By Marisol Arias .Photos by Schantz Studio Productions
I will tell this story from the heart. Some years ago, I lived near Pinilla in a condominium surrounded by land and few houses.
One day, when I got into my car, parked outside the house, I saw a furry figure that wagged its tail without even knowing me. It was a funny puppy, peaking out from the shade of the car, where it sought cover from the intense sun of that Sunday morning.
My husband approached and we both agreed that the dog had a funny body shape because he looked like the Dachshund from his childhood.
We called him Paco and gave him food and offered fresh water. Apparently, he was alone, because he would came and go.
The condo´s residents adopted him and each family picked a name for him. One day, arriving home after some time out, we learned that he had been run over. Fortunately, he was taken to the veterinarian’s office by a family who was looking after him at that moment.
We did not see him again until much later, when we discovered that, luckily for Mike (his new name), he had been adopted by that family, who moved out of the condominium and took the pet with them as they integrated him as the new member of the family.
Unfortunately, Mike’s story is not like that of many other dogs that are abandoned and must face indifference, abuse as well as disease, and can end up suffering and dead. Dr. Gilberth Cavallini and team, of Cavallini Veterinary Hospital, are committed to change this reality by attending them and giving these animals a better quality of life.
As it stands, Doctor Cavallini decided to join efforts with those of the “Yo seré su voz en Guanacaste” organization, which also rescues strays and gives proper and dignified care to neglected and abused animals.
Dr. Cavallini and the organization funded the Dog Recovery Center, a transitional place where abandoned dogs receive temporary and basic care until recovery.
“Once at the hospital, rescued dogs are examined. They undertake diagnosis procedures—blood tests and sonograms—so the veterinarians can establish the diagnosis of their diseases. Homeless dogs, in case they were stray or belong to very scarce resources’ homes (owners who cannot afford bathing or medicine expenses or even own a refrigerator to place opened canned food), stay in the Center for their treatments.
As soon as the found dogs are healed, they return home and ‘Yo seré su voz en Guanacaste’ will visit them regularly and give advice to their owners,” Cavallini explained.
“Homeless dogs are moved to the Center, while their adoption is being promoted for a while through our Facebook page,” he added. The Center is located in Lomas de Matapalo, on the way to Playa Grande, where Doctor Cavallini ´s private dog hotel is located.
There is a specific area within this property for rescued dogs that do not carry infectious diseases. How will the animals be examined? What is the protocol?
“People cannot take the animals to the Recovery Center directly, since they must be examined first by the professionals. It is mandatory to go to Cavallini Veterinary Hospital to prevent any disease transmission.
There, it will determined whether the animal can be helped or not, given that we have very limited resources to spare. At times, we may not be able to help people who find animals at all,” said Lineth Matamoros of Yo seré su voz, Guanacaste.
Dr. Cavallini explained that, depending on the case, the Veterinary Hospital will coordinate with Yo seré su voz, Guanacaste to determine if there are enough resources to place the animal.
“Failing that, Yo seré su voz, Guanacaste will accept it and the hospital will make a special discount to treat it and buy the medication. It is also determined if there has been negligence on the part of the owner and, if that the case, the owner will be asked to leave the animal for adoption,” Cavallini explained.
High number of stray dogs in the area According to Cavallini and Matamoros, although there are no specific statistics on abandoned animals in the area, it’s clear the problem is growing and the quantity of stray dogs is increasing. This situation has forced them to promote local castration campaigns.
“We attend every animal that is assisted in abandonment or neglect cases, as well as those that have been rescued or given to us for adoption. In 2018 alone, the Veterinary Hospital Cavallini and other institutions conducted campaigns through which over than 1,000 animals were sterilized,” Matamoros said.
Gilberth Cavallini explained that the most common diseases that afflict rescued or stray dogs are those caused by ticks, which can generate acute or chronic kidney failure; malnutrition; skin problems (bacterial infections and scabies) as well as venereal tumors that are transmitted by contact and that may be preventive through timely sterilization.
How is the Center funded?
Undoubtedly, it depends on financial support to cover the challenges. Currently, the rescue Center is financed by donations received from the Veterinary Hospital clients as well as by external grants through Yo seré su voz, Guanacaste.
Additionally, many suppliers contribute discounts and favorable credit conditions. Nevertheless, this is still not enough to cover all the expenses.
“Nowadays, the hospital and Yo seré su voz Guanacaste are able to meet the animals´ needs. However, we essentially would like to achieve a fixed sponsorship by people or companies to stock basic supplies, as well as to have better discounts to purchase food, antibiotics and shampoo,” Cavallini explained.
“The hope is to get sponsors that can make a monthly contribution through a membership, certificate or something similar so that the community can help us and we would have a regular income to make this a sustainable project,” he said.
“Anyone interested in making a donation can deposit money directly into the Veterinary Hospital´s or in Yo seré su voz, Guanacaste´s accounts. Donations can be made for a particular case or to the Recovery Center in general. A receipt or invoice will be given in both cases. We also handle Paypal for international donations.”
In addition, it is possible to be a registered “cradle house,” which is a home that hosts one dog and cares for it temporarily while being adopted. It is also possible to register as a volunteer in the veterinary Center to help with the animals´ care. In the future, more initiatives would help other animals For the time being, the Recovery Center is only for dogs.
According to Dr. Cavallini, and in conjunction with other organizations and companies such as Reserva Conchal, they have planned a similar Recovery Center for stray cats.
The veterinarian explained that many wild species are treated at his regular Hospital through the Salvemonos organization: monkeys, coatis, raccoons and dolphins. Injured cows and horses that are run over on the roads are also being treated. The reality of hundreds of abandoned, sick and unloved dogs in our community is changing and to be part of the solution driven by Dr. Cavallini and Yo seré su voz, Guanacaste we only need to join by contributing with financial donations, business support, adopting a dog or with personal time.
The wise Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi stated that: “A country, a civilization can be judged by the way they treat their animals.” Let us be today part of that country, of that community, where solidarity will be its legacy.