2012 - The Year it Began!

Here are a few stories from our group explaining what an effect this trip had on them and the towns we visited. These words truly convey the impact Sueños International has on the communities and the volunteers on each trip.

Eye Opening Experience - By Jennifer Elliott 

Reflections - By Dr. Kristie Steuer 

"Being a part of the spay and neuter clinic in Guatemala provided me with a more extensive, hands-on, real-clinical experience that I don’t think I will get going through veterinary school at CSU. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the experience but I got to practice my clinical skills, interact with both clients and patients, even though I cannot speak Spanish, and learn how to manage surgery without using all the latest technology and supportive care that we are blessed to have in the US. It was eye-opening to see how veterinarians from other countries work together, provide diagnostic procedures and perform surgeries. It was an experience I hope to relive in the future and will certainly never forget."
"As I look back and reflect on our first veterinary expedition to Guatemala, it is impossible to pick out one memory to define the entire extraordinary trip. Little snapshots of memories all come together to create a beautiful whole, much the same way all the tiny pieces of glass come together to create a brilliant stained glass masterpiece. Each and every memory holds a place dear to my heart and contributes to the whole incredible experience. First come memories of the family who hosted us during our stay in Guatemala, opening their home and their hearts to us, and showing us the generosity and compassion so pervasive throughout the Guatemalan culture. Next come memories of the shelter, Animal Aware, that helped coordinate our visit and facilitate all of the work that we were able to do while we were there. Hard work and dedication helped find homes for unwanted dogs and cats, both within Guatemala and abroad, but in the meantime, all of the animals receivedthe love and the care that they deserved. Even with over 300 dogs and 200 cats, every animal had a name and a story, and its individual needs were catered to by the staff at the shelter. Fond memories of the villages we visited also abound, teaching us about meeting and working through the challenges presented by cultural differences and language barriers. Small, wide-eyed children brought us their small, wide-eyed puppies to treat, and then went back to get their friends to bring their dogs, too. Educating owners about vaccinations, diseases, and ways to deal with animal overpopulation will hopefully lead to better lives for the animals in those communities, and hopefully it will be a legacy to continue into the future. One of the most rewarding moments of the trip came when we were asked to come back to a third village to do an extra day of work that had not been scheduled. At the beginning of our trip, we were not sure how our services would be received. We were outsiders coming from a different cultural background, and yet we succeeded in communicating our desire to help the animals and the communities to such a degree that we were asked to come back; there is no feeling more rewarding than that! I learned so much from our trip, and have so many wonderful memories; our expedition was one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. And, amazingly, throughout this whole thing, we were also able to help some of the animals of Guatemala. I cannot wait to go back on our next trip!