San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Coco Capsule

Since its inception under two years ago, Coco Animal Rescue and Education (CARE) has grown from a small group of volunteers focused on pet control in Coco to a regional organization providing Coco and surrounding communities with myriad services, including a monthly spay and neuter clinic, pet health and nutrition education for owners, and low-cost veterinary services.

Spay and neuter services are held the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in space donated by Super Compro, adjacent to the popular market. The operations are performed by veterinarians who travel from San José and are housed at El Verde Misterioso, courtesy of Sandra and Garth Philbrick. The cost for neutering services is low. Since the program’s start, more than 720 operations have been performed, with the result being a vastly reduced number of the hordes of dogs and cats that once roamed local neighborhoods. The vets and volunteers also are available to provide free pet examinations; owners are responsible only for low-cost medications or services received.

Early on, CARE volunteers and friends took on the task of finding homes for puppies and kittens, dogs and cats. This has grown into a full-fledged albeit informal adoption effort for animals both young and adult, many of which require a great deal of TLC because of their young ages or poor health. At this point, an immeasurable number of pets have found good homes here and in North America, thanks to the efforts of an equally immeasurable outpouring of assistance.

The group also has taken on a menagerie of local wildlife, including injured or orphaned squirrels, owls and raccoons, restoring them to health and the wild or to recognized local animal shelters.

CARE is always in need of donations and volunteers to help at the clinics. To pitch in, call Alice Johnston at 2670-1646 or e-mail For information, visit the CARE website at

This is the second in what I hope will be a series of articles devoted to volunteer groups serving the varied needs of our community. If you are a part of or know of a group that should be included, please contact me.

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