Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Our banner on Madi's front gate

Barb putting up posters all over the island (Photo Credit: Caitlin MacLagan)

The team hit the ground running with a 7am start and a delicious breakfast of fresh pineapple and coffee. The first full day spent in Belize began with a team meeting, where Caitlin and Barb shared their experiences so far, touching on issues that impact the island, such as animal cruelty, dog fighting, and ear cropping.

"We did talk to them about the benefits of spaying and neutering dogs and cats. And we talked about behaviour, too. We brought up the fact that the vast majority of dogs that bite are in tact. They were surprised about that. When we asked people if they had questions or misconceptions about spaying and neutering, one of them was that dogs that are neutered are more vicious, which was really interesting. We got to squelch that one really fast," said Caitlin, when asked about their experiences in the local schools.

Barb and Caitlin speaking at a local school (Photo Credit: Caitlin MacLagan)

A view of Madi's backyard

Team meeting

Cats along the strip

Madi Collins, founder of P.A.W.

Dr. Jennifer with a patient

Following the meeting, the group went to work organizing their workspace on Madi's beachfront property: intake and vaccinations at one end; spays and neuters at the other. Animals began arriving a few hours later. Dr. Gina and Kim vaccinated a total of 18 animals, while three teams , consisting each of a technician, assistant and veterinarian, handled the spays and neuters, totaling as follows: 7 cat neuters, 4 cat spays (including a pregnant spay), and 1 dog neuter.

Four-week-old dehydrated puppy - one of a litter of eleven

The team was joined by Dr. Orlando Baptist, a veterinarian trained in Cuba who operates a clinic in Belize's capitol, Belmopan. Dr. Orlando met Madi over a year ago. She was in search of a veterinarian who could assist P.A.W. - she brought him to Caye Caulker for a 3-day clinic. Since then, the two have collaborated on a mostly bi-weekly basis. There are veterinarians in Belize City; however, they refuse to visit the island to help. In the past year, Dr. Orlando has seen many changes through his work, and feels that animal owners have become much more educated. He will work with CAAT for two days this week and another two days next week.

Just after 5pm, after a busy and challenging day working outdoors with the animals, the team tidied up the clinic and made their way down to The Split, a beach on the northern tip of the island. A cold front, likely the result of storms in the eastern United States, made for a breezy day, but little could stop the team from taking advantage of the turquoise water and warm sun. The team was then treated to a home-cooked meal by Madi's sister, Idalmi, at her neighbouring home, with the most delicious key lime pie for dessert.

We promise to bring back the recipe.

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