Maybeck Animal Hospital Animal Rescue AbroadMaybeck Animal Hospital Certified Veterinary Technician, Jill Goldenberg, and I recently traveled abroad to join the Isla Animals Rescue in its annual spay/neuter campaign in Mexico.  Based out of Isla Mujeres, a resort island off the coast where many Americans, Canadians, and Europeans own homes, Isla Animals is dedicated to rescuing and homing stray dogs and cats that are a rampant problem in the area. 

Each year, funded through private donations and staffed by volunteers, Isla Animals puts on a 6 day spay/neuter event with assistants, veterinarians, and veterinary technicians from all over the world.  The volunteers are lodged throughout the area in Airbnb homes owned by people who love animals that freely offer their homes at no charge.  Volunteers are provided transportation also donated by CARM Tours and Transfers to and from the airport and back and forth to the clinic and ferry.  Local restaurant owners provide breakfast, lunch and drinks for the volunteers.  It is truly an impressive effort put forth by selfless members of the local community wanting to help the local animals and an international team of assistants and veterinary medical professionals.

The area of Rancho Viejo where the clinic was held is a far cry from the resort areas where the rescue is based out of.  It is a city of vast rows of very small, modest homes with the stray dog problem clearly evident with dogs wandering seemingly on every corner and in every alley.

Maybeck Animal Hospital Animal Rescue AbroadOn day one of the clinic, while Jill along with another Georgia based technician were overseeing anesthesia monitoring and maintenance of the surgical patients (which consisted of 10 operating tables in constant use for 8 plus hours), I spent the day performing 15 procedures: 11 spays and 4 neuters.  While Jill spent day two in her same role, I moved to check in and physical examination/health screening, and postoperative recovery. 

As fulfilling as day one was for me knowing I did my part in performing a good number of these much needed procedures, I found day two even more fulfilling interacting with the local populace as I checked their animals in to be sterilized.  In all, I checked in, examined, and recovered over 200 dogs and cats in one day.

Many of the locals waited hours in line with their pets to have the opportunity to have their pets sterilized.  Each morning we arrived to the clinic at 8 AM, the line was already wrapping around the corner.  Fluent enough in Spanish to communicate with the locals, I learned just how wonderful and humble the people of Rancho Viejo are.

Maybeck Animal Hospital Animal Rescue AbroadDespite the long waits and heat, the locals could not have exhibited more good will and gratitude for the services we were offering them.  Most moving was the many children that brought their pets to be sterilized and sat with worry as they awaited the procedures to be completed and their beloved animals fully recovered. 

One particular family of a gentleman named David really stands out in my memory.  He said to me in Spanish, “Dr. Roger, I love my dogs, but no more.  I cannot afford to feed anymore dogs).  David (pronounced Doveed) and his two children came with three 6 month old dogs and their mother to get spayed. 

The local Mexican veterinarians that we had the pleasure to work with were also very gracious and thanked us for assisting their efforts to reduce the feral dog and cat problem so prevalent in their country, while helping to educate the populace about the humane benefits of spay and neuter and to take advantage of large scale spay/neuter events such as these whenever possible.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. He is the author of The Man In The White Coat: A Veterinarian's Tail Of Love. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a globally recognized expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , general partner of Grant Animal Clinic, and runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care.  Dr. Welton fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.