By Brittany Llorente
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- There are plenty of animals all over the world that don't see the same type of attention and care as those at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County.
In that effort, Dr. Lyndall Soule, a veterinarian at the Humane Society, will head south of the equator on a humanitarian veterinary mission to take care of horses in Peru with the Rural Area Veterinary Services.
According to the website www.ruralareavet.org, Rural Area Veterinary Services is a veterinary outreach program combining community service and veterinary education to bring free veterinary services to underserved rural communities where poverty and geographic isolation make regular veterinary care inaccessible.
Dr. Soule is on a two-week trip, having left on Aug. 3.
"The organization does this once a year," Dr. Soule said. "The volunteers pay their own way and the group consists of veterinarians, ferries and veterinary students. We all fly into Lima and then go to Cusco, Peru, a town at 11,000 feet elevation, and start working."
After watching a video on a 2009 expedition featuring the dentistry, vaccinating, de-worming, surgery involving castration and tumors, doctoring deep wounds for pack animals, Dr. Soule set her sights on helping this cause.
"The thing that struck me about this organization is that they are trying to educate the natives," she said. "Children and adults are learning how to care for their animals. They need to know that if you pad the animals' equipment and treat them right, they last longer and are more than a throw-away utility."
This is the first trip that Dr. Soule has gone on with the organization.
It is not a vacation by any means. Most of the traveling from outposts and outlying villages to the next are done on foot.
"We have an itinerary and on the 10th day it says we do anywhere from seven to 10 hours on foot, a challenging hike that is 15,000 feet then we get over the pass and we go down to another area around 14,000 feet and camp in tents," she said. "We are always on the move. When I found out about this, I joined the gym and have been working out twice a day, I know that I would need to get in shape."
There will be supplies and equipment there for Dr. Soule and she's bringing a generator for some of the power tools.
Dr. Soule will return the week of Aug. 16 with lots of documentation and an addition to the 20 years experience that she already has.
She will document her journey with a go-pro video camera that she is taking on her journey.
For more information on the Rural Area Veterinary Services, visit www.ruralareavet.org.
For more information on the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County, visit www.hsvb.org.