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I often get asked what is it like living in Ecuador – community involvement is important once you are settled in.

Take two of Gary’s readers Lee and Peg Carper. They actually came down here at the end of last year because two of their friends had visited Ecuador and Cotacachi and then raved about it on their return.

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Lee and Peg are dog lovers and infact have now brought their own two dogs down to Ecuador twice. Many other have brought their canine children down too in the last two years.

Such is Lee and Peg’s love for dogs that they couldn’t help notice that some of our dogs around Cotacachi are not in the best of shape. Too put it mildly there’s probably more than a few strays wondering the streets.

I can’t say that I’ve noticed so many but a real dog lover like Lee got to thinking what he could do to solve this issue.

It so happens that our friend and neighbor Jose Sativa, an animal vet who has an animal feed store opposite Meson de las Flores, and also a wonderful mini-ranch with horses just on the edge of town has a soft spot for dogs too. He has two very well trained and groomed dobermans. A third friend is Doctor Alban, the vet who treats and certifies Ma, Gary and Merri’s hound dog.

A dream was born. A foundation will be set up to open an animal clinic where stray dogs will be first fed regularly, then treated and finally spayed or neutered. The aim is to then have the clinic open at least one day a week for free treatment of the pets of the local townsfolk too.

One reason why there is an abundance of strays is that folks start off with good intentions when they buy or take on dogs but then find it a struggle to provide for them.

Here is Lee’s first story about living in Ecuador – a community sense of belonging develops as he helps a new found friend he christened “Hairless”.

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“A few weeks or so ago while I was staying at Meson de las Flores an almost wild looking dog was walking up the sidewalk and looked very boney and had very little spirit in his eyes.

I quickly got some dog food and tried to get him to come to me, but he kept a distance of about ten or twelve feet. Realizing he was not going to come close enough to pet him, I dropped a good portion of dog food for him to eat and stepped back far enough that he ate the food quickly and was wanting more.

After giving him a second helping he ran off and I did not see him for a couple of days.

Anyways, after a week or so of feeding him off and on, he let me pet him and that is when I saw that 65% to 70% of his hair was missing!

I had told my wife about him and as she was in the US she said she was hoping he would be there when she returned to see and help him. Shortly after her return he showed up and she was taken back by his appearance, but by this time he and I were good friends and she saw how affectionate he was and wanted to help him.

As chance would have it, a local vet across the street had come over and said he needed an innoculation to get rid of certain parasites that were depleating him of nutrition and hair! After finding out it would only cost $2.50 for the injection we went to his office and I held him while the vet gave him the shot.

The next day he showed up and I bent down to pet him, but after a while I stood up and he grabbed at my hand to play! He was getting better in just 24 hours!

Today we saw him and fed him as we talked to him and petted him and he has hair filling back in already! He is such an affectionate dog for having gone through the hardships he has and will or would make a great pet for someone…….it may even be us! It is amazing what a little food and a little medication can do to help the less fortunate animals running the streets.”

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This is a project which will hopefully take off because Lee and Peg are so passionate and enthusiastic about helping the dogs that it’s contagious so two recent visitors left donations to help pay for the shots.

When Lee and Peg got back recently from the States they had a heart-tug moment when several people said “welcome back home!”. Those 3 words meant a lot and living in ecuador and feeling a part of the community means a lot to Lee and Peg too.

Lee is slowly learning more Spanish every day continuing on from what he learnt on one of our Super Thinking – Super Spanish courses. Little by little he’s making friends with the very friendly locals. So much so that he has found a very cheap house to rent. Getting to know the community means Lee and Peg really feel that they are ‘living in ecuador’ now.

Find out more about Cotacachi rentals in coming days.

June 6-9 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour

June 11-15 Ecuador Spanish Course
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-spanish-course

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate

June 19-21 Shamanic Mingo Tour
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-shaman-mingo-tour

See discounts for attending more than one June course
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-tours-savings

September 17-20 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour

Sept 23-27 Ecuador Spanish Course
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-spanish-course

Sept 28-29 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate

See discounts for attending more than one Sept. course
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-tours-savings

Oct 14-18 Ecuador Import Export Course
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-import-and-export-tour

Nov 7-9 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour

See discounts for attending more than one Nov. course
http://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-tours-savings