Madi Collins Provides A Belize Safe Haven
Madi Collins was born in Belize, on the island of Caye Caulker (pronounced Key Corker), one of seven children of a lobster fisherman. At the age of 17, she came to New York with $200 in her pocket and lived out her dream: she got an education, a good job, and made “a ton of money.” But her heart called her back home and once there, she dedicated all of her time and resources to saving the stray animals on the island. o reports on one woman’s mission to change attitudes and save the lives of cats and dogs in Belize.
“My love for animals began as a child. But I wasn’t allowed to have? a dog or a cat. My parents raised pigs for food, but I gave them names and cried when they were sacrificed for food. I was forced to eat the meat but I threw up every bit of it. My parents did not understand my behavior!” said Collins.
Her parents’ ideas about animals, that they were dirty, disease ridden, and bad luck, are still the most prevalent on the island. “Stray animals are abundant here. They are starved, neglected, brutally abused, tortured or thrown into the ocean and left to drown. Even baits laden with strychnine are used to kill animals. This poison causes muscular convulsions and eventually death through asphyxia. It is heart-breaking madness.”
So Collins began rescuing and started one cat at a time. She would fish them out of the ocean, where people had thrown them to drown. “I bottle fed each and every one, spayed or neutered them at six months, and gave them a home here on this lovely, ocean-front property as their little haven.”
Collins founded and runs P.A.W. Cat Sanctuary & Humane Society in 2003. For the past five years she has financed the organization herself, but is now reaching out to others to help sustain and expand her efforts. Already Collins has found volunteers from around the world who share her passion, “a Canadian graphic designer built us a beautiful website, and I am hopeful that the World Vets may be able to come here to Belize.”
“I am appealing to anyone who loves animals for help. Anything, whether it is donated for a cat or dog, or even just a small monetary donation will go along way to help these animals in need,” said Collins.
The sanctuary also offers volunteer vacations to this tropical paradise!