This fall was my first opportunity to join the Global Alliance for Animals and People (GAAP) on their Roatan, Honduras spay and neuter clinic. The experience as a whole was very cathartic and different from previous missions that I have been a part of. Our journey started way before the actual trip itself. There was so much effort, preparation and support invested into this trip before it actually happened. And even though I have always been aware of it, it still amazes me how every little thing counts. However, no matter how thoroughly one plans and prepares, there are always things that can happen unexpectedly. But it did not matter how many roadblocks we faced, we still pushed through thanks mainly to the members of the GAAP, as well as the Roatan Animal Welfare (RAW). RAW is a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) dedicated to providing veterinary aid to the animals of Roatan.
A lot of their members had come to volunteer their time, effort and energy to help animals in need. Those two days were physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. The one thing that stuck to me most was the woman who had been waiting since 5am to have her dogs spayed and neutered, and we did not even start until 8am! She was the first among many who came and lined up at the crack of dawn, even during the rain, just to make sure that their animals could be seen. On one hand, I found myself feeling grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference for these people and their pets, and at the same time I felt really grateful to live in a country where veterinary care is so easily and widely accessible.
Another thing that really struck me was the dedication of the local veterinarians and islanders to the well-being of their animals. It was so heartening and inspiring to see so many people coming together to help the animals of the island and I hope to continue to be a part of this cause in the years to come.
- Dr. Erin Syguco