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Spay And Neuter Clinics

Spay and Neuter Operative in Boca Chica and Las Terrenas
with Claudia Bretthauer (02/25 – 03/06/2022)


2 long years we waited for this moment…


The operative in Boca Chica was planned particularly for Helena Motta, an Italian lady who cares for about 180 - 250 cats and dogs there; the exact numbers are unknown.


Mostly in the evenings she makes her rounds…


In the dark the animals arrive in large groups at the feeding spots.

Helena had asked for help particularly for the cats some of which get into heat 3 times a year. Now we could finally assist her.


Apart from Helena's cats dogs of Boca Chica residents were spayed and neutered. We didn't focus on beach dogs this time as we were lacking catchers.


An empty pizzeria served as clinic.

On 02/25 Claudia Bretthauer met her team at the highway near the airport. The luggage was repacked a last time to stow everything in bags and suitcases. And off they went to get their plane…

In Santo Domingo they were met by Wilkins Mesa who drove them to Boca Chica. He had to go twice as people and luggage didn't fit all at once in his car.

Arrival in Boca Chica! The team was put up in 2 accommodations, one belonged to a pizzeria the owner of which welcomed them with a free dinner.


The view out of the window the next morning; palm trees and a clearly Caribbean ambience.


The day starts with setting up the clinic.

Clean water has to be bought in gallon bottles,
cat spay boards have to be fixed to the walls and many things more…


Many busy hands change the pizzeria quickly…


…into a field surgery.


Around lunchtime everything is ready.


The first patient…


…is a cat.


2 members of the team came from the veterinary clinic Posthausen: Veterinary assistant Vivien Lear responsable for prep and medication …


…and surgeon Sebastian Rauth.


Claudia Bretthauer's friends Danica and Dominik took care of the registration and the post-operative care and helped everywhere where helping hands were needed.


Dominik with registration list and tattoo pliers…


…while Danica is shaving.


The tattooing is one of Dominik's tasks.


Every animal's ear gets tattooed.


The cats get an additional ear tip.


Milli, a German lady who lives in Boca Chica, was an indispensable support to the team.


Also she was everywhere where help was needed.

Milli and Eduardo want to support our beachdog project in the future but first of all they will get married during the next few days. We wish them all the happiness in the world!


The first visitors appear…

Soon the place is as busy as it is normal for a field clinic, appearing a bit chaotic only at first sight.


Waiting patients everywhere …


14 bitches, 12 cats and 6 tom cats were spayed and neutered on the first day.


A stroll along the beach in the evening;

the team met for dinner at Vivien's and Sebastian's.

On the way to work the next morning…


Dominik checks the registration lists…


…while the first patients arrive.


15 bitches…


…8 male dogs, 16 cats and 6 tom cats get spayed and neutered that day.


That's like working on an assembly line!


Not only the surgeons,…


…also the helpers have their hands full…


…and nobody gets a moment of rest.


The recovery fills up quickly.


Sleeping patients …


… wherever there is a free space.


Lunch break with chicken and rice from the vendor in front of the clinic.

A difficult case in the afternoon: A relatively heavy female came in with pyometra. Several large blood vessels in the dog's fatty tissue began to bleed strongly and had to be sewed up repeatedly. The bitch lost a lot of blood and had difficulties to recover.


Her owner was very worried.


To bring her dog home she had organized a cart
normally used to transport garbage.


Carefully the precious load is carried outside…


…and placed into the cart.


Luna seems to feel quite comfortable there.


And the cart-owner is obviously pleased about this unusual freight.

Third and last day in Boca Chica; the team is by now well-coordinated. 7 bitches and 2 male dogs were spayed and neutered.


But mainly this was the day of the cats!


37 of them were spayed and neutered, 20 queens and 17 toms.


The spay boards were constantly in use.

Claudia Bretthauer demonstrates in this video that what Anja Heß described 2018 during her operative in Palo Alto when there was a lot of criticism and doubts about the use of spay boards for spaying female cats: "In this position spleen and intestines slide towards the diaphragm giving the surgeon the best possible access to the ovaries. A practiced surgeon makes now a cut of only 1 cm and the whole surgery takes about 5 - 10 minutes."


Not only people wait in front of the clinic,…


…also dogs seem to be curious to find out what's happening inside.


And Luna comes for a check up. She has completely recovered.


Her owner is very happy.

The two arrive at the same time as the TV team that Milli had organized and become unexpectedly TV stars.


Later in the day tha cats are picked up; a rich harvest!


And finally what every visitor of the Caribbean dreams about!


The team enjoys the crystal-clear warm water of the Caribbean…


Dominik expresses the happiness most likely felt by everybody in this moment!


At the beach restaurant afterwards they can enjoy the view once more…


Saying Good bye the next morning to the beach and its residents.

Vivien discovers several dogs with ear tips. These are the dogs that Dr. Emilio Vasquez spayed for us in 2021. We are very happy that they seem to do fine and the marking is well visible.


Time to leave! In October the work shall be continued.


Wilkins Mesa is already waiting …


…this time with 2 cars, one for the people, one for the luggage. They drive to the Parada Samaná.


There the team continues the trip in one of the big air-conditioned busses with lots of storage room underneath.


They drive to Las Terrenas
where everybody waits for the return of Claudia Bretthauer since 2020.



Las Terrenas and El Limón

In Las Terrenas dinner was already waiting for the team in Stephanie's villa. Claudia Bretthauer, Danica and Dominik stayed also here; Vivien Lear and Sebastian Rauth were accommodated at another place.


The operative took also place at Stepjanie's.


The Villa is surrounded by a large roofed porch
that offers plenty of space for patients…


…and operating vets.


The pool directly opposite of the surgery…


A lot of helpers were there, also Dr. Romy, a local vet, came to help.


He held the animals while they were anesthetized.

A massage bed was turned into an operating table, bricks were used to bring it up to the required height. Plastic wrap was used additionally to gauze bandages to secure the patients in the proper position.



There was plenty of space also for the recovery.


Dr. Romy's girlfriend took care of the post-operative monitoring.


5 cats, 4 male dogs…

…and 39 bitches, 4 of them pregnant, one with pyometra, were spayed and neutered on the first day in Las Terrenas. One bitch had a sticker sarcoma in such an advanced state that it proved to be inoperable. She died during the surgery, otherwise she would have had to be euthanized because she wouldn't have been able to urinate much longer anymore and would have suffered a painful death.

After work a refreshing bath in the pool…

Also in the dark the illuminated pool looked very inviting but this evening there were more important things to do: A bitch had to be re-operated because a ligature had slipped causing an inner bleeding.

Dominik spent the whole night holding her; sleeping very lightly and listening to every breath of the patient .


This night had consequences!

Dominik and Danica fell in love with the dog which felt already way better the next morning. They called her Babe and decided to adopt her. Presently Babe is at Patricia's being prepared for the journey to Germany. In October she'll be ready to travel.


The reception the next morning; still quiet before the day starts.


But soon it gets just as busy as the day before!


Cages everywhere where there is just a little bit of shade…


Special friends awaiting their turn.


This lady is watching herself over her dog sleeping off the anesthesia…


…while her daughter is taking care of the second pet.

36 bitches, 9 of them pregnant, one with pyometra, 7 male dogs, 9 cats, 2 tom cats, one of them a cryptorchid, were spayed and neutered the second day.

One of the dogs came with a terrible cut underneath its eyei caused by a blow of a machete. Luckily the eye wasn't hurt.

Dr. Romy's mother brought vitamin K for Babe. She had wanted to bring 7 dogs to get spayed and neutered but they had all got poisoned the day before. Unfortunately things like this still happen again and again which shows that spay neuter alone isn't enough to change people's attitude towards the animals but that more projects are needed like our school program in Barbados or projects in tourist spots like the one we are trying to realize in Boca Chica.

The last day they went to the shelter in El Limón, Coconut Hound Haven, run by Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic.

Beth and Jesse Levendis operate the shelter which opened in January 2021 offering a temporary home to approximately 45 dogs on a terrain of 4000 sqare meters. One tries to place as many animals as possible, mainly in Canada.

The team is greeted by loud barking; the first people are already waiting with their animals.


This lady takes care of the patients' registration, equipped with lists, pens, masking tape and camera.


Here the surgery is inside The table is lacking some legs…


…but a creative improvisation allows Claudia Bretthauer to operate safely on it. She works barefoot as always in the Caribbean.


Sebastian Rauth has found a suitable place to operate right beside the sink.


While the surgeons are busily at work inside…


…a line up begins to build up outside.


Soon the recovery fills up.


A puppy waiting for its turn.


This lady monitored the sleeping dogs.


There she is again! The young female has gone through surgery very well and is already looking perkily into the world.

Caribbean people are always very creative when it comes to transporting their animals. This dog travels home in a carton secured with tape.

37 bitches and 11 male dogs were spayed and neutered on this very last day of the campaign. Claudia Bretthauer operated also a dog suffering from a blood ear.


Despite all this work there was still some time for enjoyment;
a cocktail at a restaurant…


…or a browse in a gift shop during a tropical rain shower.


The team is enjoying a last time the beach and the ocean…


…even though the water of the Atlantic rolling in is not quite as clear and turquoise as the Caribbean sea in the south of the Dominican Republic.


Danica enjoys a drink that looks very much like
a Piña Colada in the original package.


Afterwards it's time for stocktaking. Everything that wasn't used up stays for next time.


The operative ends as it began; with a dinner among friends.

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