When you visit this page, the first post you will see is Pet Peeves Unmasked Blog Mission. That’s because the whole purpose behind each and every one of the posts I write is to push you gently to become the best pet parent possible! That’s the blog mission. And, that’s my personal mission.
“Perfect” Pet Parenting
Furthermore, I have written a book entitled “Perfect” Pet Parenting that covers all aspects of caring for dogs and cats. It is based on my personal experience as a pet caregiver and incorporates the expertise of professionals who focus on specific areas of a companion animal’s wellbeing. This blog site contains extracts from my book.
One of the biggest advantages of managing a blog site is that posts can be edited, updated and published at any time and as quickly as needed. Blog followers are hungry for knowledge and like to have access to the latest information in a matter of seconds. Consequently, they are faithful followers when they have sources they can trust that give them the tools to improve their life and the life of those close to them.
Pet Peeves Unmasked Posts covers a very wide range of subject matter that is organized into groups. Each blog is then filed in a specific category which is located in the right hand column of this page.
As you will notice, group topics are extremely diverse. Animal rights and adopting. Breeds and body language. Gentle leaders and leashes. Dry food and water bowls. Vaccinations and CPR. Walking and dog parks. Pet sitting and pedicures. Car rides, air cargo and boarding. And, I mustn’t forget to mention the heart-warming stories of some amazing, heroic dogs and cats.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to leave comments and suggestions because when we all work together, we can all keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
You don’t always have to take your dog or cat to the groomer. If you have the best brushing and combing pet tools, you can definitely do most of the basic tasks yourself, at home.
The choice of brushes and combs is quite extensive so it’s necessary to know the best ones to pick depending on the type of coat your pet has. Each has a specific purpose and won’t disappoint if used correctly.
It’s Not Only About Esthetics
Did you know that grooming pets brings benefits of another kind? In fact, in this blog we’re not just discussing an enhanced and visually pleasing exterior appearance.
Regular brushing, combing, trimming and bathing will, of course, keep your pet clean, matt-free, and help reduce the likelihood of external parasite infestation. On top of that, these actions assist in minimizing the amount of fur your dogs and cats can dump in your home, on floor surfaces and furniture.
Below The Surface Benefits
So, grooming has below the surface benefits, too. And by that I mean they can promote general well-being as well as detect health risks.
By passing your hand over the skin and doing a visual examination before brushing, you can notice things you may not otherwise. For example, scratches, skin issues, swelling and lumps that may require veterinary attention.
In addition, when you touch a limb from top to bottom, you may notice tenderness which could be an indication of arthritis or injury.
You may already know this but it’s worth highlighting here. The action of brushing actually stimulates blood circulation and helps the secretion and distribution of natural oils. As a result, your pet’s skin gets a health boost and a nice, shiny coat.
Some Of The Best Brushing Combing Pet Tools
The selection is extensive and what you’ll see at your local pet store are at-home grooming tools. They cater to the needs of all breed types and the diversity of coats they exhibit. Most online pet stores have helpful descriptions of the products they sell. Consequently, it’s a lot easier for pet parents to choose the best items for the job at hand.
To give you an idea of what these tools do, here’s a list for quick reference.
Bristle Brushes are widely used for all coat types. They remove surface debris and leave a nice shine on long-coated dogs.
The Slicker Brush has rows of thin wire pins which are good for dematting, detangling and removing loose fur. It’s ideal for long and curly coats.
Pin Brushes are similar to the slicker brush but have plastic or rubber tips on the wire pins for a gentler brushing experience. They are very practical for wavy and curly coats.
The Undercoat Rake has longer, fewer pins than a pin brush. This device is designed to untangle and remove dead hair from the lower layer of double-coated dogs.
Similar in style to the brush used for horse grooming, the Curry Brush is ideal for most short-haired dogs. When gently rubbed over the coat, its short rubber teeth loosen dirt and are able to remove large amounts of shedding hair.
More Useful Grooming Accessories
Grooming Gloves are currently getting a lot of publicity and pet parents find them very practical. They can be used on both dry and wet coats in long, firm strokes, typically to drag off loose hair from short-coated dogs.
The very basic Metal Comb helps manage tangles and is particularly useful in sensitive areas such as the ears, toes and tail. Some styles even have teeth with rounded tips for extra safety.
Flea Combs, used mostly for cats, feature narrowly spaced teeth for the effective removal of live and dead fleas as well as their eggs. Areas worthy of special attention are the face, neck and just in front of the tail.
The FURminator is a patented, highly effective de-shedding tool. It comprises a metal comb with a button to release the collected fur, and works on nearly all coat types.
A Shedding Blade is a curved metal strip where the two ends join together at the handle. The lower edge has zig zag teeth and as you drag it across the flat, short or combination harsh types of coats, it effectively removes loose hair.
To Sum Up
Now that you have a better idea of what’s out there, you are in a position to choose the best brushing and combing pet tools, that are perfect for grooming your dog and cat at home. And, not only that, think of the health benefits it provides and the enjoyment of bonding even more with your furry companions.
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
If you belong to a gym, think about this for a moment. So many homeless dogs languish and never get adopted for lack of socializing and enrichment. Why not skip one workout a week and volunteer at your local shelter instead. Not only do the pups who are waiting to be adopted get a much needed walk, these shelter dogs exercise humans too!
Indoor cats must always stay indoors! Not true. Many pet parents have found that walking cats provides enrichment that cannot be equalled. Sure, watching birds, squirrels and lizards through the window is okay but allowing them the opportunity to breath and smell the fresh air brings far greater joy. Plus, it’s an experience that feline and human can engage in together. It strengthens their bond, an unbreakable bond.
Some Kitties Also Hike And Swim
Although it’s not very common that you’ll actually see a cat being walked, sometimes they participate in other “unusual” activities, too. There are kitties that go hiking. Others enjoy a little swim in the pool.
It’s all up to the creativity of the cat guardian to experiment and find ways to stimulate their pet. The relatively effortless act of walking enriches feline lives. It’s worth remembering that both physical and mental exercise prevent boredom and help keep them in good health, as well. It allows them to thrive, not just be.
KITTING OUT YOUR KITTY
Before your cat companion ventures beyond your front door, make sure you have everything it needs to be safe and comfortable.
As you know by now, I do not take chances. So, if Fluffy tolerates wearing a collar that displays her ID, make sure she is wearing it while on her trip into the big, wide world. Please ensure it is the breakaway type so that it will unfasten if she were to ever get caught up or tangled. That way, she can free herself and avoid further injury.
Harness And Leash
Since cats are far more delicate than dogs, it is never advisable to try walking her with the leash attached to a collar. There are special harnesses just for cats and the leash will clip onto the ring between the shoulders or a little further down the back.
There are two basic styles of harnesses for cats.
Firstly, we have the fabric, vest-type design, that is usually made of soft mesh. It slips over the head, passes underneath the chest, behind the front legs and two side straps snap together between the shoulders.
Then there is the one that is all straps. It is actually two loops that are joined together by a strap that rests on the cat’s upper back. The straps that form the neck loop and the girth loop are positioned and then snapped in place.
Now, if you strongly believe that walking cats provides enrichment and you want to give it a try, ideally you should start in kittenhood. To begin with, the youngster will need to learn to accept a harness, firstly indoors and then outside. Try it out for just a few minutes and then gradually build up to longer periods.
Getting used to how the harness feels and walking at the end of a leash requires practice. This will help to minimize any possible stress and reluctance, and ensure it becomes an experience to look forward to.
However, you need to realize that not all cats like wearing a harness. The older they are when they are first introduced to it, the greater the likelihood that your feline friend will refuse to wear one. You simply won’t know how she will react until you try.
To Sum Up
Most indoor cats never have the opportunity to go outdoors. They can only imagine what it’s like by staring at the outside through a window from the inside.
An indoor cat can benefit greatly from these walks. It is really great exercise. She will stay agile and in her optimum weight. It will stimulate her senses, serve as enrichment, and make her a very happy kitty indeed!
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
PART 6, LAST IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES”
Have you ever researched “Cancún dog rescue” and seen “Cancún dog rescuer saved Chica”? Well, I’m Chica, Chica the Mexican Doberman survivor. The rescuer is Héctor, my dad. And I must include Carla, because she’s my mom and loves us both very much! Well, daddy and I have lots to tell you, so please, please stick around.
A Team Of Two
You just read Chica’s introduction to this blog which is the last in a six-part series. It mentions the heroes who work with street dogs in a specific area of south-east Mexico.
What I intend to do here is point out that not all rescues and rescuers work alike. But they do have a common goal. They all strive to serve the animals in a region where the human population is struggling with severe economic hardship. These heroic people work separately, but together, to make meaningful and lasting change where it is so desperately needed.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF RESCUE MODEL
The First To Be Saved
First there was Chuchis, a pit bull, heart worm positive, on death row at the local pound. Then came Akela, a Mexican Hairless that was going to be donated to a zoo. Next there was Tasha, a Doberman puppy kept at a warehouse where Héctor was shopping. And then followed Charlie (named posthumously), who he picked up off the street but, sadly, died the same day.
The dogs I just mentioned were adopted by Héctor and his wife Carla and welcomed into their own home, regardless of expense. And let’s not forget that when an animal is suffering from neglect, medical treatment can often be very costly.
Further on, you will hear Chica’s story, one of abuse and a future of certain death. And, because she is alive, Chica the Mexican Doberman survivor educates, advocates and shares her aspirations.
Small Is Mighty And Full Of Heart
Héctor Navarro, the Cancún dog rescuer who saved Chica, talks to PetPeevesUnmasked, and explains his work. “I rescue but I am not really a rescue (organization). It’s only when the situation is too dire or when I run across a dog in danger that I will take it in. Mostly I provide support for several different rescues and rescuers.”
Together with his wife Carla, this small-scale effort is measured, effective and admired by all who know them. However, their work is not without its stressful moments when critical situations present themselves.
Apart from adopting a limited number of dogs they have rescued, in exceptional cases, the couple will also foster an animal until it can be placed safely elsewhere.
“Sometimes I help catch dogs, take them to get medical treatment, and pick up and deliver supplies,” Héctor explains. On top of this, he obtains medical certificates for canines to travel abroad and will also transport them to the airport for flights up north.
CHICA’S STORY RETOLD
If it weren’t for these three people, Chica’s story would have had a very different outcome. But fate brought them together. In 2012, this eight-month old Doberman was rescued from a horrible situation in which she couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink, and couldn’t regulate her body temperature, all because she couldn’t open her mouth. It had been taped shut! Moreover, she couldn’t even cry out for help. Miraculously, though, some very caring and determined citizens saved her, and this pup has been enjoying an amazing life ever since.
A very concerned neighbor had observed the situation and attempted to rescue her. She climbed over the fence of the property where Chica was, but got caught. However, she managed to take a photo and posted it on Facebook hoping that someone would help.
Social Media’s Uniting Force
At the time, Héctor and Carla were talking about adopting another Doberman and while his wife was out of town for a few days, he decided to search for one on the internet. That’s when he came across the photo of Chica and a desperate plea from the anonymous neighbor. After hours of researching and emailing, Héctor was getting nowhere. There was an obstacle slowing down the rescue. Cancún (south-east Mexico) is 1,400 miles away from where Chica was located in Tepic, in the state of Nayarit (north-west Mexico). So, what did he do? He got on a plane!
The Tepic Connection
When Héctor arrived in Tepic he was introduced to Miguel Dibildox, a Scout leader who provided medical attention to rescue dogs. Dibildox knew of the woman who had tried to rescue Chica. He got a name and a number, and Héctor made the call.
Fernanda Janine Luna answered the phone, agreed to go to the property and offer money to the abusers in exchange for the release of their dog. Several hours later, Héctor got the call he’d been waiting for. Chica was safe!
CHICA HAS A MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD
What Happened To Me
I was still a puppy when I was punished. My “guardians” didn’t play with me. They never taught me good manners, or show me what not to do. That day, I just wanted to have a little fun and grabbed some laundry that was drying on the clothesline in the yard. You see, puppies are very active and have a lot of energy. How could I possibly know that was wrong?
Now comes the sad part. Instead of applying what doggy experts call positive reinforcement, they punished and sentenced me to a slow, agonizing death. You see, these angry, ignorant humans grabbed a roll of duct tape and wrapped it around my mouth. But I am Chica and, as you already know, I am Chica the Mexican Doberman survivor.
I’m On A Mission
My mission in life is to raise awareness to make animal abuse a thing of the past. Together with my mom and dad, I help rescue abused animals and educate people so we can end their suffering. By following my story and spreading the word, you too are part of a movement to rescue other abused doggies.
What I Enjoy Most
Going to the beach.
Having fun with my brothers and sisters.
Making friends and meeting nice people.
Helping doggies, rescues, organizations, local shelters, and anyone I can.
Ice cream, but don’t tell anybody!
The Canine Messenger
Only someone who has been abused knows what that really feels like. Others can be sorry, even horrified, but the experience is everything. I am safe and happy now but many are not. I am counting on all of you to act and do what it takes to change lives…our lives!
To help Chica with her mission, you can do the following. Go to http://www.chicathedoberman.org and click on the HELP tab to learn how to buy a digital portrait of your own pet. By doing so, you will help offset some of the expenses the Navarro family incurs in doing what they do for the animals.
To Sum Up
Here are the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are the heroes. Thank you for what you do!
– Héctor Navarro, Carla Cabrera, Chica and her fellow canine team members who help the other rescue animals they meet
– Fernanda Janine Luna
– Miguel Dibildox
I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into Mexico these past few weeks. Please drop me a line if you have suggestions for other stories you’d like me to cover on this blog site. Thanks for being here.
The Complete Series
Just before I go, if you missed any of the articles in this series, here’s your chance to catch up now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Last week we wrote about their dog houses and now we focus on veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen. This is Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya, but it also has a not so pretty side when it comes to Mexico’s vulnerable pets.
Chanel’s Long Journey Ahead
Mid November 2018, she was found wandering in traffic, confused and terrified. Thankfully, though, Alex saw this tiny, skinny pup and took her home. When she was unable to find its owner, The Snoopi Project took on this extreme rescue case. Founder/Director, Kelly Whittemore, went immediately to HospiPet Playa veterinary clinic to see Dr. Eduardo “Lalo” Cárdenas.
It was evident that this very sick girl had been abandoned, but she now has a new name…Chanel. Yes, that same itsy bitsy Chihuahua that you saw last week in Whittemore’s arms, and also at the top of this page, being held by Dr. Lalo.
The first examination revealed that she was approximately seven-year-old, extremely malnourished, weighed barely 2.5 pounds and refused to eat or drink on her own. She had lost 50 percent of her hair, suffered from hypertension in her lungs, a bladder tumor and heart worms. Will she survive?
But Chanel is a little fighter. When strong enough, she will undergo surgery to remove the tumor, be spayed, have her teeth cleaned and start heart worm treatment. In the meantime she is getting excellent care from her vets and foster mom, Cryss.
Q & A WITH DR. “LALO”
HospiPet Playa Clínica Veterinaria was established in 2010. It’s a medical center that includes specialized surgery and cancer treatment for small species. Dr. Eduardo “Lalo” Cárdenas has been practicing in Playa del Carmen for 25 years so, with that kind of experience and an excellent reputation, I asked him about veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable.
Infectious And Contagious Diseases
Pet Peeves Unmasked: What are the most common illnesses you see in your practice?
Dr. “Lalo”: Many of our cases involve hemoparasitosis, such as ehrlichia and anaplasma.
Ehrlichiosis is an infectious tick-borne illness. The ehrlichia bacteria attacks a dog’s blood cells and causes chronic infection.
Anaplasmais also spread by ticks. Anaplasmosis comes in two forms and infects white blood cells and platelets.
DL: We also treat a lot of patients suffering from viral infections, like parvovirus, feline leukemia, and distemper, as well as skin infections, such as atopia.
Canine parvovirus (CPV)is highly contagious, the most common form being intestinal.
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV)is a disease that impairs a cat’s immune system and commonly causes anemia and lymphoma.
Canine distemperhas no known cure. It affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and central nervous systems, as well as the conjunctival membranes of the eye.
Atopia. Atopic reactions are caused by localized hypersensitivity reaction to an allergen.
PPU: Are some of the illnesses you mentioned prevalent in tropic climates such as this, especially when pets are outdoors for extended periods?
DL: Yes, that is so. Hemoparasitosis is typical of hot, humid regions like ours.
PPU: In Playa del Carmen do you have campaigns that offer free or low-cost sterilization and parasite treatment for dogs and cats?
DL: Absolutely. Both local government and private organizations hold events so that low-income families can have their pets neutered.
PPU: What can you tell us about incidences of mistreatment?
DL: First of all it’s to do with irresponsible pet ownership, not seeking early medical attention. And, second, aggressive behavior between pets where there are multiple family members living under the same roof. This shows a total lack of control and planning. And, this problem also occurs at animal shelters.
DL: I’d tell them to assess their personal circumstances — social, economic, health — that directly impact their ability to look after a pet. People should evaluate these things before getting a dog, or a cat. And, if they are not willing to allow the animal to become a member of the family, it would be better for them not have one.
PPU: What’s the most valuable advice you can give to families who are struggling financially?
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!
Dr. Eduardo Cárdenas
Dr. Simón Rosales
Simón Méndez – General Assistant
Laura Velázquez – Assistant
Foster mother, Cryss
The Snoopi Project
All those who donate to veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable dogs and cats
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 caninesthat 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 housestoprotectvulnerableMexican 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
All the volunteers, fundraisers, and those who donate to the cause
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!
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.