Amor Animal

Animal well-being is an important value for Small Change 4 Big Change and in 2018 we were able to open Amor Animal, a low-cost veterinary clinic here at the center, to serve the pets of low-income families, and street dogs. We are cultivating a new culture of animal well-being in our town of Santa Catarina Barahona (population 4,000) and our neighboring towns of San Antonio Aguas Calientes (population 12,000), Santiago Zamora (population 800), San Miguel Dueñas (population 14,000) and San Lorenzo el Cubo (population 10,000). The response of the local communities to this animal well-being initiative has been overwhelming and Amor Animal has taken on a life of its own!

 

We are thrilled that the local indigenous people are changing their mindset and understanding how important sterilization is and more importantly, animal well-being. People are learning that animals have rights, deserve respect and should have all of their needs met and be comfortable.

Abandoned dogs is a massive problem world-wide, not only in Guatemala. In our community, people prefer male animals, so they don’t have to worry about having a female that gets pregnant. People maintain dogs to protect the house at night, but during the day, dogs are let out in the street to fend for themselves- to find their meals so families don’t have to invest in them and to do their needs so families don’t have to clean up after them. This isn’t good for the dogs or the community. If a female gets pregnant, she will most likely be abandoned in the street, or the puppies will be born and left to die in the street. And the cycle repeats itself all over again. We have spayed and neutered over 2,000 animals in the past three years and will do over 1,000 more in 2020, and have treated thousands more!

As in our other programs, we want to be as self-sustainable as possible, and Amor Animal is able to cover the majority of its costs; we charge pet owners a small price (ideally $1.30US for flea treatments, allergy injections or de-worming, and up to $13US for a spay or neuter surgery, but we do have families that pay us in beans, plants, or a variety of other surprises). In this way, not only do people learn to invest in their pets and therefore value them more, but we are able to treat far more animals than if we simply gave everything away for free. Dr. Franco’s monthly stipend is paid by a generous individual donor.

All donations to the Amor Animal program go directly to street dogs- to cure them of any illnesses (mange, malnutrition), to vaccinate them against rabies/Parvovirus/Distemper and to de-worm them, to recuperate them, and to spay/neuter them.

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Thank you for your interest in the well-being of animals.