Panama Going to the Dogs!

Wednesday morning…like every day in Panama, a great morning!

But something is missing for us…the dogs!

Getting ready to walk

Back in May, Norma and I started walking dogs 3 mornings a week, but right now, we are without dog walking due to a distemper virus in our town that is killing dogs. The dogs we usually walk are well taken care of at Panama Andy’s Dog Rescue Sanctuary in Gorgona. With a capacity of 29 dogs, Panama Andy’s provides medical care, vaccinations, nutritious food and physical care to stray dogs rescued from the streets and beaches. Even when they are unable to add dogs at the rescue, due to being at capacity, they work diligently to garner funds and aid to help, for instance, with abandoned puppies, to get them foster homes & care, or with dogs owned by people who cannot afford to neuter or spay.

Panama Andy’s is dedicated to caring for abandoned, injured or sick animals in the area. It is the only rescue shelter in the greater Coronado area but has a wide reach.


Our job, as walking volunteers, was to take out one or two dogs on leash, teaching them leash skills, basic manners, etc. Most of the dogs are very sweet and have great interaction with some of the visitors. We have 3 dogs that Norma calls “crack baby” dogs because they are just crazy anxious and can’t settle down–but she treats those dogs with her CTFO CBD for pets. Some drops of that on a treat and they begin to settle into their walks. I really appreciate it because I walk the craziest one–Pepito–who is a very tall and rangy dog who used to bark and squeal at everything. He is now a gentleman when I walk him!

It’s a nice social thing to do, walking the dogs. A bunch of expats meet up at Andy’s at 8am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, armed with treats and CBD, and take the dogs out for a 45 minute walk, exercising the dogs and ourselves and catching up on some expat news!

In addition to Andy’s, we have two organizations who hold regular clinics for spaying and neutering dogs: Spay the Strays and Spay Panama. They offer spaying for $15 and neutering for $10, with many “scholarships” provided for needy Panamanian families who cannot afford the expense. Some of these people have 10 dogs or more! Transportation, which is difficult or impossible for Panamanians who travel by bus, is volunteered by many people who help out at Panama Andy’s request.

It has been several weeks now since we have been able to walk the dogs, as they are basically quarantined against the distemper. It is almost like missing family members! We hope to get back to walking shortly after the beginning of the year–but we must wait until this epidemic is over.

If you are a dog lover, we would invite you to join us sometime for a walk. You will be amazed what kind of positive influence that human interaction has on the animals and how you will fall in love with these sweet dogs!



Lime Farm

About a week ago, I took an investor from Europe to our mango/lime farm. When we left, around 10AM, it looked like every day in Panama during the Rainy Season: blue sky competing with clouds, which can dominate the sky above us. So, we enjoyed the wonderful countryside from Coronado to just past Penonome, not paying attention to the looming rainclouds.

Gathering storm

As the farm manager greeted us, he said “I am praying for rain!” and about 10 minutes later, a huge storm descended on us and went on for hours! The answer to his prayer made him an extremely happy guy and made for a really sloggy tour for us!

In fact, that rain wasn’t only in CoclĂ©, but over a huge part of Panama. In fact, the heavy rain in Panama City interrupted the air traffic at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.

Panama City Rain & Floods

It was necessary to detour many of the arriving planes to other airports around Panama. One of those airports was the Scarlett Martinez International Airport in Rio Hato. As we passed this airport on our return to Coronado, we saw 3 commercial airliners on the tarmac!

This may not sound so amazing except that the Scarlett Martinez airport has been open for 6 years now and has only one commercial flight arriving and departing weekly, and that is a charter! So seeing 3 commercial planes sitting there was actually shocking for me!

Interesting that Tocumen, the largest airport in Central America, had to send planes to our neck of the woods, to an airport not used for regular commercial air traffic!

Stay tuned for more on the Tocumen airport expansion……

Wishing you and yours a blessed and happy holiday season!

Frank & Norma Backe

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