Post By: Elise Bissell
I have a good rescue friend, Jenene, who has a home in San Miguel de Allende, a small town in Central Mexico. Over the years she has invited me to visit but I was too busy to leave Take Me Home Pet Rescue, the organization I help run in Dallas. A few months ago she called with a special request offering to put me to work during a four day (April 13-16, 2016) Spay Neuter blitz.
“It was the first of its kind in San Miguel”, she said, and I was invited! The event had been organized by Dr. Capitan, a local veterinarian, in cooperation with their government and nonprofit, Kelly Karger’s, Save a Mexican Mutt, with the goal to sterilize 1,000 dogs and cats over a four day time frame. Jenene was helping coordinate volunteers and they needed my help.
Jenene, Carolyn, another wonderful rescue friend and volunteer of TMHPR, and a new friend Kelly Bond, founder of Road Trip 4 Paws, all met at the airport on April 14, 2016. There was lots of excitement in the air as none of us really knew what to expect nor did we all know each other that well.
We had a wonderful time together as this is a group of hard working women all shared a common bond and that’s to help the animals. Thursday, our first day to volunteer was the second day of the blitz. Upon our arrival, we saw a large white tent -the size you might host a large wedding under. As we hopped out of the taxi, we saw a long line of people winding around the tent and down the street holding cats (that meowed from inside mesh bags) or dogs attached to leashes, ropes or cables.
We entered the tent and passed the check in table to find more tables where the pets were being anesthetized, belly shaved and then moved to an area where there were at least 20 tables staggered off towards the back of the tent. Each table had a veterinarian standing behind it, in surgical gear, who never seemed to leave their post. The sleeping pet was tied down, quickly sterilized and the organs dropped into the bucket beneath the table. (On the final day a sweet little bulldog mix strayed into the tent and was attempting to snack out of what was in the buckets. Our volunteers flew into action to find her some food and keep her away from the surgical scene. Later is was determined the dog was already spayed and considered a loose “owned” dog and she was released back onto the city streets to find her home.)
Our main job was to assist the post-surgical patients and their owners in MASH like style. The cats were positioned side by side on a long table with their owners standing behind and the dogs were placed on the floor on clean towels, with owners kneeling beside them. All pets had ID numbers attached. Once the still sleeping patient had been placed on the table or the floor it was our job to locate the owner by calling out the ID number. I had a few years of Spanish in High School and one year in college many moons ago. It’s amazing how some of the words came back and then the many that did not! Our job was to monitor the breathing, clean the new incision, mark it with a tattoo, and spray with a liquid band aide type silver spray. We also taught (using broken Spanish and lots of hand signals) the owners how to care for their pet post op until it awoke and then they could leave.
I was touched by how much the people love their animals. Yes, many were poor. It was obvious that many of the dogs had had multiple litters of pups, but now, never again. Most all appeared well fed, generally healthy, friendly, and you could tell the pets loved their owners just as much as they loved them.
After our two days of volunteering the final tally was announced – 812 dogs and cats sterilized in four days! It’s really unfathomable to imagine how many future unwanted lives had just been spared. I hear they are planning another one next year, so please count me in!
This is not the end of my story….during our stay in San Miguel we met Kelly Karger, founder of Save a Mexican Mutt. After 10 years of running her own successful nonprofit, she is the process of retiring…LOL…Is that even possible? She asked if I could take little Bodhi home with me and find him a good home through Take Me Home Pet Rescue.
She had found this little black Chihuahua on a busy road in the summer of 2015 and was able to lure him into her arms with offers of food am not typically a “little” dog person, but Bodhi helped me to the other side by showing me that little dogs are pretty cool too.
Bodhi traveled well in the bright pink carrier that fit right under the front seat in the plane. I could see his little black eyes peeking out at me as to watch my every move. Along our journey we shared a peanut butter sandwich that I poked though in tiny pieces into his mouth though the tiny zipper opening. Bodhi is now living with one of our amazing “little” dog fosters, Jennifer Jackson, and has already fit right into her pack of two min pins, a turtle and a teenager.
Yes, little man, we will find you a great home in Dallas! To adopt Bodhi visit our website at www.takemehomepetrescue.com.