Roatan Renegade Rescue


On Friday May 7, 2010 the Roatan Vortex radio Show’s theme was From small beginnings comes great things – You Can Make a Difference Listen to a taped copy here

During that show on Roatan Radio I talked about different ways you and I can make a difference; whether it be through volunteering for a cause we believe in, or being there for family, friends and strangers.

One of the grass-roots organization I highlighted was started by the determined Penny Leigh.

Last month Penny did a guest post for Roatan Vortex aptly named The Mango Voodoo Chutney Caper A lighthearted tale of home canning.

Since then she has been working on a very special project. Roatan Renegade Rescue dedicated to helping the far too many neglected animals on Roatan. The dogs being the most visible animals in need.

It is common to see a dog cowering against a fence—too weak to move, the majority of its fur missing; due to parasites and the continued scratching trying to get relief from the numerous flea bites. They have scars from previous attacks and open wounds oozing infection. There may be a rotted rope snugged around their neck, the frayed end swaying in the breeze. Chances are they had been tied-up and forgotten about, then managed to break free. And guaranteed they will be emaciated, every rib clearly visible, a hollow where there should be a full belly, no muscle on bony hips and legs.

As people pass by, the dog may chance looking up; even find the strength to wag their tail once. Their eyes plead for at least a kind word or a pat on the head, maybe something to eat or a drink of water. They know that at worst they will get kicked, at best…ignored. But as long as they can find the strength, they try.

Having you started crying yet? I am as I write this. Would you rather not visualize what is going on? Perhaps you haven’t even read this far because it hurts too much to think about it. I understand…

When I moved to Roatan every time I saw a dog in this condition, I tried to pretend I didn’t—ashamed with myself for not helping it. And then I would fantasise about saving them all. Win the lottery, buy a chunk of land, hire a full-time vet and caregivers, and gather all the neglected, abused and starving dogs. Feed them, have their wounds and illnesses tended to, give them a safe place to run and play, a blanket to sleep on at night. Ta-da! Problem solved.

I haven’t won the lottery yet…so I continue to avert my eyes…shame on me, I really want to help! And now thanks to Penny Leigh I can help by sharing with you her amazing story and more importantly her actions!

Penny didn’t wait to win a lottery, she said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and formed Roatan Renegade Rescue. She pulled the seats out of the back of her van and set it up to transport the animals in need. She shared her plan with some friends and had her first two volunteers…let the RESCUES begin!

The following are exerts from updates shared by Penny. A website is being developed and should be up and running soon. In the meantime more recent information is posted at Roatan Renegade Rescue
You can also find out more by contacting Penny at [email protected]

My hat’s off to you Penny. Thank you for not waiting for someone else to get this going!

My friends, fellow animal lovers and I are very excited to announce the formation of:
Roatan Renegade Rescue

Our small group of volunteers will be selling wristbands for $5.00 each. Each time we have enough funds, we will go out and rescue a stray animal and bring them in for medical attention and much needed human kindness. Dr. Soto has volunteered to offer a 50% discount for the care of these poor animals. We will, of course, be looking for good homes for them as well.

The wristbands will be sold at:
Penelope’s Island Emporium – West Bay Beach Mall
Celeste’s Island Cuisine – West Bay
The Blue Parrot – Sandy Bay
Dr. Soto’s – Coconut Plaza – by the water treatment plant outside of Coxen Hole

Vanna White (my 19 foot cargo van) is completely outfitted with protectivemetal fencing, bedding, towels, water bowls, and hand made leashes & collars. Vanna is awesome!

We of course would be so appreciative of any donations of beds, carriers,old toys, shampoo, medicines, animal treats, food, leather gloves, a firstaid kit, muzzles. Thanx to all who have already helped. These animals have never had a kind word, a soft blanket to lay on, nothing, so imagine what joy you could give with some old discarded items. We will also need temporary overnite stays, where the animal will be kept quiet and safe.The wrist bands have not arrived yet, but thanx to some wonderful women we have already had our first successful rescue!

A small, young dog suffering from being hit by a car. His leg was limp and badly infected. Dr. Calderon gave him excellent care, injections and medicine for 15 days for a verysmall cost. He is doing beautifully, is very appreciative and eating like crazy and slept right through the night in his first crate ever. He will make someone a wonderful family pet once he is on the mend.

We will take any and all volunteers with much appreciation. There will be no meetings, agendas or committees. This is just about helping the animals, one at a time….any kind of animal, birds, whoever needs us…..I think we will be busy……….:)

Thanx to everyone for your help, support and encouragement.
Penny Leigh

” Rescuing one animal will not change the world, but it will completely
change the world for that one animal.”

When you see Vanna White out in the streets on a mission, be sure to
honk…three times!

Pedro’s Story

Three different animal lovers came to the store to tell me of a blind dog with a massive ear infection, roaming West Bay Beach. He was thought to be a yellow lab. I arranged with Guy, owner of Bananarama, that when the dog came by for his evening handouts, they would secure him for the night & I would pick him up the next morning. As often happens, it appears even stray dogs are on “island time” and he was a No Show.

I walked the beach, searching for him and finally a friendly Foster’s staffer lured him out for breakfast. His name is Pedro. He is part Golden Retreiver, part island dog. Pretty boy. He had never walked on a leash, so
it was interesting getting him back to the van where another friendly, helpful staff member from Bananarama lifted him into Vanna White and we got him into a dog crate, no doubt another first for Pedro. He panicked a bit when we got moving, so had to stop, set his crate upright and secured it. After that, he was calm and quiet, something I did not think would happen, being a homeless, blind dog.

Once at Dr. Calderon’s it was determined that Pedro has been blind from birth, nothing can be done for his vision. The vet dug out a full bucket of dirt from his ears, so he had to be deaf from the blockage as well. His ears were bloody and scabbed from clawing at them, but miraculously, no infection. As luck would have it a friend stopped by and she agreed to take Pedro home for his recuperation.

Franky’s Story

Franky has so far survived the sad life of a street dog. She has had multiple pregnancies, giving birth to stillborn pups or ones that died shortly thereafter. One puppy was still alive when she Franky was located. The puppy soon bled to death from flea infestation. Again Franky’s baby was taken from her. Now she was known as a fear biter.

Terrified, confused, people started throwing stones at her and kicking her.

RRR got the call.

Once we arrived at Dr. Caderone’s, he quickly used an animal control stick on her and injected an enormous shot of tranquilizer. Maybe panic, fear or adrenaline, it did not have much affect on her as she fought to be free. Wewaited.

Franky has cancer of the vagina. She is filled with tumors, why she ripped so badly in giving birth. The vet said he couldn’t believe she could even urinate.

Dr. Calderone agreed to take Franky over to his La Ceba facility on the mainland. He feels hopeful he can cure her cancer. She will have a Chemo injection, kept in a safe environment, fed and cared for. After two weeks,
if the tumors begin to shrink, she will have a second chemo treatment. If all goes well, she will then be strong enough to be spayed and repaired.

We took Franky to the Galaxy Ferry with a brand new stuffed teddy bear from RRR.

I will post updates regarding Franky’s progress. Thank you to everyone for helping her get the help she needs. Please say a prayer for Franky.

“Saving the life of one animal will not change the world, but it will change the entire world for that one animal.”

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Genny Ross-Barons
Originally from Ontario, Canada, Genny Ross-Barons moved to Roatan, Honduras in 2007 where she shares a cabana with her husband and island dog Mona in Sandy Bay, Roatan.

She spends her day-to-day life and 'positive initiatives' on Roatan, sharing untold stories through her blog 'Life & Writing, on Roatan'
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