Animal Care in Mexico
I had just started my first semester of University straight out of high school when I got the restless feeling that I needed to travel. However I knew I wanted to do more than simply visit another country. I wanted to make a difference in some way or another but I also wanted to gain experience for my future area of study; animal care. The GVI vet project appealed to me instantly. It was an opportunity to live in a new country, learn about veterinary care, learn a new language and meet amazing people from all over the world.
At the time of booking 6 weeks seemed like an abundant amount of time but since being here in Playa Del Carmen I can honestly say I don’t know where the time has gone. I have learnt so much whilst being at Coco’s Cat Rescue. The volunteers are strongly encouraged to get as involved as they would like and for me this has involved watching surgery, injecting antibiotics, inserting the endotracheal tube and catheter, cleaning the animal for surgery and also monitoring recovery. The vets, Laura and Edgar, are always up for any questions or assisting you to find the vein and all the passionate staff members at Coco’s have really enhanced my experience here in Mexico.
Before coming to Playa Del Carmen I was unsure of what to expect but I can honestly say that any expectations have been exceeded. By living in the one area for a period of time I have been allowed the opportunity to be truly immersed in the local culture, whether it’s riding the bus in the morning with the locals or attempting to speak Spanish to order quesadillas. I was even lucky enough to be here for a Mexican Christmas and New Year, which was definitely a highlight of this trip!
My time in Mexico has come to an end far too soon but I am content with all that I have experienced and can’t wait to see what my last week and a half has in store.
Coming to Mexico was an exciting and slightly scary experience for me at the beginning of my trip. It was my first time travelling alone to a country where I did not know anyone and did not know the language. Now I can say that I have no regrets about a single second of this trip. Between working at Coco’s Cat Rescue, taking Spanish lessons, and becoming acclimated to the Mexican culture, I have learned so much.
I am majoring in pre-veterinary medicine at Illinois State University so Coco’s Cat Rescue is a great place to work. I enjoy going there each day and learning something new. While preparing animals for surgery, I have learned how to intubate animals, how to insert catheters into the veins of female dogs and cats and many other things. The veterinarians that work there are extremely helpful enabling me to learn everything. I have also been able to watch a few very cool surgeries that were not related to sterilization.
One of my best experiences at Coco’s so far was going to a poor village in the jungle on the outside of Playa del Carmen. This experience really opened my eyes to what Coco’s mission is and how passionate they are about what they do. That morning we sterilized approximately twenty of the dogs and cats that were owned by the people that live there. In the afternoon we went to the village to take the pets back to their owners. It amazed me to see how simple the life is that they live, yet they are still happy with what they have and with their pets. Soon we are going back to the village to give the children presents that were donated by others in Playa del Carmen and surrounding towns.
This trip was not just about working at Coco’s. I also have done some travelling. I visited Akumal where I snorkeled with sea turtles, went to Tulum to see the Mayan ruins, went swimming and snorkeling at Cenote Dos Ojos, and spent time at the beach near 5th Avenue. I’m still not done travelling. I also spent Christmas here and, just recently, New Years Eve. Christmas was spent with everyone that lives in the house, and we followed Mexican traditions that night of eating the traditional Mexican Christmas meal, getting a piñata, and just spending time with one another. New Years was spent going to dinner and then to the beach and 5th Avenue to watch fireworks.
My experience in Mexico so far has been truly amazing, and I am thankful to be here. I have met some great people, learned a lot from working at Coco’s Cat Rescue, and travelled to some very cool places. I recommend this to anyone studying pre-veterinary medicine or if you just love animals because I would do something like this again in a heartbeat.
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