Over the last few days I’ve posted about the Spay and Neuter event that took place in the Azuero last week. It’s all well and good to talk about such experiences but it is vastly different actually being there and seeing the animals that come in.
For example on Sunday I posted a picture of this little puppy, he was adorable sitting there somewhat overwhelmed by everything:What I didn’t tell you is that despite having flea killer sprayed extensively all over his little body post-surgery, I found him huddled over against a wall, fleas still hopping on him. My friend and I picked him up wondering if he had wandered from the recovery area or if someone had placed him there. A young fellow came over and I asked if the pup had an owner and he said that yes, it was his. We called over a technician and asked her to spray the pup again and showed the young man where the fleas were. That pup had come in on a cattle truck from one of the small pueblos in the area about 30km from Las Tablas. The truck carried about 30 other dogs and puppies and a dozen cats and kittens. This is the truck shortly after it arrived and partly unloaded:
As I said, posting pictures and describing the sights and sounds of events such as this cannot compare to being there. Seeing and smelling these frightened animals arrive tied to the truck or carried in rice bags, covered in mud, fleas and ticks; trying to control them while they wait in line with pieces of rope around their necks, hearing their frightened yelp when they are given the shot to anesthetize them, watching them lying helpless after being sterilized and checking on them when they awake groggy wondering what just happened to them. Several of the females had obviously had many litters, one or two were in heat and several had severely overgrown, curling nails.Many of the people on the Azuero are just being educated on how to care for their animals; the culture and life of a campesino who farms for a living is very different from what is common in North America and Europe. Often times they have very little food or money for themselves and even though many mean well, they have animals for work or protection and don’t often know how to care for them properly. Groups such as ours hope that by attending these big Spay and Neuter events we can teach our adopted communities that by spaying and neutering they are creating a better life for themselves and their animals. Here is that same truck load of animals almost ready to leave:With education and awareness in mind and the hopes to hold our own clinic in Pedasi in the new year, our group has begun a membership drive to help us earn the valuable resources that we need to help educate the adults and children such as these that took a tour of the Spay and Neuter day in Parita: If any readers would like to contribute to our group by buying a membership you can leave a message for me in the “comments” section and I can send the information about various membership levels. Each level will receive at least one sticker with our logo on it. (If you think it’s silly to invest your hard-earned money in a cause in Panama I urge you to give to your local animal shelter or society to help support all the great work those organizations do.)
Educating people, especially the children in Panama is where it all starts. Local governments are starting to understand that to attract business and tourists to their country they need to support the work of the agencies that have formed to help get animals off the street. We know we’re in for a marathon, not a sprint, but if we even a few less litters of unwanted and/or abandoned puppies or kittens in the pueblo this year it will have been a small victory won…in the campo.
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