Of course it makes complete sense for me to be roped into working at Casa Lupita on clinic days. Clinic days are when volunteer (both Nicaraguan and foreign) veterinarians spend days, or a week working to neuter dogs and cats and help sick animals. The veterinarians need back up “staff” to help run the place. It is not a job I would naturally gravitate towards… as I find it particularly hard to see and deal with animals in pain, but if the animal lovers don’t do this job, then really, who is going to do it? So there is a core group of people who help this place to run smoothly, with additional volunteers stopping by. There is a strong feeling of community, where everyone does what they can to help. Some people stop by with bags of dog food, others come by for moral support or to do what they can to help.
Fortunately, my job is to do administrative intake. Fill out forms with identifying information and tag animals accordingly.
The early morning rush starts with a line that forms outside the clinic doors… children, old men, people on a horse and cart bearing kittens, sick dogs, skinny dogs on a string, cats in a potato sack bag, all waiting to enter. The day before had been horse day for sick horses, but today is dog and cat day. Doing intake in Spanish and making sure animals are not muddled in the confusion and get the right services and get returned to the right owner at end of the day, is pretty intense.
Once the early rush is over and all the animals are ready and the vets are ready they can start the surgeries. At this point I use my time to go and comfort animals that are distressed by finding themselves confined to cages. Talking to them and stroking their paws and noses makes me feel better too.
The clinic also offers a good training for some local veterinarian students. About twenty animals are neutered in one day of clinic.
Today this includes my adorable gatito Pablo who needs to be neutered along with the rest of them. After the surgery I take my cat in a box and escape home with him to the bedroom where we both crash on the bed and sleep off the experience.