Creating something from nothing but a vision, when founders Elena Garde and Guillermo Perez devised the concept for The Global Alliance for Animals and People. In 2014, Dr. Scarlett Magda of Veterinarians International was instrumental.
With common aspirations of a coherent world of wellbeing for people, creatures, and our environment, Dr. Magda helped birth The GAAP into existence. Her endless energy and drive helped spawn Elena and Guillermo’s dreams, their mission, and the formation of programs The GAAP offers.
Dr. Scarlett actively spread the word, helped raise funds, and provided American veterinarians and nurses to help serve in the field. A prolific partnership was made to manifest between the two groups.
Located in Valdivia, Chile, under one roof, Elena and Guillermo have developed a comprehensive array of services which improve the health and wellbeing of animals, people, and the environment in the Americas through animal health care, education, research, and social programs. The programs run consistently throughout the year with our collaborative efforts at Vets International.
Pet Care Education
Family Sponsorship Programs
Homeless People & Pets Project
Community Animal Health Worker
Veterinary Services in First Nation Communities
The GAAP/VI Clinic
“Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.”
In spite of Chile being the most developed Latin American country, millions of people live below the poverty line, with many residing in rural areas. Supported through Veterinarians International, the Healthy Pets Latin America Program offers equal access for all levels of socioeconomic groups by using a sliding scale based on the household income of locals
As an independent NGO (non-governmental organization), the veterinarians at our bustling GAAP/VI clinics are able to spend quality time with each pet owner to educate and explain how to care for their animals. The goal is to convey the importance and value of pet health care, not only when a pet is in crisis, but as ongoing prevention. With this crucial information, a new cycle of healthy pets emerges.
Always seeking to improve communication and get the most impact possible, The GAAP/VI surveys pet owners after each visit to discover if they are implementing the new ideas they’ve learned for care and interaction with their pets. The responses help hone and improve instructional information given at the clinic and resolve any potential misunderstandings.
The GAAP/VI Healthy Pets Program fosters a passionate connection between people, animals, and our Earth. Through culturally appropriate educational programs, a special focus is placed on engaging children and piquing their curiosity.
One of the challenges of good pet care in South America is a lack of knowledge and generational role modeling of how to treat pets. Children don’t often see demonstrations of perceiving them as a part of the family unit, but rather as background objects.
Responsible pet ownership and grooming are an integral part of our program.
It is not uncommon that dogs are fed random scraps and left to roam streets without supervision in Latin America. In the workshops, children discover that domestic animals need shelter, food, water, and human attention and that without these things, they can fall ill. They are given a new awareness that the living creatures in their families require the same things they do to be healthy and happy.
Parasitic infection is pervasive in Chile. Exploring the link between animal health and human health helps the children understand what to do for good hygiene practice and sanitary conditions for all. This alone improves the health of the children and their families with immediacy.
In light of the overpopulation of free-roaming dogs in South America, it is important for the children to recognize that it is okay to sterilize their pets, so that successive litters of puppies don’t end up suffering on the streets in a never-ending cycle of neglected strays.
Most of us have witnessed the unabashed joy kids feel while playing with their puppies and how deep the relationship grows as a child develops a kinship with their dog. Teaching children how to groom and have fun with their pets strengthens the animal-human bond and they are shown how to interact in a manner many have never experienced before. Oftentimes families lack resources for games or entertainment and this fresh perspective is a gift to the children as a whole new world of play—at no cost.
With so many free-roaming dogs in public areas posing a potential risk to people, children are also given personal safety information and learn how to read animal body language to prevent injury in the event of attacks.
Through interactive instruction, children are inspired to respect their pets and treat them with dignity. A seed is planted for change, with this and future generations, when the children return home and positively influence their families and neighbors by sharing what they’ve learned at workshops and classes in The GAAP/VI Healthy Pets Program.
2020 strengthened The GAAP and VI’s focus on a One Health approach to human-animal-environment wellbeing. Pivoting our pet health and welfare education to a series of interactive online classes, where a high percentage of students engaged other family members in the workshops, the 8 modules were exceedingly successful.
The following is a heartening pre-pandemic story from one of The GAAP/VI’s workshops for children…
Whether you write an instructional book or teach a class, the biggest uncertainty is whether or not a reader or a participant will take what they’ve learned and truly make changes in their lives. When treading into cultural territory where you seek to positively shift behaviours and beliefs, accomplishing that goal can be decidedly slow and incremental.
With that in mind, it was a great surprise when 11-year-old Sofia approached one of the facilitators after a four-part Healthy Pet workshop. Sofia was very proud to have attended the workshop, and after the second class about canine behaviour, she returned home with new eyes for her little dog Amanda.
The dog had been given to her and had been left alone in the back yard, escaping frequently for unknown destinations.
Sofia sat and studied Amanda, wondering what her dog was thinking and how she felt. Amanda seemed sad and never played or ran. She had a poor attitude. It dawned on Sofia that her little dog was not doing well, and inspired by what she’d learned, she wanted to change things for her pup.
Spending time with her dog, they bonded in a whole new way. In one of the workshops, Sofia learned how to recycle unused items around the house and turn them into dog toys. She excitedly told the facilitator how she was now playing with Amanda after school.
In the retelling of what she learned, Sofia positively impacted her parents with the new concepts of pet ownership, and they too agreed to help out in the care of little Amanda.
With a goal of giving one dog at a time a better life, her facilitator, Paula, was thrilled to hear they had succeeded in creating a new and joyful relationship between pet and family.