Major Animal Shelters Clinic Coming Soon

 Major Animal Shelters Clinic Coming Soon

BY PEDRO BENITEZ-CRESPO

Animal shelters, often referred to as sanctuaries of compassion, play a pivotal role in our society by providing refuge, care, and the promise of a brighter future for countless animals in need. These places serve as beacons of hope, working tirelessly to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome animals, while simultaneously promoting awareness about responsible pet ownership and animal welfare. 

Shelters alone fail to reduce the population of homeless animals, and sadly, indirectly promote the irresponsible behavior of careless owners allowing overbreeding and the abandonment of pets on account of poor planning.

This is why Casa Sheila, which started as a shelter, has now spun into a clinic, seeking to solve this pressing matter through sterilization programs, vaccine administration and testing.

At the heart of Casa Sheila’s mission is the desire to strengthen the bond between humans and animals, to recognize the emotional significance of this connection and work tirelessly to enhance it through compassionate care. By championing this cause and supporting their efforts, we contribute to a brighter future where animals receive the care and respect they truly deserve. 

We have to understand that animals, like humans, can experience pain, pleasure, and emotions. It is incumbent upon us to recognize their sentience and treat them with kindness and compassion. By respecting the rights of animals and avoiding unnecessary harm, we demonstrate our own ethical evolution as a society. Apart from the former, our connection to animals can have a profound impact on our emotional and psychological well-being. The companionship of pets, for example, has been shown to reduce stress, alleviate depression, and promote a sense of purpose. By fostering a harmonious relationship with animals, we enhance our own quality of life!

Casa Sheila is run by Sandy Stambaugh Motter, an American from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, who came to Los Cabos from Puerto Vallarta in 2009. As soon as she got here, she met with Sheila Marshall, a woman who dedicated her life to the rescue of animals for over 30 years in Los Barriles. Sandy was looking to help and someone suggested she talk to Sheila. They instantly hit it off and started working together for several years. Sheila and Sandy had a mentor-mentee relationship and after a period of time, decided to open up a shelter together. Sadly, only six months later, Sheila had a stroke and passed away. 

There was a lot of ugliness involved since the shelter had just received a hefty donation, which was stolen right after getting established. Sandy had a big weight on her shoulders and had to continue on her own. 

Luckily there were amazing people involved in this new project who came together and made it happen. Despite having started as a shelter, Sandy soon realized people left their unwanted pets at the door, tying their dogs to the fence on the entrance or leaving boxes with kittens on the floor. This was not acceptable since it was only serving as a deposit for unwanted animals, which was not at all the purpose intended for the project. Sandy decided to close their doors in 2019. Let’s remember there are around sixteen million homeless dogs in Mexico, making it the country with the most street dogs in Latin America!

Even though the shelter had closed, during the pandemic, Sandy Motter still felt the need to help and spotted so many starving animals wherever she went. Due to her great heart, she and some other friends started supplying around 2,000 pounds of food every other week.

Sandy got money mainly through donations and garage sales and finally decided to reopen the shelter, but now as a clinic. This is actually when she named the place Casa Sheila, to honor her late friend Sheila Marshall. 

They started in an old Church, at La Ballena area, with dirt floors, no electricity and yet treated 211 animals on the day they opened. The focus was now on the clinics by offering a free service to anyone who could not properly care for their animal(s).

Their main program today is the clinic where medical care is given through skilled veterinarians who diagnose illnesses, administer treatments, and perform surgeries, helping more than 300 animals every month and changing locations to fit all the colonia’s needs. 

Last year alone, they helped around 5,000 little creatures and this year they’re on track for the same figure.

It costs around 350 pesos (US$21) on average to fix each animal, plus snacks and tools, and equipment used which adds up to around US$5,000 per clinic. Their next one will be held in October in a location to be confirmed. 

The most exciting news is that Casa Sheila is planning to break the national record as the biggest clinic in the country by organizing a simultaneous one in San José, La Paz, Tijuana, Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas on November 11th and 12th.

Emergency care, diagnostic services, surgical expertise, pain management and rehabilitation, as well as human-animal bond enhancement, are some of the topics they cover in every clinic. 

Casa Sheila just started training the police in animal abuse situations as well as educating people on how to break up dog fights. It also has an education and awareness program in schools for kids to understand the responsibility that comes with having a pet as well as spaying and neutering animals in school gyms. 

Don’t forget to get involved and help this noble cause that concerns everyone. Feel free to check out their website at Casa Sheila Paws (https://www.facebook.com/casasheilapaws/) and support this “pawsitive” cause through their PayPal account at casasheilabaja@gmail.com and/or through their Zelle account at crvp33@gmail.com. Remember, it takes nothing away from a human to be kind to an animal, even more, when they do not have a voice.