Vet Volunteers in the Jungle – Requena

by Mary Haight on August 26, 2012

vet volunteersVet volunteers and the rest of us started the first day at 7:30 breakfast up the road (no food at this hotel) and 8:00 set up for the mobile treatment and spay/neuter clinic. I should mention the concept of time is not the same here as say in New York. Anytime within an hour of the scheduled time is apparently fine.

Today there were people milling in with their dogs almost immediately. Rather than being in the open air, we had a building that is used as a disco (yes, the disco ball was hanging from the ceiling). There was an open space to the side of the stage with more natural light and that’s where tables were set up. Plenty of benches were available, and soon many dogs and their families filled the area.

vet vvolunteersA very sweet little girl proudly showed me her dog’s inoculation card from two years ago. A street dog wandered in whose ear tattoo showed he’d been fixed a couple of years ago. He was in fairly good shape, too. I think he was doing a drive-by “thanks” =) Apparently word got out in the dog community because quite possibly one of the smartest dogs ever wandered in, rolled himself over and started scratching, asking for help with his fleas. The doctors gave him the full treatment and he was one happy camper afterwards…though I suspect he wasn’t aware that the full treatment included neutering!

Molly Mednikow, President of Amazon CARES, went through the list of requested treatments and noted that most of them were not getting their dogs fixed. She gave the 20 or so people there the “talk” about the benefits for the dogs, but here’s what is true in every disadvantaged area on the globe: if you have something others want, you don’t close down your income or trading stream. And keep in mind these people love their dogs.  Molly asked one woman who had a mixed Pekingese why she would not sterilize her dog and she said she can mate her with a full blood and have great puppies to sell…

amazon caresIt was gratifying to see how many came for treatment – a couple of dogs were really mangy and most if not all needed flea treatment. 40 dogs got treated for various things including inoculations, ten street dogs were sterilized, and 8 owned dogs got fixed. There was one that did not make it.

This very skinny dog, Bravi, and his mate came in to get fixed. They had four puppies at home and that was all the family wanted. Things happen during surgery that have nothing to do with the surgeon, or the meds. Some dogs can’t take going under, there can be a long list of unknown pre-existing conditions, or even a local campaign to kill rats (suggested as one possibility for all the excessive bleeding in some dogs). This was one case with no answers. The surgeon worked to get a heartbeat back for perhaps 10 minutes – or maybe it just seemed that long. When the what I assumed to be an epi shot to the heart did not revive the dog…

The woman asked me if he was dead with the kind of panic and disbelief on her face all dog lovers recognize. It was heartbreaking to see her cradle Bravi’s head, trying to make him “wake up”, as if her voice alone might bring him back. Then she was resigned. It is a hard life here. I held back tears and then suddenly could not. Joy and sorrow bind us.


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