Saving lives ‘4 paws at a time’ on the Caribbean island of Nevis

C.A.R.E – The Story so far…

In late 2007, Jane Ebbit arrived on the seemingly tropical paradise island of Nevis.
As Jane explored her new island home , she often strolled with one of her dogs. The reactions of local people was puzzling. They would cross the street, horror on their faces, some children even cried out . ‘Strange, what’s’ up” she wondered ?, Wallace, the big happy shepherd mix was on a lead, in control and walking alongside. What’s the problem ? After a few short weeks of research and asking around, the general picture of animal welfare on Nevis was a little disturbing.


In the streets and on the beaches, Jane encountered homeless creatures, hundreds of cats, feral in the main, and dogs. But the dogs… their haunted looks burned into her memory. How they ran away, tail between their legs as people approached, the many pregnant bitches, their teats almost dragging the ground from clearly too many litters scrounging around dumpsters and public places. Dogs on short chains in yards, barking in frustration and the number of skinny, underfed animals were too numerous to count.   It appeared that local people were ‘dog blind’ to these wretched creatures. Conversations between Jane and others often took the line of “Look at that poor animal, its terrified, doesn’t anyone take care of it? “ What dog ? Where? “ would be the response. “There, right in front of you by the car” Oh him, he’s always hanging around, no matter”.


Jane joined the local Humane society to see what was being done about the homeless animals all around Nevis. It was there that Jane met her future CARE partner, Rosemary Matheson.  She learned that there was no animal shelter on the island and that there was no concerted effort to rescue animals or educate local people about controlling the population. Local livestock owners too often take matters into their own hands by dropping poisoned meat where dogs live. Innocent animals poisoned because of claims by farmers, that packs of stray, hungry dogs looking for food, attack their sheep and goats. There is a definite problem when people are ‘controlling’ dogs and cats by pushing poisoned chicken pieces into others’ yards. The one vet clinic on the island holds a spay/neuter session one morning a week, but few seemed to take advantage of the service. Reasons given ?  “Costs too much”, “Me’ dawg likes his balls” !’ Another woman told her , “My Sandie girl (her dog) likes sex, don’t you like sex ?!?”

 Wow, something urgently needed to be done about spay/neuter and education.


In April 2010 Jane and Rosemary co-founded a new animal society, C.A.R.E. Nevis Inc. and built a small rescue shelter for dogs. The acronym C.A.R.E. stands for Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education.  Registered as a non profit charity, initially funded by the founders and a small group of private individuals, the shelter opened in July 2010 with a female dog and her four pups, another two dogs and Marley our canine Patriarch. CARE Nevis receives no government financial aid and is funded purely by  the co-founders and private individuals with assistance from our directors fundraising efforts. To date the charity has rescued  and saved the lives of  over 160 dogs from starvation, abuse, homelessness and  disease. But more volunteers are needed to assist with Trap Neuter Release operations to control the feral cat population. “Cat lovers, We Need You !”


 Jane  originally hails from Glasgow, Scotland. A land of grey skies, biting winds, rain sleet, snow and occasional sunshine –usually all in the same day ! and claims, being born there had to be an accident of birth, as all her life she has had itchy feet to travel and those journeys were always south to warmer climes with blue skies and tropical sunshine.  Wherever she travelled she always encountered animals in need and since her student days has been rescuing animals on an ad hoc basis all her life.

Its as if these animals find me – not the other way round. No matter where I went I would encounter strays, some that would walk straight up to me, others, somehow I was led to them

In those early days she brought those animals to rescue shelters or found homes for them with friends and family but it was not until she came to Nevis that her mission to rescue and  ultimately make a profound difference to the way animals are treated  on the island formed into a more serious and full time endeavour.


Rosemary was born on the neighbouring island of St Kitts. Her career in the hotel industry took her to North America and eventually to work with the Four Seasons Group as corporate housekeeper in Toronto, Canada. In 1990 the opportunity to return to the islands was presented to her when the Four Seasons opened a new resort on Nevis. Rosemary joined the team and remained with the resort for 15 years until her retirement. Her passion for animals has always been to the fore and she shares Jane’s passion for being proactive and making a real difference. Rosemary’s connections on the island within the local community has proved to be invaluable as the organisation builds its  ‘CARE in the Community programmes, giving insight into the culture and mechanics of the society in which CARE operates.


 Shreen has been Jane’s assistant for five years, working part time with CARE Nevis  and since the Shelter opened is certainly an essential part of the team. Originally from Guyana, Shreen rapidly became a skilled assistant when dealing with the day to day care of looking after up to 24 dogs and puppies at a time. CARE’s rescue work rubbed off on her and she and her family have rescued three dogs themselves, adding one new best friend each, for their children.


CARE Nevis Animal Society is dedicated to working towards an island where there will one day be no more homeless, hungry pets.  Low or No cost Spay/neuter is actively promoted for all companion animals and with our current goals to expand  ‘CARE in The Community’ programmes , the December Holiday Season sees the launch of the  ‘Thanks a Million’ Campaign to raise  over $370,000 US dollars.


You can help save so many more animals by contributing to the special online-only Matching Gift Challenge.


 We have the exciting Matching Gift Challenge where a special Santa Claus and his elves will match your gift therefore doubling the efforts of everyone to reach our goal !  The aim is to purchase a fully equipped M*A*S*H – Mobile Animal Surgical Hospital - vehicle in 2014.  The need for a new mobile small animal practice is urgent ! Too many animals suffer due to the lack of readily accessible modern veterinary care. The animals of Nevis need you,.  Donate today.- on-line. Remember you'll be helping twice as much!  We Thank You for CARING.

Marley’s Story
Sam’s Story

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