‘Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! Audrey Hepburn
Emma’s Blog #4
I have been going to the Galapagos Islands for 13 years now. It is my second home. For most people, the
sharks, giant rays, tiny penguins, blue footed boobies, flamingos, giant tortoises and pre-historic looking iguanas blow their mind and change them forever. It is not that I have become blasé about the amazing creatures who live there, not at all.
I saw more animals on this trip that I have ever seen, which tells you that they are being well protected by the Agency for the Protection of Bio-Diversity – ABG, The Galapagos National Park Service and all the other agencies. For example, we used to see about 6 flamingos at the ponds on Isabela Island and this time we saw over 50 and we saw baby iguanas everywhere, in places the ground was a moving black mass of them. The native animals are returning, a sign that the new protection plans are working.
What totally blew my mind however, was the number of old dogs we said hello to. You see, when we started the dog sterilization program, everyone died around 2 years of age, there were no middle aged, and certainly no old dogs on the Galapagos. Children thought that this was normal and would be given another puppy to play with, once their other one died. The children didn’t form long-life bonds with their animals, they simply acquired another one.
While on Isabela Island, I ran into Sara, Lara’s Mum. Lara is now 13 years old and was the first dog that we spayed. She and her Mum came up to me and Sara smiled andsaid ‘it worked Emma, the program really worked’. Lara gave me a tail way of ‘hey it’s you, nice to see you’, it was beyond magical. Then Pelusa popped out of a local restaurant where she lives and came over for hugs. Her Dad said she is now 16 years old and probably the oldest dog on the islands. He was dead proud I might add.
These old dogs represent what is possible.
Another magical moment was when we arrived on Santa Cruz Island, which is the main island with the largest human population and where all agencies have their headquarters. Dra. Marilyn Cruz, who is the Director of ABG, had managed to keep her new spay/neuter clinic a secret from me until we arrived. It had been built at ABG’s Headquarters, I cried, as did the entire Animal Balance team, as did Dra. Cruz. She and I had dreamt about building a clinic for 13 years and now, here it was. What was once laughed at as a ridiculous concept, had happened.
What they said was impossible, was possible.
What we have all done together is create social change. It took all of us to achieve it. The people who are mandated to protect the native species, worked with those who are mandated to protect the non-native species. Once the community was given the tools and training, they took responsibility for their animals and every relationship changed. We all understood the only way to create a more harmonious living space for all species was for all humans from all spheres to work together. Essentially, if we could not work together, the animals could not live together and many would die as a result; so we did.
Old dogs, a new spay/neuter clinic and vast numbers of native species in the same space. Never let anyone tell you that something is impossible, never. Oh! and I also swam with 6 feet long, very scary looking sharks, I would have said that was impossible too 🙂 Nope, I did it. I’m possible.
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