April and Kevin in Kuna Yala, the northeast coast of Panamá

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Spay Panama

I just had the opportunity to spend the day at a wonderful place...so of course I want to tell you all about it. I spent the day volunteering at Spay Panama. Together with a group of other volunteers, Patricia Chan (wonderful lady below) opened Spay Panama in 2001.

Spay Panama's mission is to put a stop to the misery by controlling the overpopulation of cats and dogs through an intensive sterilization program. Spay Panama is a spay and release clinic. They work mainly with street animals that are caught, spayed and then re-released into the area where they were caught.

Yes, having them adopted or sheltered would be better, but the reality is that this is not realistic for many of the animals that have grown up on the street...and people looking to adopt are not as common as one would want.

The clinic has a wonderful facility in a converted house in a central neighborhood in Panama. They have a dog bathing area, cat and dog kennels, a surgery prep room, operating room, lounge, kitchen and office space. The cat room is shown below. Everything is wonderfully clean and taken care of. This is one of the best run organizations that I have seen in my time in Panama!Volunteer help is key to Spay Panama. Volunteer veternarians and vet students do the proceedures. Regular dedicated volunteers are used to help with moving animals, weighing, tagging, holding and giving injections, shaving/sterilizing the operation area, monitoring health, sterilizing tools, providing additional health care to animals before they wake back up. Each dog and cat is not only spayed or neutered, they also have their ears cleaned, eyes checked and cleaned, and are treated for fleas and mange. They are marked as spayed with an ear tatoo for dogs and an ear clip for cats.Sometimes there are 6 operations going on at once in the operations room. This place runs like clockwork. While I was there they did 6 spays for animals brought in by their owners (a small donation is requested of animal owners who come in, but is not mandatory for those who can't pay it.). They also did 17 dogs from the streets of Arrijan...a town about 45 minutes West of Panama City. Those dogs were brought in by a concerned community member who rounded them up and brought them in. They finished up with 6 kittens...one of them also got his hernia fixed. I was amazed...but they just told me that this was a fairly slow day.

Below are dogs in recovery, they wake up an 1/2 hour - hour after the proceedure.
Below is my host in Panama city, Devon, who introduced me to Spay Panama. She volunteers weekly. Devon loves seeing and helping all the animals so much she isn't even bothered by the fleas and dirt.
What would a story about Spay Panama be without a cute and kitty photo and a plea to please support a shelter through adopting an animal or donating time or money.

If you wish to donate (tax-deductible, they are a 501(c)3) to Spay Panama you can through their webpage: http://www.spaypanama.org/ About 1/2 of their operating budget comes through donations...and more are needed.
This is Petis...I really wanted to take her home. I am still in spouse-to-spouse negotiations on this subject. Isn't she cute...and she purrs up a storm.

Remember, some animal affection is good for the heart....in more ways than one!


Chris McCubbin said...

Bob Barker would be proud!

And thanks for turning on full RSS, it works great!

Evie said...

Hope negotiations go well for you and Petis. Also, those lab pups would be so much fun!

Bill Andrews said...

Thanks for the wonderful post on the good work being done at Spay Panama. I hope Petis will like the Island life. Petis will bring much joy to your household. Just keep him away from the snakes.