If you haven’t heard the word on the street, BVC is going international! In just a few short weeks, many members of our staff will be traveling to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip to provide medical care for dogs and cats on the island. During our time there, we will be participating in spay/neuter clinics to help control the stray dog and cat population, as well as provide basic medical care and preventative medicine. Over the last few months, we’ve been asked a lot of questions and wanted to take the time to address them!
What organization are you going to work with?
We will be working with Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic. DCDR started as a community outreach program that provided education to residents of the Dominican on pet care, as well as preventative medicine. DCDR has grown substantially and now offers spay/neuter clinics to help control the dog and cat population, and they have very recently opened a shelter too. DCDR relies mostly on volunteer groups such as BVC to travel to the island to help with their mission. In the past 4 years, they have spayed and neutered approximately 4,000 animals and have noticed a big impact in the stray population in the areas they visit.
What will members of the BVC team be doing in the Dominican Republic?
All team members, from receptionists to doctors, are participating in the mission trip. While we are in the Dominican, we will be with the Rescue Rover, an airport shuttle bus that DCDR has revamped into a full surgical suite with two operating tables. Our doctors will be performing surgeries while other members of our team will prep the animals for surgery as well as help with recovery, among many other important tasks. Everyone will be included, and all hands are greatly needed.
What made you choose the Dominican Republic for your mission trip?
Overpopulation of dogs and cats is a common problem among the Caribbean islands since veterinary care is limited or otherwise too expensive for many residents with pets on the islands. Veterinary care is virtually non-existent for the stray dog and cat populations unless organizations like DCDR step in. We had many locations in mind when it came to choosing a spot for our mission trip, and many inquiries were sent to multiple locations in the Caribbean. DCDR were among the first to respond to our inquiries, and the most in need. The average lifespan of an unaltered stray dog in the Dominican is about 1-2 years, but many of the dogs born don’t even make it to adulthood.
Why did you choose to go international instead of a location within Maine or the U.S.?
There are many rescue organizations and causes within the greater Bangor/Brewer area that we work closely with and provide medical care for, and while we would love to provide spay/neuter clinics of this nature here (or elsewhere), the unfortunate thing is that it would be detrimental business-wise to other veterinary clinics locally. We want to help animals as much as we can, but we also don’t want to step on the toes of those who are also trying to help. Since there is so little as far as veterinary care available in the Dominican, we lessen the risk of upsetting area clinics and their livelihoods.
Will BVC stay open during the mission trip?
YES! Since quite a few of us are going, we have been split up into two groups so the clinic can remain open. Our first group will be going down on Friday, February 8th. On Wednesday, February 13th, our first group will be returning as the second group goes down, and the second group will be back on Monday, February 18th. We will be running on a skeleton crew during the week of February 11th, so please be patient with us!
Are you still taking donations to go towards your trip?
Yes! Over the past few months, we have been accepting donations to cover the costs of airfare and lodging for our team members so they can take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. We have been accepting donations through our GoFundMe campaign, as well as in-house donations. We’ve been selling “coconuts” to fill our coconut grove (it’s beginning to look like a tropical oasis in here!). Donations can be made in an owner’s honor, or pet’s! We also have Planet Dog dog toys available for purchase with proceeds going to our trip, and Laci and Laura have made some handmade catnip toys for our feline friends. We will be accepting donations and selling toys right through February!
Will Maverick be going with you?
We think that Maverick likes to have all four paws on solid ground and prefers our Maine winter weather, so he will not be joining us. Plus, we need someone to keep the remaining crew in line :)
For more information:
If you would like to learn more about the Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic, or donate to our GoFundMe campaign, check out the links below!