Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mulege Mexico 2012

FRIDAY, February 3rd

The team, after travelling on different days from different locations all met in Mulege today to begin our project with PAW (Patrons of Animal Welfare).   Liz and Ashley were our vets, Laura, Chris and Jackie our techs and Kris was our tech assistant.    Once we had settled into our accommodations (graciously provided by Joyce and Cliff) we headed to the clinic location for a tour, meet some of the PAW volunteers and to get organized before starting work tomorrow!    The clinic is in a storage facility outside of town and PAW has done an amazing job of stocking the clinic with as much equipment and supplies as they could get in.    Joyce is our main host and she is fabulous, she is making sure that whatever we need (transportation, food, information) she is providing!   CAAT's goal is to assist them in sterilizing as many animals as possible during this project.  

SATURDAY, February 4th

We arrived at the clinic to meet the PAW volunteers that were going to be assisting with admissions today.    We discovered, quite quickly, that Chihuahuas were going to be our main breed here!   Makes sense in Mexico!   Our first case arrived immediately, a Chihuahua Mix named Pecos that had eaten bones and had been vomiting for several days.  We went on to treat two more Chihuahuas for possible foreign body obstructions and the other for bruising and possible internal injuries from begin bitten by a larger dog.   It is quite common for dogs to eat alot of garbage and bones here so it is not uncommon to have issues!    We started our surgeries as well and got a system going with our two teams working together.

We ended the day at a restaurant called Sr. Geckos where there was a dinner celebrating the PAW organization and their sponsors, discussing animal welfare and the work that PAW has been doing locally.   Quite impressive work!   CAAT was asked to speak about the work that we do as an organization, there were many questions asked and the evening was quite a success.

SUNDAY, February 5th

Today we arrived at the clinic to a line up and a full house!    The PAW group did a stellar job with admissions and Chris worked steadily with pre-surgical exams, sedations and triaging walk ins and emergencies while Ashley and Liz did surgeries and Jackie and Laura did the anesthesia and monitoring.   The PAW volunteers changed every day but were quick to assist wherever needed as was our CAAT tech assistant, Kris.   All hands were needed on busy days and we worked together to keep the patients well cared for.   We were heading out to the car at lunch to go to the local unused school where some dogs were and found a very sweet, young, chocolate coloured mixed breed female lying under the car (shade).   We coaxed her out and she stole all our hearts immediately.    She was a stray and we decided to spay her and PAW would find her a home.  We completed 18 surgeries and had 12 walk in medical cases/vaccinations.

MONDAY, February 6

Along with our full house for surgeries we treated a puppy that had been hit by a car and a young dog whose face had been hit a few weeks ago and now had constant nasal discharge, he had a lab type face but sounded like a Pug when breathing!    We neutered him but also flushed his nasal and sinus cavities.   Technicians are an odd bunch - we all took great glee as Laura flushed out all the big chunks of mucus out of his nose!    Hoots and hollers each time one emerged!   He went home with one of the PAW volunteers, thanks Terry, to recover and get his antibiotics regularly.    We were also very excited that a Canadian couple from British Columbia came by and adopted our little chocolate girl we had found under the car the day before!    She is the sweetest little dog and we all were thrilled she is going to become a Canadian citizen!!

TUESDAY, February 7

BUSY BUSY place today, people everywhere!   Our usual surgeries were streaming in first thing in the morning, it was very hectic for the first hour or so, getting everyone admitted and weighed and examined, but then we fell into our routine and worked away.   We had a tiny Chihuahua mix with a gun shot wound, upon exploratory surgery Ashley discovered that, sadly the BB pellet had perforated the bowel and the spleen and we had to humanely euthanize the dog.   The owner, who did not speak English came up to us afterward, with her little dog in her arms, with tears streaming down her face, and put a hand on Chris's shoulder and said "Gracias".   :(   Although you see difficult things on these trips at times, people that don't seem to care about the dogs or cats, there is no doubt, that in every place we have been, there are people that care a great deal. 

WEDNESDAY, February 8

We woke up to torrential rain today!   It is very uncommon, according to the locals, to have rain in Mulege, let alone this heavy rain.   We headed to work bright and early as usual.  

Kris Riggins, our education coordinator for this project, met with the PAW volunteers interested in starting and education program there, and demonstrated the Bite Free program and discussed the need for education with animal welfare work.     The PAW group will continue to work with Kris through emails to get an education program going in Mulege and area.  

A local boy that lives right beside the clinic, Davida, brought his horse to show us, it was not in need of veterinary care, he was just very proud of his horse.   The horse was in great shape and it was obvious Davida took very good care of him.  We continued our surgeries and medical cases and it continued to rain.   By the end of the day, we went in to Mulege for groceries and found a very muddy Mulege!   Some of the side streets were being washed away, one of the stores had 2 inches of water on the floor (leaky roof).  It continued to rain all night!

THURSDAY, February 9

It is unbelievably, our last day in the clinic!  Time has flown by but we have been busy and never turned anyone away.   One of the things we have noticed during our time here is that alot of the feral (stray) cats are absolutely stunning!   Flame point Siamese types, Himilayan types, very interesting coat patterns, truly beautiful and unusual cats.   The dogs have ranged from a Weimeraner, Schnauzer, Spaniel types, LOTS of Chihuahuas and Chihuahua Mixes, PitBulls, and the usual reddish brown, short coats, mid sized dogs we see everywhere we go!     We had a busy day with several extra cases thrown in but we finished them all.    

Throughout the course of the week, we had several "observers" and young volunteers.   Our youngest volunteer was 4 or 5years old and came with his grandfather every day to volunteer, he observed surgeries, asked lots of questions, and cleaned instruments (the dull ones) and cages.   Two young girls on different days, who were interested in veterinary medicine came in to assist, both very inquisitive and mature.   We also had a young veterinary student come in that observed surgeries and (through a translator) was able to learn a few new things from our technicians and vets.   We also had a human orthopedic surgeon in for a couple of days to observe and assist.   Each a very interactive and educational experience on many different levels for all (including the CAAT members!)

We passed on some of the knowledge and experience we have gained with field hospital veterinary work to the PAW group for their visiting vet program for which we were the inaugural group.  The PAW volunteers told us they were thrilled by the accomplishment of the past week, 78 surgeries were completed and 130 vaccinations.   PAW is doing a wonderful job in Mulege and with their local vet one day a week and their visiting vets program should be able to continue to do so.   During our time here, often through translators, we met many wonderful Mexican locals who absolutely loved their dogs and cats.    We were very happy to have been able to reach so many of them.    
PLEASE visit our FLICKR account on our website for pictures of this Project.


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