Friday, July 19, 2013

Helping Man’s Best Friend

An un-glamorous pose indeed!

“There is no dignity here!”  She said with a wry laugh, a knowing smile crinkling the corners of her eyes.  “Once you are on the operating table you lose all pretenses at modesty.” 

A truly un-glamorous sight indeed! Legs splayed, private parts exposed for the world to see, a large dog lay unconscious on an operating table.  

I had unwittingly walked into the middle of a one-day free spay and neuter clinic organized by the non-profit organization, Isla Animals.

A week ago, Odd-the-Dog, our one blue-eyed, one brown-eyed beach dog that deigns to visit our house, twice daily for a meal and a few pats, was in serious distress.  He staggered into the kitchen and flopped down, wheezing and panting, his over-heated body infested with a myriad of tiny little ticks.

I quickly sent a phone text to Doctor Delfino Guevera, a local veterinary, hoping to get help for the pooch.  I waited.  No answer.  Then I hurried two blocks down the street to his surgery, hoping to find him there.   

Bonnie Hamilton & Eileen Regn
Much to my surprise the front door was locked, but I could hear voices inside.  I poked my head around the side of the building looking for the back entrance.  

The interior courtyard was abuzz with volunteers attending unconscious animals, stacked cages of waiting animals, and recovering animals. 

Realizing that Delfino would be literally up to his elbows in his work, I turned to leave when Eileen Regn stopped me, asking if I had an emergency.  

A few minutes discussing symptoms with Eileen and veterinary assistant Katie, a decision was made that Delfino would come to our house as soon as he closed up his current operation. 

Spaying a female dog
Delfino arrived ten minutes after I returned home, medical kit in hand, and did a preliminary analysis of the problem.  Odd likely had Ehrlichia, a nasty bacterial disease transmitted by ticks; this despite my routine applications of either Revolution, or Frontline, or Frontline Plus medications.  Odd-the-Dog was given a shot for his fever, another shot to help clear his lungs, and a third shot for pain.  He didn’t even flinch.  Within hours his condition had improved dramatically and I was able to return to the surgery, camera in hand, to see what was happening.

Barlow and his patient
In the courtyard, our eight-year-old friend, Barlow Wareing was quietly sitting with an unconscious female dog.  She was recovering from the effects of anesthetic.  This pooch also had a terrible case of Ehrlichia, and even though she was there to be spayed, the team was unable to operate.  As soon as a slight cut was made on her skin she started to bleed profusely.  The operation was halted, and Barlow was assigned as her guardian until she was fully awake.   

Besides Barlow volunteering, his community-minded parents, Brad and Tiffany Wareing owners of Barlito’s Café on Hidalgo, supplied a much appreciated assortment of complimentary mid-day meals and cold beverages for the group of helpers.

Getting the next patient ready
Inside, the tiny over-heated surgery was packed with talented folks; prepping the animals, operating, or shifting them into the recovery area.  Arturo Di, a dedicated veterinary from Cancun was back, along with veterinarians-in-training Katie and Rosalee.  Roberto, Amy Wilson, Cindy Phillips, Cheryl Murray-Solorz, Tiffany Sutherland, Bonnie Hamilton, Eileen Regn and a group of other enthusiastic helpers did everything imaginable to clean, comfort, and heal the animals.  

Some of the hard working volunteers

On Monday, a blood test confirmed the original diagnosis, Odd has Ehrlichia, and Missy the older beach dog, has different type of infection.   They are both on a series of antibiotics, vitamins, and have had a super-duper-tick-killing shot to combat the horrific infestation of ticks.  It’s a particularly bad year for ticks, fleas, a nasty skin-fungal problem, and ringworm.  The ringworm has unfortunately spread to a number of young island children.  Long-term islander, Bonnie Hamilton, said she has never seen an infestation this bad.   I was truly impressed by the dedication of the volunteers working to help the island dogs and cats. 

Arturo and Delfino 

I will forever carry that image in my mind of the splay-legged dog, long pink tongue dangling over his teeth, unconscious and unwitting.  

It conjures up images of the time that I was in a similar situation; on an operating table, at the mercy of the mischievous medical staff.   

Hasta Luego          
Lynda and Lawrie


Life's a Beach! said...

Wonder if that's what I looked like on the table back in 1998? LOL I am SO glad you got quick treatment for Odd and he made it through. Missy too! Love seeing all the dedicated volunteers, including Barlow!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for caring and for doing the right thing for that poor pup. I appreciate it and you are a wonderful person.... THANK YOU

Anonymous said...

so glad missy and odd made it through! thanks for looking out for them and for all you do . give 'em a pat pat from me .xo jennifer

Lynda & Lawrie said...

Hi All - the "dawgs" are doing better, but Oddly still has a cough. Hopefully that will clear up as well.
And Becky - the operating table thing .... it makes me giggle just thinking about it. Most of the medical professionals that we know have a very silly sense of humour - I have often wondered where the x's and o's on my stomach came from .....hmmmm.