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Local vet takes mission to Mexico

Scotts Valley - San Lorenzo Valley, CA

Friday 27 March 2009

Local vet takes mission to Mexico

By Peter Burke

            The economy is in shambles, but a longtime Boulder Creek veterinarian is still finding ways to give a little more to the animals she has dedicated her life to helping.

            Boulder Creek Veterinary Clinic owner Kathie Gerrity read a small article about the Baja Animal Sanctuary in a quarterly trade publication for veterinarians and decided that if she ever made it to Rosarito Beach, Mexico, she would visit the shelter to see if she could offer her services.

            So during a vacation last spring, Gerrity spent a weekend neutering and spaying animals at the no-kill sanctuary in Rosarito, the temporary home to 400 dogs and 100 cats at any given time.

            Many of the employees of the shelter, Gerrity said, are men who have gone through drug and alcohol treatment programs or even spent time in jail.

But, she said, “these guys are so dedicated to animals.”

            It turns out that a weekend was not enough for Gerrity, who planned a second trip.

Almost a year later she went back. This time, she brought two of her clinic’s lab technicians, Michelle Ortega and Lisa Kauchek, and her mother, Lorraine Gerrity, with her.

            But the trio did not make its February 2009 visit with empty hands.

As a surprise, the employees of the clinic rounded up medical supplies from providers.  
            “That’s what they gave me for my birthday,” Gerrity said. “Three huge boxes (of supplies).”

            The immaculate, south-of-the-border shelter is home to dogs and cats that would have been euthanized for various reasons. Some have illnesses, others were abandoned, and others are simply nearing the end of life.

            “Each and every one is loved,” Gerrity said. “They really are.”  

            The sanctuary is a “no-kill” hospital and tries to find a home for each animal there. Clinic operators work with a PetSmart store in San Diego to provide homes for many of the animals, Gerrity said.

            The Boulder Creek trio spent four solid 12-hour days in the shelter. The volunteers implanted 75 microchips, spayed and neutered 35 and tended to the medical needs of 15 other animals.

            “There’s so much work there,” Gerrity said of the shelter founded in 1997, where more than 700 dogs and 60 cats were found homes in 2008 alone.

            “The people who help run the organization do not do this for the money. They do it for the animals.”

            And just as they went with supplies, they didn’t return without a parting gift. Ortega returned home with Monie, an adopted dog from the shelter.

            Even after four days of volunteering at the shelter, there is still plenty of work to be done, Gerrity said. She stays in touch with Sunny Benedict, the shelter’s founder, by e-mail almost daily, offering treatment advice and suggestions to staff.

            “I enjoy working with them, and they can’t say ‘thank you’ enough,” Gerrity said.

Gerrity’s Boulder Creek Clinic also continues to offer low-cost spay and neuter programs, heartworm prevention, wellness exams and vaccines seven days a week.      

            She is also known to work with customers to orchestrate pro-bono surgeries in some cases.

For information: www.bajaanimalsanctuary.org  

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Published Monday, March 30, 2009 11:36 AM by Kanoa Biondolillo

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