Pet owners face daily struggles in Latin America that force them to make hard choices, and even those with the best intentions can become overwhelmed.
One example is the heartbreaking story of Charlotte, a dog who lost one of her paws after her own hair grew so long that it wrapped around her leg, cutting off circulation to her paw. Charlotte’s owner loves her dog, yet made a big mistake – she saw Charlotte limping and, not wanting to hurt her more, avoided touching her paw. She had no idea how serious the situation was. By the time she got Charlotte in for a grooming appointment, the situation was dire and irreversible; the only solution was an amputation.
Charlotte’s owner was facing a great deal of troubles at the time – her husband had recently left her, she was struggling to work while keeping her only daughter at school and fed. Facing these struggles on a daily basis, while fighting back feelings of depression and hopelessness…is it any wonder that her dog’s personal hygiene and appearance took a backseat?
Speaking with Charlotte’s owner during her last check-up at the GAAP Clinic, she discussed how a lack of education and knowledge regarding pet care, as well as imminent threats of lack of food and unemployment, made her feel helpless and guilty, overwhelmed and paralyzed. Sadly, this heartbreaking tale is not unique in this area. When basic survival is threatened, pets often pay the price as they are underfed, neglected, and even abandoned.
This is why the GAAP believes so strongly in our mission to help bridge the gap between people and animals by alleviating some of the struggles pet owners face every day. Charlotte’s owner stated that she had “no words” to express her feelings towards the GAAP for their help regarding Charlotte, except for a tremendous amount of appreciation. “The kindness, affection, and good reception we received at the GAAP clinic was amazing. At the GAAP, I encountered wonderful people who really love animals, who are not motivated by the drive to make money, and who display a true feeling of solidarity not only towards the animals, but towards the people as well. There was a huge feeling of inclusion, love and warmth all around, the feeling of being part of a group.”
Written by Emilia Hull