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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

Health of Dogs and Cats in Panama

Traveling internationally with friends in search of good rivers to kayak, warm weather to thaw our frozen mountain bones, awesome tacos and cold beers while on ski bum lifestyle budgets, we became enamored with the idea that maybe we could make this into our new lifestyle some day. Don't we all dream that while traveling when everything is unicorns and rainbows?

To think we could leave our home in the mountains at 10,000 ft (3,048 m) and move to sea level, kayak all the time, and build some kind of business around our new obsession became a fun way to travel and explore countries. Trying to figure out where was fun, but how would we really know it could work? Being the brilliant people we are not, we devised a genius system to judge the feasibility of a country: health of their dogs and cost of their beer. Seems reasonable right? Straight out of business analytics 101. 


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi nailed it with this quote which I heard about 10 years ago and has stuck with me ever since. So, it turned out that Panama scored high on our list; their dogs appeared healthy and happy, and the beer delicious and cheap. Culture & economics ☑. We knew this was the place.

Pet ownership here is quite different from what we were accustomed to in the USA and nothing is perfect but people do care for their pets and this past week was a testament to exactly that.

In our tiny little community lives a woman - Kathy, who has known since she was a child that her mission in life is to care for dogs. She has always been the local dog lady caring for and finding homes for strays, organizing sterilization clinics, and being the go-to for help when someone has a sick or injured animal. Kathy retired from Florida to Panama where her love of animals and desire to make a difference hasn't wavered in fact, it has become her legacy and her full time focus in life.

Fortunately for our community this type of love of animals is inspiring to everyone around her. She has shown others how and why caring for their pets is so meaningful and she has brought affordable spay / neuter clinics on a regular basis to combat overpopulation and suffering of homeless animals. Partnering with local vets and organizations like Spay Panama, she has helped be a part of sterilizing over 260,000 animals in Panama. 

This past week, she organized her most successful clinic yet in our local town, with Spay Panama. A team of 25 from the organization: 8 veterinarians along with vet techs, volunteers and her team of 12 volunteers spayed and neutered 226 cats and dogs!

We brought our little kitten Beezi to get spayed and adopted another little kitten while there - Klowy. The atmosphere at the clinic is intensely uplifting and made me feel so full of love for our little community.

To see people come together for the health and wellbeing of animals instills such a deep sense of hope and appreciation, it really helped restore some faith in humanity with animals for me.

With so much gratitude to Kathy, Spay Panama, and all the loving volunteers that made this happen, thank you for being a part of making this world a better place for animals. 

Your Friends in Morrillo,

Cari and Ryan Mackey

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

The angels of Spay Panama arrive in this humble ride:

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