From the ages of 18 to 24 I was in a full blown relationship with the world.
On my travels, I became heartbroken over the diseased, flea infested, emaciated, and neglected stray dogs and cats in the countries I visited.
In most countries there were no organizations established such as the SPCA or SCARS, there were no shelters, no one to call when an animal was in need—in some communities the people had to travel 10 hours by chicken bus with their animals to seek veterinary care.
I let it drain my big, bleeding heart over and over.
Street animal population felt like a big issue to solve, too big—for just me.
An activist is someone who sees the pain in this world and chooses to take that pain and create change.
We both felt that is was an overwhelmingly large issue to even try to make a dent in and that it was also wildly unacceptable in our hearts not to act.
So, we acted and have continued to act since 2009.
The GAAP works in communities where their presence is welcomed and requested, to mitigate all kinds of different conflicts between animals and people, and in many cases, it is looking for sustainable solutions to the free dog roaming problems.
Their work is not a one off. Rather, the objective is to develop long term relationships with the community, long term projects that grow roots and branch out over time, with the ultimate goal, that one day, they can disappear quietly from the community unnoticed, because the people have taken complete ownership of the project and the GAAP is no longer needed. There is always another community in need….
Elena sat across my kitchen table two years ago and told me that finding a solution for street dog overpopulation would probably take her entire lifetime and many more years, and that she was at peace with that.
We are not managing or supporting a short term crisis. There will be more communities and countries in Central America that reach out for help and we are aware that in order for The GAAP to have the means to answer their call, our support is needed.
We plan on being here today, tomorrow and for the years to come. I think it’s important we all give a shit about one thing in this world—animals are our thing.
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