Jessica’s Birthday Present to the SPA

From the SPA

By Aimee and Phil Nance

Our daughter, Jessica, has been an animal lover since birth. At three, she declared her intention to be a veterinarian and has not wavered to this day. We left San Diego, California, on our sailboat in January. Throughout our travels in Mexico, there isn’t a day that goes by that Jessica isn’t making friends with a new animal. Needing a place to seek refuge from the heat and hurricanes led us to San Miguel, where we decided to live for the summer. Jessica’s first question was whether San Miguel had an animal shelter. We found the SPA’s website and wrote about volunteering, very happy to hear that the SPA would be pleased to have our family volunteer.

One of our first stops in San Miguel was the SPA, where we immediately jumped in and started spending time with the animals, particularly the cats, kittens, and puppies since our girls are too young to walk dogs. Jessica has paid close attention to all the cats in the cattery, making sure each one receives attention and love. Each time she visits, she spends equal time with all the puppies, both small and real small. Her favorite dog, Bandit, and her favorite cat, Jacaranda, get extra affection. Seeing animals in a shelter has reinforced what we have taught Jessica—that caring about animals involves a lot more than petting, scratching, and hugging. She took this lesson to heart and decided that, to celebrate her twelfth birthday, she wanted to do something to raise money for the SPA instead of getting presents for herself.

We started a fundraiser on IndieGoGo, setting a goal of US$1,000 to apply to medical expenses for animals needing care at the SPA. Using our family’s travel blog to promote Jessica’s fundraiser, we hoped she would reach her goal. It took less than two weeks. Before we return to our boat to head south toward Panama, Jessica will deliver a check to the SPA and establish “Jessica’s Fund.” We are proud of the legacy that she will leave here and are thrilled to be able to help such a fantastic place for animals to heal, be loved, and find loving homes. The toughest part about volunteering at the SPA has been to resist the urge to take a new fuzzy face with us on our journey. We encourage you to stop by the SPA, Los Pinos 7, 152 6124, between 11am and 2pm, Monday-Saturday and meet Bandit, Jacaranda, and about 55 of Jessica’s new SPA friends.


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