Many tourist have long been encountering stray dogs and cats suffering on the beaches and streets, dying of starvation or injury & desperate for help during their travels. Most become so sad and depressed after spending thousands of dollars to vacation in destinations such as our island boasting sun, sand, and natural beauty and are left with not knowing how to help.
In case you are a traveler/tourist or new to Caye Caulker, Sand Pedro or other parts of Belize Here's what you can do to help a newly found four-legged friend. However, if you are traveling anywhere in the world really, some of the tips on here can still be used to help any animal. If you do not know the names of shelters, sanctuaries, humane societies etc. you can always google it to find one in the country your are in and go from there. Good luck helping animals! Here are our suggestions:
1. THE FIRST & MOST IMPORTANT THING TO DO IS TO give the stray cat or dog a better life by having him/her spayed, neutered and vaccinated. THIS IS THE MOST HUMANE THING TO DO FOR THAT ANIMAL UNTIL YOU DECIDE WHAT ELSE TO DO. OVERPOPULATION IS KILLING ANIMALS EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD as so many puppies/kittens are being born into a life of suffering as there are not enough homes.
Your first decision may be to feed the animal, but think about it, after you are gone what happens? And if this one animal is fending for himself imagine this animal fending for self and 8 or more little mouths to feed and fend for. So friends do the right thing and contact a vet right away to get that animal fixed.
2. If you can - adopt and bring your special dog or cat home with you. It is easier than you think. All s/he needs is to be vaccinated & get a travel health certificate & of course be healthy enough & at least 8 weeks old to travel. This will need to be done a few days before your travel.
If you are in Caye Caulker where we are located & not sure, contact PAW cat sanctuary & Humane Society at 501-624-7076, Caye Caulker Humane Society or any local vet (check local directory for listings) or a local animal group in the city you are in. If you are in Mexico we have connections with other groups throughout the Maya Rivera so contact us and we can give you that info. Here are some links in Belize:
Belmopan Humane Society:http://www.belmopanhumanesociety.com/
Placencia Humane Society:http://www.placencia-pets.org/
Saga Humane Society:http://sagahumanesociety.org/
Belize Humane Society:http://www.belizehumanesociety.org/about_us.php
Hopkins Humane Society: http://www.hopkinsbelizehumanesociety.com/
Punta Gorda Humane Society: http://www.puntagordahs.org/
3. If you can't adopt the dog, then promote him/her to your network of friends and family. PAW Cat Sanctuary & Humane Society of Caye Caulker or any other groups in the area you are in also may have suggestions to help you help the dog or cat.
4. Your travel dollars have clout. Raise awareness with hotels, resorts, timeshares, airlines and any travel providers that you use. Also, share this information with fellow travelers. By educating the travel industry and fellow travelers, you can make a difference one animal at a time.
5. Be kind and notice if there is a fresh water source on those hot days - if not, put some out and keep it clean. It is OK to put food out as well.
6. Donate your old towels and blankets to us here at PAW Cat Sanctuary located across the street from Sandros Italian Restaurant if you are in Caye Caulker or to the local animal shelters in the area you are in.
Want to do a little more to help? Before you head to the area you will be visiting ask for a list of needed small items that can easily fit inside your luggage. PAW Cat Sanctuary is always in need of medicines, collars & leashes, old kennels, bags of food. Contact us by email at [email protected]
7. Contact someone at PAW Cat Sanctuary, Caye Caulker Humane Society, the police or the village Council if you are in Caye Caulker or any area where you are located, immediately, if you see an animal in distress or being abused. If you can, take him to a local vet (check the phone directory for listing) or again call the organizations listed above. Be prepared. Here is the phone number for a local vet in Belize 223-3781. Post this number with your other emergency numbers.
8. Volunteer with PAWS or other shelters in areas where you are located or donate toward these & other worthy programs.
9. Promote spay/neuter programs and ensure that dogs or cats you see around your rental home are sterilized - there are low cost and even free options available - you will ensure that animals have a healthier life while help us humanely control animal population & suffering and make others traveler's experience a nicer one. Again contact organizations listed above.
10. If you are visiting Caye Caulker before you head home contact PAW Cat Sanctuary or Caye Caulker Humane Society or other local rescue groups if you are vacationing in other parts of the country to see if they need a dog or cat escort to your destination. Many animals get adopted but cannot find someone to take them to their new forever homes in the U.S. or Canada. It won't cost you anything - it is easier than sending a dog by cargo and it will make a difference in that one dog or cat's life.
11. Do not assume that if you leave money and/or food with a caretaker that it will get to the animal. It probably won't. And please don't tie animals to the fence or the gate of an animal shelter or leave kittens in boxes in the heat where they may not be discovered and die. The least a person who is looking out for the welfare of an animal can do is to leave the animal in good hands and at least donate a bag of food. It costs tons of money to care for animals. AND PLEASE REMEMBER FIRST AND FOREMOST HAVE THE ANIMAL SPAYED /NEUTERED , THIS IS THE MOST HUMANE THING YOU COULD DO FOR THAT ANIMAL! WE CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!
12. Please share this information & phone numbers/links with your fellow travelers. Your kindness and caring efforts deserve a shout-out! OVER POPULATION HURTS EVERYONE!
Not so hard, right? Helping that special dog or cat will not only change their lives but also yours.
Written by PAW Cat Sanctuary & Humane Society of Caye Caulkerwww.pawanimalsanctuarybelize.com