Panama is full of stray dogs, all of whom seem to be related, based on appearances. Part of the problem is due, of course, to uncontrolled breeding.
Spay Panama is dedicated to solving that problem and improving the lives of the existing dogs. Every month, they set up a reduced-price clinic near Coronado for lower-income families as well as people who bring in stray dogs they've befriended.
For $25 per dog (or $12 per cat), the animal is spayed or neutered and receives vaccinations, ear cleaning, and de-ticking and de-fleaing treatments.
We have volunteered at this clinic twice, and intend to keep doing so!
It starts at 8:00am with dogs lining up to get weighed and labeled with the owner's name. Vets have already set up eight surgery stations, and as they are ready the animals are called forth to be put under and shaved in the pre-op area. The "taxis" -- volunteers whose purpose is to carry the sleeping animals to the operating table -- are called to transport the dogs and cats. The vets perform the procedure, then the taxis are called again to take the animals to the post-op care area.
In post-op, they are rubbed down with an anti-tick and anti-flea solution, they receive vaccinations, and their ears are cleaned. I have worked twice in this area, mostly cleaning ears. We also watch over them as they start to wake up and pay attention to anything out of the ordinary -- occasionally a dog has a reaction to the anesthesia, and we've had a couple of times when the dogs had to be taken back to the vet for emergency care.
Vet techs were doing the shaving and vaccinating, but it has been decided that from now on only the vets will come to the scene to do the operations -- all the other jobs will have to be performed by volunteers! Therefore, training sessions have been set up in the city for any volunteers who would like to learn the arts of vaccinating, shaving, and more.
Around 11:00am, the first shift ends and new volunteers take over until about 2:00pm. Then the vets pack everything up until next time! The first time we saw more than 100 animals; the second time it was about 70.
If you're in Panama and would like to help out with your time or a donation, please contact me and I will get you connected to the right people!