Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Students Raise Money to Help Train Veterinarians

October 15, 2004

BEFORE dog trainer Oscar Cordero beganshowing off his award-winning golden retrieverBuddy to the third-grade students of the Country DaySchool in Escazú Oct. 5, teacher Amy Guall askedher students how many homeless dogs and cats areliving in Costa Rica. Two answers are correct: Toomany or 1.5 million (the estimated number of dogsand cats that are homeless in Costa Rica).The third graders are holding bake sales, puttingout collection jars, and may organize a carwash toraise money for the McKee Foundation – an organizationthat tries to help eliminate the numbers ofabandoned animals in Costa Rica.At the special event, Buddy, a canine Pan-American Champion who won an agility competitionin Guatemala last year, jumped over obstacles atcommand and snaked through other obstacles in whatseemed like record time, to the amazement of the studentsand teachers.Pobrecita, an Australian Shepherd and formerstray, demonstrated the effectiveness of obediencetraining by sitting still while Cordero tempted herwith dog toys.IN addition to the entertainment, the childrenlearned about the importance of spaying and neuteringdogs and cats.“Right now many are ending up in the pound fortwo or three days then are put to sleep because thereis no room for them,” said veterinarian EduardoBitter, an active member of the McKee Foundation.The foundation, which trains veterinarians surgicaltechniques such as spaying and neutering, tries toprevent the euthanasia of animals by cutting down thepopulation of strays and to develop “no kill” animalshelters in Costa Rica, he continued.Last year’s third-grade class raised ¢90,000,which paid for the training of 17 veterinarians whoare now able to donate their time to perform the operationsrequired for spaying and neutering.NOW in its fourth year, the McKee Foundationhas successfully spayed and neutered as many as9,000 dogs and cats thanks in part to the class’ moneydonated to the fund.For more information on the foundation, call 279-8591, 279-0422 or 392-4415 or see the Web site atwww.mckeeproject.org.

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