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May 5, 2023

Celebrating Pet Month with Belize’s own Dog Whisperer

The month of May is celebrated as Pet Month; it recognizes domesticated animals that have secured a place in the hearts and homes of owners. But while we celebrate the domestication of pets, it is important to also recognize strays that have lost homes and owners due to neglect. Humane societies are usually the organizations that step in to aid ailing and roaming animals without owners, but there are also few good Samaritans that step in for the cause as well. Sabreena met one such person rescuing sick dogs in her neighborhood and tells us more in this week’s look on the Bright Side.


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

If you come across Georgia Arana-Lewis driving down the street in her neighborhood, you’re likely to see a pack of dogs running towards a stranger who has somehow earned her trust. Neighbors have fondly dubbed her a local dog whisperer, kind of like Cesar Milan.  But, this canine lover is known for rescuing and rehabilitating stray dogs in Ladyville. She’s been doing this for the better part of a decade and if you ask her why, she’d simply reply

Georgia Arana-Lewis

Georgia Arana-Lewis, Dog Rescuer
“Because they need help. It’s just like something in me. When I first came back home, I was surprised to see how many animals needed help and it just went from there. You help one, another one comes along and that’s where I started just feeling sorry for them.”


Her bond with animals is evident, but it’s the sight of sick puppies that softens her heart.

Georgia Arana-Lewis
“And before I pick it up, or even after I pick it up, I would ask a friend, do you want a dog? I’m known for that. And as long as you agree, I pick that dog up, bring it back to health and pass it on so I can get another one. Cuz that’s why I pick up dogs. Like I would give one away, make sure it has a good home for  and give it away and then I can move on to another dog at the time.”


At a point in time, Arana-Lewis had up to eight dogs in her care. She explained the economic approach to caring for stray dogs.”

Georgia Arana-Lewis

“It used to bother me in the beginning where I used to get really sick with it and the vet had told me one time when I had to take one and then put him to sleep, she said, you can’t save all of ‘em. And that bothered me. Whenever I go, I would go work out in the morning and the amount of dogs I see. Because it’s cheaper for me. I worm them out myself. I buy stock from the vet or from Reimers, and I worm them out and unless the dog is severe, then I take them to the vet. It’s not as expensive as people think, because once I have the medication, the worm medicine, I give them myself, that’s all I need. If I go to the vet, it’s not that much either. One of my worst dogs that was severe cost me the most, I would say to bring him back to health was maybe a hundred dollars, Belize. And that’s just being honest. But a lot of people think it’s way more than what it is, but they just don’t know. It’s not as bad.”


Currently, Georgia has five dogs at her home. Some are animals that were injured; others were sent her way by community members. But she also has regular visitors that stop in for food, also without homes, even one that has an owner.

Georgia Arana-Lewis
“I have five currently, and I have two that come by and eat every day, fatefully. One just left before you came. I have this one Taaz, the new guy, Binks. I have one, Crab, in the yard and people always ask why did you name him crab? One day I was going for a jog early in the morning and I heard this noise in the bushes. When I looked in the bushes it was him like about this size, tiny little thing like maybe about four pounds or less, eating a big crab. And so I picked him up and brought him home and I named him crab, so that’s how he got that name. And the other one Rogue. And then I have Storm, and those are all rescues.”


May is recognized as National Pet Month and over at the Animal Medical Center, Georgia is a regular visitor with her rescues.

Philip Deshield

Philip Deshield, Animal Medical Center Veterinarian
“She’s really good at working in her community and talking with people in her community. A lot of people go to her. She realizes the importance of medical care that these animals need and she’d assist as best as she can and she forms a nice bridge between those who aren’t familiar with bringing their animals to the vet and she’d help and assist with quite a bit of her friends and the people in her area do go to her and then we see those animals through her.”


But after her pets’ health is restored, finding forever homes for Georgia’s rescues is also taken very seriously.

Philip Deshield

“Animal welfare is a big issue. As a nation, as people and humanitarians, we need to take responsibility for these animals that we’ve domesticated. We should spade and neuter if we don’t want to have a whole bunch of unwanted animals. Unfortunately a lot of people cannot support large litters and they just leave them to their own devices; this can spread diseases and it spreads suffering.”


There have been instances where she found a home for her rescued pets, but took them back upon learning that the dog was not receiving quality care.

Georgia Arana-Lewis

“And every like two months, I would go peek on them or take meds for them. And sometimes if I have extra food, even if they don’t need that, I would still give it to the dogs. And  a couple times I went, he had too many ticks for me and too many fleas. So I’m like, okay, let me watch crab for another time. And the second time I went back again, it was the same thing. And I decided after a year I took him back, I brought him back home and he’s fine in the yard now. So I am that serious.”

Georgia Arana-Lewis

“I hate the concept that it’s just a dog. That bothers me a lot because it’s not just a dog. You don’t have to love dogs the way I do, but I think a lot of dogs get mistreated. You don’t have to mistreat them either. You don’t have to have them in a house like my baby is, but you don’t have to mistreat them either. And that’s my issue. And I think there’s too much roaming out, out in public. I don’t think it’s healthy.”



The phrase ‘A dog is a man’s best friend” is evident in the relationship between Georgia and her pets. But it’s the love and loyalty that she’s experienced from these four-legged friends that have kept them close to her heart.

Georgia Arana-Lewis, Dog Rescuer
“I think they’re sweet. I think they’re more loyal than most humans to be honest. One day I came home and it was raining and I pulled into the gate and the other two were on the porch hiding from the rain, but Crab stood in that rain, getting poured on and waiting for his mom to pull in the gate. And that’s what I love. You know, they’re really loyal and they have more love than most humans to me. They just cannot speak on it, but I think they do.”


And for Georgia, strays are just dogs waiting for someone to be loyal to. Looking on the Bright Side, I’m Sabreena Daly

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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