Saturday 9 July 2011
Amaranth announced there was a free clinic in Aticama today. The vet was coming to do sterilisations on the dogs and cats that roam the streets and could we go and help her round up some animals?
Katherine and she had already been to San Blas and collected two dogs that they knew of and we eventually arrived at the clinic with the promise of two more. The clinic turned out to be a vacant house – the operating table an old wooden kitchen table standing on four concrete blocks to bring it up to height. There was a single light bulb suspended from a wire in the ceiling and held in position by string – the rest of the light was provided by the open window next to the table.
Instruments and medical supplies had been bought from the fund-raising efforts of a group of dedicated ex-pats, including Amaranth, determined to make a difference in the lives of these hapless animals who are certainly not treated the way pets are pampered in the first world. Often maltreated and half starved, Mexican dogs and cats are far down on the list of priorities, which is hardly surprising when roofs are made of tar paper and walls are concrete blocks stacked on top of each other and tied in place by wire because cement is too expensive.
The banner outside proclaims CLINICA GRATIS and slowly people bring their animals, unsure of this sterilisation (particularly of males) in this macho society. Audrey, Kate and Amaranth welcome them and get the animals settled. The vet and his apprentice son work diligently in what could only be termed adverse surroundings. Preliminary shots are given, followed by the full anaesthesia after which the animals are tied with string to the table, prepped and operated on by caring hands before being laid on sheets on the floor to recover. We stand by, helping where we can – turning a dog onto his other side, making sure the cat is not too near the edge of the table. I move from animal to animal, giving Reiki healing to speed recovery and just sending love to all.
I go out to the back yard. One of the dogs Amaranth and Katherine brought in earlier is now out of his cage, waiting his turn. My eyes well up. This poor dog is just skin and bone – a head and tail held together by ribcage and spine. His back right leg has been broken and is useless because a) it was never set and b) he was tied by the foot either by string but more probably wire which was so tight it ate into his flesh leaving a deep scar. He is just lying there. I sit next to him and put my hands on him. Whatever happens, somehow I want him to know, even if it’s just for these few minutes, that there is love in this world, he is loved. Unbelievably, I am rewarded with a couple of wags of his tail. The vet decides to operate on him despite his frail condition and he makes it through the op.
All in all twelve animals went under the knife – seven dogs and five cats – not bad for a day’s work. Amaranth and Wally brought the two stays from San Blas home to recuperate, along with another little dog from Aticama. Katherine has adopted the one whom she befriended several weeks ago and has named her Sol, due to her sunny nature. I am looking after my skinny friend, who is now dining on hamburger meat, which he takes very sparingly. He is recovering slowly and is now asking to go out, which he manages very gamely on three legs. I am very happy to report that he wags his tail much more frequently. He is incredibly brave and full of spirit. I have named him Lancelot.
Many thanks to the dedicated ladies, Audrey, Kate and Barb, of Bahia Matanchen Animales as well as all the other volunteers. Anyone wishing to donate to this worthy cause must just please contact me and I'll send you the details.