A few weeks ago one of our anchors James “Tank” Christiansen headed down to Quintana Roo, Mexico to help alleviate animal suffering and overpopulation. Below is a summary of the great things his team accomplished.
Thank you all for a successful 2013 campaign!
We provided spay/neuter surgery to over 250 dogs and cats this year, in the towns of Kantunilkin, San Angel, Chiquila & Holbox; all located in rural areas of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Our mission is to humanely alleviate animal suffering and overpopulation by providing access to spay and neuter sterilization services.
We are a volunteer organization dedicated to giving a better life to dogs and cats in Mexico’s northern Yucatan Peninsula through spay/neuter and education. The donation of a computer from Gangplank Tucson will allow us to continue educating the local population throughout the year.
The following videos will run continuously – saving the lives of many animals.
Because the local literacy rate is so low (estimated in the 20-30% range) it is very important to have these visual education tools available.
The effects of pet overpopulation can be seen all over the world. Through our spay/neuter campaign, we can reduce suffering for dogs and cats. Through education, we are helping Yucatan residents become more responsible pet owners.
While we hosted a total of 4 clinics during our 2013 campaign, below is a story about San Angel – Day 2.
The pueblo of San Angel is marked by a rusted and dented sign that proclaims the population to be 850. The sign was there when I first came in 2008; the population is probably less now. It is an agricultural community and though the children are taught Spanish, the majority of the residents speak Maya. It is a community that has very little financially and here, more than the other towns we visit, we see the impact of limited food on the dogs. There is no difficulty counting every rib-bone on these animals.
Our clinic building is provided to us by the local ejido and its proximity to the school means that we are visited by children all day. They cluster in the doorway and climb up to the window ledges in order to see what is occurring inside. We limit the children inside to those that that have a dog or cat recovering from surgery but as the day goes by the limited floor space inside becomes filled, as the children find their way into the building despite repeated attempts to move them “afuera”(outside).
The children’s interest is an important part of the necessary change in thinking of companion animal welfare. Our volunteers explain, throughout the day, what we are doing and why, and encourage the children and adults to be an active part of the recovery process. Actually, our recovery process relies on the participation of the owners to encourage awakening from anesthesia through rubbing and stroking and talking to their animal.
In each town we hold a clinic we are provided a light breakfast, usually fruit, and a lunch. Mostly the food is delivered to us and we eat as we can. Occasionally, the meal is served elsewhere and it is necessary for us to leave if we want to eat. This can be frustrating since our work isn’t conducive to dining schedules and so people go in shifts. This was the case in San Angel.
But what we experienced at lunch made any frustration evaporate. This small community came together and each household contributed a dish or a fresh made juice. The food was laid out as an abundant buffet and several of the local women were at hand to explain the dishes and serve us. Most of dishes were Mayan which means that many of the flavors, and some of the ingredients, are unfamiliar to all of us from the States. Chaya figured prominently so it must be the season for this spinach-like jungle green. It is all delicious and we revel in the variety of juices – limeades, pozole with coconut, watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya – after all, even Mexican coca cola can’t keep up with the hydration needs.
Every clinic has one or two dogs and/or people who stand out. Today’s was a boy about 10 years old who captured many of our hearts with his dedication to the recovery of a dog that wasn’t even his! This pup was extremely thin and exhibited some mild neurological symptoms and had really BIG ears (a sure attention grabber, especially for me). The dog came in at a time when in-take had slowed down and I scooped the big-eared, scared dog into my arms and sat with him a bit. Later, surgery went well, but recovery took a bit longer than we prefer, though not dangerously so. The recovery team began commenting on the boy’s dedication after he had spent about an hour rubbing, talking, and encouraging the big-eared pup to wake up. I joined recovery team at the end of the day and observed him patiently dripping water into the dog’s mouth, keeping it and the tongue hydrated. He and I sat together for another hour or so, both encouraging ‘our’ pup to wake up. We invited the boy to join us at any future clinic and his mother seemed supportive of the idea. Perhaps we have encouraged a future doctor or vet…..