This month brought a unique travel opportunity for our lead technician Christina, and one of our associate veterinarians, Dr. Weeks. They both participated as volunteers for WorldVets, a non-profit organization that operates field service projects (spay/neuter campaigns) throughout the world.
The two describe their unique experience: “We traveled to Roatan, Honduras with a group of 15 people made up of veterinarians, technicians, and assistants. We performed a total of about 215 surgeries in only 3 days! It was such a rewarding experience to be able to provide those services to the dogs and cats in that developing country. The owners of the dogs and cats were so grateful to be able to bring their pet in for both a consultation with a veterinarian and surgery.”
The animals of the island of Roatan do not get much veterinary care, as they do not have access to the same type of facilities as we have here in the United States. Teamwork was essential to being able to operate with the high volume of patients! Many people would line up out the door at once, and even wait hours to get their pet spayed, neutered, or just get a consult with the veterinarian.
Christina notes, “We met many different people – they brought their cats in laundry baskets, pillow cases, blankets, and wrapped in leashes; dogs were led in by a multitude of different chains, strings, even fabric knotted together. A couple of smaller dogs hitched a ride home on a motorcycle once they woke up from surgery.”
It was eye-opening for our team members to see the different modes of transportation (many just walked to the clinic) and methods of leading their pets around. Some dogs were brought to the building and just left tied to a chair after being checked in.
Most of the dogs seen around the island seemed to wander the streets or in a close radius to their home, on the lookout for food, water, and wary of other people. Christina and Dr. Weeks could tell the local people cared deeply for their pets, but the limited veterinarian access showed in the pet’s status. Fleas and ticks were rampant, and skin disease was a common occurrence.
Christina reflects, “The experience made me grateful for the access we have up here to pet food, veterinary care, and the mild weather!”