CANANDAIGUA — As a pair of local people found out last month, the problem of cats and dogs not being spayed and neutered isn’t limited to the United States.
Dr. Dana Coover and licensed technician Lindsey Jensen, both of whom work at The Country Vet in Canandaigua, spent a week in the Dominican Republic volunteering with World Vets. The organization's mission is to assure and promote animal health and welfare and public health globally through developing and advancing veterinary medicine. It represents around 500,000 veterinarians around the world.
Coover learned about the opportunity through Dr. Travis Yates, the founder and owner of The Country Vet. Coover asked Jensen to be her technician on the trip.
Coover and Jensen joined five other veterinarians and one other technician. In the Caribbean, they worked with a local group called the Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic. DCDR had requested help from World Vets to set up a clinic where local animals could be spayed, neutered and receive other routine health checkups.
“Over three days, I personally was able to complete about 45 surgeries,” Coover reported. “All of us as a group, however, were able to complete 256 total surgeries.”
Completing that many surgeries with limited resources made Coover appreciate how fortunate veterinarians are in our country.
“Here we have advanced monitoring during surgery, we have technicians at our beckon call, we have an advanced sterilization processes, and we have good lighting,” Coover said. “In the Dominican Republic we only had makeshift tables, head lamps that you would wear camping, and simple disinfectants.”
Despite the lesser conditions, and often working with animals that were suffering from skin or blood diseases, Coover was proud to note that not a single animal perished during surgery.
Coover and Jensen agreed about how happy they were to have the opportunity to provide health care to animals who otherwise would not have been able to receive it.
After working three days in the clinic, Jensen and Coover spent their remaining time volunteering within the community.
“We walked through an impoverished area of the community with a local volunteer who treats animals in the area,” Jensen relayed. “There were a few animals she wanted to check in on, so (the volunteer) took us with her for assistance.”
During her time there, Jensen said she fell in love with a dog so much that she ended up adopting it herself. The dog had been abandoned at the clinic after receiving treatments, but is now living happily with Jensen in her Stanley home.
Coover, who lives in Phelps, and Jensen said they’ll spread the word about the good work World Vets and DCDR are doing and plan to continue contributing to their causes.