FullBucket Continues their Mantra of Doing Good in Guatemala

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FullBucket was the first animal healthcare company with a one-for-one giving business model. The digestive focused supplements are used daily by Triple Crown race horse trainers, the top equine clinics, Universities and veterinary specialists in the U.S.

Since 2010, they use their profits to provide nutrition and basic healthcare to thousands of horses and donkeys in poor countries.

Below is an essay about their giving program in Guatemala.

TEVA Equitarian Trip Fall 2016October 15th – October 30th

Continuing our mantra of Doing Good, FullBucket Co-Founders Dr. Rob Franklin, Dr. Keith Latson and Robo Hendrickson are headed back to Guatemala to provide hands-on support for malnourished, sick and overworked equids.

Dr. Rob will lead two volunteer groups comprised of veterinarians, veterinary students and animal health professionals over the course of two weeks. They’ll share the challenging, yet rewarding, task of treating local horses and donkeys that are badly in need of medical attention. In addition, they’ll help train local veterinarians in these procedures.

Where We’re Going

Antigua, Guatemala

Once again, we’ll set up our home base in the city of Antigua. From there we’ll travel to surrounding areas, including San Andres Itzapa, Tecpan, and Santa Maria de Jesus, and put in a full day’s work treating the local equids.

Breaking New Ground – Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

This year, we’re expanding our reach and will bring our services to a new area – Lake Atitlán (about 30 miles from Antigua). Surrounded by steep cliffs and three volcanos, Lake Atitlán is Central America’s deepest (and some say the world’s most beautiful) lake.

The land is perfect for growing coffee, avocados, corn and onions. But, like other areas around Antigua, the mountainous landscape is difficult to traverse and puts the animals under tremendous stress and wear-and-tear.

Who’s Going

Group 1 – Oct 15-22, Antigua

Rob Franklin, DVM, Jessica Garrett, DVM, Ciera Guardia, DVM; Scott Giebler, Padyn Giebler, Kunz, Cheri Honnas, Rachel McPhail

Group 2 – Oct 23-30, Lake Atitlán

Rob Franklin, DVM Keith Latson, DVM, Robo Hendrickson, Michael Pintar, Concho Hernandez, DVM, Lisa Fultz, DVM, Ashlee Brown, DVM, Cal Davis, DVM, Chris Brasmer, DVM,

Why We Go

From day one, we set out to create a company whose primary mission is to give back. Our experience traveling outside of the US, especially in poorer countries, gave us a global perspective of how fortunate we are to live where we do.

Going on these Giving Trips twice a year contributes to fulfilling our mission, while improving our lives and the lives of the people we help.

What We See

The areas of Guatemala we visit are some of the most picturesque and beautiful places in the world. However, this beauty is contrasted by the extremely poor people that strive to make a living there.

There’s no electricity and, with the cooler temperatures in the higher elevations, they must collect wood on a daily basis as fuel for their warmth. As for the food, they rely on the crops they farm and their cows and goats for milk.

The backbone of their survival is their pack animal that we call “Working Horses” or “Working Equids” - a horse or donkey that carries their food and supplies up and down steep slopes and rocky terrain.

Because of the intense conditions, lack of proper nutrition and overuse, these animals have developed a small stature and weak bone structure that cannot handle the heavy loads imposed upon them.

As a result, what we typically see are animals with open wounds due improper saddles, severe malnutrition, sharp points on teeth that prevent proper chewing (mastication), parasite infestation, lameness, and problematic skin conditions.

What We Do

Working closely with our partner – World Horse Welfare (http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/), we employ a ‘divide and conquer’ process. World Horse Welfare provides local saddlers and farriers who repair saddles and provide hoof care.

Concurrently, FullBucket provides local veterinarians responsible for dental work (floating teeth), vaccinations, deworming, wound care and treating illnesses. World Horse Welfare also handles all the logistics of the trip by coordinating with the local villages and communities that we visit.

In our efforts to not upset local economies, we provide tools and training to local veterinarians or interested young men who can help carry on the health care programs care year-round. They are very welcoming and eager to learn and take advantage of our knowledge as we also obtain knowledge and experience from the locals

The Giving Product

The nutritional supplement we provide on our Giving Trips is different from the product we sell in the US. It’s customized for the regions we visit and the specific needs of those animals. Antigua and the surrounding areas are volcanic in nature and the soil contains heavy deposits of ash. While it’s great for growing coffee, it’s depleted of the necessary nutrients, especially salt, to keep the animals healthy and strengthen their immune systems.

We work with local veterinarians, scientists and manufacturers to produce an optimized formula for these animals. World Horse Welfare keeps a supply locally in a warehouse for continual distribution throughout the year.

What We’re Doing at Home

When people hear about the good work we do in Mexico and Central America, they often ask about the horses and animals here in the US that are in need of care. The truth of the matter is that the situations are very different.

The animals we treat on our giving trips are worked hard every day and are essential for the survival of the people. These villages are extremely poor and have no access to resources. Whereas the animals in the US are usually kept for pleasure or for riding. The poor conditions you see here at home is mostly due to owner neglect and mistreatment.

Our Domestic Giving strategy is to support therapeutic riding centers. These institutions value horses, as they are instrumental in helping people with mental and physical disabilities. It’s truly amazing to see the positive effect the animals have with people who are usually immobilized by a physical disability and with people who have a mental illness.

We also support similar programs with dogs who provide much needed companionship to those who are sick or disabled. TheraPet and Central Kentucky Riding for Hope.Our mantra is: Help a Horse, Help a Family.

And we apply that mission both here and in impoverished communities.

Our Impact and Expectations

We’re realistic in that we don’t expect the animals we treat to always stay healthy between our visits. Nor do we expect the owners of the animals to sustain the care given their level of poverty. Sustainability requires a continuous effort on our part and we are up for that challenge.

We orchestrate these trips to let these people know that there’s someone who cares about them and to give their animals some much needed love and relief. Spreading a little happiness does make a difference, even if it’s only temporary. After-all, life is only temporary and it is the small doses of joy, encouragement, caring and sharing that allow us to fill each other's buckets up one drop at a time.

Through our sustained efforts we also see a difference in the attitude the owners have toward their animals. They are more aware of the importance of improving their welfare and keeping them healthy. They start to take pride in them and view them as a compadre vs. a tool. After all, they are VITAL to their survival.

Want to Help?

Contact us at info@fullbuckethealth.com for more information on how you can get involved.