PART 2 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES”
This week we show how dog houses protect Mexican pets that have a human family but live mostly outdoors, often in deplorable conditions. Sadly, and for whatever reason, the canines are not allowed inside the home.
Our photos tell the stories of before and after. And we learn, first hand, why one small volunteer organization based in Playa del Carmen is able to step in and help.
The Snoopi Project – Riviera Maya
“When we started in July 2015, our initial intention was to provide animals with a proper shelter, educate owners on responsible pet ownership and promote spay/neuter,” explains Kelly Whittemore, Founder and Director of The Snoopi Project.
Dog Houses Shelter Mexico’s Pets
In order to assist local pet owners who are obviously struggling economically, this organization donates dog houses for canines that are kept outside. These items are made locally out of recycled wooden pallets from local businesses. The objective is to protect the animals from the tropical weather conditions prevalent in the state of Quintana Roo, on the Riviera Maya. That way, the animals are sheltered from the blistering sun and torrential rain that is typical during the summer hurricane season.
“On average, we are now able to deliver two to three dog houses a week, sometimes more,” says Whittemore, who is originally from California and worked as a veterinary assistant in North Carolina before settling in south-east Mexico. The Snoopi Project pays a carpenter, Alonso Roda, for his work. The extra money he earns on top of his full-time job allows him and his family to have a better life. The first dog house was delivered in July 2015 and the total count up to and including end December 2018 stands at 596. What an amazing achievement!
Scouting Low-Income Neighborhoods
When I asked Whittemore how they hear about pet guardians who need help, she explained that residents and volunteers alert her of precarious situations. However, in addition to that, Kelly and her friend and helper, Stephanie La, constantly drive around poor neighborhoods. They look for outside pets and check on their welfare. She even laughed about the fact that residents are a little shocked to see them in their Snoopi Wagon. The fact is “most times people think we must have taken a wrong turn.”
Whittemore also commented that most people are very grateful and appreciate the help. “The Mexican community has, honestly, been very open. We have met a lot of wonderful people.”
Donations Are Key
The reason that The Snoopi Project is able to do its work is entirely because of the donations it receives. And, although providing dog houses toprotectvulnerable Mexican pets is the principle objective, that is not all they do. Here are some examples.
- Each family that receives a dog house is also gifted de-parasite medication and flea/tick protection for 30 days, for all dogs on the property.
- Needy pets also receive food and water bowls, collars with personalized ID tags, and toys as well as supplies of dry food.
- Help is also provided so that pets can be sterilized.
- While out on the streets, if they see an extreme case where an animal is injured, sick, abused or abandoned, they will take action. It’s important to note, however, that The Snoopi Project is not a shelter. All animals they rescue are either fostered or taken to a private boarding facility.
To Sum Up
Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are Mexico’s outdoor dog heroes. They are the people who care about the wellbeing of these sentient beings who, through no fault of their own, lack adequate care and protection. Thank you for what you do!
- Kelly Whittemore and Stephanie La
- Alonso Roda
- All the volunteers, fundraisers, and those who donate to the cause
Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Snoopi-Project-Riviera-Maya-807710772678086/
To donate you can do so via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be sure to follow me next week. We’ll be staying in Playa del Carmen to visit a veterinary hospital to discuss injuries, disease and preventio. It will also feature the challenging medical case of tiny patient, Chanel, seen here in the arms of Kelly Whittemore.
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!