Our friend and neighbor Jill volunteers at an animal shelter outside the city. Silvia the owner, Jill, and other volunteers feed and shelter over eighty animals at the Albergue Evolución in Umán. In December, 2009, they held a fundraising art show where Pablo donated two of his paintings. At that event we learned about the sterilization clinic being coordinated for January in conjunction with Planned Pethood of Mérida and other local animal shelters. Twenty veterinarians were coming to the Yucatán from the United States prepared to perform 1500 spay and neuter surgeries on our local pet overpopulation. Ten clinics were set up in a five day period at different locations around the city and beaches. At Silvia and Jill’s shelter alone there are some 80 dogs and cats, and the clinics gave them a miraculous opportunity to sterilize as many of their animals as they could transport to the facilities. Interested folks were invited to bring up to ten animals each. Lots of volunteers were sought for the program and we participated.
The scheduled week was from January 11-15th, 2010. If you know me at all, you already know how I feel about operating on animals. “Off with their balls,” I say! So on the coldest Monday morning in decades, we battled the elements before dawn to shuttle two friends and three dogs (without cages) from the shelter to Xmatcuil, the first day’s clinic. I sat in the back with Dixi, a pudgy 7 month old pup, who was well behaved on the ride to the location. But when we got there she could no longer hold her excitement and vomited all over me, perhaps in response to my “Off with their balls!” remarks.
As everyone met up at Xmatcuil, Pablo assisted in the moving of the animals through the sterilization process, and I was assigned the job of taking photos. I was fascinated at the opportunity to see this surgery for myself, and I took my task seriously, rapidly filling my camera. Once we emailed photos off to the newspaper, we took up positions in the recovery room. We held and rocked the anesthetized dogs and kitties like little babies, watching them change from limp creatures with their tongues hanging out of their mouths back into the beloved pets that came in the door. Everyone involved hustled around all day and an incredible effort was met with total success.
The next couple of days we spent actually managing the clinics: registering, weighing, tagging and moving the animals through the system; assisting the vets, and caregiving in the recovery room. Everyone involved worked long hours, and together we all made it a success. By the end of the week each clinic met its goal, demonstrating the overwhelming response of the people. Folks were very appreciative of the program, and we hope it is possible to do it again next year.
Lin, Chloë & puppy, and Julie off to Xmatcuil.
Line 'em up!
Two adorable and adoptable puppies from the shelter.