versión en español
"Until he extends the circle of his compassion
to all living things,
man will not
himself find peace."
Welcome to the web site of Spay/Panamá-Chiriquí
For 17 years I organized, sponsored, and financed spay/neuter clinics for dogs and cats in Volcan, Chiriqui, Panama. But then tragedy struck. From the goodness of my heart, I allowed Carla Black's recycle group access to the building I had rented for 15 years--having paid $18,000 for rent alone. On February 4, 2023, the local recycle group caused a devastating fire in my clinic building.
Before I had recovered from the tremendous emotional and physical trauma, another group had started a clinic--even calling themselves (at first) the legally sanctioned name of MY clinics, Spay Panama-Chiriqui. And they even lied, saying my Spay Panama-Chiriqui clinics were "under new management." I did not belong to the local Facebook account where this was advertised, but others reported it to me.
The group is headed by my long-time registrar, Francia Pinedo, whom I had thought was a friend. She, nor none of the other "group," told me about "their" clinics, and with nary a mention of my 17 years of service for the animals and the community. And shockingly, while I had scratched for donations for many years, suddenly the "community" was immediately able to finance and equip everything that had cost me many thousands of dollars out of pocket to acquire and provide. They completely excluded me. Obviously if they had not tried to keep the "new" clinics from me as long as possible, they would have asked me for help and possible contributions of my equipment, medications, and supplies that were crammed into my house, my casita, and my shop after the horrible fire. Those that were not destroyed by the fire, that is.
So sadly, my service to the animals and the community--and my life's purpose--came to an abrupt halt. I would have preferred to "retire" under different circumstances; because of the underhanded way the fire, its aftermath, and the covert establishment of the "new" clinics were handled, for six months I experienced debilitating depression, trauma, the shock of betrayal, and a deep lack of purpose and direction.
Here is the background of how this betrayal transpired.
Interestingly, there would possibly never have been any sterilization clinics in Volcan without my efforts. When I moved to Volcan in 2004, the sight of the dozens of homeless dogs roaming the streets, starving, mange-ridden, dying, broke my heart. So I made numerous trips to Panama City to the SpayPanama https://www.spaypanama.org/ (the NGO) clinics to learn what to do.
So in March of 2006, I began my Spay Panama-Chiriqui clinics, legally authorized by Spay Panama. The local people had never considered such a thing as spaying or neutering their pets. For months I walked the streets of Volcan, knocking on doors, handing out literature about the benefits of sterilization, and trying to schedule appointments for their animals. I also posted 60 notices about the clinics all around town each month. It took a few years, but eventually my clinics were full every month with a waiting list. This truly became my life's purpose.
After six months, I was finally able to grieve and to heal. But no matter what, it has been my honor to serve the animals and the community for 17 years.
Spay/USA - lots of good information here
By Dorothy Atwater, Volcan, Chiriquí, Panamá:
Here in the highlands of Panama, in March of 2006 I began a mission to end the suffering of dogs and cats - often homeless, starving, and diseased - and to help educate people that their pets have feelings and need love, proper food, shelter, and water. I primarily provided low-cost spaying and neutering to the less advantaged Panamanians. And no one was turned away for inability to pay the very low costs requested. My costs of the surgeries included injections for the anesthesia, for pain, inflammation, anti-parasite, a long-lasting antibiotic, vitamin B-12, and treatment for fleas and ticks--plus payment to my excellent veterinarian.
In addition to the overpopulation problem, venereal disease is rampant in both male and female dogs in Panama. It is eventually fatal to both males and females. It is spread every time an infected male or female has sex. You usually won't know if your male or female dog has the disease until it reaches the advanced stage. At advanced stages, if you are paying close attention, you may notice some bleeding from the vagina of a female dog (which may be misinterpreted as being in heat)...or bleeding from the male dog's penis. The tumors can be surgically removed but can be done successfully only by a SKILLED vet like Dr. Andres Tello from Costa Rica who operated at my clinics. (There was no licensed small-animal veterinarian in the entire area then--and after 19 years, there still isn't.)
I announced to everyone: Please keep in mind: In 7 years a female cat and her off springs can be the source of 420,000 kittens. In 6 years a female dog and her off springs can be the source of 67,000 puppies. Unless your dog/cat is totally confined and unable to continue the population increase (AND the spread of venereal disease), please do the humane thing of having them sterilized!
For the health and safety of your dog/cat, however, have the sterilization performed by a competent vet who is experienced in early sterilization (eight weeks of age and up) and small-incision surgeries, and one who closes with stainless steel sutures....like Dr. Tello, who I was so fortunate to have operate at my clinics.
I rented the building for the clinics, and I bought all the anesthesia, medications, instruments, supplies, and equipment. I had no offices, no salaries, no advertising. Every penny went for the animals. This was a project from my heart, and I paid the considerable deficits from my own pocket.