It’s been a while since I’ve touched on our adopted island off the coast of Nicaragua – Big Corn Island. I really enjoy our times we spend in the barrios – this is when we would go out into the villages to reach those who could not make it to us at the clinic. We would wander around the jungle between houses just yelling ‘vacunas!’, trying to get people to let us vaccinate their pets. Honestly, the fact that any of them let us is kind of a miracle. I’m not sure if I was peacefully living my island life, and some crazy American woman busted in and started blabbering at me about vaccines for my dogs, if I would go along with it. But amazingly, a ton of them did….and they would come out of the woodwork with their dogs and cats in tow, to get their vacunas, and flea/tick treatment. Some of them even chased us down to not leave before vaccinating their pets!
A few times in these scenarios though, which I think I enjoyed way more than literally everyone else, we had some scares. The very first year, we ended up deep in a jungle area and were losing the light, so it was dusk and getting harder to see…and the last house we came upon had a bunch of young guys around a fire drinking and playing with their machetes. Yes, MACHETES. You can imagine Kira’s very firm ‘NOPE’ on that situation, lol. (And yes, we did vaccinate their dog before scurrying off). But we also reached a lot of people who hadn’t heard about our clinic, or couldn’t take off from work to come, or didn’t have a way to get their dog/cat to us – who were so thankful to get the chance to get them vaccinated. And many of them even then brought their pets to us to get them fixed too, after seeing what we were about and talking to us some!
In our 3rd year down there, we were operating out of an old warehouse that was right on the beach – which was the location we used the last time we went too. This building is like an oven. Totally concrete with teeny tiny little windows at the top, and the rest solid stone to so wonderfully trap ALL of the heat from that hot Nicaraguan sun. I sweat more in that room than I have sweat in the rest of my life, combined. It was SO hot in there, and I sweat so much and nearly died – so every day at lunch we would take our lunch outside on the beach, and grab a quick swim! Going back to work with soggy drawers was always worth it for the relief of getting wet at lunch to help me make it through the hot afternoon! I digress though – what I want to talk about is Bonnie and Clyde. That year there were these two super cute dogs who would come around the clinic every day. They were crazy friendly, and would accept love and treats, and would follow us to the restaurant next door looking for food. The entire week we felt so sorry for them – they were both a little thin, but overall looked ok, but it made us so sad that these sweet and amazing dogs were strays!
On our second to last day in the clinic we were lamenting about them and how sad we were to leave them, and feeding them some of our snacks, when a neighbor walked by and casually said, ‘Oh those dogs aren’t strays – they live just up the street!’ Sure enough, those swindlers absolutely had a home! We marched down the street to get more info, and found a beautiful home with an open door – water bowls all over, even dog beds, and a very nice family that admitted they even let them inside at night, and were often found sleeping on their furniture! Ok so, definitely not strays, but what a couple of jerks! We shed TEARS over having to leave them behind, only to find out they had a home the whole damn time! Typical. Since the opportunity was there, we talked to the owners and convinced the owners to let us spay/neuter them for good measure the next day, and booster their vaccines, and we set them up with a year’s worth of preventatives and some dog food too!
I have really missed going to BCI these past 2 years, and it made me want to reminisce about it a bit. It’s such a huge undertaking to go, but God is it worth it. The lives we have touched and the animals that we have helped is something that will carry with me until the end of my days, and one of the things I am most proud of, that I truly feel is leaving a lasting impact on this world. We have tentatively started planning for BCI 2023, and are looking to go in February – fingers crossed the world stays sane enough that we can safely travel down there again, to help some more furry creatures!