Sumatran Dog Program

$14,841 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 152 people in 36 months

We have had an immense amount of support with starting the Sumatran Dog Health program, based in Batu Mbelin and Tangkahan villages. We have already reached our target and raised AUD $8000 in order to be able to vaccinate and sterilise our initial goal of 200 dogs for the next 12 months.

However, we need to now raise urgent funds to employ a full time Sumatran veterinarian and driver to operate this vehicle. 
Previously, all our work has been voluntary during our personal holidays and days off, but it is limiting the amount of dogs, which need our help. So the easiest solution is to employ dedicated staff in Sumatra to make a direct difference every day.

Many of the village dogs which need our help and support, are remote and they cannot come to us. In order to provide monthly vet support and health care, free vaccinations, sterilisations and education and awareness campaigns, we need a good team. 

I am reaching out to all of you to help reach our goal to employ a veterinarian, driver (education officer) and provide funds to operate this vehicle for 12 months.

Our goal is to reach 200 dogs and within 2 years, 800+ dogs. 

Can you help our program by making a small online donation, which will greatly benefit the progress?

We want this to be operational by September and are urgently seeking any support to make this a sustainable and consistent program for longterm.

1 x dog full adoption is AUD$145 for 12 months.

This will cover a full time vet and operations for the mobile vet unit. 

More information on our work:

#PositiveAction #SumatranDogs #SaveaDogsLife 


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Can you help us supporters? We are after vet supplies and with our new updated wishlist, we are hoping you may be able to collect some for our program.
These continue to help us in the field under difficult conditions. If you can support us with any goods in kind, then make sure you email us via the website:

Thanks for your generous support!
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Pro Natura or KWLPH is an organisation in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan that began as a centre to hold and display rescued Sun Bears. Over the years, it has grown to also be a rescue centre and refuge for stray cats and dogs from the area.
Currently home to 150 cats and 25 dogs, the centre provides education, sterilisations, vaccinations and care for the community animals, as well as providing a long-term, secure home to those that can’t be adopted.

Our friends at KWPLH needed some volunteer help, and we saw it as the perfect opportunity to upskill new local coordinator, Abady.

Abady is from a village near Tangkahan, one of our focus areas in North Sumatra. He loves animals and is happy to be working with our program to assist not only his immediate community, but lead the way for other communities in North Sumatra.

We sponsored Abady to travel over with our Program Supervisor in order to develop his skills and understanding around animal health and welfare. He has been working with the team in Balikpapan on daily husbandry, learning about dog behavior, nutrition, basic training skills, giving medications, observing surgeries, and receiving education around the importance of vaccinations and sterilisations so that he can share this information with the owners of dogs in our program.

It is vital that we have local buy-in from the communities we work in, which means it is important for us to have local people from within the community become mentors and leaders.

First Update: Training in Balikpapan
This was my first time ever flying on a plane! I travelled to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan because I really want to learn more about how to look after dogs and I want to know about vaccinations and medicine so I can help the dogs in Tangkahan and around my village.

Before we took off I felt it was really dangerous, and I was very nervous for a long time. But after we took off I felt only a little bit shaky and not afraid anymore. We flew for eight hours and stopped three times.

When we arrived in Balikpapan it was already dark. We drove to KWPLH. As soon as we arrived I saw many dogs and cats, they all come to me to say hello.

The first day I woke up early to help the staff here. I started by giving the animals breakfast and helping to give medicine to the sick animals. After that we cleaned the cages. In the afternoon, I helped the vet to give a dental to a cat. I learned how to listen to a heartbeat and how to test if an animal is in a deep enough sleep.

There are 25 dogs here. Every day we take the dogs walking twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon. We walk them for a few hours to the hill and into the forest nearby. All the dogs must have some exercise before they have their food.

I have now been here for five days. We work from 8 until 5 every day. This week I have learned about cleaning wounds, animal training, and watched the vet doing some sterilisations. I have also learned why it is important to sterilise animals to keep them healthy. I can now explain this to my community at home when I get back.

My favourite thing to do here is exercise the dogs because they are happy and playing together. I can also learn about how to train animals and learn about dog behaviour, which will help me in my work with the Dog Program.

I want to say thank you to the Sumatran Dog Health Program and the staff here at KWPLH for teaching me many things. I have never left Sumatra before and this experience will help me and my village.

Second Update: Learning about dogs in KWPLH
This week at KWPLH I have learned more about how to give different kinds of medicine to animals. For example; eye-drops, tablets, and antibiotic creams. I have also learned how to hold and restrain animals safely to medicate them, so I don't hurt them, and they can't hurt me or the vet.

It is important for me to learn and understand about dog behaviour because sometimes the dogs we treat in Tangkahan are scared or angry, and I need to know the best way to approach them so we can help them.

Walking the dogs in large groups here has helped me to learn about dog behaviour, and how to know if a dog is friendly, scared, or angry. This will help me with my work back home.

Every day we feed all the animals, clean the cages and walk the dogs. I also help to give medicine to the sick animals and watch any surgery that the vet does so I can learn more. All of the dogs here are healthy, but some of the cats have been sick. I can still learn about animal health for dogs by watching the surgery on cats, because the vet uses the same methods for both usually.

I also have been helping with other jobs here like painting new cages and cutting the grass.

I have really liked staying here the last two weeks. The centre is a beautiful place with many gardens and trees, and large areas of forest to walk the dogs in. I have one more week here and want to keep learning more about diseases of dogs, and more about animal health, so that when I go back to Tangkahan I can explain to people in my village about how to give good care to their dogs.

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Our latest BLOG post on Why Dogs Matter! After 12 months operating, why are we doing this?

The Sumatran Dog Health Program is now one year old! When we first launched a year ago, our intention was to provide medical care, education, advice, and sterilisation to the dogs in our target villages in North Sumatra. We are so proud to now be routinely caring for 60 dogs, and have provided sterilisations and medical support to dozens more, and a few dozens of cats too in the process!

But the achievements go far beyond numbers. We are working in areas that are remote, where the local community live in poverty, and where dogs are often viewed as a replaceable asset: to guard property or breed with to make extra money. Of course, there are exceptions to this attitude, but even for those owners who DO want to provide veterinary care to their animals, they lack the money, resources and appropriate knowledge to do so.

So why do dogs matter? Why, in an area of the world where jungles are disappearing rapidly, and charismatic species such as the orangutan, rhino, elephant and tiger are in danger of disappearing forever, why focus on some local village dogs?

Set up by Jessica Mckelson, CEO of Raw Wildlife Encounters (which also runs programs for habitat protection, community health, building ecotourism sustainably) we consider this program an important step in securing the future of all wildlife and habitats in Sumatra....
Make sure you read more in the attached BLOG link.

Photo - Ted Van Der Hulst Photography.
Developing Empathy and Compassion
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The last few months have been extra busy for the team at Sumatran Dog Health Program. As well as maintaining our monthly health checks at our launch village of Batu Mbelin, where we continue to enrol and care for new dogs, we have kicked off community socialisation at Batu Rongring and Batu Katak, and conducting early assessments of the needs of those villages.

We are also full steam ahead planning our first sterilisation clinic, which will take place in the eco-tourism village of Tangkahan at the end of November.
Our coordinator Carly Day, has been based there for the last three weeks, planning the logistics of how to set up and run a clinic in a remote jungle village. This is no easy task!

We have been doing the rounds, chatting to the dog owners and discussing the best way to help care for their dogs.
Routine health care such as worming and vaccinations are no hard sell. But as in most of the areas we are working in, sterilisation requires further education and communication.

Many of the dogs in these communities are used for guarding the villager’s crops and gardens. The owners believe that if their male dogs are desexed, they will become fat and lazy and no longer be good guard dogs. This is where further discussion, education and myth-busting becomes important.

In spite of these obstacles, we have a growing list of 20 dogs enrolled for sterilisation, and are also offering free sterilisations for the cats of Tangkahan too, with around 20 signed up already!

Cages have been built for post op recovery, rooms booked, and we are bringing in a highly recommended veterinarian from Java for the clinic who has extensive experience desexing domestic animals throughout Indonesia and we are pleased to have her on board!

Our work doesn’t stop here, the program will continue to grow, and we want to be able to provide consistent and quality health care to all our existing dogs, as well as enrolling more animals as we grow.

In order for us to do this, our primary goal is still to hire a vet – this is an essential next step in the progress of our program, and incredibly important to help treat the extensive scabies and general health problems we are seeing in the dogs.

A HUGE thanks to Carly Day, Blue, Doman, Ika, Donna, Anto and the team at Tangkahan Inn for allowing us to build the cages and support the sterilisation clinic at this accommodation facility this month.

Help us reach our goal to hire a full time vet and support the work we do in the field! We are still short $1,000 to cover this sterilisation clinic and we hope you can SHARE this to all your friends to help us raise the last amount.

Small steps to Animal Welfare. Every cent helps!
Blue building our recovery boxes !
Busy build sterilisation cages
On the road to recovery!
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Read a Previous Update
Carolyn Buchanan Counts
22 months ago

Thank you and your team SO MUCH for the good you are doing!!! Thank God for the dogs and cats that there are people living there, as yourself, to directly help with hands on AND EDUCATE the people that dogs and cats ARE NOT MEAT for them to inhumanely abuse ad they are doing in all those Asian countries!!! God Bless You All!!!

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Elizabeth Sterling
32 months ago

Thank you Jessica & your inspiring team for initiating this vital life-changing work in the community. I look forward to adopting a dog through the Sumatran Dog Health Program for my nieces & nephews for Xmas. Kind regards, Elizabeth Sterling, Hangout 4 Hounds & Horses

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$14,841 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 152 people in 36 months
Created June 27, 2016
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Eron Schrock
6 months ago
10 months ago
Ky Esse
10 months ago
Ashley Davey
11 months ago
Dennis Day
14 months ago

To help Buda and his dogs. Thanks for the amazing work Carly.

Kurt Johnson
15 months ago

For school supplies & repairs

15 months ago
Fiona and Mark Darin
16 months ago

Keep up the good work :-)

Sienna Dalton
17 months ago
Ninda Syam
17 months ago
Carolyn Buchanan Counts
22 months ago

Thank you and your team SO MUCH for the good you are doing!!! Thank God for the dogs and cats that there are people living there, as yourself, to directly help with hands on AND EDUCATE the people that dogs and cats ARE NOT MEAT for them to inhumanely abuse ad they are doing in all those Asian countries!!! God Bless You All!!!

+ Read More
Elizabeth Sterling
32 months ago

Thank you Jessica & your inspiring team for initiating this vital life-changing work in the community. I look forward to adopting a dog through the Sumatran Dog Health Program for my nieces & nephews for Xmas. Kind regards, Elizabeth Sterling, Hangout 4 Hounds & Horses

+ Read More
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