James Baldwin

We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.

Daniel Quinn

“You are the teacher?” he asks incredulously. “I am the teacher,” the gorilla replies.

One thing we have in common with our local neighbors is our affinity to having a dog or cat around the house. This may be motivated by numerous emotions; our desire for companionship or need for security or our need to come home to a warm welcome. These feelings don’t change with our economic status but our ability to care for that pet may. If we are struggling to put food on the table for our family we aren’t going to selecting a dog food based on its corn content or the location of the plant where it was manufactured. Not everyone has the luxury to be so choosey. Yet poverty doesn’t eliminate their need to sleep soundly knowing that their trusted guard dog will ward off any intruder or at least wake them if there is a danger. It doesn’t lessen the joy that their children experience when the family pet rolls around on the ground with them. Pets are one of those common needs that are shared by the wealthiest and the poorest among us.

Oops pups 2 leftHowever, impoverished or a even moderately funded family may face an economic crisis when faced with the cost of having that pet neutered and providing vaccines against life threatening deceases. In fact, many of us cringe at the cost of flea and tick treatments.  Keeping this pet contained and off the street can also be a financial challenge. Fencing materials, hardware and tools don’t just grow on trees.

So what happens when there is no money for these things? Animals are left to fend for themselves, foraging for food in the neighbors trash, roaming the streets in search of water or shade, left on their own to breed when the season is upon them without regard to how the pups will be fed and sheltered. The result is we no longer have one dog wandering about, we have a half dozen, then several dozen, and if left unheeded hundreds. The problem is no longer “how do we find a home for a few pups or kittens” but what do we do with 200 unwanted animals.

Carole and Missy's pups

Carole and Missy’s pups

The Volunteers for Indigent and Vulnerable Animals (commonly known as San Felipe’s VIVA group) are as compassionate group of individuals as you will ever meet. Many, like Carole Kingaby, have opened their homes to as many animals in need as they can get away with keeping. At the risk of irritating their neighbors or harassment from campo management, they take in the battered and starving strays, bathe them and medicate them, transport them to the clinic for spaying or neutering and foster them for extended periods until responsible homes can be found for them. Some like Bill and Marina Shelton make long costly journeys north with their vehicle loaded to the brim with puppies, heading for greener pastures up north. VIVA works with agencies in the States to relocate the pups until they can find forever homes and some of the older, less adoptable ones are sent to no-kill shelters when room is found.

Vet 1Why all this fuss and expense?

If you ask that question, you probably have never known the love a faithful pet or the loyalty of rescued dog. Let’s just say, they do it because they can and because they can, they believe they are responsible to do so.  

What about you?  CAN you help?  Click here to see how.