We'd love to keep you informed of all our missions so check back often to follow our progress.
Remember, your support is what makes it possible to carry out missions and change the lives of animals in need!
Meet our St. Maarten team...
Dr. Susan Burkhart, DVM
Dr. Jean Heppner, DVM
Michelle Rivers, LVT
Dr. Christine Tomlin, DVM
Chelsea Miller, LVT
PROJECT GRAND TURK
Our first mission to help the homeless dogs and cats on the island of Grand Turk has been completed successfully and we can't WAIT to share all the details!
A team made up of three veterinarians, three veterinary technicians and numerous volunteers just spent a week on the island of Grand Turk and, in partnership with the TCSPCA and an amazing local community, was able to help 300 dogs and cats...oh, and one turtle!
The Turks & Caicos is a tropical Atlantic archipelago located 575 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, and 75 miles north of the Dominican Republic. This beautiful British Overseas Territory, which is made up of seven islands, is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, luxury resorts, shops, and restaurants. Amidst the beauty, hiding in plain sight, are also hundreds of stray dogs and cats known as Potcakes, many of them ill and starving.
Their devastating situation inspired 4 Leaf Rover's first mission, a five-day spay and neuter clinic on the island of Grand Turk, where our founder Dr. Burkhart previously observed the most need. Five days were certainly not enough to help all the animals on the island, but it did allow us to treat 300 of them, as well as interact with a beautiful community that we found to be kind, welcoming, and hardworking.
In partnership with the TCSPCA and about a dozen volunteers, we put our hearts and souls into making a difference, but we know it will take more. This is only the beginning.
The local dump is home to dozens of dogs. Here, our very own Dr. Jean walks around with two of our new friends, DuJohn and Ray.
If you want to make long-lasting change, educate the children. Dr. Chad connected with a number of local children and took every opportunity to educate them about how to treat their pets, and how they can help the strays.
Aden is a local 12 year-old who took an interest in the clinic and visited us every day to help out and learn. When we met him, he told us he wanted to be a fisherman when he grew up...by the time we left, he declared he wants to be vet!
Ticks and fleas are all too common in these little Potcakes, and as a result, they are often affected by tick-borne diseases like anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.
'B', the turtle, was brought in by his owner who loves him dearly! He came in with an abscess that Dr. Chad treated successfully. Happy B, happy mom!
We love this boy.
A local man waits with his pup for his appointment.
We operated our clinic out of the Turks & Caicos National Museum, we shipped supplies from both the U.S. and Provo, and we made it work with what we had!
Oh how we miss the food! These local women treated us to quite a feast one day...we are so grateful for the kindness shown to us.
This police officer was thrilled to pick out a puppy to adopt, and we were equally thrilled to help her!
These facts put it in perspective.
This precious girl came to see us after school, and informed us that she wants to be a vet when she grows up, she even shared a photo of herself wearing a vet costume!
We couldn't save them all, and it broke our hearts every time we had to admit it. This sweet angel's mange was beyond anything we have ever seen before.
Dr. Sue sporting our epic t-shirt.
This area, known as the beach, is where our patients recovered after their surgeries.
Some days, we had over 20 dogs and cats waiting for surgery. They were well cared for while they waited by our amazing volunteers!
A bouquet of kittens.
Dr. Chad loved meeting Donnashon...he said he reminded him of a dog he once had.
This sweet little boy was picked up by our field team after someone threatened to drown him and his siblings in the ocean, earning him the name Ocean. We eventually recovered all his siblings, six puppies in total, and we have great news... they all have homes now! One was flown to Provo to his new family, two went to Texas, and three are in Ohio now!
Dr. Chad giving Ocean his first doses of medicine.
The contrast between paradise and hardship is both fascinating and heartbreaking. We observed it everywhere.
As a few of us cried knowing we couldn't save this dog, a young boy looked at us in disbelief and asked, "Why do you guys get so emotional about your animals?" We took his bewilderment as an opportunity to explain that we treat our pets like family, and avoid their suffering at all cost.
Chris, one of our awesome volunteers, giving a much needed flea bath to a puppy.
Another one of our new friends, Gregory, made sure to visit on a regular basis and also got a number of locals to bring their pets in for check-ups and surgeries.
Dr. Sue examines a Potcake's leg after noticing he wasn't putting weight on it.
Dr. Sue's "Boy" was right where she left him after a previous visit to Grand Turk. Back then, she promised him that she would return with help, and return she did.
These beautiful dogs roam the island in search of food and shelter; many are friendly and quick to approach strangers.
When the street is home...
These two brindle beauties were laying in beach chairs when we first found them; Dr. Sue treated them on her first night there and the pups immediately bounced back and got stronger.
We got quite a thrill seeing the poster announcing our clinic hanging up in shops and restaurants around the island.
Donkeys are also everywhere on the island.
The community was kind and welcoming to our team. This boy took a break from his chores to chat with our team about the clinic, and promised to bring his dogs in for check-ups.
This shy, skittish little puppy was one of the first we met on our journey. It was a struggle, but we managed to catch him, get him into the clinic, and vaccinated.
Our team got quite attached to this sweet girl, who was super friendly and followed us around for the first few days.
About Grand Turk
Grand Turk is one of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Its main revenue is from tourism but since the onset of Covid-19, it has been severely impacted. The animals have suffered greatly as well, and the number of homeless animals, dogs in particular, is very disturbing.
There is NO veterinary care on the island, with the exception of a vet who flies in once every two weeks for the day. The island is only 7 square miles, yet has HUNDREDS of homeless strays. During Dr. Burkhart's visit to this island in November 2021, there were regularly 10 or more dogs living and sleeping in the sand outside the room she rented.
She fed the dogs pictured here every morning and night and was so sad when she left, wondering where they would get their next meal. She promised them she'd return, and would bring help when she did!
The donations received here will be used to offer FREE spays, neuters, and medical care to every dog and cat in need on this island. In addition, we are trying to collect donations of flea and tick treatments, heartworm prevention, antibiotics, pain medication, dewormers, collars, etc. to truly meet the needs of these vulnerable animals.
Please help Dr. Burkhart keep her promise to these forgotten dogs. They are counting on us. If we all help just a little, great things can be accomplished!