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Roatan, Honduras October 2021

On October 9, 2021 a team from AVH set out on an adventure to Roatan, Honduras to take part on a spay/neuter clinic as a part of the GAAP. Dr. Lechten, Dr Manesis, Melissa, Natalie, Bex, Ryan and I took 3 flights to get to the island of Roatan. This was my first time travelling to Honduras and I don’t think I was fully prepared for the beauty that the island offered. Heat, sun, crystal clear water, tropical greenery and the friendliest people.

Roatan is a small island with a population of approximately 104 thousand. The bay islands are surrounded by the second largest coral reef barrier in the world. This was exceptionally exciting for me as I have never snorkeled before! The coral and all of the fish that I was able to see was outstanding. Having Dr. Manesis with us (who just so happens to be a sea life specialist) was fantastic, as he was able to explain what the different types of coral, and the amazing schools of fish were. I was so ready to experience a lot of firsts on this trip.

When we first arrived, we had some spare time before getting into the workload. We enjoyed the food, music, ocean and snorkeling. We were lucky enough to experience a number of different excursions such as horseback riding on the beach, an afternoon at a spa, a catamaran to snorkel and explore the ocean some more at Gumbalimba park. Gumbalimba park is an animal preserve with iguanas, monkeys, parrots and other free flying native birds and animals. None of the animals are kept in cages, and are able to travel freely throughout the island, however always return to the park because that’s where they get fed and cared for. The monkeys came and jumped on our shoulders and played with us while we fed them sunflower seeds. This was truly an unforgettable experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Another excursion we did was a visit to a different animal sanctuary that had SLOTHS. This was AMAZING. Sloths are one of my favorite animals, so I was holding back tears as they gave me one to hold (embarrassing I know!). I was amazed at how slowly they actually move; even the speed at which they blink is incredibly slow which I found to be just so amazing. They really are incredible little animals.

Toward the end of our trip was when the spay/neuter clinic was scheduled. As the days grew closer, I began to get more and more excited about it. We went to set up the building where we would be performing the surgeries and met with the other doctors and volunteers from the island. Everyone was so kind and so excited about the days to come. On the first day we performed 89 surgeries and the second day we performed 87. We also examined and vaccinated over 200 animals! The days were very busy, long, hot and humid but I can honestly say that I have never felt more fulfilled doing my job as a Veterinary Technician. People lined up with their pets before 8am and stayed until 5-6pm. They were all so thankful for the work we were doing, and helping those animals brought me so much joy. It was a very nice feeling leaving the island and knowing that we truly helped so many animals and people.

This was by far the best trip I have ever been on. I experienced so many firsts and I made such incredible memories. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to help so many animals and I hope that I can return to Roatan again soon.

-Breanne RVT

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