Animals. They can be the only ones that understand us in times of need; they pass no judgement, no harshness, only kindness and love.
Part of our awesome team helping the animals of Todos Santos.
Animals have always been a big part of my life and ever since I was a little kid my dream of owning a dog was my most sought after adventure. When my parents finally agreed to rescuing a dog, we were blessed with my Australian Shepherd Cattle Dog Blue Heeler Mix: Troy. He was always there for me- from growing up into a teenager, going through middle school and high school, ex-boyfriends, best friends and my parent’s divorce. He was always there for me. But he was getting older and by the time I had to leave for the airport to depart to Guatemala for the Veterinarians International Rabies and Sterilization Project, he was an estimated 14 years old.
Troy only lived one more week after I left for the campaign. When I got to Todos Santos, Guatemala after spending a week in Belize, I got the call that no dog lover ever wants to hear. My old man had passed away in his sleep that Sunday morning after a suspected stroke.
Tobi’s young owner helping me listen to her heart while she recovers from anesthesia.
At the time, I was surrounded by my fellow veterinary technicians, veterinarians and volunteers. It was the first time I had to go through the grief of a dog of mine passing. After crying in my hotel room and looking through pictures of my beloved dog, a few words kept ringing in my ears. My old coworker, beloved friend and mentor Dr. Maria Bromme had told me after I received word of Troy’s death that, “Nicola, now you will do all of those surgeries next week in honor of Troy.”
Tobi all ready to go home after getting spayed and vaccinated.
This one sentence got me out of bed and down to the gymnasium to set up for the five-day campaign which would begin the next morning. After about 7-8 surgeries on Monday, my day ended with a sweet little shepherd mix named Tobi. Tobi was the pride and joy to a young boy who had brought her in to be spayed, accompanied by his grandmother. After Dr. Bromme and I had finished Tobi’s procedure, I carried her over to the recovery area where her young owner’s smile and excitement gave me peace and joy.
We continued to recover Tobi from anesthesia and together listened to her heart and picked out a new collar and leash for her.
Tobi and her owner proudly posing for the camera.
Once she was ready, the young boy walked Tobi around the gymnasium to get her ready for the long walk home. When she was ready to go home, the little boy gave me another huge smile and him and his grandmother walked Tobi out of the door and to a new life. A new life where this sweet girl would not have to be pregnant and would be protected from diseases such as Rabies and Distemper as a result of the surgery Dr. Bromme had completed and the vaccines I had given.
Once I left the gymnasium for the day, about 5 minutes after the young boy and Tobi had left, I ran into them on the street. The boy told me his grandmother was buying some chicken and then he proceeded to ask me to take just a picture of Tobi. I happily obliged as earlier I had taken several of the boy with Tobi.
Nicola Broughton and Dr. Bromme working hard to spay and neuter the pets of Todos Santos.
I will never forget the pure pride that exuded from the little boy’s smile as I took a picture of Tobi with her new collar and leash, an opportunity that was a direct result of the work of Veterinarian’s International and the GAAP. This amazing campaign has such a wonderful effect on the community and their young children.
In a way, Tobi was a continuation of Troy. She was young, sterilized, and vaccinated, but most importantly loved.
Tobi and her owner getting ready to go home.
Losing a pet is something that all pet owners must go through, but I feel so lucky that I was able to make a difference in the lives and futures of the dogs and cats in Todos Santos, where I monitored and cared for pets under anesthesia. Even though
Troy is gone, his memory will live on through all the animals that I cared for in Todos Santos.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have gone to Todos Santos, Guatemala with Veterinarians International for the second time as a veterinary technician. I am so proud of the work both Veterinarians International and the GAAP have accomplished, and I am beyond excited to continue volunteering in the future.