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Jim and Mary Schwebel Help the Compassion Without Borders Organization Deliver Life Saving Aid to Feral Dogs in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico

November 2013

Originally posted by Compassion Without Borders

The point where the Sonoran desert in Mexico butts up against the Sea of Cortez deserblog1represents such a dramatic contrast it can feel surreal.

Parched, rugged land, desperate for even a drop of moisture suddenly drops off into a seemingly endless expanse of water, far beyond what the eye can see.

Turn to the East:  Sun scorched ocotillos and rugged Saguaros withering under a relentless sun.

Turn 180 degrees to the West: miles of deep, soothing blue water glistening brightly, with no end in sight.

Divisions, it seems, can sometimes be abrupt, inexplicable things with such striking differences on either side it leaves you feeling dizzy.

dawnborder12Like the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

Or the deep darkness just before the break of dawn.

Or  like the pampered pooch here in the states, showered with love affection and the mangy street dog 400 miles south who is barely surviving, living every minute of existence in constant struggle.


Sometimes,it seems, all you can do is to straddle that harsh divide and figure out how to carry some assistance across.

That is exactly what I found myself doing last weekend at the free clinic in Puerto Peñasco, which is located precisely where the Sonoran desert hits the sea.

I was there, with CWOB, to bring some desperately needed assistance south of the border and help to give some love, compassion, medication, and care to animals who are literally dying without it.


Thanks to the generosity of Jim and Mary Schwebel, an amazingly compassionate couple of animal lovers who have been to this region of Mexico and witnessed how extreme the situation is for animals there, we were there hosting a free sterilization and wellness clinic.

The clinic was split between free spay/neuter and free wellness exams {vaccines, deworming, treatment for illness, etc}. Our Mexican team of veterinarians and vet techs were carrying out the sterilizations and myself and one technician, Jordan, were doing all the wellness.


Our exam room was an open, exposed garage in the middle of a dust and sand lot. The wind was severe and grit, sand and dust clung to every crevice of us as we examined animals.

We would end up examining more than 100 animals each day.  The animals were all loved, but many were in dire conditions. Severe skin disease.  Malnutrition. Tick borne illness and anemia. Sexually transmitted venereal tumors. Parvo. Distemper….lots of Parvo and Distemper…. Dogs that had been attacked by packs of other dogs. Cats with head trauma. Broken legs. Abscesses. Birth defects.

You name it, we treated it.

MonchoLike sweet Miel, who was recently rescued off the streets by a kind woman who loves her dearly. Miel’s eyes were sealed shut and swollen, her skin covered in scabs and infection. Her delicate frame severely malnourished. We gave Miel all the medicated baths, oral antibiotics, eye ointments and other treatments she needs to make a full recovery – as well as vaccinating and deworming her.

As Jordan lovingly wiped the discharge out of her sweet chocolate brown eyes she began to wag her tail and look around – finally able to see again.


Teri another dog treated at the clinic, had already survived Distemper and being hit by a car. This darling dog had an unmatchable spirit and despite her severe, painful skin disease she managed to have an extraordinary temperament and loving disposition.

And then there were pups.

MonchoBrown pups. White pups. Fluffy pups. Mangy pups. Sick pups. Robust pups. In boxes, tied to strings, tied to chairs, tied to each other, wrapped up in blankets, inside shirts….all those sweet vulnerable pups whose lives have just begun.

Every vaccination we gave to each one of those puppies – and we gave over 350 — was an absolute blessing in an area of the world where deadly viruses are  rampant and most fatal amongst the young.  It felt as though we were giving each youngster an invisible coat of armor with each injection, helping to keep them safe and protected in a hostile battlefield of disease.


At the end of the day, I was a bit worse for the wear with sand and dirt in my teeth, under my fingernails,  on my eyelashes, behind my ears… I literally had laryngitis after explaining mange treatment and deworming for the 103rd time the second day.

But nothing could have made me happier.

What an absolute blessing to be in the position to help so many beautiful souls in need. Every goopy pair of beautiful eyes looking up at me, every sandy head I kissed, each scabby chin I scratched, filled me with love and gratitude and the pressing, all consuming desire to help.sad dog

If you share that desire – get involved. Volunteer. Donate. Adopt. Contact me and figure out how together we can keep the momentum moving and extend our reach to as many animals as possible.

Hope is a global concept.




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