by Rachel Canouse
Proof that neighbors are good for more than just sugar!
The first time that I came to San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru over a decade ago, I remember being shocked by how many stray animals were roaming the streets. We took an hour-long bus ride from the airport to the hotel, and I remember my younger sister, Elise, trying to count how many stray dogs she spotted. She had to stop once she reached 200!
While the situation has gotten better over the past decade, there is still so much more that needs to be done. At Make a Miracle we strongly believe that animal care is an important part of community wellness. Every day, we see the love that many peruvians have for the animals living in the streets and their desire to help them. Unfortunately, many do not have the resources or the knowledge to do so.
About two years ago, we had the idea to start hosting free vet clinics in different communities. Services at the clinics would include spaying/neutering, rabies shots, vaccines, etc., and would require the help of local veterinarians. Giovanna and I did our best to reach out and make connections with various local vets, but after almost a year of trying, we still hadn’t found the help we needed.Then, one day, I spotted a vet office across the street from my apartment and decided to take my dog, Pelusa, in to get a haircut. . That’s when I met Beatriz, one of the Veterinarians who worked there. In speaking with her, I quickly found out that she had her own nonprofit organization that hosts Vet Clinics all over Peru!
I couldn’t believe that after looking for a veterinarian to work with for so long, I had found one in my neighbor! I knew it was meant to be! Beatriz began to give me advice on how to go about the process of planning and executing these types of free clinics. We planned to start running these clinics with Beatriz in June of 2020, but when the pandemic hit we had no choice but to postpone them.
That being said, we are so excited to be able to start these vet clinics in 2021 with the opening of our Miracle Wellness Center! Part of the center will be strictly dedicated to hosting these free vet clinics, stocked with everything that Beatriz and the other vets need to be able to help the four-legged members of the Peruvian communities. We can not wait to see the positive impact that this new program will have in the years to come!
Rachel is Make a Miracle's Director of Global Relations and Program Development. She is mom to two Peruvian "street dogs turned princesses."