(For the Spanish version, click HERE)

I moved to Volcán, Chiriquí, Panamá toward the end of 2004.   When I began to notice the tragic life of many dogs and cats here - homeless, starving, diseased, and the females nothing but puppy mills who constantly produce more and more homeless litters -  I felt angry and sad. Yet I also felt helpless to do anything about the problem other than to rescue and adopt a few homeless dogs myself. So far, I have rescued numerous dogs from the street. I've found homes for some, and I currently have 14 dogs myself that I will definitely keep. They were in terrible condition, but now they are happy and healthy.

But just like in the US, adoptions (or euthanasia) can never keep up with the number of births.  Plus, in the interior of Panamá, even after people adopt dogs or cats, there remains the problem of obtaining competent medical care for them. I had several horrible experiences with vets both here in Volcán and in the larger town of David (about 45 minutes away from Volcán).

But good news! In February of 2005, I met Pat Chan, founder of Spay/Panama, when she brought her team of vets to Volcán for a week-end sterilization blitz. During those two days, they sterilized 129 dogs/cats. Meeting Pat Chan that week end was the beginning of a dear and continuing friendship. I have a deep admiration for Pat's tireless work (and the use of much of her own funds) to reduce the suffering of dogs and cats in Panamá through competent sterilization.  I have spent extended periods at the Spay/Panama clinic, so I have first-hand knowledge of the dedication and hard work by Pat Chan and her vets and volunteers.

Since inception in 2002, as of October of 2008, they have sterilized 18,470 dogs and cats!  (Please see the Spay/Panama web site for continuing up-to-date figures.) Their mortality rates are 0.0022, despite the fact that many of the animals are in poor health to begin with. 

Pat regularly sends her vets to the U.S. to train in the safest and most advanced methods. People are welcome to visit her clinic in Panamá City, and I guarantee that anyone who visits on a sterilization day will be in AWE at the dedication, skill, and organization of these wonderful vets and volunteers.

Here in Volcán we are now having monthly sterilization clinics  performed by our wonderful and dedicated veterinarian, Dr. Andres Tello who travels here from Costa Rica. He is experienced in quick-spay small-incision surgical techniques and pediatric spay/neutering....and bar none, he is the best vet I have ever known, including from the US.

We wish that the local vets would commit to gaining this knowledge and expertise. Pat Chan has a standing invitation for any veterinarians to attend one (or more) of Spay/Panama's sterilization clinics and receive free training. She even provides free room and board for those who care to attend and learn. So far none of local vets has been interested.

As we gain success with the over-population of animals in Volcán, we will branch out to help serve other areas in the Chiriquí province and Bocas del Toro.

Please donate. The finances of Spay/Panama (in Panama City) are completely separate from ours. Any deficit (and there always is one) comes directly from my pocket. I need financial help to continue this vital program.

Tax-deductible donations to Spay/Panama-Chiriqui can be made here: 

You don't need a PayPal account to donate. Please help us to continue this vital program. Your PayPal tax-deductible donations for Chiriqui go through Spay Panama's Animals YES, a 501(c)3 in the US and are eventually forwrded to me. Please send me an email if you donate by PayPal so I can thank you personally!

Dorothy Atwater - 6517-8752  or

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