A Volunteer’s Perspective

As recent retirees and transplants to Boquete, my husband and I were determined to get involved with activities and volunteer work in our new home.  The very first opportunity presented itself when news of the annual meeting for Amigos de Animales was announced.  As animal lovers, we thought this might be something we’d enjoy doing.   We also remembered our first visit to Panama six years ago, when packs of feral dogs roamed the streets of many cities and towns throughout Panama.  This time around, we noticed the packs of dogs didn’t exist in Boquete any more – and thought this group might have something to do with the change.

After attending the annual meeting, we volunteered to help with the monthly spay and neuter clinic that is the cornerstone of this organization. Two weeks later, on the last Sunday of the month, we presented ourselves promptly at 7:30 a.m.  At first, it was confusing because we hadn’t attended any orientation meetings, but the existing volunteers quickly took us under their collective wings, helped us sign in, get situated, and showed us the ropes.

Eight long and tiring hours later, we left feeling exhilarated and gratified to have helped so many dogs and cats  improve the quality of their lives.

That first day, I spent my time in the Recovery area, helping revive the animals after their surgery.  You might think this would just be a matter of making sure they don’t fall off the table, but there is so much more involved!  We take the animal’s temperature, make sure their breathing and heartbeat are within normal ranges, check them for fleas and ticks, clean their ears and clip their claws if needed, and try to help their owners understand about the care of their pets.

We now return month after month, working with a group of tireless volunteers and exceptional veterinarians who all have one common goal:  to make sure we reduce the population of feral animals in Chiriqui province and help our neighbors learn how to care for their animals.

If you’d like to volunteer, please click on the Volunteer button on the Home Page, or simply click here.


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