MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES


PART 1: FOR THE HUNGRY, THE THIRSTY, AND THE HOMELESS

For me, this blog began with a single topic in mind. However, it was merely the start of a really interesting journey. Surprisingly, it was one that grew into a series all about Mexico’s street dog heroes. To be more specific, it zeroes in on the tropical south-east region renowned for its beaches, archeological sites and eco-tourism. As you will see, the action initiates in Mérida, Yucatán, and travels across the state of Quintana Roo. There are stops in Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Cancún. And if you’re wondering who the heroes are, they represent the three North American countries (Mexico, Canada and the USA).

Feeders and waterers were installed in Mérida, Yucatán, by Mexico’s street dog heroes
Street dogs using feeders in the Yucatán capital of Mérida, south-east Mexico

YUCANINOS

Outdoor Food And Water Dispensers In Mérida

What first caught my eye mid 2018 was an article in the online version of the daily publication “Yucatán Al Minuto.” It was something I’d not heard of before. The story described the installation of outdoor feeders and waterers for dogs and cats. Importantly, those homeless animals that roam the streets of Mérida, the Yucatán state capital. 

Votes For Voiceless Animals

At the time, political campaigning was in progress for the upcoming general election. Mexicans would soon be voting for a new President as well as state officials nationwide. At the time, animal lovers working on behalf of the PRI party candidate for governor put their creativity to work. They decided to launch an initiative called “Yucaninos.” Interestingly, this word is a hybrid of the first four letters of Yucatán, and caninos, Spanish for canines. 

Those working on this project decided to install the state’s first ever feeders and waterers in Mérida. Moreover, prior to the launch, they held orientations to get resident support in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood. In addition, the plan included recruiting volunteers to ensure fresh food and water was always available and properly dispensed.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get comments from people on the ground there. However, the program appears to have been a success and was replicated in other communities. One of these is Tulum, where we will now make a stop.

Street cat in Tulum, south-east Mexico, eating from an outdoor feeder
Street cat in Tulum, eating from an outdoor feeder

iTOUR MEXICO – TULUM & AKUMAL

Business, Advocacy, And Endurance

People who know Alma García well can tell you that she has boundless energy and a fighting spirit. And it is these qualities that have enabled her to do the following three things. 

Firstly, she and her Italian-born fiancé founded and manage two very successful boutique hotels. In addition, they also have a business that offers eco-tours to visitors from around the world. Second, García loves animals and raises money for local homeless dog and cat populations. And, her third endeavor is to push herself further and win more marathons!

Feeder Flop

It’s certainly disappointing but there are times when you have a great idea that just doesn’t work out. This is what happened when the entrepreneur set up feeders close to her hotels. As my readers probably know, distemper is highly contagious and potentially lethal. Sadly, there was an outbreak of this disease in Tulum which changed everything. Consequently, the local authorities stepped in and ordered the removal of the feeders to prevent it from spreading further. 

Despite this setback, however, García continues to help Mexico’s street dogs and cats in other ways.

iTour Mexico in Tulum and Akumal sells tee-shirts to raise money for street dogs and cats
iTour Mexico in Tulum and Akumal sells own design tee-shirts to raise money for street dogs and cats. This one says “adopt, don’t buy.”

Tee-Shirt Triumph

Undaunted, García supplements her personal donations with funds raised from the sale of tee-shirts in her gift shops. “Visitors are really motivated to ease the suffering of all the roaming dogs and cats they see in our area,” she said. “They love all our tee-shirt designs.”

Because of their support, García can buy food and contribute towards the cost of spay and neuter programs. And, there are many benefits to reducing the canine and feline populations on the streets. Both struggling and more financially stable communities and businesses are affected in a positive way. But, above all else, the animals themselves suffer just a little bit less. After all, it’s through no fault of their own that they are in constant survival mode. 

In addition, funds are sometimes allocated to construct dog houses out of wooden pallets made by a local carpenter. That way, some of the animals can also shelter from the blazing sun and torrential rain.

A local carpenter makes dog houses for street dogs in Tulum, south-east Mexico
A local carpenter makes dog houses for street dogs in Tulum, south-east Mexico

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 street dog heroes. They are the people who care about the wellbeing of these sentient beings who, through no fault of their own, end up struggling to survive on the streets. Thank you for what you do!

  • Yucatán gubernatorial candidate, Mauricio Sahuí; Edwin Espadas, who worked on his electoral campaign; and the residents of Mérida’s Emiliano Zapata neighborhood.
  • iTour Mexico, Alma García and Marco Pasqualino.                                                     www.itourmexico.com

Please be sure to follow me next week. We’ll be taking a trip to Playa del Carmen for more on dog houses, the before and after photos, and The Snoopi Project!

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

The Complete Series

In case you missed any of the other articles in this series of six, here’s your chance to catch up now.

Part 2 – DOG HOUSES SHELTER MEXICO’S PETS
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dog-houses-shelter-Mexico’s-pets/

Part 3 – VETERINARY MEDICINE IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN https://petpeevesunmasked.com/veterinary-medicine-in-Playa-del-Carmen/

Part 4 – TULUM’S TIRELESS ANIMAL ADVOCATES
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/tulums-tireless-animal-advocates/

Part 5 – CANADIANS ADOPT HOMELESS MEXICAN PUPPIES https://petpeevesunmasked.com/canadians-adopt-homeless-mexican-puppies/

Part 6 – CANCUN DOG RESCUER SAVED CHICA https://petpeevesunmasked.com/cancun-dog-rescuer-saved-chica/

4 thoughts on “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES


  1. I would love to see a feature on one of the biggest street dog hero’s of Quintana Roo-Ricardo Pimental and his Sanctuary Tierra de Animales, just outside Leona Vicario. He has long been an animal advocate, rescuer, defender and saviour to 100’s of dogs, cats and also sheep, pigs, turtles, bulls, horses, turkeys, chickens, coatimundi, and more. It’s worth the drive to visit and volunteer and donate! Ayuda@tierradeanimales.org

    1. Jan, thank you so much for telling me about this sanctuary. I just checked out their website and, yes, it would make a great story. I’d like to do something in a few months from now. When I researched the feeders after having seen an article published in a Yucatán daily, I thought that would be it. One blog. But I kept getting more and more information and it grew to the point where I had to stop. Turns out I had enough material for six. Currently I’m finishing the last two blogs and they are all a lot longer than the usual blogs I write so it’s been quite a challenge. I hope you’ll stay with me on this trip. You will see Lisa Edwards’ name a couple of times. I have a feeling you might know her. Thanks again for your comment.

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