Santiago Atitlan Clinic

Volunteers Anthony and Karlis greeting a young family 1-Dec-09

After a successful clinic in Santa Catarina the day before, Dr. Jim and his team set up operations in the southern shore village of Santiago Atitlan.  This would be the first Santiago clinic assembled by Ayuda as a formal organization.

Many of the previous day’s team of volunteers also held together, including the donated professional services of Board Member Dr. Dennys and student intern Astrid.

The municipal salon was made available through the Santiago mayor.  This very large and open area provided for more than ample space and excellent location.

Operating Room Atitlan Style 1-Dec-09

Special challenges were overcome through team resourcefulness and creativity.  This included overcoming the burn out of Dr. Jim’s brand new conclave due to third world electricity.

The operating room was established on the open stage in front of a wall mural.  Privacy was created through ropes and sheets purchased at the local paca (flea market).

Staffing was temporarily hindered due to an impromptu, but very important,  meeting in the Santiago mayor’s office.   A nearby appointment was set with Ayuda Board Members to present a community plan to more humanely and more effectively manage the village’s animal population than activities which are currently underway.  These activities include the planned death of 80 feral dogs before they migrate into the village from the city dump.

Volunteers Linda and Selaine explain the benefits of sterilization to reluctant local men 1-Dec-09

During the course of the day, many instances of cultural differences emerged in the Admitting process.  There was particularly strong resistance to the concept of removing testicles.  Dr. Jim and his team will be researching possible alternatives to sterilize male dogs without performing actual surgery.

By the end of the day 21 animals had been sterilized, and 34 were vaccinated against rabies and other local deadly diseases, such as parvo and distemper.

Operating expenses for the clinic were provided through the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.  Much of the equipment was provided through funding by WSPA.  Overnight lodging was donated by David at the Posada Santiago.   The Santiago health department provided the rabies vaccines and a staff to do the injections and keep records.  The mayor’s office provided the salon and its services.  As a symbol of community recognition of the animal welfare issues, local residents provided whatever cash donations they were able.

Left to Right: Cindy, Astrid, Dr. Dennys, Dr. Jim, and Teryn 1-Dec-09

A terrific group of people who live in Guatemala showed up and volunteered.  And last but not least, Dr. Jim, Cindy, and Teryn generously gave their professional services, blood, sweat, and tears to help the animals of Guatemala.

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