Western Michigan native helps animals survive and thrive in Honduras



ROATAN, Honduras – A native of western Michigan turned the vacations into the passion of her life, helping animals in what is now considered Honduras’ largest wildlife sanctuary. Janessa Baar moved to the island of Roatan, just north of the Honduran mainland, at the end of 2018. “When we were in Roatan, I absolutely felt a call. The streets were just lined with skeleton dogs, the amount of stuff I saw that I can’t ignore, ”Baar told Fox 17.

Caring for others was already part of Baar’s life, having spent nearly two decades as a young “Big Sister” mentor in western Michigan, but it was different. “I mean it was really bad. So I just started one animal and one child at a time, pushing a wheelbarrow with a bunch of kids following me. Janessa feeds 50 kids every day, but it’s the awareness and compassion she teaches those same kids that trickles down to the animals in what has become Roatan Rescue.

“I drop the food, they go around and feed the stray animals, let us know if there are any medical needs. It’s beautiful I love to see all the children running and helping the animals. So we have horses, chickens, dogs and cats right now. Our mission is to save, rehabilitate and resettle animals in need. Roatan Rescue has already repatriated animals to at least seven states in the United States, including western Michigan, Baar told Fox 17 that they were actively trying to charter a plane to bring 50 more dogs to Miami, in. Florida.

Roatan Rescue has 25 full-time employees and two full-time vets who, among other surgeries, perform 100 spays and neutrals each month. Baar’s rescue is 100% donation-based, telling Fox 17, “We’re about $ 34,000 a month for 450 animals, all the kids, everything. We spend a ton on medicine. 8,200 dollars per month in flow. It costs an average of $ 2.45 per animal per day. And like so many others around the world, the pandemic has made it harder to hit your monthly budget. “Every month is praying and hoping and we are doing our best.”

Despite how ugly things were when Janessa first started, she says she is thrilled with the difference her organization has made in such a short time. “There is still a lot of sadness, but there is so much beauty now. See the healthy rescues we have all over the island in their homes forever. Dogs in wheelchairs crawling around. It is beautiful to see people walking their dogs with harnesses and leashes and not tied with an electric rope. It was just a huge life changing event. The streets are not lined with hungry animals.

If you would like to contribute to his work, go to roatanrescue.com or to follow the progress of his mission, go to cuddle.com.


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