Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Plan: Conquering Dog Overpopulation in Mexico

As I mentioned in my previous post, cultural and financial issues were inhibiting “our” ability to deal with the overpopulation of dogs in Chiapas, Mexico.Let me start out by explaining who I’m talking about when I say “our”.

Through a network of “friends of friends” a group of ten managed to find each other. Interestingly, there were only four foreigners in the bunch. We had all been trying to make a dent in the problem using our own limited resources. We found strength in numbers.

We got organized; appointed a president, created a mission statement (Education, Sterilization, Euthanization and Rescue — in that order), met with the Mayor (this alone took several months) and received permission to set up a table in the zocalo for the purposes of educating the populace and selling some of our wares donated by local artisans.

One of the members got in touch with a friend in the USA and they in turn got in touch with a big American firm that provides *free sterilization clinics.

ed Assisting with Phoenix's Neutering
Ed is assisting with the neuter of Phoenix.
*They pay for the plane ticket and the vets wages. We were responsible for all other costs. The only additional fee was the cost of medication which turned out to be $7/animal. Considering local vets charge $150-200USD per sterilization, this was a deal! I would tell you the name of the “American firm” if I hadn’t forgotten the name wasn’t sworn to secrecy.

We coordinated over 50 volunteers, sponsors for food, accommodations, evening activities, transportation, facility rental, the list goes on. It was a big, well thought out and organized affair. Eight months in the making.

Bruce the Vet, a Canadian (small world) arrived in tow with a representative from “Humane Society International” in Washington, D.C, two vets from Monterrey (a two-day drive away) and some local vets.

The local vets came because Bruce offered to educate them in the quick, easy and less invasive (and in turn, less expensive) methods of sterilization.

It was a win-win-win.

We were ready to change the world.

You know the adage, “If you build it, they will come”? Translated into Spanish it reads, I’d love something for free as long as you’re willing to do all the work and you…

CAN’T neuter my Male!

Yes, the culture is that macho. We could have all the females we wanted but we had to catch them and then care for them (for one week afterwards). At which time, we could return them to the streets their owners.

Our dedication to the cause remained unfaltered. We rounded up the poor souls and worked into the night.

Ed was fortunate enough to assist with Reina’s sterilization surgery and I was there for her recovery. A unique opportunity that is not available in Canada.

Tzite Sterilization Clinic Chiapas Mexico
I’m in the top left hand corner wearing pink. Perfect colour for the bleed and defecate everywhere recovery room.
When all was said and done, 134 dogs and cats were spayed and neutered over three days. Someone did the math and apparently, over 5 years, that one clinic alone prevented 144,000 new animals from being born. That’s a lot of mutts.

The Mayor happened to be holding a recognition ceremony that week so we were all on hand to receive our certificates for “Bettering the City”.

Tzite Award Ceremony Chiapas Mexico
You can see Phoenix and I kneeling in the front of the top picture.
The clinic was a great start but if we wanted to have a long-term impact on dog overpopulation in Mexico, we had to come up with sustainable and local ways to make a difference.

On to the next challenge… Money.

11 thoughts on “The Plan: Conquering Dog Overpopulation in Mexico

  1. Christine

    Wow! You never cease to amaze me! I can’t believe you are involved in something like this 🙂 You are amazing! All the best on all your future endeavours. The money challenge is a huge thing. I totally get the bits where you talk about the machismo of the culture. My mom is filipina-Spanish and I have lots of students from Mexico. A few of my favourite students are actually from Chiapas!!!

    Oh, and no…you can’t cut off a dude’s dog’s cojones! 😉

  2. Paula Schuck

    That is a great initiative. Good for you. It feels good to give back. The kids and i volunteer a lot with children. We believe it’s incredibly important!

    My daughter would love to do volunteering with animals like you though

  3. Maya

    WOW! Totally impressed. To come up with ideas is one thing but to see them through is completely different. Especially in another country with so many obstacles to overcome. Good for you, I’m very, very impressed!

  4. NPC

    This is absolutely amazing and so cool that you are doing this! I’m sending you good vibes so that you can meet your next goal!

  5. Robin

    Wow, you are inspirational! What a huge difference you’re making!! Thanks for being a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves!

  6. Rene

    This is a great post – I love the photos and look forward to seeing more in the future! Also awesome to see your own pets in on the action.
    Thanks for inspiring others and working to educate the two-legged ones.


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