Going to the Dogs (and Cats)

I have been volunteering twice a week at the Grenada SPCA, which is a short bus ride away from the marina in which we are staying.  It has been an incredible experience.

This new mural was unveiled in late 2021 and runs along Lowthers Lane in St. George’s. Tribute stones painted with beloved animals’ names line the bottom of the mural.

The GSPCA is a non-profit that has been helping animals since 1936; it has two main components, a veterinary practice and a no-kill shelter. 

This is the public entrance to GSPCA. Two of the dog playgrounds are to the left of the building, and the third playground is across from the building (behind the photographer).

The veterinary team provides care to both privately-owned animals and strays.  The fees are sliding scale so that as many animals can receive treatment as possible.  The veterinary team does everything from wellness checks up through complex surgeries.  Veterinary doctors from around the world volunteer their time at the clinic to bolster the staff, and the nearby St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine provides a stream of in-clinic assistance and foster homes.

The shelter is funded by veterinary fees as well as private donations, and that’s where I’ve been spending my hours.  The shelter takes in both cats and dogs, so there’s something for everyone.  The cats have a large open area filled with shelves at various heights for lounging and laying in wait for unsuspecting volunteers; one entire wall is screened and open to the outside, so the cats get fresh air and sunshine.

The shelter can comfortably fit about 15 dogs, and they are currently at capacity.  There are three “playgrounds” where the dogs spend their days; these large, open areas have dog houses, barrels, a swimming pool, and elevated platforms. 

Some naughty dog knocked down the ramp. This is Logan (on the left) and Gouda (on the right). Gouda loves to swim in the swimming pool on the right.

All of the playgrounds are outside but have solid roofs to keep the sun and rain off of the dogs.  The dogs are split into roughly equal packs, depending on their temperament.  At night, they are put into individual kennels inside the locked building. 

Don’t tell any of the other dogs, but these are my favorites. From front to back: Cottage, Mojito, Dolly, and Alvin. Cottage was born at the GSPCA, and Mojito, Dolly, and Alvin were street dogs. Cottage and Alvin are still puppies and are therefore total maniacs, but Dolly and Mojito are the sweetest, most gentle dogs I think I’ve ever met.

As a volunteer, I’ve run the gamut of tasks.  Every dog gets walked individually every day, so that takes a while.  Then there’s baths for any dogs that are on a medicated bath regime.  It’s kitten season, so kittens have been coming in that need to be bottle fed.  There’s only one cat in the cattery right now, Charlie, and he’s lonely, so I spend time playing with him.  Food needs to be restocked, goat’s milk for the kittens and puppies needs to be thawed, towels need to be gathered . . . It’s go go go, and I love it all.

This was Monday’s box-o-kittens. We had to feed them with syringes because the bottle nipples were too big. Man, for something so small, these little suckers are loud!

Grenada is a poor country, and it’s remarkable what the GSPCA has been able to do with so little.  The kennels and cattery are spotless, the food and care supplies are top notch, and the shelter animals’ lives are enriched with toys, comfort, and attention.  If you want to keep up with the animals’ antics and stories, the GSCPA’s Facebook page and Instagram feed is regularly updated.

Seriously, look at that face. I’ve always been a “big dog person,” but I have fallen in love with pothounds.

If you are so inclined, the GSPCA can always use help.  There are a number of ways:

– You could make a monetary donation of any amount to www.PayPal.me/gspcagrenada.

– You could purchase something off of the GSPCA’s Amazon wish list at https://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/20ADNZ938AM9D/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_BrH7zbFJZRR9Z.  The items are shipped to Florida for a consolidated shipment to the GSPCA, so the shipping costs to you are minimal (or even free if you have Amazon Prime).

– The GSPCA is trying to raise money for an x-ray machine.  Their second-hand x-ray machine stopped working two years ago, and they are in desperate need of a new one.  They have raised approximately $24,000 towards their goal of $40,000.  If you would like to donate to their Go Fund Me page for the x-ray machine, please see https://gofund.me/9ce1f160.