Earlier this week, I traveled down to Hopkins, Belize to help out with the local Humane Society. I’d been following some of their efforts on Facebook, and I’d helped at a free vet clinic in Sarteneja, Belize that was organized by Hopkins Humane Society (HBHS).
A tough but amazing experience.
These guys are a small group – care but not a shelter – and under the leadership of Clara Lee (a super human Mississippi lady who comes to Hopkins multiple times a year), this organization is doing AMAZING, life-changing things.
This is Clara Lee. Do not let the pretty face and Southern Belle accent fool you. She takes care of business. In a way I’ve never seen down here before.
Like in 2014, they sponsored free spaying and neutering for over 1100 dogs and cats. That is about the same as the human population of Hopkins Village. ALL medical care they give is free. ALL.
I volunteered to help at a clinic this past week. Visiting vets from outside of Belize, coming here and donating their time and expertise. Pairing up with Belizean veterinarians – this time Dr. Mia Canton
– we planned to hit Dangriga and Hopkins and then they were continuing on to San Ignacio to provide free medical care there.
Let me just show you a bit of what I saw and did while on the trip.
We woke up early Tuesday morning to drive the 30 minutes into Dangriga – a much bigger town just north of Hopkins. We were doing a free clinic. Neutering, shots and de-worming, anything that needed to be done in the make-shift clinic.
We had a good spot at the local parish – AC and everything.
And the view. A gorgeous day.
Before we could even start setting up dogs were coming in.
And then it was just time to take care of as many dogs and cats as possible. Some volunteers drove around town to pick up and drop off animals. I settled into the recovery corner. Where animals sometimes needed a shot, to be monitored and just to be held as they freaked out coming out of anesthesia.
One of my favorites, Spike. He had a case of TVT (venereal tumors) and was being fixed and cleaned up. A fighting dog that had been rescued by his owner from Honduras. Just a giant sweet meatball inside a slightly terrifying body.
From Spike to this little guy whose sugar dropped dangerously low and needed a…honey enema. Poor kid.
Mama cat and her babies about to go into surgery.
Clara Lee calming down a dog who was coming out of surgery and anesthesia.
An exhausting, exhiliarating day. It went by in a blur of tick picking, all sorts of bodily fluid clean up and just comforting dogs.
Jason and his wife moved to Hopkins earlier this year and spend much of their time volunteering with HBHS. Two inspiring people – and ex-New Yorkers. Here he is comforting a dog.
Some of the volunteers from Dangriga and the states as we packed up to leave.
The plaque was taken down and we loaded up for the trip back to Hopkins. They do a free clinic each Wednesday in Hopkins. And with Dr. Karter visiting from Tucson, AZ, they would be able to do some bone surgeries. One lovely dog was hit by a car and waiting to have her leg pinned. Free. AMAZING stuff being done down here!
The next day many of the volunteers were up EARLY – when I arrived at the clinic at 9am, two HBHS pick up truck loaded with animals were coming in for care. (see the very first picture.)
These dogs were dropped off for surgery and care and I jumped in to head back to Dangriga to pick up more animals needing help.
I rode in the back with this sweet sweet mama dog. Eye infection to be tended to…along with other issues. She had been giving birth to litter after litter of puppies that died…she needed to be fixed. And Clara Lee talked the hesitant owner into okaying it.
And then this poor baby. Found living on a chair beneath a house – ON A CHAIR – flooded with black bubbling water.
Cut ears, missing a few back toes, oozing callouses, starved almost to death and her tail was still wagging. She was so happy to see us, so happy to be at the clinic, was walking around sticking her nose into everything. How can this dog even walk?
Jason summed her up beautifully on his Facebook page:
“Her name is domino and all she does is love.
We picked this girl up while out on a round up mission for a spay/neuter clinic at #hbhs. Her former owner was trying to kill her by means of starvation and luckily for domino, her neighor intervened. While her rescuers intentions were pure, thier circumstances were unforgiving and we were approached by the people that were caring for domino with pleas for assistance. We took her in to be spayed and returned but decided she would be better served under our care . She will be placed in a home that reciprocates her endless waves of love and humility. But first……we will rehab her for a few weeks with massages, walks, quality food and a lot of love. Stay tuned for more pics of dominos road to recovery….”
I can’t wait to go see her.
INCREDIBLE experience. I met amazing people and, basically, I would do ANYTHING Clara Lee told me to do. Anything. I need to talk to her more…interview her. This woman is a GENERAL and one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. Raising money, getting grants, trucking down supplies from the states, bringing in vets to Hopkins and around the country and in a few years, has made the animals of Hopkins Village healthy. All free to the area residents.