This past month the iF Foundation was blessed to have some amazing veterinarians and vet students come to Haiti with us to treat our animals, and also many of the local animals not a part of our foundation’s official farms. A Haitian woman commented that from time to time medical missions come through our rural neck of the woods, but never have they seen doctors come to treat their animals. I learned how obstinate a big old cow can be when she is about to get a series of shots. I also learned an important thing to remember: “cows kick sideways”, and ”horses and mules kick behind them”. It is very good to know this when trying to pin them against trees so they can be stabilized for treatment.
Two stories stand out for me, the first a sad one and the second a happy one. Sort of the way life is, yes? One man came who had walked with his cow some distance. The cow was very sick and the arduous journey clearly wore her out. She was lying down in the grass, a sign of the effort she made to walk so far to see the doctors. The World Vet team worked very hard, but it was apparent that this cow would probably not make it to the next day. The World Vet team knew this and told the owner of the likely outcome. She died having received a lot of TLC and wonderful care from out team.
The second story was a happy one, but reflects some of the harshness of Haiti. A woman brought her injured goat to the clinic. One ear was cut off, and her hind leg was deliberately cut by a machete. Her crime was getting loose and eating from a neighbors crops. She was being taught a lesson not to do that again. However anyone who knows goats knows they are remarkably funny and delightful creatures who think with their stomach’s first! There was nothing to do to replace the ear, but Dr. Ellie, from England worked to clean out the leg wound and put on a pretty pink wrap. Over the next few days the goat returned for further care and improved greatly from the antibiotics and TLC. The woman who owned the goat was so appreciative. She told us this was her only animal and only hope for providing the funds for her children to go to school. This beleaguered but “cute as a button goat” was all she had and she was so grateful to the World Vet Team for saving her goat. Now if only she can keep this rascal with more spirit then brains out of her neighbors crops, this story will end happily ever after.
TLC is always something that creates warm hearts and the World Vet Team will never really know that while they cured an abused goat and tried valiantly without success to save a very sick cow; they changed the life of an almost 64 year old priest, who might pass these days as “an old goat”. Healing takes place within us whenever we see people caring about animals and people in such a wonderful way. So while I witnessed “science”, I also witnessed the renewal of hope for many Haitians whose animals were cared for with such wisdom, dedication and love. So thanks Dr. Bob, Dr. Ellie, Dr. Rob, students/vets in training Nikki and Sari. In caring for the animals, you brought healing to the souls of the people of Haiti and also to me.