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Rescuing a Dog Abroad

On March 21, 2016, I flew home from an amazing trip in Belize, Central America, a country known for its extraordinary barrier reefs and tropical jungles. After arriving home from this life-changing adventure, I was not only accompanied by a very nice tan but also a six-week-old puppy.

A hidden waterfall I was lucky enough to see.

In 2015, my parents purchased a house in Placencia, Belize, where I would wake up to a beautiful ocean view and constant sunshine. My mom and I would bike all around the nearby towns, getting to know more and more local people every day. Luckily for us passionate dog-lovers, we got to know some amazing people who ran the Placencia Humane Society. 

My Mom in the back of a pickup truck on Outreach day.

The last weekend of our trip, we volunteered for the Seine-Bight Outreach clinic, where we brought in dogs from a neighbouring village, Siene Bight, to get shots and other medical procedures. Our days started off at 7:30AM, where we hopped on the back of a pickup truck and drove into the town to collect several dogs. Back and forth the truck went to the clinic, transporting dogs, their owners and several local volunteers. I saw that this day was not just about saving animals, but also bringing a community together to make a positive difference. 

Kisses from some dogs.

This experience was not only a self-fulfilling one, but also an emotional one. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I assumed the dogs we would be bringing to the clinic would only need shots and/or neutering. While that was also the case, we were bringing in dogs that had been extremely abused, hit by cars (sometimes intentionally), infested with fleas and ticks, subjected to extreme mange and malnourishment, and missing teeth and legs. Sadly, the dogs suffered from the ignorance of some of the locals who do not view dogs the same way North Americans do – that is, as animals with feelings who crave social interaction and affection. I found it to be ironic how these animals were even more friendly and loving than the ones back home. 

Seine Bight Outreach Day – My Mom, Mokey and his sister, and me.

The hardest part was bringing the dogs back to the town, not knowing what would happen to them in the future. My mom and I were emotionally exhausted after this day, but our determination to volunteer again did not waver. Little did we know that one year later, we would be bringing one of these loving dogs home. 

Mokey after being neutered.

Once again, it was volunteer day – the highlight of my trip. Instead of going out on the pickup truck, I stayed behind at the clinic, comforting dogs before their check-ups or medical procedures. It was after the third truckload that I met my dog, Mokey. My mom stepped out of the truck, arms full with two six-week old puppies weighing three pounds each. The volunteers had found them under a wooden pallet near a lagoon and discovered from the owners that their family had been eaten by crocodiles. Mokey instantly stole our hearts. We could not send him back to where he was found, so we got the vet to sign some papers, and away we went with our little Belizean puppy (luckily, his sister found a loving home in foster care).

Placencia Humane Society Clinic. Check out Their Website for Information About their Amazing Cause: http://placenciahumanesociety.org

Every day I am thankful for the people who let us bring home this dog of love and character. My family and I cannot thank them enough.

The purpose of my story is not to just tell you about how cool it is to have a dog from a different country. I wanted to share with you the importance of rescuing dogs (or any animal for that matter). I truly believe that “a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” Every day, millions of dogs live in isolation, without love, and in pain all over the world. It’s heartbreaking to see a creature of loyalty and unconditional love suffer tremendously. So, whether it’s domestically or internationally, if you have the opportunity to rescue, do it. Give a dog the opportunity to have the life they have always deserved.

Hailey Rodgers is from a small town called Westport, Ontario and is in her third year of Commerce at Queen's University. She loves to travel, meet new people, and learn. Hailey's passion for adventure and sharing her experiences is illustrated in her writing. 
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