August 22, 2019
Latest News

This Bolivian is best friend of more than 1,000 stray dogs

By Gina Baldivieso

La Paz, Jun 7 (efe-epa).- A life full of partying, travel and business success was exchanged for time tirelessly spent taking care of more than 1,000 stray dogs in La Paz, when the Bolivian Fernando "Ferchy" Kushner decided to pay back with his love for animals all that life had given him.

"I ditched the parties, the trips and making money in exchange for the licks and tail wagging, but that's what makes me happy," Kushner told EFE.

Buying food for the canines, distributing it in person ever day, promoting sterilizations, vaccinations and adoptions of the little dogs while giving workshops at schools and universities are now on his brimming list of activities.

A commercial engineer by profession, he worked for such luxury brands as Chanel and Bulgari, for which he developed marketing strategies and techniques for distribution, "public relations, networking, points of sale and client service," among other responsibilities.

His work had him constantly traveling and at the same time fleeing the mostly frigid climate of La Paz, which he visited "some five or six times a year."

Until the day came when he decided to take a break and stay awhile in the Andean city, where he could work out an idea he had been pondering for several years: setting up a foundation to care for children, old people and animals.

He attributed that to the blood of helpfulness that ran in his veins, since his grandparents Grisha and Emma Kushner imparted "many values" to the family and were always engaged in social work, above all for the blind, children and animals.

"I began with animals because the reproduce so much," said "Ferchy" Kushner about the enormous number of stray dogs in Bolivia, a problem he said the authorities have ignored.

One of the leading figures of this story is Choco, a white and coffee-colored mongrel in the southern La Paz neighborhood of San Miguel.

Kushner found it in 2015 on a cold May night, when after leaving his yoga class he sat down on the steps of San Miguel Church and the pooch wandered up to him.

"He came to lick my hands and wag his tail. All I did was give him something to eat, and before eating, he again licked my hands in thanks. Well, from that day on it's been four years that I've been feeding him and many other little stray mutts," he said.

The story that began with Choco in San Miguel now embraces more than 1,500 strays in such La Paz districts as Llojeta, Miraflores, Cota Cota and Rio Abajo.

Before starting this venture, he decided to study and get help in order "to learn more. I'm neither an ethologist nor a veterinarian, I just hand out food," he said.

It's very labor intensive, because it entails going around every day gathering leftovers from cooperative restaurants and then dishing out the food to dogs in the street.

The number of helpers has diminished, and he now has four volunteers he can count on, including Jorge Amusquivar and Yamel Ramirez, who were with him during the EFE interview.

It's a daily mission that knows no "Sundays or holidays" as days of rest. He has even spent Christmas and New Year's with his canine pals.

"I often spend time with my family, so it's no big deal spending holidays in the streets," he said.

In recent weeks he started a campaign to round up doggy jackets with a view to the coming winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

"Up to now I've collected 1,000 waterproof jackets with woolen lining that say on the back "Don't take off my jacket. I'll be cold!"

Now he's looking for more of the same to take to other Bolivian cities like El Alto, Oruro, Potosi and Sucre.

Another dream he's been working on since December is building a "sanctuary" to shelter dogs, above all the old ones, and to perform sterilizations to avoid overpopulation.

Following in the footsteps of his grandparents, Kushner created the Abril and Ariel Foundation, named after his niece and nephew, with the idea that they will continue his work.

"There's nothing nicer than doing something you like and which satisfies you, even though you don't earn a peso," he said, convinced that you get back what you give.

"After having more than 10 passports full of stamps from traveling so much, I think it's time to give back, because I've been given so much," Kushner said.

News history
The former neo-Nazi who converted to Judaism

By Pablo Duer

Still unsafe for Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, Amnesty warns

Bangkok Desk, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Human rights organization Amnesty International warned Thursday that it was still unsafe for members of the Rohingya ethnic...

Cuba relying on bacteria to end dengue epidemic

Havana, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- The dengue epidemic in several Latin American countries is also affecting - albeit to a lesser degree - Cuba, where experts are...

Trump seeks to halt family migration by extending child detentions

By Laura Barros

Czechs denounce current leaders during rally to mark 1969 crackdown

Prague, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Tens of thousands of Czechs held a demonstration here Wednesday in which they remembered countrymen who were killed or injured on...

Brazil's president points finger at NGOs in Amazon fires

Brasilia, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- President Jair Bolsonaro insinuated on Wednesday that non-governmental organizations may be behind the fires in the Amazon, the...

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (EFE).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Nepal bans single-use plastics in Everest region

Kathmandu, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Nepal will make the Everest region a plastic-free zone by 2020 by banning single-use plastics, a move that will curb excessive...

Thailand starts distribution of medical marihuana to cancer patients

Bangkok, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Thailand has begun the distribution of Cannabis oil targeting terminally ill cancer patients following the approval of a law...

Hungarians revel in a sea of fragrant blooms

Hungarians reveled in a sea of colour and fragrant blooms to marks the 50th Debrecen Flower Festival.

Pogba target of racist slurs for missing penalty against Wolverhampton

London, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been subjected to racist insults on social media after missing a penalty in the...

With no right to divorce, Filipinos are trapped in loveless marriages forever

By Sara Gomez Armas

El Salvador woman pardoned after manslaughter conviction for abortion

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- A court in El Salvador pardoned Evelyn Hernandez, 21, this Monday of the crime of aggravated manslaughter...

Bardem: If 30 pct. of oceans not protected in 2030, damage to be irreversible

By Alvaro Celorio

DNA extracted from turtle shell products in drive to save species

Sydney, Australia, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- Scientists have extracted DNA from products made out of hawksbill turtle shells in a bid to save a species that is...

European Commission president cuts Austria vacation short for urgent surgery

Brussels, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has had to cut his vacation in Austria short for medical...

FAO: 39 million people suffer from hunger in Latin America

Montevideo, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- An increase in the number of people suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean, now totaling 39 million, is a...

Death toll in dengue outbreak hits 40 in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- At least 40 people have died from dengue in Bangladesh, with over 50,000 cases reported throughout the country since January,...

Dirt-floor shacks a perpetual symbol of Argentina's gaping social divide

By Tono Gil

UNICEF: Rohingya child refugees despair over lack of access to education

Dhaka, Aug 16 (efe-epa) - Lack of access to formal education is leading to frustration and despair among young Rohingya refugees in southeastern Bangladesh,...

Pacific Islands Forum ends with lukewarm declaration against climate change

Sydney, Australia, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- The Pacific Islands Forum ended on Thursday night in Funafuti, the capital of island nation Tuvalu, without a...

Salvadoran woman hopeful of acquittal in retrial for stillbirth

Ciudad Delgado, El Salvador, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- A Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years in prison after a stillborn delivery was back in court here...

Scientists detect microplastic particles in the snow

Berlin, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- A team of German and Swiss scientists have detected the presence of microplastic particles in the snow of the Arctic and the Alps...

Nora Quoirin died of internal bleeding from stress or lack of food: police

Bangkok Desk, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- The London schoolgirl found dead in a Malaysian jungle two days ago died from internal bleeding likely caused by lack of...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.