CANADIANS ADOPT HOMELESS MEXICAN PUPPIES

PART 5 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES”

She Came South, They Went North

There’s nobody better to talk to when it comes to why and how Canadians adopt homeless Mexican puppies. She is a Toronto native, potter by profession, who decided to settle near Cancún, on Isla Mujeres, after vacationing there. And because she was so affected by the plight of street dogs on the island, she knew she had to do something about it.

“We specialize in puppies,” states Alison Sawyer, founder and operator of Isla Animals, a non-profit with its own shelter.

What Isla Animals Does

Sawyer’s partner Trina, and Anna, who is the adoption/transport coordinator, are the only two constant volunteers, while others come and go. In addition, there is a staff of four women who clean and watch over the rescue. Here are the details of why and how the compassionate people mentioned here do what they do.

Some of the abandoned dogs being cared for on Isla Mujeres, near Cancún
Some of the abandoned dogs being cared for on Isla Mujeres, near Cancún

HOW ISLA ANIMALS TACKLES THE ISSUES 

In just a moment we’ll discuss flight arrangements for Mexican homeless dogs Canada-bound. However, let’s first take a look at the underlying factors that give rise to the need to do this advocacy work in the first place.

Overpopulation

As a result of hard work over a period of 16 years, the feral and street dog population on the island is mostly solved. However, efforts now focus on owners who allow their dogs to wander the streets.

But there is another side to this story as Sawyer explains. “Last July I took with me to Toronto a dog we named Olive. She was in a group of five, two adult dogs and three puppies. We think that they were dumped here from Cancún. This happens all the time. People can’t help a dog but want it in a safer place, where there is less traffic.”  She added that, sadly, one of the adults and a pup were in such bad shape they didn’t make it.

The work done by Isla Animals results in decreased puppy populations, fewer cases of parvo and distemper, less dogs in the streets, better awareness of animal care, more islanders walking dogs on a leash, more children visiting the clinic to help and learn
The work done by Isla Animals results in decreased puppy populations, fewer cases of parvo and distemper, less dogs in the streets, better awareness of animal care, more islanders walking dogs on a leash, more children visiting the clinic to help and learn

Spay And Neuter

Like everyone else I have spoken to when gathering information for this series of blogs, sterilization is the top priority of animal rescue groups. “The best way to solve dog overpopulation is to prevent them from being born in the first place. But, as part of that, we also never leave a puppy on the streets,” Sawyer emphasizes. 

In 2016, Isla Animals performed free surgeries on 1,784 cats and dogs, and 1,766 in 2017. As the above table shows, the 2018 number was 2,028. This is nearly a 15 percent increase over the previous year and shows the determination to reach more towns and neighborhoods in the future.

Sheltering And Fostering

Fortunately, Isla Animals enjoys a very good relationship with the current local government, which provides the location where their rescue shelter is located. Sawyer comments that they have fosters who take in puppies until they have been vaccinated. And, since the shelter is not set up for large dogs, they are able to care for more smaller-sized animals.

Networking

Working closely with other reputable rescue organizations is extremely beneficial. Isla Animals is able to trade rides for adopted and rescued animals, and also exchange dogs for puppies which, as we already know, is what they specialize in. 

Crated and ready for their trip, Mexican homeless dogs Canada-bound
Crated and ready for their trip, Mexican homeless dogs Canada-bound

And, this brings us to their partnership with Lost Dog Foundation, which I happened to mention in my previous blog. A great part of their work focuses on facilitating the journey of Mexican homeless dogs Canada-bound and US-bound. Pups that will be flying either directly to their waiting adoptive family or to temporary foster families.

FLYING DOGS FROM MEXICO TO THE USA AND CANADA

So, now we come to a segment that is designed to help  Americans and Canadians adopt homeless Mexican puppies.

These are people who are visiting Mexico, or planning to make a trip there from either the USA or Canada. For them the vacation may not only encompass the activities that tourists typically do. Quite possibly they will want to fly back home with a dog or a puppy from Mexico. The guide below is a basic must-do check list of what they need to do before they consider importing a pet.

Let me add that Canadian and US residents do realize that many dogs in their own countries are waiting to be placed in a forever home. However, they are also aware that opportunities for adult dogs and puppies to find loving homes are far more limited in Mexico. For this reason, and when the opportunity presents itself, they willingly go through the process to take a homeless pup back with them.

Caring Canadians adopt homeless Mexican puppies so they can have a better future
Caring Canadians adopt homeless Mexican puppies so they can have a better future

Rules, Regulations And Recommendations

Here is the information that Isla Animals gives out to potential adopters.

First you need to make sure that your airline will take pets, either in with the luggage or inside the cabin, depending on the size of the animal.

Then you have to find a vet who will vaccinate your dog for canine parvovirus, distemper and rabies, as well as make you a health certificate for Customs.

Your dog needs to have had its rabies shot one month before departure.

The dog also has to look health. If it has a lot of skin issues, they won’t let it in.

You will need a carrier, either a hard one for the cargo hold, or a soft one for inside the plane.  It has to be the kind that the airline accepts. If you are buying one it will usually say if it’s airline approved

Be sure to make a reservation with your airline ahead of time.

Also make sure that whatever transportation you arrange to get to the airport will allow animals in their vans or taxis. 

Good luck!

Follow Isla Animals on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IslaAnimals 

To make a donation, please email: 

http://islaanimals.org/help/donate-animal-rescue-isla-animals.html

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are the heroes. Thank you for what you do!

  • Isla Animals: Alison Sawyer, Trina, Anna, 4-team shelter staff, and all their volunteers
  • Lost Dog Foundation
  • All non-profit partners in Mexico, USA and Canada
  • All fosters, sponsors and donors
  • The municipal government of Isla Mujeres

Don’t forget to join us next week in Cancún, our final destination on this eye-opening journey. You’ll meet a very special girl called Chica and her dad, mom and orphaned siblings. See you there!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

TULUM’S TIRELESS ANIMAL ADVOCATES

PART 4 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES”

Many and dedicated. They are Tulum’s tireless animal advocates and very much needed. The reason why is that this popular tourist destination on Mexico’s Riviera Maya has serious problems. And the cause of these issues is the vast number of street-roaming dogs.

HELP TULUM DOGS

Messaging And Goals

Co-founded by Lisa Edwards and Cathy Cairelli, the mission of Help Tulum Dogs is to better serve local residents by promoting the welfare of the canines that live among them. This includes the dogs in their care in addition to homeless ones that live on the streets. Not surprisingly, this non-profit operates solely on donations, volunteer work and the generously discounted medical attention provided by local veterinarians.

Families lining up to participate in Tulum’s spay/neuter event for cats and dogs
Families lining up to participate in Tulum’s spay/neuter event for cats and dogs

“We have a huge dog overpopulation. Unfortunately, that becomes even more problematic because the Mayan community that dominates the area has limited education and financial means,” Edwards explains. “Our principle goal is to sterilize the majority of dogs here, however, this is definitely a long-term process.” She added that what they are able to accomplish depends on the generosity of their dedicated Tulum animal welfare supporters. 

Tulum’s tireless animal advocates set up in a local school to sterilize
Tulum’s tireless animal advocates set up in a local school to sterilize

Reducing The Numbers Humanely

In the second half of 2018, Help Tulum Dogs held a weekend-long spay/neuter clinic that was very well attended. The number of animals that were sterilized, and also dewormed, totaled 302!

Not A Single Shelter

Since Tulum does not have any shelters, it’s the residents that do whatever they can to alleviate the suffering of its countless homeless pets. “In the past we’ve tried to put out water buckets for dogs on the street, but they’ve been stolen,” Edwards explained. “Feeders weren’t a success either. Things quickly get moldy in this tropical environment and then we worry about people poisoning the dogs. Sadly this is a reality here.”

Flying To Foster Thanks To Lost Dog Foundation

This is just an introduction to an effort that is not being given the attention it deserves. Consequently I will also be covering this topic next week.

Lost Dog Foundation (LDF) is a US registered charity started by Lisa Edwards. Most significantly, they rescue dogs from high kill shelters and other hopeless situations in Mexico and the United States. The canines then fly to the safety of foster homes in other US locations as well as Canada. LDF has developed an amazing network of foster families who match dogs with people looking to adopt. Over 600 adult dogs and puppies have been placed in homes in a period of just seven years. What an achievement! 

Follow Help Tulum Dogs on Facebook: www.facebook.com/helptulumdogs

To donate, foster or adopt, please email: helpmexicandogs@hotmail.com 

ALMA ANIMAL TULUM

An Animal’s Soul

In 2018, after ten years working towards a common goal, a small group of volunteers filed for legal status. The decision to officially comply with the state of Quintana Roo’s law that applies to animal protection and wellbeing was a sound one. That’s because Alma (Spanish for “soul”) Animal Tulum can now receive monetary donations to boost its support base.

Maribel Cruz is one of the original rescuers who strive to improve the lives of sick, abused and homeless dogs and cats. “We do our best but wish we could do more. Either we don’t have the financial resources or we are unable to house them,” she says. The fact is that hardly any residents are able to take in these animals until they can go to a permanent home.

This poster describes different ways to help animals in the community
This poster describes different ways to help animals in the community

As you’ll have noticed from previous articles in this series, educating the local community is an ongoing effort and very time-consuming. Nevertheless the tireless animal advocates of Tulum know that it is the only way to bring about change. Two of the important areas they deal with are curbing the birth rate and keeping the animals parasite-free.   

Anti-Parasite Initiative

Working together with the local health department, AAT helped organize the first anti-parasite event ever to be held here. By providing antiparasitic medications for dogs and cats, their human caregivers can also stay healthy. And let me add, the veterinarians who donate their time to participate in such events are steadfast in their dedication to support animal welfare in Tulum.

Spay And Neuter Campaign

Although not directly involved in the organization, AAT volunteers always participate in municipal events to help control the canine and feline populations. Encouragingly, more and more families bring their pets for this no-charge service. And, furthermore, AAT also takes animals off the streets so they, too, can be sterilized.

A cupcake sale fundraiser shows just how dedicated Tulum animal welfare supporters are
A cupcake sale fundraiser shows just how dedicated Tulum animal welfare supporters are

Social Media Works

Having a social media presence is a vital part of rescue work. Personally, I receive all AAT’s Facebook notifications. That way I am up-to-date on lost and found cases, veterinary interventions, adoption success stories, fundraisers and so on. This is hard work, too, but very necessary for any animal rescue organization to be successful. 

A drawing competition is a great way to reach out to kids in the community
A drawing competition is a great way to reach out to kids in the community

Raising Child Awareness

AAT realizes the importance of reaching out to children to teach them compassion at an early age, and finds ways to engage. “During our anti-parasite campaign we had a drawing competition,” Cruz explained. “It’s a great way to reach future generations. They learn responsible behavior and kindness towards all animals.”

This visual sends a message to parents and children that a dog is not a toy
This visual sends a message to parents and children that a dog is not a toy 

Follow Alma Animal Tulum on Facebook: www.facebook.com/almaanimaltulum 

To donate you can do so via PayPal. Just click on the DONATE button at the top of their Facebook page or go directly to PayPal paypal.me/almaanimaltulum 

 To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are the heroes. Thank you for what you do!

  • Help Tulum Dogs: Lisa Edwards, Cathy Cairelli, Richelle Morgan, Juan Goicoechea and Claire & Lanny Vogel,
  • Alma Animal Tulum: Maribel García and her fellow volunteers
  • Lost Dog Foundation
  • Playa Pet Tulum and other local veterinary clinics
  • All non-profit partners in Mexico, USA and Canada
  • All fosters, sponsors and donors
  • The municipal government of the city of Tulum

Please be sure to check in next week. We’ll be going north to Isla Mujeres to find out what is involved when people in Canada and the USA want to adopt a dog from Mexico.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!