Monday, February 28, 2011

Saturday, February 26, 2011

February 26th, 2011

Today I visited El Pilar. It's an ancient Mayan site dated around 800 BCE. A lot of it is still overgrown. They are very slow to remove the foliage from the ruins because as soon as they are exposed to the elements they degrade rather quickly (at least that's what the sign said). I still enjoyed the place however and I took advantage of the fact that I was the only visitor that day. Not only was the place filled with history but it was also filled with birds. I saw Ocellated Turkeys, Cinnamon Woodpeckers, and five different types of Hummingbirds. All in all it was a good day.

Guatemala is only a mile away and can be seen in the distance.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

February 20th, 2011

So it's been a while since my last post. During that time I've been struggling with a few culture clashes here. Right after I brought the dog back I used one of my bathroom towels for her to lay on. The housekeeper, cook, and both Director's freaked out about it. The rest of my day was something out of Office Space where I had three different bosses telling me the same thing. Apparently this towel thing was a pretty big deal! Not only had I ruined the towel but I quite possibly gave everyone "dog diseases" by mixing up the contaminated towel with other "human" towels when I washed them in the washing machine. The rest of the day I heard comments such as "don't wash your dog's bowl in the human sink," and "you don't know what your dog has and she is sick and diseased." It was to say the least very frustrating, especially coming from a place where it's common to feed your dog leftovers from your plate and let them sleep in your bed. The whole situation kind of left a bad taste in my mouth about being here. Within a few days however, I came around and realized I am in a different country and they have different ideas etc. So now I wash my dog's bowl in my bathroom sink, only let her lick my plate if no one is around, and wash her towels with my laundry at night : ) They're happy and I'm happy and hopefully as my dog heals they will come around and realize that there's not too much to fear as far as dogs go as long as you have soap and water.

Unfortunately as soon as I decided to put our differences aside another roadblock came up. This week I learned that the government's way to eradicate stray dogs in Belize is to put out meat laced with strychnine all around town. This is wrong on so many levels. I will only briefly touch on the subject in case anyone reading this doesn't see anything wrong with this.
A. It doesn't just effect stray dogs, it effects people (it only takes a second for a small child to touch that meat and then put it's hands in it's mouth), wildlife, people's cats, and in a lot of cases dogs that are owned by someone. B. It's a horribly slow and painful death. Do you think people want to visit a country where animals are half dead in the streets?  Ok so you get the picture. So for a long while I just sat in my room thinking about how I had chosen the most inhumane place on earth to live in. Then I realized that sitting around being upset about it wasn't going to help me or the animals. So I sprung into action! Well actually I went to the kitchen and made myself a beverage and devised a plan. I then proceeded to start a petition to stop this poisoning
I also emailed every animal rights group I could think of and received some very helpful info on alternatives to reducing the stray population. As I spoke with local people here I realized most of them were opposed to the poisoning and honestly after a while I didn't even blame the government as much. This is for the most part a poor country and their is human suffering because of this. I don't think the government is uncaring I just think they have a million other things that are also messed up that they are trying to fix. I am of course giving them the benefit of the doubt and for all I know they are all corrupt pieces of garbage.
  So it was a long week filled with its ups and downs. I have learned a lot though I think. In the past I would've just stayed angry and hated everyone, but as I learn things about myself I also learn better ways to deal with situations that arise. And on a good note, my dog is doing much better and even looks like a normal dog now!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 10th, 2011

We got in our first patient a few days ago. It's a Roadside Hawk that was hit by a car. Wing is smashed up pretty good but the vet here is amazing and there is hope. Also the dog is doing well. Three different vets have looked at her. She has TVT, which is a disease causing tumors and is common in dogs here because few are spayed or neutered. Luckily one of the vets had the medicine to treat it (it's not easy to come by down here and not cheap) and she received her first injection last Saturday. She's also been treated for her mange and is almost starting to look a little less pathetic. Yesterday I walked into town and got some more bootleg dvd's. Hey for $2 a piece I can't pass them up! 

I have been seeing a lot of amazing animals here and here are some pics of a few of them. I did not take the following pics I just found them online but wanted to share some of the beauty I see daily here.

Keel-billed Toucan

Black and White Warbler

Roadside Hawk

American Redstart

Blue gray Tanager

Black headed Trogon

Squirrel Cuckoo

Fruit Bat

 Grey Four eyed Opossum

Summer Tanager

Great Kiskadee

Ocellated Turkey

Saturday, February 5, 2011

February 5th, 2011- The dog

    I found my first dog that would actually come to me yesterday. She was living outside of a chinese market. Dirty, mange, not spayed, old, and possibly a prolapsed uterus. NOT GOOD. So we picked her up and brought her back to Casa. I gave her a bath, dewormer, flea meds, fed her, etc. Within five minutes of being tied up outside of my room she had busted free. I chased her around for a while and finally got her during one of her itching fits. Then she wouldn't move. I mean just sat there with a horribly sad look on her face. Then another dog came by (he hangs out around here) and ate all of her dog food I had set out and sat to watch the show. After about an hour of trying to get her to come back with me I took her collar off. I want her to stay really badly so I can help her but I can't make her stay I decided.
    I walked to the kitchen and all of a sudden the skies opened up and a downpour started. Feeling guilty I decided to run out and see if she would come with me to shelter. I found her with a scared look on her face and she came running towards me. She followed me all the way back to the clinic but wouldn't come inside. Instead she dug a little hole and laid down under the awning. She was shivering so I put a towel on her and let her be. She was still here this morning sleeping. She seemed very excited to eat breakfast and at lunch she actually came and found me. She really likes her head scratched and I actually saw her tail wag! The vet is coming in the next few days to see if she can be fixed up. If she can't I have already decided to euthanize her. I really hope she can be saved. Please send good thoughts her way.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February 3rd, 2011

   Yesterday I learned how to open a fresh coconut with a machete and how to make myself a spoon if I need to.

Today I went into town with our veterinarian Dr. Isabelle. We went up to the San Ignacio Hotel, which I have decided I am going to stay there at least once while I am here. They have a really neat iguana rehab program and they have amazing birds that come right up to the dining room balconies and they have a pool : )

Emerald Toucanet. He was this close to me! However this is not my picture of him. 

Fruit Bat eating in between the leaves

spiny iguana

Jack enjoying some fresh greens

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1st 2011

At 2pm this afternoon Gringo was laid to rest. He was surrounded by people that loved him dearly as he peacefully fell asleep. It feels very empty here at Casa and I don't know how long it will take before any of us can walk past his pasture without shedding a tear. Although I had just met Gringo I could tell that he was happy and well taken care of. For the past few days we would not walk past him without offering a treat of some sort. I learned that he loved cantaloupe and freshly made honey muffins but hated cucumber and that if I had an apple he would run towards me but only meander if it was a lowly carrot. It's very quiet here this evening and you can feel the sadness all around as we grieve for our lost friend. R.I.P. Gringo, you were a wonderful horse and lived a long and wonderful life.