I didn’t plan on spending a full month and change in Mérida, but I did, and it was awesome. Melody let me completely outwear my welcome and never once made me feel guilty about it. For someone that I didn’t know terribly well to begin with and hadn’t seen in two years, she’s been incredibly kind and hospitable. I’ve had too much fun with her, Ken, Martha, the dogs, and the many hilarious, interesting people I’ve met along the way: Mexicans and Mexpats alike.
This past week I had the pleasure of volunteering for free spay/neuter clinics in three different cities in the Yucatan: Progreso, Mérida, and Valladolid. The clinics are a joint effort between U.S.-based Planned Pethood and local organization AFAD. Mexico has so many street animals and these events help reduce overpopulation while educating communities about dog and cat care. I got involved because my friend Melody has been volunteering with them for years in addition to other animal welfare groups in Mexico. Most people do two or three days but we did all seven because we’re hardcore like that.
Me and Melody on Day One in Progreso.
The clinics themselves are rather like mobile army surgical hospitals. A lot of equipment is brought in and set up quickly in gymnasiums or warehouses, wherever space is found. Veterinarians come in from all over the world for this. There were vets from other cities in Mexico, the U.S., Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. Mexican veterinary students serve as technicians. Locals and expats volunteer in many roles. More than 300 animals were sterilized each day so there was a lot of activity and a lot of tasks that needed to be accomplished.
I’m three days into volunteering for a week-long dog/cat sterilization clinic in three different cities in the Yucatan. I’ve never been so filthy and exhausted in my life but my heart is full and I feel more productive than I have in a while. Full update it’s all over.