A Dangriga Pet Clinic: Animals in Need…So Many…And the Hopkins Humane Society

The amazing Hopkins, Belize Humane Society, a relatively tiny group spearheaded by superwoman Clara Lee, organizes free veterinary clinics a few times a year for areas that lack easy/free veterinary care.  And there are many of them in Belize.


This most recent string of clinics hit Hopkins, Maya Center Village, Dangriga (all in Southern Belize) and San Ignacio, Cayo – with a volunteer vet from Tucson teaming up local vets and volunteers to do check-ups, surgeries and as many spay/neuters as is humanly possible in a few days.


They are located in the lovely village of Hopkins and have done amazing work there over the last few years.  There are few dogs on the streets that haven’t been fixed and there is an actual waiting list for kittens and puppies.  Unheard of in Belize.  But it is time to mobilize…and help communities where that is SOOO NOT the case.

I went down South to help out at the Dangriga clinic.  Amanda, a volunteer from Texas who owns Swell Chick Photography, helped by heading out into Dangriga with another volunteer to find animals that needed help…


I spent my day at the clinic…talking to owners, washing instruments and helping dogs in recovery.    Here’s what I did and saw…

I will warn you, some of the cases are tough…really tough for the dogs but with each clinic, things will get a little bit better in the community, I hope.  TVT – a Canine Transissable Veneral tumor is rampant there.  Incredibly sad.

And the humane society is doing AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING work.


Two young boys had a small pack of animals ready to be fixed…including a small cat in a bag.


People were waiting for us at 9am…


There were dogs waiting…


And despite early morning rain…things were brightening.  This was the view from the Helpage Center balcony.


That red truck was holding Chief….waiting patiently for his surgery.


I won’t show you the photo…but he had a horrible venereal cancerous tumor….which was later removed.  All could be prevented by spaying and neutering.

Surgery started.  Dogs bellies shaved…


Their names taped to their heads…


And surgeries began…


Little Blackie waiting his turn.


Tiny puppies in need of cleaning, deworming, flea and tick medication.  Everything was free…


Beautiful pit bulls there for a check-up.  VERY hard to convince owners to fix a pit bull no matter what his or her age is.  And even harder to convince people to fix male dogs despite the horrible genital tumors that are so infectious in the area.


Some brothers and sisters waiting their turn…


Clara Lee holding one who is waiting for surgery (under anesthesia)…


Chief in recovery….his tumor removed and some reconstructive surgery done.  Let’s hope it doesn’t return.


And my station…scrubbing and sanitizing.  Okay…not so sexy but necessary!


And a goofy picture of me taken by Amanda with a dog with huge eyes and an even bigger collar.


Puppies, puppies and more puppies…all in need of care.


And always a little love.


This poor dog had been on a nylon cord that cut right into her neck…the doctor assured me it was an easy fix…but GRRRRRRRRRRRAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH…it is hard not to be furious about something like this.


All animals weren’t in bad shape…I fell in love with this beautiful puppy.

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Okay…maybe in the US, many take dog care to the extreme – from special winter coats to their pampered pets sleeping on their pillows.  Dogs and cats are considered children.

But in much of the world, dogs and cats are seen differently – often as a pest, sometimes as something that does a job – like home security – and is fairly disposable.  Dogs…so reliant on humans…are particularly sad cases.   When there just aren’t resources for animal care, things can get dire.

Things will get better – with clinics like this, with education and with, HOPEFULLY, improving conditions for the owners.


Until then…it’s superstars like Clara Lee, who lives in Tucson AZ and organizes and funds (through donations of money, food, and medication) these clinics and the Hopkins Humane Society, and her team of volunteers that keep things moving (slowly) in the right direction.






  • Thank you so much for helping with this important effort once again — and even more for raising awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering through your blog. The pooch with the cut neck makes me so sad and angry too — how awful. And the resistance to neutering pit bulls because the owners think they won’t be tough enough afterwards. Hope Chief will be okay! The pup you fell in love with…I totally agree. What a beauty! Thanks again Rebecca. 🙂

    • Just getting one person to be a bit more loving to their pet…or to see that they feel pain…is enough. Thanks Emily for the comment 🙂

  • Susan

    Thank you so much for these reports! It will get better because of people like YOU, Clara Lee and all the volunteers. I hope some day to be one of them. Until then, where can I donate? Will also pass this on to my vet…maybe they can help as well.

    • The Hopkins Humane website should have all information…Clara Lee is an army of one when it comes to fundraising and donations…every few months, they drive down a trailer filled with things for dogs, cats and people. It’s really really really amazing.

  • belize has come a long way in recognizing the need for humane treatment of animals….but…it also has a long way to go.
    [great article]

    • Thanks. It gives me perspective – into how animals in much of the world exist. Tough…but baby steps!

      • yah in some places…. they are considered no more than ….delicious.