No! She is not a doctor! However, so many people in the Panajachel area call her this. No matter how many times she denies the honorable title, she remains, “La Doctora Selaine”.
We believe this happens because Selaine is publicly and daily seen on the streets and neighborhoods tending to homeless, sick, mistreated, and recovering animals. And also because (to the best of our knowledge) there are no real veterinarians nor medically trained people doing similar work in the public areas where the homeless thrive.
Here in the Guatemala Highlands, the local year round climate enables so many animals to live free and with minimum shelter. As a result of the friendly weather and abundance of public areas, the street animals can survive on little and easily reproduce within their natural environments. The tradeoff to the free and easy conditions is an overpopulation of sick and starving homeless dogs and cats.
We have no knowledge of any professionally managed or dedicated animal shelters in our territory. And we have no intentions of opening one. For the Lake Atitlan region, we believe that the vast majority of the sick and needy are living freely on the streets, along the roadsides, and just about anywhere there is garbage.
In bringing treatment directly to the haunts, Ayuda has experienced many cases where nutrition, basic diagnosis, and minimum medications have resulted in measurably effective differences in the health of needy homeless animals. An added bonus from making “neighborhood house calls” is a rich supply of prime candidates for spay/neuter.
Ayuda is very aware and fully acknowledges that spay/neuter operations greatly help to relieve many of the problems caused by overpopulation. For this effective but expensive tactic, we do what we can, and as often as we can, and with our limited resources. However, for the free roaming homeless and feral, Ayuda believes that limited sterilizations done through limited resources and occasional clinics are only part of the answer to the perpetual stream of community animal health problems with which we are overwhelmed. To augment the benefits of charitable sterilizations, we feel that quality of life and public health conditions can be markedly improved by care givers who simply walk the streets and neighborhoods for purposes of surveying and treating the many cases which regularly reveal themselves.
If you are a medical professional who is visiting or living in the Lake Atitlan region, and you are actively attending to street animals, then for the sake of the patients, please work with us. Together we can prevent accidental overdose of medications, vaccines, and flea insecticides by coordinating known animal’s schedules. Also very importantly, we can prevent street animals who have already been sterilized from accidentally making their way to the surgery table for an unnecessary and dangerous second time.
And if you are a medical professional and not out treating in the streets of this land where so many sick and mistreated animals live without care, then please do what you can to help us continue this daily animal welfare work. We are unpaid volunteers. If you would like, we can set you up with a private and efficient area to perform surgeries and other treatments. We can probably help with your personal lodging too.
Please help Ayuda help improve the quality of life for helpless animals. So many of the battles begin in the streets. We are working hard to overtake these fronts. We sorely need reinforcements and supplies.