So, my years always start in September, first it was because of the kids in school but now it’s the month that we head to Mexico again. Jeff and I always drive back and forth in our RV because we just have too many supplies and too many dogs to fly.
The reason I even mention this is because so many people tell me that they want to do what we do, meaning live somewhere warm and rescue animals. So I thought, and I hope I can stick with it, that I would blog about life in Mexico doing animal rescue.
To start, I’m sitting in our new (used) RV, driving south. Our old RV was seven years old and Jeff said, “ too many things are breaking down for me to feel confident driving all the way through Mexico.” The last thing that anyone wants to do is break down in the middle of nowhere on a Mexican Highway.
We are packed to the hilt. All year people send supplies to our condo in Colorado and every year we take it down with us to save money on supplies. It really is wonderful – how much people send us.
The picture to the left shows only part of the supplies, the back bedroom is also full and the crates are in the garage. Packing the RV is a two day ordeal. The first day we pack the supplies and the second day we pack us.
Meanwhile in Mexico, the picture below is of the first puppy coming to us, it was found on the streets in very sad shape and of course there are dogs at the house already, nine of them, so here we go again.
This year (my years always start in September) we are having two clinics in Bonfil. It is a poor area in Cancun near the Airport. The street population of cats and dogs is over the top. Last year we did a clinic there in January and Isla Animals took home 65 puppies. We do not put puppies back on the streets. Older dogs with survival skills who would be hard to turn into house pets are spayed/neutered and put back exactly where we found them. Often times they have territories and people who occasionally feed them.
But the puppies are a whole different thing, so they come to us. This November 5-10 we are joining with Planned Pethood, Candi International, Cancun Animal Rescue, Coco’s Cat Rescue, Luum Balicheo, Jaguar Cats, Animalistas and Rescate Malix for our next large scale spay and neuter clinic. We are hoping to do over 1000 animals.
Our next large scale clinic after that will be in January with Vidas and we are hoping for the same number of surgeries. If we keep hitting this area we WILL make a huge difference. We also do special surgeries or arrange to have them done if the need comes to our attention. Like Pablo who had a broken hip.
This has been a busy summer for Isla Animals thanks to Rebecca who has been staying at the house and working really hard to take care of all the abandoned puppies, dogs and even kittens that have come in. She’s done a fantastic job and we are so grateful. Below are the pictures of the animals that she’s sent to new homes. The pictures show, Cowboy, Hadley, Ebbie, Hobo, Tontin, and two of our beautiful Calahoula pups.More are leaving next week so I will post those then.
I received a call from a woman who kept finding a little black dog on the wrong side of the fence around the Selina Grande, which is a small salt water lake in the middle of the island. She told me that every day she would lift the dog over the fence away from the water where he’d be safe. Then the next morning she’d find him back there. Perplexed she asked around looking for the owner. Sadly she found him and the story is that the owner doesn’t want the dog anymore. He put the dog by the water so he was trapped and couldn’t come home again. As sad and awful as that sounds, I’m thrilled it happened because now Toto is here with us and we are going to love him up.
But wait, there’s more, it must be short fuzzy dog week because this morning Tiffany called me to say that the three little dogs that live in the park in front of her house were going to be picked up by the city. The owner of these dogs denied that he was their owner so they were labeled street dogs and that is not a good thing for island dogs. Wow are they beautiful and they haven’t even had a bath yet and yes, these are three different dogs.
It’s so incredible how after many years of doing the same thing, there are still surprises. Last May I was walking along the street with Maia from Pet Project Rescue in Minneapolis. We, of course, are there for the dogs. When we see a black poodle that’s obviously nursing, we ask around to find out where she lives so we can check on her pups. We find the house and there are eight pups, covered with ticks and fleas, filthy and neglected.
We ask the owners if we can take the whole family home for a few days, clean them up, give them vitamins etc. They think we’re crazy but say yes. So we take her home and make a big fuss over her for ten days until the owners say they want them all back. We reluctantly return them while making the owner promise to spay the mom and add that if they can’t find homes for the pups we’ll take them. When we go back to check the house is empty. Then on December I, seven months later, I get a phone call from someone who has a momma and seven pups and she doesn’t want them. Of course I take them. It turns out to be the same mom and a new litter of pups that are one day old. And sadly the mom is a mess, much worse than the first time we saw her.
Okay long story, this May the vet brought me a pup, actually over a year old, he was sick and terrified. We called him Butler, he had the same body type as my poodle mom and was the right age to be part of that first litter that disappeared but come on, it’s a big island. Than I find this picture, it’s one of the pups from the first litter. You tell me, I know it’s him.Wait did I mention that I’ve kept Butler so long that he’s mine now, even Jeff likes him.
Your going to love this story. Last spring a man who lives on his boat in the bay next to Isla Mujeres fished an old dog out of the ocean. He said the poor thing was so exhausted that he was about to go under. He fed him a wonderful dinner of hot dogs and kept him over night. But it was obvious that the little guy wasn’t healthy so he brought him to me. What a cutie. He looks like a golden retriever puppy except that he’s really old. It was obvious from his condition that he’d never been well cared for. He had nails that were so long his toes had to bend to walk on them, infected eyes, tics and fleas, and scars and he was very quiet.
We gave him a bath and kept him separate from the other dogs because we suspected that he had hearing and seeing problems. He had this way of shutting down, he wouldn’t respond to people at all but he got better and we sent him north. They were surprised that we sent such an old dog but when they saw him they were so glad he was there. Well the best part of animal rescue are the pictures and letters that you get back about the dogs you’ve cared for when they are in their new homes. This is what I just got about Just-in, now called Wilson, for obvious reasons.
This is such a lovely ending to a long journey I just had to share it. First is the story of Karen at my rescue and then all of her travel trials and then a letter from the person who adopted her. It’s great. This is long but it’s worth it.
In Isla Mujeres and Cancun I’ve become the puppy person. Puppies are so difficult and at bigger risk when put in a rescue with older dogs. So Ricardo, who runs a rescue in Cancun and takes in any and every street dog and does a fabulous job and literally loves the dogs as much as I do, sent me two small puppies at the beginning of February, a male and a female, eight weeks old. They were tiny and adorable with bad skin and shaky knees from a calcium deficiency. I named them after Richard and Karen Carpenter.
Isla Animals and Candi (www.candiinternational.org) have big plans for the next year. We are planning a mega-teaching spay and neuter clinic for the vets in the Isla Mujeres – Cancun area. We are hoping to train 48 vets in a high volume, low cost, safe surgery technique during the first week of November.
After that we have plans for many more clinics. Spay and neuter is the answer to improving the sad state of the cats and dogs and we are determined to make a difference.
The reason I bring this up is in years past people have sent us a wonderful variety of supplies that have allowed us to operate on more animals with less money. To those who have donated in the past, thank you very much and if you can again that would be wonderful and to anyone that could donate now, it makes a huge difference.
Here is a wonderful before and after. Babs came to Isla Animals from a rescue on the mainland. She had bad skin, she was lethargic, thin and very shy. She stayed with us for a while and then went to Calgary. Look at her now.
This is the story of misplaced enthusiasm. If we can’t find homes for our pups or dogs locally we send them to rescues in the US or Canada. Recently we connected with a new rescue in Toronto, Canada which is fun for me because I grew up there.
Six weeks ago we arranged to send five pups to our new rescue. Everything went well until the final exit through customs at the Toronto Airport. We had sent pups there before with no problems but this time the agent decided that our puppies were commercial, someone had to be making money off of this. It’s actually very funny, most rescues barely scrape by and individuals eat up their retirement accounts rescuing dogs. If there’s money in this, please someone tell me where to find it.
Well this agent stuck to his guns and actually sent all five puppies back to Mexico. These pups were in their crates for over thirty six hours and then we had trouble with Mexican customs on their return. Don’t these people have better things to do than to make life miserable for five little rescue puppies.
Finally we got the pups back. They were frightened, thin and dehydrated but okay after tons of hugs and food and water.
During all the fuss the custom agents told us that there would be no problems if we flew the pups with a passenger and not cargo. Okay a month later a good friend was flying Cancun to Toronto so we sent the now three pups back to Toronto (some of them got homes). Two of them made it through but Karen didn’t, her owner was waiting for her in Toronto and customs decided that if the owner was getting a new pup then money must be changing hands.
I just have to add here, how odd this is. I spend most of my life trying to convince people that these rescue dogs have value, as in a special life, and here we run into a problem where they are being assigned monetary value, like we are running a puppy store rather than a rescue.
Okay, long blog, sorry—— they take Karen away again and forbid her to touch her cutie paws on Canadian soil. Remember this is her second stint doing overtime in a crate surrounded by strangers. A situation which we usually deem worth it when they get to their new, wonderful, forever, homes.
Karen’s future was not looking good, another trip back to Mexico just seemed too cruel. The whole wonderful rescue community jumped into action. Finally we found out that Karen didn’t have to go back to Mexico, that being a threat to national security, she only had to get off Canadian Soil. So back on an airplane she went, after vets visits, more strange kennels and an added threat of quarantine.
Wonderfully she has landed in Denver where our local support is now helping her get back to health and will find her that home she deserves. Canada is now safe.