Every year, around this time the wonderful people at ViDAS set up a clinic here in Playa Del Carmen for local people to bring their dogs and cats to be sterilized for free. ViDAS (Spanish for LIVES), is a non-profit organization made up of veterinarians, veterinary students and other animal lovers dedicated to improving the lives of animals and people through veterinary medicine and education. The clinic itself is set up in one of the many local schools and each of the classrooms is set up to form operating theatres and recovery rooms. All of the material, food, drink, medication and everything else used is donated by wonderful people both here in Mexico as well as around the world in order to make these clinics a complete success. I had the opportunity to help them out this year and it really is a wonderful experience seeing how so many people bring their pets to the clinic knowing that neutering them will give them a much better quality of life.
Street dogs here in Mexico are becoming an issue, mainly due to bad ownership. The saying “There is no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner” really does apply here. People love getting a cute little puppy but then it grows and they realize the full extent of the responsibility involved and the costs generated. This unfortunately leads to people abandoning their pets in the streets. Most of these animals are not sterilized so it’s like a vicious circle as more and more puppies are born on the streets everyday. I’ve written before about animal rescue refuges but they can only take in so many animals and do so much. The real issue that needs to be tackled is educating people into realizing that sterilizing their animals is the way forward. It is sad but a lot of people, mainly men, see neutering their dogs as a direct reflection of their own masculinity! Seriously people, cutting your dogs balls off does not make you less of a man!
The clinic really is a fantastic idea and last year alone 1130 cats and dogs safely sterilized during the 6 day clinic in Playa del Carmen! There is still a few more days left of the Clinic here which I’ll be attending and I’m sure I’ll have a ton of new friends and fun stories to share at the end of it! The heat is overwhelming and everyone spends their days pulling out ticks and combating fleas but knowing that you are improving the animal’s way of life is reward enough. Just seeing the difference between how the animal comes in and how it leaves is priceless. There are several volunteers who also take it upon themselves to collect dogs and cats from the street to bring them in, some lucky ones are adopted there and then by other volunteers or taken back to the US and Canada in the hope of finding them a home there. Of course this is not the case for all the animals brought in, unfortunately some of them do have to be returned to the street but at least they go back clean, tick and flea free and sterilized
These photos were taken just during the first few hours of day one:
Even the smallest puppies were brought in to be sterilized.
Even the rain didn’t stop the people from coming to the clinic with their dogs and cats
Little Blackie right after surgery – a few minutes after this photo was taken she was running around again!
Two little ones waiting their turn
Volunteers taking care of the animals as they woke up from the anesthetic
Out for the count..
Just a small selection of the medication donated and used at the clinic
De-fleaing and de-ticking the animals while they were still out from the anesthetic
If you would like to make a donation to VIDAS to keep helping them do what they do you can just click the image below. Even the smallest amount can help: