This summer a small contingent of vet and pre-vet students provided free veterinary care to 118 cats and dogs in rural villages in the Central American country, Belize. They were participating in the Small Animal Veterinary Experience (SAVE), a study abroad program in partnership with the Center for Global Engagement at the University of Tennessee, the Wildlife Institute, the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC). Among the students from around the world was University of Tennessee pre-vet student Anastasia Geletka. This is the 5th year that the SAVE program focused on 7 Miles Village, a rural refugee resettlement community nestled in the Maya Mountains. After a Covid year, the need for animal services was pressing and students and staff were short-handed and resources were stretched to their limits. However, the SAVE team was successful. Animals were spayed, neutered, vaccinated and treated as needed. In a normal year, two visiting vet faculty assist and facilitate. BWRC’s Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand was the sole faculty and lead vet for the program.
Written by Justin Ford MSc., Director of the Wildlife Institute and Discovery Global Travel