Posted by: animalshelterveterinarian | August 27, 2011

visited shelter in mexico

Animal shelter veterinarian

Blog post 8/26/11

While on vacation in Mexico:

Today I volunteered at the local humane society, which serves to shelter stray dogs and cats for this large city in Mexico.  Although they, the staff, welcomed me with some hesitation, they let me join them in doing dog and cat spays and neuter surgeries out in the community at a local park.  I neutered a few dogs and spayed a few, too!  These free spay/neuter clinics, also called campaigns in Spanish, help combat pet overpopulation, neglect, and starvation.  You may already know that these surgeries prevent certain serious medical problems for pets as they age. In particular, spaying prevents pyometra, which means pus in the uterus, in older female dogs.

 I can understand their hesitation in allowing me to visit them, because who volunteers at a tiny, poor animal shelter on their vacation instead of drinking margaritas and lying on the beach?  As their director said, it must be a woman, because men don’t volunteer on vacation. 

The team that I had the pleasure of meeting consisted of the supervising veterinarian,  a wonderful veterinarian, Rebeca Serano, who is a native of Tijuana, Mexico, the director of the shelter, Evaristo Castro, who kindly gave me a ride to the shelter in the battered official truck with no working seat belts or air-conditioning (I’m not complaining, really, just trying to draw attention to their limited funds), their technician, who confided to me she used to be in the restaurant business, and a number of local volunteers, including a human nurse who worked all night in a nearby emergency room and a generous American woman from Illinois who provided all of us with snacks of cherries, apple slices and peanut butter.  What dedicated volunteers. I was and am so impressed.  On a side note, I grew up on a small farm in Illinois, so it was funny to me to meet someone from there so far from home.  I also met two goofy and handsome Mexican government veterinarians (both young men) and observed the surgical techniques they use out in the field.

The thing I was most struck by was the fact that the humane society provided virtually everything needed to spay and neuter these pets, and they did it for free. That includes anesthetic drugs, all the surgical packs and instruments, disinfectant, water to dilute the disinfectant, all the stuff needed to prep the pets for surgery (clippers, vacuum cleaner, injectable antibiotics, gauze) and to recover them, crates, leashes, our transportation to the park.  And the humane society provided this service to the community with a budget of donations only!  Meanwhile, the local city government provided 2 tents in a graffiti-adorned park, electricity, and 2 veterinarians.  Although I’m scoffing at how little the government contributes, I really can’t scoff at the tents because at 8:30 am it was 100 degrees and muggy.  Without the tents we couldn’t have done surgery with the son beating down on us.  Thank goodness for the tents!  Even so, it was difficult for me to see in the shadow of the tent without a surgery light (see how spoiled I am as an American).

A poignant and memorable moment for me was when I was spaying a little black and white dog and the owner, obviously a kind and caring woman from the sweet expression on her face, was standing about 1.5 feet away watching me spay her beloved pet.  She was standing on the other side of the ‘CSI /POLICE LINE/DO NOT CROSS’ tape.  I admire her restraint in not freaking out at me while I worked. 

A second moment that was memorable for me was in helping a pug to wake up and breathe.  Because he’s brachycephalic (that means he has a smooshed-in face and lots of floppy tissue in the back of his throat), he has trouble breathing under perfect conditions.  After being anesthetized and neutered, he wasn’t breathing well and so he wasn’t eliminating the anesthetic from his body.  I placed him in sternal position, which means I propped him up on his chest, and pulled his tongue out of his mouth and he started to breathe and then shake his head. : )  At that point, I really wanted to do an energy technique to help him further, but since I just met these people, I didn’t want them to think I was a weirdo.  I’ll wait till tomorrow for that revelation. LOL.

I meditated later and it came through to me ( I give credit to my spirit guides) that I should’ve done the energetic techniques to speed his recovery.  Well, tomorrow is another day and I won’t be so timid. My spirit guides will encourage me not only to be myself but also to do my higher power’s will in the ways that I can.

Signing off (from left to right, that’s me, Evaristo, and Cece),




  1. Hi Juli!
    Good for YOU for doing spay/neuter in Mexico!
    Where were you operating? I just helped a vet friend of mine also from TJ, Rebecca Serrano at the Humane Society in Cabo San Lucas, and she has 2 young vets that help her. Are you in Cabo or somewhere else?
    If in Cabo, give Dr. Rebecca a big hug for me!
    Your friend,
    Dorothy York DVM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: