Compassion For All Creatures
By Cameron Peters and Elyn McEvoy
A popular statue found in many area gardens is that of St. Francis of Assisi. The patron saint of animals, he is remembered for his compassion toward all creatures. Certainly that kind of tender mercy is a much needed commodity at Lakeside. To the same extent that many people consider this area to be an idyllic retreat, it is often a less hospitable environment for many animals.
Overpopulation, human mistreatment, malnutrition and untreated illness and disease often result in short, sad and sometimes savage lives. And yet tender mercy does exist, as is evident in the works of several local animal welfare organizations. Though their individual programs and philosophies may differ, each strives to improve the lives of animals and with the support of the Lakeside community their collective efforts do make a difference.
One lesser-known organization is Lakeside Friends of the Animals A.C. Since 2006, LFA has been assisting Mexican nationals of limited financial means by offering free spaying and neutering for their dogs and cats as well as underwriting the cost of emergency veterinary care. Those of us who have pets know well that our animals offer us invaluable emotional gifts, yet responsible pet ownership can often be costly. LFA, through its programs for Mexican nationals of limited means, seeks to support the relationship of pet and owner while alleviating some of the expense. Providing free spaying and neutering, not only addresses overpopulation in general but also encourages pet ownership without the worry of unwanted litters.
In cooperation with the Clinica para Animales Dres. Ladron de Guevara in Riberas del Pilar, 40 pets belonging to Mexicans of limited means are sterilized each month. In addition, on a monthly basis, an average of five pets receive emergency care. Treatment can include surgery, medication and, if necessary, humane euthanasia for untreatable conditions. Owners are asked to pay only what they can and LFA contributes to the balance.
LFA also supports the Humane Education Alliance which was formed in 2011 by four non-profit organizations whose common interest is to foster respect and responsibility in children towards all living creatures and the environment. This is achieved through ethical education which promotes and builds a culture of non-violence. The HEA is currently launching a program in elementary schools using a DVD as a textbook for trainers and instructors.
LFA is also developing a post-life planning program in which individuals can enter into an agreement with LFA in which the organization would assume responsibility for a pet upon the owner’s death. Bequests would be accepted as part of the plan.
Lakeside Friends of the Animals A.C. has formal recognition as a charitable organization under Mexican law. LFA asks for the support of the community in order to continue all of its programs. To help, or for more information, visit our website at www.lakesideanimalfriends.org, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (376) 766-4341.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com