spay surgery is a main component of CNVR. HSI

  • Drs. A-Wali and Al-Sudni hope to reproduce the training for their colleagues back home in Iraq. HSI

Dr. Gharib Dohi Yaseen Al-Sudni and Dr. Abdul Raheem A-Wali, both senior veterinarians from Iraq, were part of the first batch of trainees at HSI’s Jaipur Vet Training Centre (JVTC).  Their presence was the result of concerted efforts spanning two years by the HSI teams in Asia and the U.S., along with several Iraqi agencies. It was a long wait for both HSI and the Iraqi vets.

“Many months before our trip to India was confirmed, I had a dream that my colleague Dr. Al-Sudni and I would come to this country,” said Dr. A-Wali.

The vets were eager to learn the Catch-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release (CNVR) method being taught at JVTC, which is a combination of easy-to-perform sterilization surgery and vaccination against at least five deadly diseases, including rabies. CNVR is a humane way to control stray dog populations that makes both animals and people safer. Currently in Iraq, armed squads are sent out to shoot dogs in the streets; both vets are strongly against the practice.  “Shooting is so unmerciful, it is time we stop it,” said Dr. Al-Sudni.

Going the distance 

HSI’s Dr. Sunil Chawla, who is leading the training team at JVTC, was impressed with the Iraqi vets’ enthusiasm. “They’re very eager and I will ensure that they master CNVR. They are also interested in other procedures and I am going to try my best to see that they get an opportunity to learn new skills,” he promised.

The trainees intend to teach the CNVR technique to other vets back in Iraq. “I work closely with 10 surgeons at the government animal hospital in Baghdad. I will go back and train them… that’s why I pay close attention to the sessions,” said Dr. A-Wali with a smile.

Dr. Al-Sudni, whose trip to India was his first time abroad, was visibly happy about being in the country. “I am a great fan of Bollywood movies,” he explained. Though he confessed to missing his six children, he said, “The work we are here for is very important. I wish HSI would set up a training center or an office in Iraq.”

The road ahead 

Dr. Al-Sudni also stated that the Iraqi government was willing to support them with the implementation of CNVR as a method of decreasing the country's dog population.

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Dr. A-Wali commented that dogs in Iraq could not easily be caught and contained like the dogs in India. “I went for a walk in the morning and it was a completely different experience—dogs are so docile here. I think because of the bombs, guns and violence, Iraqi dogs are very aggressive,” he said. “But we have to control the population humanely. We will need to set up two locations in Baghdad, in the safe and more dangerous areas, where we can carry out these surgeries. I am also confident that the government will support us, because whenever we ask for resources, they make sure we get them.”

HSI was extremely pleased to have the Iraqi vet team at the training center. We wish them good luck in making a difference in the lives of the street dogs in Iraq. You too, can help HSI protect street animals.