Like many Central American countries, Honduras has a glaring overpopulation of stray dogs and cats that poses both health and safety concerns. On Utila, a small northern island of Honduras, the overpopulation drove locals to take the drastic action of adding poison to garbage cans.
Dr. Loretta, a seasoned Veterinarian, saw this tragedy on Utila firsthand when she vacationed there and felt a personal responsibility to help. She would return to Utila every year to offer free spay/neuter services. In 2007, she and her husband moved to the island permanently and opened up a free animal rescue clinic.
We talked to Dr. Loretta about her work and how her time as an Expert on JustAnswer helped her efforts in Utila.
JustAnswer: Tell us about your Veterinary background.
Dr. Loretta: As a UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine graduate, my first and only job in my career was with a Mixed Animal Practice in Paso Robles, CA. I was thrown into a very busy practice and learned a great deal from my partner, Dr. Bobbie Bryant. After 5 years, I started to buy into the practice which I bought out after 10 years.
The work as a practice owner was more than I could have imagined and after 25 years, I decided to sell my practice and semi-retire. My husband was selling his software business at the same time and we decided to move to a small island off the coast of Honduras called Utila.
JustAnswer: We have to admit that we had to look up where Utila is located. How did you find stumble upon there?
Dr. Loretta: We had done many vacations there because the scuba diving is spectacular and numerous whale sharks came through. There were no veterinarians on the island and there were many stray and starving dogs and cats. The island would put poison into the garbage cans every 6 months or so to try to control this terrible situation.
JustAnswer: It’s one thing to see a problem while on vacation and feel sad about it, but you felt like this is something you can actually help with.
Dr. Loretta: Yes, my husband and I decided to open a spay/neuter clinic with state of the art equipment. Since we started offering free services and surgeries, the island never poisoned the garbage cans again. We made a huge impact on the island which we are both very proud of.
I have had to work on my own and performed many procedures on both small and large animals. Many locals had never seen or even heard of a woman performing such procedures and successfully, at that.
JustAnswer: That's incredible! It's really inspiring to hear about the impact you made. With so much going on, how did JustAnswer become a part of your work?
Dr. Loretta: Around 2008, we were faced with many challenges on the island including the lack of any appliance repair people. This is when Rodger, my husband, found JustAnswer. He used them often to help repair appliances and computer issues. He was very pleased with the site and noticed that there was also a Veterinary category, and thought this may help us to continue to provide free veterinary services for the poor locals.
JustAnswer: Please pass our thanks to Rodger for introducing you to JustAnswer. Can you tell us a little bit about your experience as an Expert on JustAnswer?
Dr. Loretta: I applied and it took a couple months to figure out how it worked and how best to help customers. After that, I worked quite often and enjoyed it. This experience has helped me to keep up on conditions that I did not see or had the capacity to work with on the island. I did constant research while answering questions, making me an even better veterinarian and I loved it.
I found that helping people in a time of need and offering not only knowledge but compassion is something that many customers need; especially in a scary situation for their beloved pets made me feel good inside every day.
JustAnswer: You mentioned the two most popular reasons for why people become Experts on JustAnswer: to help people and challenge your expertise. How has being an Expert helped with your work in Utila?
Dr. Loretta: After the crash of 2008, working for JustAnswer allowed us to keep up the free services. This period devastated many of us financially and we were able to keep up this very important work. I thank JustAnswer all the time for this opportunity and the many things that this position has given to me personally.
JustAnswer: What’s next for you?
Dr. Loretta: We have decided to move off the island after 11 years for many reasons, but plan to return every 6 months for spay/neuter clinics. Living on an island is very difficult and at first, it was an adventure for us. After a while, the adventure part wears off and now we seek an easier life. Utila will always be in our hearts but it is time for a change.
If you would like to share your story or know of an Expert with a great story, let us know!