Scooby Animal Shelter 2008 Trip

Veterinarians all share a goal common goal: to help animals. And with that goal in mind, a group of veterinary and pre-vet students from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine travelled to Spain taking their unique skills and compassion for animals. Led by Dr. Guillermo Couto, the group spent five days at the Scooby Animal Shelter, in Medina del Campo, Spain, where they brought aid to injured animals and forged relationships with foreign students and veterinarians also at the shelter from June 16 to 20.

The group from Ohio State was accompanied by students from the University of Zaragoza, Spain, and private practitioners Tom and Sue Broaddus. With the daunting task of treating hundreds of animals with various medical conditions, these dedicated veterinarians and veterinary students demonstrated their innovative and versatile skills.

Scooby Medina Shelter

Founded in 1987, the Scooby Shelter in Medina, Spain, provides aid and protection for stray dogs and cats in the area, as well as other animals. Among the population of dogs, a large number of greyhounds -- Galgos in Spain -- inhabit the shelter. Yearly, Scooby receives aid through charitable donations and a high number of adoptions through its associated organizations in both Europe and North America.

In 2007 Scooby placed 850 dogs in homes -- 414 of them were Galgos, a neglected breed in Spain -- in England, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and the U.S. Scooby also serves as a Burro Rehabilitation Center funded by the Provincial and Spanish governments.

Hundreds of animals, one goal

While at Scooby, the group from Ohio State cared for approximately 400 dogs, 40 cats, and 20 burros, in addition to countless ducks, chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats, cattle, and even two raccoons. Dogs were housed in patios where they are grouped by affinity and temperament.

Despite any language barrier all of the veterinarians and students have the same purpose: to protect the animals. This is what is written on a sign at the shelter beneath the word Scooby. This concept makes my desire to become a skilled and knowledgeable veterinarian even stronger," Emily Caruana, veterinary medicine student said.

Teams set up shop in a converted 25 by 12 foot trailer and in the shelter itself, where they performed surgeries on the animals. On a typical day, there were two to three operating rooms functioning simultaneously.

At the end of the four day period, they completed about 100 spays and neuters, sutured and cleaned numerous wounds and lacerations, and brought aid to a vast number of both small and large animals. They also collected over 100 blood samples for seroepidemiologic studies on infectious diseases in both dogs and cats, did abdominal and cardiac ultrasonography in dogs and cats, trapped insects, and dealt with pruritic donkeys.

"All of us, but particularly the students, enjoyed the experience and the feeling of being able to care for these animals," Dr. Couto said. "We are in the process of securing a corporate sponsorship so that we can continue this joint collaborative project every year."

Picture slideshow

Scooby 2008

Christina Canis, third-year veterinary student, keeps an eye on one of her patients, a female Galgo that was just spayed.

Student essays

Contact information

Professor C. Guillermo Couto, DVM Diplomate ACVIM

Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
The Ohio State University
0032 Veterinary Hospital
601 Vernon Tharp St.
Columbus, Ohio 43210
Ph: (614) 292-3551
Fx: (614) 292-0895
couto [dot] 1 [at] osu [dot] edu