Costa Rica’s natural beauty is legendary. But Costa Rica is still a developing country and people who can barely stretch their limited incomes to feed, clothe and house their families cannot afford the luxury of giving their pets the same quality of care that most Americans are used to giving their companion animals. In rural areas, very few pets are spayed or neutered, and unwanted offspring are often destined to lead lives of abandonment and neglect, if not simply killed, sometimes in cruel ways.
Established in 2006, G-PAW (Guanacaste Province Animal Welfare Foundation – Fundación Guanacasteca de Bienestar Animal) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization in accordance with US Internal Revenue Service regulations that brings low-cost spay/neuter clinics to low-income rural communities in northwestern Costa Rica and teaches people responsible pet ownership.
As of early 2014, more than 2,000 animals have been neutered under G-Paw's aegis, many of them street animals or those belonging to indigent families who cannot pay anything for the surgery.
Ehrlichiosis, a deadly disease caused by a tick-borne blood parasite similar to Lyme disease, is epidemic in Costa Rica. In some areas, more than 80% of cats and dogs are affected. G-PAW is now educating pet owners about the disease and the critical importance of making sure pets are tick-free.