Victoria Giampaoli, Costa Rica, May 25 , 2012

“Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo”—-this is how I woke up this morning! Today was my first day waking up in my homestay house. And right next to our house are some cows including a very vocal calf. Our homestay mother cooked us a delicious breakfast— gallo pinto, plantains, agua dulce, and pineapple. It was a fun experience getting ready for clinics alongside our homestay siblings (they were getting ready for school). Our homestay mother treated us like her own children.

Jen and I then walked to our first day of clinics at Grano de Oro with our homestay sister, Sarah—we dropped her off at school on the way. It was such a beautiful walk to the clinic. On the unpaved road we passed family farms, children playing in the street, and cows down by the river.

Arriving outside the clinic there was a long line/crowd of people waiting for appointments and animal sterilization. Although it was the first day of clinics at Grano de Oro—it technically was our 4th clinic day so all of us were starting to feel more comfortable with set up and procedures. Grano de Oro is a lot more remote than our previous clinic (and I had thought the previous clinic was at the time!). Today we all saw some pretty rough cases. One of my cases I was assigned to was a dog that had previously been pregnant. However, due to lack of veterinary care, education, and funds someone had kicked the dog to abort the puppies. The owners brought her in for an exam and were not going to spay her—when the vet found out the situation he urged them to let us spay her and they agreed! We were all so excited when they said yes to the spay. We did not want this to happen to her again! She was a very sweet dog and was a perfect example of why we are here—to help beautiful animals like her! I asked the vets if they had seen stories like this before and they told me unfortunately they had. They told me this happens in other countries all over the world.

Today was another long day. We ended up finishing up quite late since our dog took extra long to wake up from anesthesia. It was exhausting but as Jen and I walked back home in the dark we knew we had accomplished something. We stopped off on the way home at a little corner store to buy a powerade—I felt like a foreigner but at the same time I felt like I had lived there for years—probably since the community was so inviting!

We got home covered in dirt, sweat, bug spray, and fleas and our homestay mother had dinner waiting for us! Then it was time for some socializing with our family, shower, and bed. We didn’t have too much trouble falling asleep as we were so tired and needed rest since tomorrow was another clinic day!