A Bahamas Potcake All Ears for HSVMA

April 23, 2007

By Susan Monger, DVM

Dr. Valentino Grant is a veterinarian in Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas. He is dedicated to the animal welfare of the islands and works not only in Nassau, but also on the small island of Bimini—where there are no veterinarians—to address animal health and overpopulation.

Grant met a kindred spirit in Dr. Martha Kehoe on a dock in the Bahamas years ago. Kehoe, a new graduate of veterinary school, was headed to the Bahamas to help spay and neuter some animals.

Over the years, they have continued to address animal welfare on Bimini with the help of regular HSVMA volunteer and animal handler Consie VonGontard.

Some luck for a "potcake"

Bullit's ears are examined
Drs. Martha Kehoe and Valentino Grant examine Bullit's ears.
The HSUS

This past April, HSVMA Rural Area Veterinary Services (HSVMA-RAVS) was invited to come to Bimini to help them demonstrate a model field surgical unit that can travel to areas lacking veterinary care. It was at this demonstration clinic that a good friend of the two veterinarians returned.

Bullit is a “potcake,” the Bahamian name for a mixed-breed dog. Bullit came to Kehoe and Grant a few months earlier, her ears so infected that they were nearly unrecognizable. A fishing line had been wrapped around them in a crude attempt to crop her ears.

The two doctors worked for hours to salvage her ears, creating a working ear canal for the sweet potcake who had captured the hearts of many locals. The surgery was a resounding success, and friends working at the Shark Research Station on Bimini adopted her.

Bullit has lived at the research station since her surgery. She recovered fully and quite happily settled into her new life.

So, when HSVMA-RAVS arrived this past April, Bullit was one of the first patients who came to be spayed. She ran up the stairs and greeted everyone in the crew with her tail wagging and her beautiful ears listening to everything that was said.

Kehoe, now a regular HSVMA-RAVS veterinary volunteer who has attended many clinics in Mexico and the Caribbean, performed the surgery—this time with a smile on her face.

All dogs welcome

In addition to Bullit’s spay, the HSVMA-RAVS crew and Dr. Grant performed spays and neuters on many of the island’s dogs. When the dogs left, they sported brilliant green collars signifying that they had been sterilized.

Bullit and family
Bullit goes home with her family after her surgery at the HSVMA-RAVS clinic.
The HSUS

It was incredibly rewarding to see Bullit so healthy and happy, but walking around the small island and seeing nearly all the dogs dressed in their green collars proved to be an even greater reward.

HSVMA-RAVS clinics all over the world leave these same impressions—about the importance of population control and that even potcakes should be treated with the respect and love they deserve.

 

HSVMA would like to thank Dr. Grant for his help in organizing the clinic, Dr. Springer and the Veterinary Medical Board of the Bahamas, and Kevin Degenhard with the Bahamas Humane Society for their cooperation in this clinic.

Dr. Susan Monger is the Director of HSVMA-RAVS, International Program