|Which way to the groomer?|
That's good news on two fronts. Sterilizations reduce the number of unwanted and abandoned animals in San Miguel. Continuing demand for Amigos' services is also an indication Mexican pet owners are embracing the spay-and-neuter message.
At the blitzes owners are as varied as the pets: a fancy lady carrying a sweatered poodle; a macho rancher with a cowboy hat and boots escorting a German shepherd; grandmas dragging their equally weary-looking dogs. Most auspicious is the number of kids who bring in their dogs and cats.
At the two-day blitz held last weekend at a Lions Club in San Miguel, one hundred eighty animals were sterilized on Saturday, and another eighty one on Sunday. Since Amigos was formed fifteen years ago by Arno Naumann, an American expat born in Chile, approximately eighteen thousand three hundred animals have been sterilized at the blitzes and at Amigos' mobile clinic.
|"Manchas" ("Spots") and his owner, waiting.|
Stew and I are in charge of weighing all the animals, an important job because weight determines the amount of anesthesia administered. It also gives us the chance to meet each prospective patient and its owner, and provide a leash if the animal comes without one.
Few pure-bred pets show up, though this year we saw at least three pugs, an Irish setter and two litters of blue-eyed Australian shepherds, probably ten in all. Approximately sixty percent of the animals are dogs and the rest cats.
But it's mostly a cavalcade of mutts and generics that defy any categorization. Some are timid, others friendly or scared, very few are aggressive or biters. Some really nervous patients leave behind a memento of their visit. Cats are placed in nylon mesh shopping bags to prevent their escape and to facilitate handling and the injections of anesthetic.
|Under the influence: Pug waiting to be sterilized.|
Almost all of Amigos' funding comes from American donors, though some owners leave small donations as they leave. The vets used to be all local volunteers but most of them are now provided by the State of Guanajuato's Health Department.
|A friendly hand: Cat in the recovery area.|
Two, possibly three more blitzes are planned for this year, in addition to the mobile clinic making the rounds twice a month of some of the poorer neighborhoods or outlying rural towns.
If the past is any indication, dogs and cats will continue to rain on the spay-and-neuter campaigns of Amigos de Animales. Hallelujah to that.
|Cat in a bag waiting to be registered.|
|The young leading the young.|
|I'm ready to go home, how about you?|
|A rancher pets his German shepherd.|
|This guy is seriously scared.|