Amigos de Animales

There are many terrific organizations here in Boquete, but my favorite is Amigos de Animales. Once a month Amigos de Animales runs a spay and neuter clinic for the dogs and cats in Boquete. The difference on the streets is amazing. Rarely do you see a skinny, mangy dog like you do in many Central American towns. It has become so popular that animals are now brought in from the Dolega areas and as far away as David.

Yesterday 136 animals were seen. However, if animals have other surgical problems, they are taken care of too. A man came in with a dog he had rescued only to find huge tumors on her belly. Not only was she spayed, but the tumors were removed. This cost him $10.

P1000189Since my friend, Vicki, is going on an extended vacation, I decided to learn her job at intake. It is fast-paced to say the least. Every animal that arrives is registered and gets a number. From there they must be prepped for surgery. They have to be weighed, given a sedative, pain medication and anesthesia. All of this while being surrounded by 10-15 other animals and many of their owners. It sounds like chaos but it is not. I learned how to organize the animals and make sure that all of them are ready to go as they get shaved and ready for surgery. The biggest part of the job is to stay with the animal until they go to sleep since this is the part that often gets them nervous. Some of the animals have eaten in the morning so there’s also some vomiting. I also get to practice my Spanish explaining to the owners about food, keeping them warm, how long the process takes, etc.

We had a few accidents yesterday – none hurting the felines/canines but the humans. An owner brought in a mommy cat and her kittens. The kittens were adorable and well cared for. Hopefully, most will be adopted this week. The mommy was carried in by a volunteer (a big no no) instead of in a crate to get her shot. The cat went crazy. The woman holding the cat never let go but ended up needing eight stitches. David, who had on protective gloves, grabbed the cat and still got bit through the gloves. Both went to Dr. Chen. Yesterday’s ’emergency’ doctor visit (on a Sunday) was $15. He was back to work in less than 30 minutes. His tetanus shot was given today at the Salud office. Cost? $0 There’s a lot to be said for affordable health care.

Our veterinarians come from Costa Rica and are amazing people. They can operate on an animal in minutes. The animals spend a few minutes in post-op and then to recovery. That’s where many, many volunteers work with the animals and their owners to get them awake and ready to go home. The entire process takes about 1-2 hours or so from registration to going home. And it all takes place in an area about the size of a one bedroom apartment.

living in Panama


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