Before Christmas we went out to the Guatalupana after hearing that there was one family with thirteen puppies. We found the house. One momma had 5 six week old puppies and the other momma had 8 two week old puppies.We took the older puppies and Delfino spayed the mom but we had to leave the younger ones behind. I made a note to myself to return. Then after Christmas someone came to my house with a little puppy that someone had handed them on New Years Eve. The pup came from the same area and was about the right age so I pulled up my picture of the younger pups and there she was.If you check the bundle of puppies the new little one is upper right. So now I’m worried. These pups are too young to be given away. If the family has started to hand them out, I’m going to get them. Which I did. There were five left.We gave them all baths, picked off the ticks and fleas and then of course they got new clothes. ha ha This is what dog rescue people do when they have time on their hands.
There are only a few pieces of equipment more important than a washing machine, if you run a dog rescue. We use a ton of towels everyday. Two or three days without doing the laundry, our machine is broken, and we have a stack half the size of a Volkswagen. Plus they don’t have “do it yourself” laundry mats here, you take you dirty laundry in, they weigh it, charge by the kilo, and you pick it up four hours later. But that doesn’t apply to us because they would never, never accept our smelly towels. Not a chance. So I spend the last part of everyday stomping towels.
And then we got a mom and four more pups in, which means more dirty towels. It has been incredible this fall. We can’t seem to get ahead of things. I was feeling so great about the four pups that we sent out last week and then we got four more in and the momma. But are these puppies ever cute. Jeff says I always say that. Ha ha
If you read my last blog you know the story of the family that came to my door with two puppies stuffed in a tiny crate. They wanted me to take them but they had another dog as well and she was pregnant. As much as I wanted to get those puppies out of that box I told the family that they could drop the puppies off at the vet clinic when they took the momma in to be spayed. I would pick the pups up from there. Well we didn’t hear anything for a week, we went to their house, no one home, finally we tracked the son down at his work and he promised to take them to the clinic. I met them there. What a mess, you should see the mother. The picture really doesn’t give an idea of what bad shape she is in.The amazing thing about the puppies was that I thought they were 2-3 months old but it turns our they are 5 or 6 months old, unbelievable.Little Chupa is the one sitting up and she has a long way to go.
Yesterday was one of those days that every animal rescue hates. Sorry to be mean but “stupid people with dogs” break my heart . I had three visit yesterday and each one got more ridiculous. First a very nice woman came to the house to ask me to rescue a eight month old lab that was in a bad situation. Her boss was taking care of it and his landlord said he couldn’t have dogs. This is a pretty average situation except for the fact that the boss sent his employee so that he wouldn’t have to give a donation to the rescue that was going to solve his problem. Okay that one isn’t so monumental.
Next, a woman comes to my house on a brand new motto and asked me if I will take her two pugs. She has had these two pugs, one 3 years old and one seven years old for three years. But now she is going to have a baby so she doesn’t want them anymore. I say, “you can have dogs and a baby at the same time,” and after much back and forth she confesses that they are not house trained. So rather than trying to find out how to house train them it’s much more convenient to dump the poor little things on me in a shelter with 50 other dogs.
Okay this last one takes the cake. A family shows up and rings the bell after I’ve gone to bed, which I admit is earlier than most. Jeff tells them I’ve gone to bed and to come back tomorrow. They ring the bell again. So I go down, worried that it might be an emergency. They have two, three month old puppies stuffed in a very small crate and they say that their landlord (oh those landlords) said they could only have one dog and their one dog had puppies and they can’t keep them. So I look at the mother, she’s filthy and really fat so I ask, “is she pregnant?” Yes they answer. I’m flabbergasted. So as much as I want to get those poor puppies out of that tiny box. I ask them what they are going to do with the new puppies, no answer.
So I look in the box, the puppies in there look like brown street dogs. My guess, they want poodle pups to sell and these two didn’t look like poodles so they were left over.
So I tell them that they can drop the puppies off at the island clinic when they take the mother into be spayed. I will pick them up there. They say, you can’t spay her, she’s pregnant. I say, what are you going to do with more puppies if you can’t keep the two you already have. We go back and forth for quite some time before they leave to go to the clinic to drop off the mother. We shall see, I go back to bed and lie there for hours, so frustrated that I can’t sleep.
I’m just going to add some cute pictures to break up this long frustrating story. As far as the momma dog, when I moved here I would have been opposed to spaying a pregnant dog but after seeing thousands of puppies abused and starving in the streets it hardly bothers me at all.
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.
I actually called Doug and Eileen about two puppies called Ringo and Star. I was going to ask them to foster the pups. They were excited about it and came over to meet their new project but then we got distracted. Thank goodness their gulf cart broke down because the man that fixes it had a momma and four pups at his house. When I heard that I asked if I could go and see them and then I put de-wormer in my purse, it’s such a boost for a nursing mom. When we saw the mom and the pups it was clear that something had to change. The owner said that two of the pups had already died. So we asked them if we could take them all to my house to get them cleaned up. As usual they looked at us like we were crazy but agreed. Wow, the mom had so many ticks that we had to pick her for hours before we could give her a bath. She had a nail that was so long that it had curled around and jabbed back into her toe which was, of course, infected. Her eyes were infected, her skin had patches of infection and she was so listless that she let us do what ever we wanted to her.She’s a small white dog and has four two week old pups left that are a beautiful brown. The pups were covered with ticks and fleas too but we couldn’t use the tick and flea killing shampoo on them so we just picked at them as they wiggled madly, trying to get back to mom. Their eyes are just open but they aren’t walking yet. Talk about a project. We spent the rest of the day cleaning her up, treating her wounds, cutting off all of her knots and rubbing ointment into the sore spots.Then we called the owners to ask if we could keep her for a few weeks and take care of her pups. They agreed so Eileen and Doug left with a completely different project than they expected.
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.
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.
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.
We have had two dogs living in our bushes for four months. They were trapped in the mangroves and brought to us way past the age of making an easy transition to living with people. We had some wonderful volunteers here earlier in the year who worked with them but after they left, having 30 to 40 other pups made it impossible to continue training them on a daily basis. They needed hours of time every day for weeks to make any difference but, sadly, we could never find them homes the way they were.
Then along came Troy, the incredible dog trainer. He wrote me in March to say that he was coming to the island in May and asked if there was anything he could do. I immediately wrote him about Starsky and Hutch. He sent some wonderful suggestions and offered to work with them when he got here. He was great. He got them out of the bushes and came every morning to train them. It’s amazing what knowledge and patience can achieve. Troy went back to Arizona and I’m walking Starsky and Hutch twice a day. I have Starsky tied to my foot as I’m typing this and he’s lying down and relatively calm.
Both dogs have a long way to go, but I’d given up on them and I’ll never do that again. Thank you Troy.