Living in the United States, it is easy to forget that there are dogs and cats in the world that live a much less fortunate life than our pets. When students first arrive at The SFS Center for Marine Resource Studies on South Caicos, they notice right away the stray animals afflicted with heartworm, mange, and other health problems. For the students and staff, it can be heartbreaking. Fortunately this May, thanks to the generous donations of many alumni and friends, SFS was able to work with the Turks and Caicos Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TCSPCA) to host the 3rd South Caicos Spay and Neuter Clinic.
Prior to the clinic, I visited local schools, along with fellow intern Chrissy Lamendola and Student Affairs Manager Kimbrough Mauney, to give a fun and interactive talk to kids about the importance of pet care and the benefits of spay/neuter operations. The kids got to sing-along to a song about “potcakes” (the name for our local dogs within the TCI) and hang out with “Lucky” (an intern in a giant dog suit). We quickly learned that the kids on South were some the most enthusiastic people about the upcoming clinic, since many of them have puppies and love animals.
After much anticipation, Dr. Rich, the veterinarian arrived on South Caicos with the TCSPCA volunteers. Soon, their animal van and the clinic was up and running. Our classroom was converted into a fully functional operation room and local pet owners brought pets for surgery. Another important aspect of the clinic was trapping “community animals,” which are dogs and cats often given food scraps by locals but who have no real home. We used leftover fried chicken to lure the animals into the traps and to our clinic.
While the days were long and hot, the work was incredibly rewarding! In just four days, Dr. Rich performed over 50 surgeries and vaccinations on the Island’s dogs and cats. Also, each dog was given tags, a microchip, and a snazzy new collar. Both Chrissy and I had the opportunity to watch spay and neuter surgeries and learn how to inoculate the dogs.
This clinic would not have been possible without the contributions made by SFS alumni and friends, or without the tireless work by the TCSPCA volunteers, Dr. Rich, and the SFS staff! Through clinics like these, we are slowing the growth of the stray animal population, and we are one step closer to putting an end to animal suffering on South Caicos.
To support this ongoing effort to keep the dogs and cats of the TCI healthy and happy, you can donate here. Select “SOS South Caicos – Veterinary Services” from the dropdown menu marked “Designation.”