Here’s what our non-profit, JO Gives, INC., is working on currently.
We have closed out our special project where we successfully funded the spaying and neutering of over 2,000 dogs and cats in Mexico and Central America. We sincerely thank all of our donors for supporting this mission, as many of those animals are homeless or living in very poor conditions. Your donations have successfully changed the lives of the less fortunate within those communities.
I also want to announce JO Gives, INC.’s next project. In July, Gunnar and I visited the Rio Grande Valley just above the Mexico/United States border. This area is home to several kill shelters, which are shelters that kill animals once the shelter is full or after strays have been there for a certain amount of time. While there, we visited five shelters to assess how these animals were being housed and assessed the needs of these facilities. One shelter is known as the highest kill shelter in the U.S.; they had 1,700 dogs and cats the day that we were there, and I wish that I could erase what I saw from my memory.
Many of the animals there are forced to live outside in the dead of summer. The area suffers from heat waves that are commonly over 100 degrees. We saw dogs in overcrowded cages with minimal access to grass, shade, and water. It’s a well-known fact among animal lovers and veterinarians that dogs don’t tolerate hot weather as well as their human caregivers. They truly need an indoor facility to improve both the animals’ lives and the staffs’.
For example, there isn’t a water system that makes it easy to care for these animals. The workers are forced to transport water throughout the facility and are constantly refilling the animals’ bowls. It’s truly mind-blowing to me that there is a place in America where such conditions are allowed to exist for these helpless, homeless pets.
Our goal is to sponsor four veterinarians.
After seeing the distress of the animals and workers firsthand, it’s become my mission to help them. I want to use JO Gives, INC., to improve their quality of life and prevent further suffering. While interviewing the staff at the five shelters we visited, the overwhelming majority requested in-house veterinarians. The shelter I mentioned with 1,700 animals needs multiple full-time vets, but the facility currently doesn’t have any. None of the shelters we visited can spay or neuter the pets. The animals are then adopted out, which allows them to perpetuate the problem of homeless animals in America.
To correct this severe problem in the Rio Grande Valley community, I’ve partnered with my immigration attorney, the American Veterinarian Medical Association, and the Licensing and Permit Office of Veterinary Medicine in Texas. As we were working with our spay and neutering clinic in Mexico, I met many vets who wanted to help the unfortunate animals outside of their home countries. We now have a clear understanding of the steps needed to bring someone here from another country to practice veterinary medicine in Texas. This would be like the Doctors Without Borders project, where medical professionals respond worldwide to provide healthcare to people in crisis situations.
Thus far, JO Gives has agreed to sponsor two vets from Mexico to come and practice in Texas. Our goal is to sponsor four in total. I’m unsure of the overall costs at this point, but it will likely be in the five-digit range per veterinarian.
If you know of a vet fluent in English who has a dream of living and working in America, please let us know so that we can talk to them about this opportunity. And please consider donating, which you can do here. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you have.
As always, thank you so much for your continued support of our mission to make deep and lasting impacts on the lives of the humans and animals on our beautiful planet.