Animal World
 
Animals are Our Equals: Chile’s Animal Defense and Rescue Team      
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Today’s Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

Greetings and welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. This episode we meet two dedicated animal lovers from Chile whose heartfelt efforts have helped improve the lives of many animals in their nation. Founded in 2009, the mission of Animal Defense and Rescue Team (Equipo de Defensa y Rescate Animal- EDRA), a non-profit organization, is to improve the lives of all animals.

The Team’s pro-animal philosophy is reflected in all of its activities. One of EDRA’s important successes has been the establishment of “adoption days” in the nation’s capital of Santiago through which many abandoned and homeless animals have found loving homes. Alexis Castillo, co-founder of EDRA, graciously provided us with details on these adoption day events as well as other projects sponsored by his group.

The idea of our adoption day is that although EDRA is the one who organizes it all, anyone who rescues an animal can bring them to our adoption day in order to find a home. You do not have to pay anything, you do not have to be our friend; you need not suit our taste. The only thing we ask is compliance with a protocol. We have a protocol which sets the rules for placing an animal. So if a person complies with that, and brings them to our event, we will provide materials that our resources permit.

We provide the dogs with clips, perfumes, and we put on collars, leashes, and then the adoption event begins. So if someone wants a dog, someone from EDRA will do an interview. For example, what I'm showing here, this is the interview form with which we approve the adopter, where we ask all his data, the animal data, data of the sponsor who is the person who rescued the animal and brought them to us.

And we give people who adopt a dog a brochure with the data of the dog, the data of the sponsor, our data also, and basic points on animal care. It can be a dog or a cat, and inside is the commitment they signed, so they can take with them a duplicate. That's the way we have… first to filter the adopters, because they are adopting an animal and not a teddy bear.

And we are super emphatic on that. That’s why we have this system. On the one hand the protocol to get the animals to our adoption events, and on the other hand, the interview for adopting out to new people.

As an organization, EDRA has employed innovative approaches to speed up the process of street animals finding caring homes.

When we started working we said: “Okay, which things are currently not good or can be better?” We realized that many people organized adoption days, but it was too infrequent, every two months, every four months, every six months, and Chile alone has about more than one million stray dogs. We are talking about thousands and thousands of dogs on the streets and more are always being born.

We said if we want to take dogs off the streets, we must hold systematic adoption days, allowing us to take a lot of animals off of the street. And we started to organize adoption days every Saturday and Sunday, non-stop. That was our goal, for this not to stop.

Tell us, what has been people’s reaction to those Saturday and Sunday adoptions?

Very good, people are willing to adopt a street dog… that we have amply demonstrated already, since May 2009 when we began doing adoption day. We already have over 1000 animals adopted, and this is without media broadcasts, without any institutional support, no advertising, only by working systematically. We have given up more than 1000 animals for adoption.

People are willing to adopt, the problem is that they didn’t know where or it cost them a lot. If a child says, “I want a puppy,” the parent knows to go to a mall and buy a puppy, but they do not know where to adopt one. And we have offered a different alternative, which is to adopt. People know us and know we are here every Saturday and Sunday at the same place, at the same time.

The Animal Defense and Rescue Team foresees helping even more companion animals by eventually holding adoption days not just in one, but five different locations throughout Santiago.

For us, the adoption days have brought tremendous satisfaction, because we have demonstrated that it’s possible to do adoption days with very few resources. We do not have large resources and no support from anything. We did everything with a big heart and with individual contributions which are quite low. Formerly it was believed that carrying out an adoption day needs a huge infrastructure. We showed that with something simple, you can give animal companions for adoption and the most important thing we've shown is that people will adopt a street dog and will adopt a mutt.

We have given away lots of mixed-breed dogs, black, one-eyed, maimed, tailless dogs, very shy puppies, we have found homes for older adult ones… What we have achieved with the adoption days is to demonstrate that people adopt street dogs, especially children. The child doesn’t care about the breed, what the child wants is just a dog, so simple.

A friend.

What are some of the differences between buying and adopting an animal companion?

There are fundamental differences between buying and adopting. When a child goes to a mall to buy a puppy, that puppy is inside of a glass case. He has no real contact with other animals. He has no real contact with other children. Children often unknowingly stress him by hitting the glass.

We asked the Team’s co-founder Rocío Gomez, who is a veterinarian, about her involvement in the adoption day events.

We always need many hands, many volunteers, much support, but each time we give a dog for adoption the gratification is immense. My role is basically to advise all volunteers, obviously because of time, it is not very feasible that I check all dogs, but before coming here the kids have to read a protocol. That protocol was created by Alexis and myself, I on the technical side, let’s say, as veterinarian, and he with other things.

This protocol must be read before coming here to give a dog for adoption. Obviously I'm also available for any questions that come up during the day or at any other time. All the guys have my information to ask (questions).

Joanna and Jeannette met at one of the EDRA- sponsored adoption days and another adoption success story was created!

Hi Jeannette, I have understood that you found the puppy. Tell us how you found your dog.

Well, in these summer months, unfortunately in Santiago and in many parts of our country, many animals are abandoned because of the holiday and all, and it seems that quite frequently dogs are left inside my house, and this was one that was left inside my house.

Joanna, you just adopted this animal companion. You just made a commitment with Jeannette…that you’ll take care of him; you signed the documents. Tell us what are your feelings about having such a beautiful animal companion.

The little dog is for my nephew. It is his birthday. They had a dog and he died of old age, and so he wanted a dog now, so we came especially to find the dog, because I was working here in the Mall Plaza Vespucio and I saw that they were giving dogs up for adoption. So we came today especially to find a doggy for my nephew.

Thank you very much to both.

Besides adoption days, the Animal Defense and Rescue Team also works with law enforcement agencies to stop animal abuse. Mr. Castillo tells more about these efforts.

We have designed informative material- very instructive and super simple with everything we've learned about animal abuse. With that material we have already taught some municipalities other organizations, animal lovers and individuals who want to learn how to file complaints. We are going to upload all this material to the website so that people when they see an animal abuse situation know, “I have to follow these steps to get justice.” So those would be the most important achievements that we have had up until now.

Tell us, do you feel that the culture of a people is measured by its treatment of animals?

Absolutely ... there are many studies showing that people who mistreat animals later mistreat people and mistreat children. That is already recognized worldwide. A society that cares about animals implies that it cares for all, and to start caring for the most vulnerable who are the animals and children, for example, implies that that society is growing, is maturing. If we want to grow as a society we have to care about everyone, not just the one who can defend himself.

You have our sincere thanks, Alexis Castillo, Rocío Gomez and other Animal Defense and Rescue Team volunteers as what you are doing is truly making the world a better place for humans and animals alike. Let us always treat our animal friends as equals.

Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

For more information about the Animal Defense and Rescue Team, please visit or

Cherished viewers, thank you for joining us today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Enlightening Entertainment is up next after Noteworthy News. May all beings be forever blessed with Divine light and love.

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