I first visited Manzanillo 12 years ago on a house-hunting mission. Real estate prices looked reasonable so we decided to check it out. Our first impression was fantastic. The ride from the airport was great and we were already making plans to move here. But, as we drove through El Naranjo, Miramar and Santiago we were ready to turn around and go back to Wisconsin. Why, you ask?
Street dogs. Yes, street dogs everywhere. We had seen this before but the sheer numbers of skinny, sickly and injured animals was overwhelming. How could we move to a place where so many dogs were running the streets? Not only was it inhumane, it’s also a health hazard to people; especially for children that are exposed to feces and disease.
We did end up buying a home in Club Santiago and with each visit, the decrease in the number of animals is incredible. While dogs and cats living in the streets still exist, their numbers have gone down thanks to the efforts of many selfless people and organizations that have given their time, money and lots of hard work. Education, along with providing free or reasonably-priced sterilization and health care, has been key in reducing the population and improving quality of life for animals of Manzanillo.
Last year was my first experience at the PATA Sterilization Clinic and it was amazing. The building was hot, the days were long and I was peed on more than once (those darn cats!) but I cannot wait to volunteer again this year!
I met so many wonderful people and saw first hand how we can all come together to help this great cause. Locals came from far and wide, many of them bringing all the animals they could fit into homemade cages, buckets or simply a rope around the dogs neck. I had no idea what I was doing but quickly learned how to check vital signs, pick ticks as well as cleaning and clipping ears. Never in my life have I had such a feeling of accomplishment and camaraderie as I did after those 4 days.
If you would like to get involved, PATA is looking for volunteers as well as monetary and food donations for the clinic that is being held November 18-20 at the Lions Club in El Centro.
All of these wonderful organizations rely on your donations (of time and money) and adoption efforts in order to continue the work they do, keeping our animals healthy and safe and increasing the overall quality of life for all of us that live either full time or part time in this beautiful area.