Hey!! It’s been a while!! We are now on Day 13 here in Belize and the first program is coming to a close!! However, I will update you guys on Day 6- Day 11 so I can save some to talk about later!!
Day 6: 5/17/2018
Thursday we got to go to a cattle farm and perform vaccinations on the cows (who were much bigger and scarier than they look) and also got to vaccinate their horses and their dogs!!! The cows proved to be a challenge since they all received intramuscular shots which go straight into their muscle and is quite painful! Even though they were placed in a shoot, they were flighty and would move in every way possible to get the needle out- I don’t really blame them. We had SO much practice since we needed to do about 70 cows! Afterward, we got to vaccinate horses, which were a little less flighty, and their farm dogs who only had received one shot but were whining for about 5 minutes after(drama queens). It was exhilarating to have so much practice! After we were all sweaty, we got to go cave canoeing in one of the most BEAUTIFUL caves I have ever seen. Some people went cliff diving and we got to experience “pitch black” within the cave, which was frightening and relaxing at the same time. You could literally wave your hand in front of your nose and not see a thing.
Day 7: 5/18/2018
Friday was the beginning of the long-awaited trip to the beautiful peninsula of Placencia. After a very long, and sweaty trip in the back of a cramped van with packed backpacks, we arrived at the Placencia Humane Society. This has been my FAVORITE day of the trip so far. The Friday clinic was free, so not only did we get to observe countless spays and neuters, but we also got to interact with owners and ask them if we could take their dogs to a free clinic. We had gone out in the back of a pickup truck and drove around neighborhoods asking owners if we could bring their dogs in for free healthcare with the promise to return them home safely. It was so impactful seeing the direct impact you have on the quality of the animal’s and their owner’s life. But nothing was more terrifying than having to be in charge of the recovery of a puppy just neutered. Skippy was his name and boy was he TERRIFIED. Not only that, but I wasn’t aware that puppies panting had a significantly higher heart rate ( almost 200 per min) than normal, and I was so scared he wouldn’t wake up from his anesthesia. Ruben not only calmed down my worries, but explained that the process is different for everyone, and wow he was right. Out of five dogs, I observed coming out of anesthesia, each one had a different temperament afterward and took a different length of time for it to wear off. After the 10 hour day of work, we finally took a swim in the ocean, settled into our condos for the night, and got to eat delicious food at the Barefoot Bar. It was such a heartwarming day to see all the volunteers coming together to better the quality of life of these animals and improve the neighborhoods in general.
Day 8: 5/19/2018
Round 2 of the clinic in Placencia! Because of this low-cost day, you got to see the difference in the number of customers. We ended at 2 pm (about four hours earlier than the previous day). Because I skipped breakfast, I got to participate in the spay of a pitbull/labrador mix (which is my favorite breed) and was able to fall in love with Angel. She was the sweetest dog I have ever met and I almost cried as she left- I swear I am normally not THAT attached. Her neighbors were the ones to bring her in after watching her have one litter already at the young age of one. It was her first trip outside of her small, chained yard, and she was so happy and playful and wanted to sniff everything. Unfortunately, because she was such a healthy dog and was probably exercising before the surgery, she kept waking up and whining during the surgery from metabolizing the anesthesia too fast. It shattered my heart until she was given ketamine to sedate her. Her owners also didn’t follow the pre-surgery instructions, as anesthesia clears the stomach of its contents, and she threw up three times. The poor baby girl will never want to leave her backyard again! 🙁 Later in the day, we got moved to our hostel for the night, dipped in the pool, and then dressed up to leave for the Barefoot Bar, where we had good food and took a few shots- alcohol is very expensive here and make sure you drink responsibly!!! There I also met the second dog of my dreams, a little chubby and friendly dachshund named Buster that would get on the dance floor with us!
Day 9: 5/20/2018
Sunday, a few people got ill from the food and weren’t feeling well, but we still all went snorkeling anyways. In the morning right before snorkeling, we ran into a puppy we neutered on Friday named Skippy- what a coincidence. When we got to the island to snorkel, after a 30 minute boat ride to the island, it was absolutely beautiful. This was my first time snorkeling and to be honest, the first time we went out I felt like I was permanently drowning, but the second time was amazing! We saw so many fish and got to explore the second largest barrier reef in the world (in case you didn’t know)!!! However, don’t be like me and think you are invincible to sunburn on the back of your legs or your back, because I was a TOMATO when we got back to San Ignacio. I have never been more sunburnt, and you don’t even wanna see my booty. It is burnt to a crisp, I say as I am painfully peeling. Other people got it worse so I can’t even imagine, but wear your sunscreen kiddos!! That’s the moral of the story.
Day 10: 5/21/2018
Back to our regularly scheduled programming, we got to go to two sheep farms Monday and give vaccinations and castrate a few young sheep and meet their super sweet owners who reminded me of my grandparents so much :(( I miss my family back home :((( But new adventures!! I also met the third dog of my dreams- I know I keep saying that but you HAVE to see all these cute doggos and then you will understand. These doggos reminded me of my doggo back home and made me miss home EVEN MORE- can you tell I was feeling homesick this day? They were german shepherd and chihuahua mixes and were such good boys for their vaccines. But by far, the best part of the day was trying to catch the sheep to castrate in a big open pasture. How many people does it take to grab five sheep you ask?? About 15. With battle scars of jumping sheep.
Day 11: 5/22/2018
Well, Tuesday was a day for sure. A good or bad one is up to you to decide. We visited a pig farm, and wow that smell was SO delightful. We had to castrate 5 screaming piglets who were surprisingly hard to keep down and needed about three people just to grab them. After a very demoralizing attempt to castrate the testicles off a piglet, I found my calling- pig wrangling. The high pitched squeals and the dramatic gestures of the pigs surprisingly don’t faze me and even though I may have been close to slipping in poop a few time, I have a 90% success rate in holding them down for an intramuscular shot. This was by far the best experience ever, followed by a really unfortunately smelling car ride on the way to a beautiful waterfall so we could rinse off all the filth from our bodies. This was followed by a quick lecture on artificial insemination and palpation in cows.
To all of my family and friends- I miss you tons and I can’t wait to come back to you all!! And I hope Kelsey has the BEST time recovering from her wisdom tooth removal LOL.
Tune in next time for my hand up a cow’s rectum!!
Days Left to Go: 15 days 🙁 (Simultaneously miss home but never want to leave)