Wednesday, 5 December 2012
The 2nd BAARK Spay and Neuter clinic in Andros
The second Andros Baark spay & neuter clinic was held in Cargill Creek at the beginning of November. It was supposed to be the weekend that TS Sandy graced the Bahamas with her presence, so was quickly rearranged for a few days later. Unfortunately someone forgot to tell the ocean that the storm had passed and I spent a very uncomfortable 3 hours on the ferry wondering if the end of my particular world was, indeed, nigh. But I survived to tell the tale so we disembarked at Fresh Creek and eagerly drove to Cargill Creek to join Drs Dorsett and Smith, who had flown in ahead of us and already started surgeries with the help of local volunteers, Rick, Charlie, Karol and Steve.
We set off to collect animals in the quiet, friendly Cargill Creek with Charlie as our guide. Being a resident his knowledge of the people and animals of the area was invaluable and we made good use of him! After collecting what we could in Cargill Creek, the second day we drove ten miles to Bowen Sound to round up the dogs there. That afternoon we drove another twenty miles to Love Hill, as we had reports that there were lots of animals that needed spaying and neutering. As darkness fell, we returned to the clinic with the intention of holding these dogs overnight for surgery on the third day.
The travelling aspect was very different to the first Baark clinic in Fresh Creek where there were enough dogs to keep the Vet busy for the whole clinic and we didn't have to go as far to collect them. Due to the last minute date change, people may have not realized we were there, plus some people did not have the transport to bring their animals to the clinic. A Straybuster has to be flexible and we were determined to do as many animals as possible in the time that we had, even if it meant driving up and down the Queens’ Highway in Central Andros for 3 days!!
There were many high points to the three days, not least the breathtaking views from the accommodation donated to us, but one that stands out didn't start out so promising! One friendly dog actually managed to escape prior to surgery and although he was too timid to come to us, he hung around the clinic. We hoped he would find his way home but he was confused. By nightfall we were worried about him being on the main road, the traps were all occupied and our attempts to catch him by hand had failed. We left food and water and hoped he would be safe overnight. The next day we would have a spare trap. Early next morning when we got to the clinic, our elusive guy was already outside, totally enamored by a pup that was due to be neutered, waiting outside the clinic. He followed the pup inside, making all our efforts of the previous day look pretty foolish!!
A total of 50 animals were spayed and neutered and none of it would have been possible without all the volunteers, in particular Rick Goodlander, who organized the Andros side and Steph Kesten who arranged everything from the Nassau side. Also our vets, Dr Dorsett (Nassau Pet Clinic) and Dr Smith (Marathon Vet Clinic) (who both nearly didn't make their flights home…in Dr Smith’s case he knew the pilot, so maybe that’s why the plane actually turned off the runway and came back for us, as we were too busy nattering to notice our flight was taking off!!!) We would also like to thank Bahamas Ferries & Le Air who transported us free of charge, Juliet Newbold at the Andros Island Bonefish club, who generously donated our accommodation and Nelson Leadon, who kindly supplied the property for the clinic.