September BLOG – Help us help Big Corn Island, Nicaragua

Tiny island, big changes

There is an island off the coast of Nicaragua called Big Corn Island.  This tiny, beautiful, remote, tropical island is home to about 7,500 people and their animals.  Hundreds and hundreds of dogs, cats, and even livestock, and yet there is not one veterinarian.  All these animals only have access to veterinary care 7 days out of the year – that means they are left to figure it out for themselves the other 358 days.  How do I know this you ask?  Or better yet, why do I care? 

I know this because I am one of the veterinarians that provides vet care for 4 of those 7 days.  Now, 4 days may not sound like much, and honestly it’s not….but over the past 4 years, in just 4 days each year, we have traveled to this little island and set up shop and have been able to spay/neuter over 350 dogs and cats, and vaccinate over 1300.  This past fall there was the start of a distemper outbreak on the island, which is an incredibly preventable disease, if one has access to the vaccine.  Due to our previous vaccinating, and our support with shipping them 500 vaccines as soon as we heard – we were able to stamp it out quickly, and save so many lives.  Just a few dogs were lost, where previously when they had an outbreak, several hundred didn’t make it.  What a difference a vaccine can make!

Now let me get to, why do I care?  Every year that we have gone back the number of people who saved their little vaccination booklet and brought it back, brings tears to my eyes.  Some of these families have a tiny house, with a dirt floor, and barely enough to get by for themselves…but they still have a dog or a cat whom they love, and they save that little book to bring back every year to make sure that they get the vaccines and the preventive care that their dog or cat needs.  They care, they just don’t have access to the medications and supplies that they need…which is where we come in.

If we can accomplish so much on this tiny island in 4 days….my god, how much better could their lives be if there was a full-time vet on the island?  How many other ‘tiny islands’ are out there that we could truly change for the good, if the right people stepped up?  I have 2 quotes that inspire me and all that I do.  The first is by Dr Seuss – ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.’  Big Corn Island has taught me that a small group of dedicated people can make a difference in the lives of hundreds of people and pets, because we care, and because we stepped up to help when we knew we could.

And the second quote – ‘be the change you wish to see in this world.’  It is my firm belief that good people doing small tasks for the right reason, can truly change the world for the better.  And if we all banded together, just imagine the beautiful world we could live in.

Want to help us be the change?  Come to our concert fundraiser on Saturday September 14th, donate to our rescue through our website, or donate supplies to go with us on our trip in February 2020.  Check out our website at or our facebook page – Big Corn Island Veterinary Expedition Team, for more details about donating, or for tickets for our upcoming concert.  We can’t do it without you – please help us be the change.