Several months ago, I was jolted out of my peaceful little walk around the marina. 'Hey! Hey'!, said a local man trying to grab my attention. He asked me if my dog was a male. 'Si', I replied. 'Why is he neutered'?. As I began my Bob Barker, there are too many street dogs spiel, he promptly cut me short. [Note to non Spanish speakers: Any sentence which starts with a sharp 'A Ver Chica', is sure to go down the wrong path; quick]. More or less telling me to listen up; he let me know how wrong and painful it was for a male to loose their manhood. I kindly dismissed myself from the conversation and continued my journey; strutting onward with my ball-less little dog, El Sancho.
One of the hardest aspects of living in Mexico is seeing the street dogs; squashed on the highway, itching their manged bodies raw, ribs and backbone protruding out of their skin, broken limbs hobbling along the road. Too frequently my heart is ripped out by the sight of a dog; clinching my eyes shut tight, as we drive by. I would rescue them all, if I could. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, Mexico City authorities have reported capturing and killing as many 20,000 dogs per month. Unbelievable!
Peace Animals in the Bay of Banderas is the most amazing non-profit EVER! Last weekend, Dr. Anthony, Dr. Poli, Paulina and a handful of volunteers completed 157 spay and neuters in the little fishing village, I call home. This dedicated group of individuals goes into the heart of local communities, throughout Mexico, every week to spay, neuter and educate; for free. On average, they complete 80 surgeries a week. Building space is donated by local town leaders, transportation; if needed, for the animals is done by volunteers. At the end of the week, they clean up, load their trailer and move on to another location. Bad-ass operation. Amazing peeps sure to be blessed eternally for the service they provide.
The most impressive part of the whole operation is how the vets work with basic supplies and space, at a rapid rate per animal and complete the operations in a very sterile and safe manner.
I had no idea of what my role would be when I arrived. I was asked if I spoke Spanish, then handed a pen and a form to begin the registration process for the long line of visitors. After the pets had been registered and placed in kennels, I worked alongside other volunteers to organize the kennels. Cats then dogs; males first, females second.
Paulina asked me to assist her with prepping some of the cats. Lube their open eyeballs and then tape them shut, she requested. Say, what? I resisted the urge to gag at the pure thought of rubbing a cotton swab of yellow lube over an eyeball. Apparently, cat's eyes stay open after they are sedated for surgery. If they remain open they can dry and damage the cornea. I slowly worked on my first cat. Thankful of my dislike for cats, but still somewhat uncomfortable with the task. I was fearful my hand was going to be bit off as I reached across it's face. Afraid to move its limp head to tape the other eye. I was moving at a snails pace; not keeping up with the vets. After my first cat, I asked for a glove. The vet gave me a look which clearly stated I was a total wimp.
I volunteered for only a few hours, during the morning. I left surprised I had made it through the morning without being sick to my stomach as a pet lay legs open under the knife. Inspired by the work of caring individuals and even more motivated to get out into my community to give back.
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others"
If you would like to make a loving donation to Peace Animals, please click here.