Reporting in after our busiest surgery day all week! 200 surgeries today, whew! Each day, Puerto Rican families line up starting at midnight to fill the spots for the day. Hundreds of pet parents are turned away every day, but they are polite and understanding about the situation. They get in the line the next day with the hope that they will get their pets vaccinated and spayed or neutered safely. The pets are well cared for and obviously loved and treasured by their families.
This campaign is so important to help PR get back to normal after Maria. Most veterinary clinics did not have electricity for 6-8 months after the storm, so many did not reopen. Puerto Rico citizens in more remote areas have not had access to vet care for over a year. Many of these families have taken in stray dogs and cats displaced by the hurricane and are anxious to get them up to date on their care.
Our volunteers have story after story about how an owner has stopped them to thank them for coming from the mainland US to help their little island. I personally have experienced the dozens of hugs, handshakes, kisses and tears of gratitude from the owners any time that I walk through the crowd. Puerto Rican animal shelters in particular are grateful for the help in reducing the pet population and getting more pets vaccinated against common diseases. The shelters are overflowing with homeless pets and every euthanasia for space is a failure for them.
You can see more about this year long event and the 26 different organizations making it happen at #spayathon4pr and Spayathon for Puerto Rico. Most of the organizations are looking for volunteers for their February and May campaigns if you are interested!