I just reposted a blog I wrote from March, 2015 about Animal Advocates of Pedasi’s 2nd annual party (fiesta). It’s fun going back and looking at pictures and remembering friends, some of whom have moved away and some who are still here. There have been many changes within the last 5 years in this little town.
Animal Advocates has certainly changed from its inception of one woman (Margaret) to several core members, volunteers, and activities over the past 5 years. AAP still has the annual party and the annual “Mercado”, both great fundraisers that the community looks forward to. We also host several other fundraising activities: Bingo, the sale of Pedasi license plates, koozies, magnets, and cloth shopping bags. AAP has sponsored dog/cat food drives for a neighboring pet adoption organization. Expats and Panamanians are now regular volunteers. This past year we have stepped up our educational activities, especially for the children: a matching game with prizes at town fairs and “Movie Night” in the basketball court which is totally free to the public. (Next Saturday we are hosting our 2nd Movie Night per request of many of those who attended the last, both children and adults.)
But the biggest change with Animal Advocates is the number of SpayNeuter Clinics we host. This is the main mission for this organization and we have certainly grown from one or two per year to one, sometimes two, almost every month. The low-cost clinics have sterilized over 1,100 cats and dogs since 5 years ago. Besides Pedasi, our clinics have been held in other small villages in the Pedasi district. And we recently reached out to Pocrí just outside the district, hosting a clinic for the sterilization of 70 pets. We have a regular veterinarian, Dr. Jonathan, who performs the “quick spay” method taught by a larger organization “Spay Panama”; at the last 2 clinics two other vets joined him so more animals could be sterilized. We are now sponsored by “SpayPanama” which provides integrity and precise guidelines for our clinics, along with support in raising more funds that pay for these clinics. I must clarify at this point, the clinics are not free to the pet owners; we do ask for donations to help offset the actual costs of the vets and supplies. But many of the townspeople are only able to pay a little, so our fundraisers help provide the difference. AAP also traps and sterilizes feral cats, returning them to their environment after recovery.
You would think after 5 years and over 1,100 animals sterilized in the Pedasi district, there would hardly be a need for another clinic. I wish that were true and as our mayor put it at the last clinic: the goal is that we would not have to have another clinic. But it just takes one non-spayed female cat or dog and one non-neutered male cat or dog to produce a litter of 2-10 babies. Left that unchecked, there are hundreds and thousands of animals, many of which end up homeless, maltreated, roaming the streets, and sick. Now every month we receive requests for sterilization of cats and dogs from pet owners; our clinics are full and we have a waiting list.
As for me, I am concentrating on the Educational part of our organization, especially the children, teaching about responsible pet care. And I have slowly seen an increase in awareness, concern, and interest in caring for animals throughout the area. I still help at the clinics and fundraisers when I am available as well. Our garden shed is full of the equipment and supplies we need for the clinics and fundraisers (traps, pet carriers/kennels, etc.). And our garage is once again piling up with all the donations to sell at the “Mercado” in December.
Here are some photos of the last clinic in August which was once again held in the municipal basketball court in Pedasi. 79 animals were sterilized.
“Saving just one dog or cat won’t change the world, but it will surely change the world for that one dog 0r cat.”