Ayuda is celebrating two major “10” milestones this month.

10 year anniversary cake

This week we said farewell to Sheily Soto who worked very hard for Ayuda over the last 6 months and welcomed Stephanie Garcia, Ayuda’s newest veterinary intern. Sheily was Ayuda’s 10th intern from the University San Carlos, the public university in Guatemala City where each student is required to complete an internship prior to graduation.

This program was initiated in August 2014 through a seed grant from the Darlena Lake Trust and has proven to be beneficial in many ways. Not only do students gain valuable veterinary training, they are exposed to the critical needs in the poverty stricken highlands and how they need to be part of a greater humane solution for Guatemala.

These final year vet students develop their surgery skills under the watchful eye of Ayuda lead veterinarian, Dr. Isael Estrada Atz.  He also helps them improve their diagnostic abilities through close collaboration.

Interns provide consults, booster vaccinations, and basic veterinary treatments to dogs and cats sterilized by Ayuda on a daily basis. This service is provided in each municipality in which we work one day per week in the donated municipal office. Interns make referrals to Dr. Isael or other licensed Guatemalan veterinarians in cases where surgery or hospitalization is needed.

In addition to basic veterinary services, interns also act as the Ayuda liaison to the municipal governments, provide humane education in schools and to the general public as well as prepare and give presentations on local radio and television stations.

Ayuda principals are actively seeking steady financial support for the internship program. For more information on how you can help, please send an email to:

The second milestone is Ayuda’s 10th Anniversary as a registered Guatemalan charity! It’s been a wild ride over the years with lots of ups and downs.

In the first years Ayuda volunteers spent a great deal of their time explaining why sterilization was a more effective, humane solution than bi-annual culls with Strychnine, Cyanide, or other poisons.

Before Ayuda there were no humane programs at Lake Atitlan with regularly scheduled sterilization clinics so there really was no humane option. Now the public is aware with the majority firmly behind humane solutions to end overpopulation and to reduce the spread of diseases.

Thank you to all of our donors and volunteers for your KIND SUPPORT over the years!  We Can’t Do It Alone!

In clinic news:

The team ended the month of July in Santa Cruz La Laguna. Big thanks to Natascha, Daisy, and Elizabeth for coordinating the transportation of several animals from the San Marcos/Tzununa area. We also want to thank our municipal contact Andres for picking up and recovering two street dogs from Santa Cruz as well as covering lunch for the team. Nice work!

Leona and Chase
Perla and Snap

Then it was off to Panajachel on 1 August where we had another great turnout of animals and volunteers. It was Stephanie’s first official day with Ayuda and it was a big one!

Thank you to Jonas, Barry, Katie, Vicky, Sandra, Bea, Geoff, Iva, Gregorio, and Harold for all of the help, and to Dr. Isael, Evelyn, Donald, and Juan for their kind care for the animals. Thank you to friend and neighbor Carol O. for treating the team to a delicious pasta salad and the municipality for lunch for the whole team.

Harold setting up the dog kennels
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The line up when we arrived . . .
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went out the door!
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Sandy at the intake desk for dogs
Pre-op pain and anti-inflammatory injection
Dr. Isael watches as Juan and Stephanie provide another pre-op injection
Getting ready to roll in the surgery area
Let the training begin!
Stephanie preps a cat for Dr. Isael
Too small for surgery…just taking a nap.
Waking up in loving arms
Puppy cuddling is a big part of the job!
Bea keeping Nene happy and occupied
Selaine takes a break to play with Nene and Zif
Huge thank you to the Thomason family for helping Fé and her 7 pups. The family is adopting Fé and have found homes for 4 of the 7 pups. 2 of the females were too small for surgery. They will be done at a clinic next month.

In Emergency Services news:

It is necessary to start with a public alert.  There is great concern over a potential outbreak of Feline Infectious Anemia, a contagious and highly deadly disease in cats for which there is no vaccine. While this news came to us through a less than reliable source, we are proceeding with the preparation of public service announcements to be on the safe side.

Stephanie is preparing a separate article to address signs, symptoms, and transmission. Please watch for this important information which will be shared on this site, Facebook, and through radio and television.

Currently we have many patients with varied needs. 3 dogs are receiving chemotherapy for Canine Transferable Venereal Tumors, one dog is scheduled for hip surgery tomorrow with Dr. Isael, one puppy passed away in the hospital yesterday morning from a very aggressive case Parvo virus, and two other pups are being treated for Distemper. All paws crossed that the two pups survive and have a good quality of life.

Ayuda provides emergency services when funds allow. All of these surgeries and treatments must be funded through private donations. If you can help us, please make yours today by clicking here.

On to adoption and foster care news:

Let’s start with an open message to the person or person(s) responsible for dumping two adult dogs in the middle of the Panajachel bay.  Regardless of the fact that YOU wanted them to DIE, they both made it to the shoreline in front of La Fortuna Lodge. The female collapsed from exhaustion while the male took off up towards San Jorge.

Now named “Leila”, it turns out she was sterilized during an Ayuda clinic! How do we know? She’s sporting a green tattoo along the line of her incision. Poor girl was emaciated, covered with ticks, and still very tired the next day when an Ayuda volunteer went over to check and treat her.

“Leila” is now home with Rosa. Thank you Rosa for adopting her!

If anyone has photos or knows who did this, please send us a private message.

“Uman” was adopted by a family in Panajachel. He now has a ginger buddy featured in the next photo.
Uman’s new playmate! Thank you Bruce, Meli, and the boys for giving them both a terrific purrrrrever home!

Thank you Torin, Erin, and John for giving these two their purrrrever home!

An earlier family photo for the Ginger 3

Sneak peek of the next dog who will be ready for a home:

This is “Nube”. She is currently in foster care and scheduled to be sterilized this week. Once she has recovered, she will be RTG — Ready To Go!

More adoption news coming soon!

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