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Monday, March 28, 2011

PATA Manzanillo 5-day clinic

A PATA Manzanillo 5-day free spay/neuter clinic for dogs and cats was held March 17-21 (http://www.patamanzanillo.com). This is one of two big clinics held each year (the other one is in November) and John and I were fortunate enough to be here to volunteer our help. The clinic turned out to be especially successful with a total of 298 animals over the 5-day period and a record breaking 77 animals for a one day total on Saturday. Ten volunteer veterinarians rotated through the days with some coming from as far away as Texas, Guadalajara, and Colima to round out the local group. Other volunteer labor was provided by local nationals, full time ex-pats, and snowbirds from Canada and the U.S.

John and I did a little of several things including cleaning crates and cages, helping MJ sterilize surgical instruments, and attending to animals in the Recovery area. John was especially helpful lifting the (sedated) big dogs from Surgery to Recovery or into crates as they began to come out of the anesthesia. Being a cat person I hung out with those little guys who took a long time to wake up. A few were dirty and covered in fleas but most were in better shape than the dogs. Dogs in Recovery were given a spa treatment of tick removal and matted hair trims, so that they usually looked better than when they first arrived. Recovery animals were monitored for temperature, gum color, and pulse to ensure there were no complications coming out of surgery.

The days began at 0800 (or earlier for some) while John and I usually arrived off the bus at 0900. We'd try to leave in time to get back to the boat for a swim and a bath before dark, and one day we had to leave early because of a Carnaval parade which was scheduled to close the main road. We made two exceptions to our "back before dark" rule. First for the final day of the clinic and second for the thank you dinner for volunteers the following night. We made it out through the surf just fine because we left the dinghy on a well-lit part of the beach (where no one bothered it during the day, over a holiday weekend!).

It felt strange to be on our feet and "working" long days after so much time off doing our own thing. We went home each night feeling tired but extremely satisfied. It was especially gratifying when an owner came to pick up an animal and recognized our efforts with a handshake and a "muchas gracias" accompanied by a big smile. Kudos to all the many people who made this event a success and who will continue to work to improve the lives of local cats and dogs.

Photos from the clinic may be viewed at: