Sunday, July 31, 2011

or why I like my job parte the second

Supai, the village at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, home to the Havasupai tribe and an amazing little oasis in the desert. According to Wiki it is the most remote community in the lower 48. The only way in or out is a 8 mile hike, horse or helicopter.

The gang at Navajo Falls

Two vets, 3 techs and one Executive Director (he hiked out the next day) went down there to do a spay/neuter/vaccine clinic over 2 days.
We were planning to hike in Monday morning and have the chopper take all our gear. Taylor, one of the vets had her flight back from New York delayed so instead of flying back Sunday night, she didn't get into Phoenix till Monday morning. Had to drive back, pick me up and hightail it and try and catch the last helicopter to the village. The others went early with most of the gear. We got there at 3pm and had to wait an hour before we got on. They had to airlift a golfcart, sodas and food first.


We finally got there, found our little house, put on our swimmers and hiked to 2 miles to Navajo Falls and found the others chilling by the water. The falls are amazing, it's hard to imagine they are down there. It's a sublime spot. Swimming in waterfalls after work is pretty special.

Navajo Falls

We got a grant and donations to hand out on this trip. We were going to charge a minimal fee for surgery and vaccines and they also got dog and cat food, leashes, bowls plus some human stuff like sunscreen.
We got sent up in the community hall all ready to go, and no one turned up. Not one. Frustrating...just a tad.

Surgery, Supai style

The dogs hanging around the chopper pad and town square are some of the friendliest, calm content animals I've seen. They look well fed and get to mooch around all day. It's a pretty good life for most of them I think. Many tourists come through everyday so they get pats and food.
We asked the animal control guys who owned them, he deemed them strays so we neutered 4 hang abouts that day. Taylor was running door to door trying to drum up business and still no luck. We even lowered our prices to free. All a bit disheartening. Care factor zero. There is a law coming in that all animals have to be fixed or they will get a fine, still even that didn't seem to have an impact. We did clean out some nasty abscesses on a couple of horses.

Me at Mooney Falls

We attracted a mob of kids who were pretty cute and unholy terrors all at once. I got them organized to clean cages and bribed them with the donations to bring us animals the next day.
After that we went down to a closer little waterfall and swam out the annoyance.

Relax after work

The next day went much better, we did 21 dogs and cats. Mostly it was the kids bringing in dogs. Here, small 8 year old child sign this surgery consent form.
We cycled through yelling and barring the kids from coming back in, to telling them to go get more animals, to praising them for cleaning cages, then back to yelling. It was actually pretty funny all round.

I would definitely go back given the opportunity. Just don't know how to make the people care about the animals, maybe the new law will help. Or recruit the kids earlier.

Flying out