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Dec 10, 2009

A young girl waits for the clinic team to treat her mangy dog 5-Dec-09

Andrea is a vet student who is often found volunteering her time with Dr. Miguel in Panajachel.  She has also been working with the nonprofit group World Vision in their location at the Lake Atitlan village of San Juan.

This past week Ayuda sponsored a special clinic which Andrea organized in the lakeside village of San Marcos.

Setting up for surgeries 5-Dec-09

The clinic was supported by the professional services of Dr. Miguel, as well as donated services by Ayuda Board Member Dr. Dennys and veterinarian intern student Astrid.

Several other vet students and family members provided additional volunteer support.    And hands on help was also provided by volunteers Steve and Selaine from Ayuda, who brought with them some very needed medical donations, including the vaccines to prevent parvo, distemper, and other local deadly diseases.

By the end of the day, 17 animals had been sterilized and 25 had been vaccinated.

Family owned dog in very bad condition 5-Dec-09

Although the turnout of animals was lower than hoped for, a number of lessons were learned from the experience of this village.

As with so many other poor villages in our region, San Marcos is yet another which has impoverished people who can barely feed themselves, yet still care about the well being of their animals.  Several very unhealthy family owned dogs were treated during the course of the clinic.  In addition to leaving with their pets sterilized and vaccinated, several families were given needed medications and special instructions to better care for their very sick animals.

Operating expenses for the San Marcos clinic were provided through the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.  Building facilities were provided by the local health department.

Man waiting for the team to treat his faithful companion Salchicha (Sausage) 5-Dec-09

Dec 3, 2009

Santiago Atitlan

Volunteers Anthony and Karlis greeting a young family 1-Dec-09

After a successful clinic in Santa Catarina the day before, Dr. Jim and his team set up operations in the southern shore village of Santiago Atitlan.  This would be the first Santiago clinic assembled by Ayuda as a formal organization.

Many of the previous day’s team of volunteers also held together, including the donated professional services of Board Member Dr. Dennys and student intern Astrid.

The municipal salon was made available through the Santiago mayor.  This very large and open area provided for more than ample space and excellent location.

Operating Room Atitlan Style 1-Dec-09

Special challenges were overcome through team resourcefulness and creativity.  This included overcoming the burn out of Dr. Jim’s brand new conclave due to third world electricity.

The operating room was established on the open stage in front of a wall mural.  Privacy was created through ropes and sheets purchased at the local paca (flea market).

Staffing was temporarily hindered due to an impromptu, but very important,  meeting in the Santiago mayor’s office.   A nearby appointment was set with Ayuda Board Members to present a community plan to more humanely and more effectively manage the village’s animal population than activities which are currently underway.  These activities include the planned death of 80 feral dogs before they migrate into the village from the city dump.

Volunteers Linda and Selaine explain the benefits of sterilization to reluctant local men 1-Dec-09

During the course of the day, many instances of cultural differences emerged in the Admitting process.  There was particularly strong resistance to the concept of removing testicles.  Dr. Jim and his team will be researching possible alternatives to sterilize male dogs without performing actual surgery.

By the end of the day 21 animals had been sterilized, and 34 were vaccinated against rabies and other local deadly diseases, such as parvo and distemper.

Operating expenses for the clinic were provided through the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.  Much of the equipment was provided through funding by WSPA.  Overnight lodging was donated by David at the Posada Santiago.   The Santiago health department provided the rabies vaccines and a staff to do the injections and keep records.  The mayor’s office provided the salon and its services.  As a symbol of community recognition of the animal welfare issues, local residents provided whatever cash donations they were able.

Left to Right: Cindy, Astrid, Dr. Dennys, Dr. Jim, and Teryn 1-Dec-09

A terrific group of people who live in Guatemala showed up and volunteered.  And last but not least, Dr. Jim, Cindy, and Teryn generously gave their professional services, blood, sweat, and tears to help the animals of Guatemala.

Oct 5, 2009

A Close Call for Bobi

Bobi survived Parvo  5-Oct-09

Bobi survived Parvo 5-Oct-09

It was only a few days ago that we thought 2 month old Bobi wasn’t going to make it.

Bobi was found in an indigenous neighborhood.  He had all appearances of dieing.

We took Bobi to Zoo Mascota where he was diagnosed with Parvo.  Dr. Miguel admitted him and after a few days of hospitalization and treatments Bobi  showed remarkable progress.

Bobi is also one lucky dog because he has someone waiting to take him home with her, and also because his hospitalization expenses have been sponsored by a kind local person.

Cases of death and near-death due to Parvo and Distemper continue to occur in our area.  As the animals die a slow and agonizing death they leave behind diarrhea and other unhealthy bodily fluids.  We have unconfirmed suspicions that there may be linkages between the spread of these diseases in the neighborhoods and rumblings from neighborhood leaders about wanting to poison.

We are working hard to find acceptable anti-poison solutions for the neighborhoods.  Our plans include a series of regularly scheduled walk-around visits to the neighborhoods during which we offer vaccinations and other treatments.  Our goal is to stabilize the deadly current circumstances, and work towards sustainable levels of Parvo/Distemper vaccinations administered throughout the communities.

Please help us to fight these killing diseases and prevent future epidemics.   We are seeking donations to help us purchase these life saving vaccines.

Sep 21, 2009

As our daily activities on the streets continue, our inventory of treatment supplies deplete at steady rates.

We were recently honored by a generous grant directed towards spay/neuter operations for 500 animals.  However, we continue to be in need of support for vaccination supplies, funding for emergency veterinarian services,  food, and other inventory needs, such as the types of things listed on our Visiting? page.

Curly's hot grease burn being treated   13-Sep-09

Curly's hot grease burn being treated with antibiotics and oils along the boulevard 13-Sep-09

Almost every day we encounter dogs limping from being hit by taxis.  At the very least, we try to give them relief from pain.

We see animals down to skin and bones.  We offer them internal parasite killers mixed in with food, as well as treatments to kill external parasites and restore fur.

And we also see animals who have been badly injured by cruel human hands.  Dogs who get too close to heartless fried food street vendors often feel the agony of hot grease as it is thrown onto their back.  For cases like these and machete wounds, we offer antibiotics, skin creams, oils, and other healing treatments.

We ask for your support, in any and all ways, to help the needs of homeless and mistreated animals.

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Posted: Sep 21, 2009 8:08pm
Sep 17, 2009
WANTED!  REWARD! ("who?  me?")

WANTED! REWARD! ("Huh? Who? Me?")

Today Ayuda began a prototype for a new education program.  If the prototype proves successful then the new program will become generally available to Guatemalan vet students and vet technicians.

The new program is being called Bounty Docs.  The essence of Bounty Docs is to enable future vets with hands on experience in the wrangling and treatment of feral street animals.  The students will be challenged to maintain a steady stream of ferals, to meet a treatment rate of 10 sterilizations per week, over a continuous 52  week period.

The source of the animals for the sterilizations will be limited to roaming animals who are physically prepared for surgery.   In addition to capturing, a Bounty Doc must also apply responsible pre-op and post-op care.

If all conditions are satisfactorily met, a Bounty Doc will receive a cash bounty for each roaming animal which they successfully see through full treatment and release.

Ayuda will prioritize the targeted geographic areas for the Bounty Docs to cover, as well as assist with special equipment, such as blow pipe tranquilizers, nets, and transport.

The prototype is planned to complete in two weeks.  At that time a Go/No-Go decision will be made for a full deployment of Bounty Docs.

Sep 16, 2009

Today we received excellent news from France.


Brigitte Bardot Portrait

Brigitte Bardot

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation has generously awarded Ayuda a grant of 8,000 Euros.

Through this award, five hundred animals will be sterilized over the next twelve months.

In addition to the grant itself, the Foundation is championing Ayuda relationships with other international animal welfare groups, which we hope will lead to exciting future projects.

With deepest gratitude and humble pride, we gratefully accept the generosity and faith bestowed in us by the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, their donors, and the honorable Brigitte Bardot for her life commitment to animals everywhere.  We will not let you down.

Sep 5, 2009

Lucia is one of the nursing mothers Ayuda cares for daily at The Caves feeding station. You can read the full story of Lucia, Blanchi and their pups at:

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Posted: Sep 5, 2009 9:41pm
Sep 4, 2009

Hi to all my new friends! Please check out my group: Ayuda! para la salud de perros y gatos en Guatemala (Help! for the health of dogs and cats in Guatemala). We are a growing group of volunteers who survey, baseline, sterilize, vaccinate, treat and maintain homeless or abandoned animals in the Lake Atitlan region. Thanks to all of you for caring about some of the most helpless among us. Best wishes!

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Posted: Sep 4, 2009 7:59pm
Aug 28, 2009

Lillie is a homeless dog who lives in the village of San Pedro, which is situated on the opposite shores from Panajachel on Lake Atitlan.   Like so many roaming street animals in our region, Lillie has human friends who watch over and care about her.   She is only about six of seven months old and has never had a litter.

By way of a friend in La Antigua, we recently came to learn about this dog.  Her neighborhood friends in San Pedro had reported that Lillie was in heat and in the company of unkind feral males.    People who care about this homeless animal wanted to do something for her,  so Ayuda was called to see if we could help.

Arrangements to sterilize Lillie were made possible through a kind sponsor.  Lillie was brought to Panajachel on a water taxi by her friend Victoria and received the standard Ayuda treatments.  She then spent a quiet night indoors at Zoo Mascota, and the next day returned to her home base of the San Pedro community where her caring friends awaited her.   Lillie now has a fair chance at a healthier, longer, and less stressful life on the streets.


The following is a list of Ayuda’s standard treatments which are provided for each donation of $30usd:

  • Sterilization
  • Vaccinations to prevent:
    • Distemper,
    • Hepatitis,
    • Leptospirosis,
    • Lyme Disease,
    • Parvo,
    • Rabies, and
    • other deadly diseases
  • Treatments to cure and prevent external parasites such as:
    • fleas,
    • lice, and
    • ticks
  • Treatments to cure and prevent internal parasites such as:
    • Hook Worms,
    • Round Worms,
    • Whip Worms, and
    • other types of internal parasites
  • Follow-up care
  • Nutritional food supplements as needed
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Posted: Aug 28, 2009 8:36pm


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Selaine D'ambrosi
, 2, 2 children
Panajachel, Guatemala
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