Here at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, we like to take the time to recognize staff members involved in fun and unique activities or go above and beyond outside of the hospital. Recently, Tricia Kaoihana, Assistant Clinical Supervisor of the Blood Bank, traveled to Akumal and Tulum in Mexico for about a week assisting the non-profit organization called ViDAS (Veterinarios Internacionales Dedicados a Animales Sanos – International Veterinarians Dedicated to Animal Health). ViDAS is a non-profit organization of veterinary professionals and other animal-lovers dedicated to improving the lives of animals and people through veterinary medicine and education. Their mission is the prevention of animal suffering due to starvation, disease, and other health problems associated with pet overpopulation in areas of need, recognizing also that overpopulation of animals contributes directly to human disease.
They provide free high volume/high quality sterilization services for street and owned animals of impoverished areas in Mexico. Their focus is safe sterilization for the animals and education for the people about safe animal handling, zoonotic disease, and general animal husbandry and health care. They also strive for coordination with local veterinarians and municipalities to establish sustainable and humane solutions to pet overpopulation.
This event was a six day clinic that involved turning an outdoor basketball court into a functional medical care space and having one full day of clean up.
The medical team volunteers had 19 people in total which included 8 doctors and 11 technicians. There was an additional group of volunteers that helped with recovery and helped to admit patients. Many of these volunteers were from Mexico or expats from the United States. Tricia stated, “Without all of these volunteers, this entire operation would have been very difficult”. Some of the volunteers were even added on during the event including a gentleman who was originally from the United States and had been experiencing recent life challenges. He brought his dog in to be neutered on the first day and then decided to stay and assist the medical teams for the remainder of the clinic. This same gentleman has already planned to meet with ViDAS at their next clinic in Playa del Carmen.
At the end of the clinic, a total of 1004 patients that had been spayed or neutered! Not to mention this was a much smaller clinic than many other events.
Tricia mentioned, “My biggest take away from the experience is how fortunate I feel to have access to everything that I have for my pets. You could tell that these people love their pets just as much as I love mine, they just don’t have the resources. They were so thankful. Amazing experience. Eye opening in many ways”.
A big thank you to Tricia Kaoihana, the ViDAS team, and all of the volunteers that helped to make this clinic a big success! To read more information about ViDAS and the incredible work they do, please visit http://vidas.org/.
Written by Haley Dinwiddie, BS