“The greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Mahatma Gandhi
These sensible words from Gandhi lay bare the condition of a man’s heart. For it is true that the way in which we treat animals is most often the way we treat the vulnerable. If we want to see a society advance, it is imperative to begin with animals. If one can develop a love and appreciation for animals, how much more will they respect fellow human beings?
Domestic Animal Welfare Group (D.A.W.G.) is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that was founded in 2004 by a group of individuals who were so concerned about the state of the domestic animals they saw in the Costa Ballena region of Costa Rica. They were so moved by the sorrow, abuse, and neglect they witnessed in their communities that they felt compelled to do something about it. They started with free spay and neuter clinics, and now perform over 300 operations on domestic animals per year. Then they expanded their efforts to include animal rescues when the need was urgent. They have placed over 600 animals into good and loving homes in the past years.
Unfortunately in Costa Rica, there are very few domestic animal protection laws, and those here are very poorly enforced and are very ineffective. What is more alarming to the many visitors and expats who live here is the lack of awareness and ignorance on the proper care of domestic animals. Which has led to examples of truly appalling abuse and neglect. This organization is determined to make a change in the Costa Ballena region. Anyone who has been here for a number of years can see the results of their hard work for there are noticeably less stray and hungry dogs wandering the streets.
D.A.W.G.’s mission is to ensure that all domestic animals are in a loving and caring home. They are committed to educating, and eliminating the abuse and abandonment of domestic animals in the Costa Ballena region of Costa Rica.
Their goals are many and varied, and include:
- Education – the ASPCA has produced a “Sharing the World with Animals” curriculum that is available in English and Spanish for grades 1-5. It is available to any interested school or children’s group to help change the culture, and educate the younger generation on the proper care of wild and domestic animals.
Population Control – clinics that provide spay and neuter services are conducted in those areas where access to veterinary care is not available. Or where the local residents cannot afford these necessary services that go a long way in reducing the population of abandoned dogs.
- Rescue, Care, and Placement – when they receive a report of an abandoned, abused, neglected, or injured animal, D.A.W.G. will rescue the animal and work with the vet with a treatment and rehabilitation plan to assist the animal in recovery to full health. But sadly some of these domestic animals need extensive medical care as many are malnourished, have health issues due to stress, and possibly a compromised immune system that affects how quickly they can recover from the abuse they have suffered. Once they are healthier and able, they are then placed in foster care in the homes of volunteers as they do not have the premises available for a proper shelter. So far, their funding only allows for the animals’ food and medications. All animals are vaccinated, treated for parasites, and spayed or neutered to make them ready for adoption into their ‘furever’ home.
Fundraising is the only way that they can afford to do what they do. D.A.W.G. organizes regular fundraising events and activities. They have also received personal donations from visitors and expats who have been touched by the great work they are doing to make a difference for these animals.
There is also a DAWG Tales Lending Library located at the local vet’s office in Uvita. They have the largest collection of hundreds of English language books and DVDs. There is no membership fee required. Each book withdrawal is accompanied by a c1,000 donation, and they ask if you would return the book afterwards so they can maintain the large selection they have in the library. Any donations of new books and DVDs are always welcome so they can continue to raise funds in this way.
This is a completely volunteer organization, and all donations go towards the care for the domestic animals, food, medical treatment, and supplies. When you add in the expenses needed to offer these regular sterilization clinics, the organization admits they do have a difficult challenge in meeting their financial needs.
If you would like to get involved and assist them with these worthwhile efforts, one of their most pressing needs is finding quality foster homes for those domestic animals waiting to be adopted. D.A.W.G. will cover the costs of the medical care and food during the foster care period. But your help would be greatly appreciated in providing care, socialization, and love to these animals in need. Another constant need is fundraising of course. If you have skills or passion in assisting them with fundraising, then they would be very interested in hearing from you.
D.A.W.G. says thank you to everyone who is willing to them help those who cannot help themselves.
E-mail: [email protected]
Facebook: DAWG domestic animal welfare group