MEMORIAL SERVICE HONORS POLICE, MILITARY K-9s

Garden Of Heroes, Palm Harbor, Florida

Sergeant Mike Kilian conducted the memorial ceremony to honor police and military K-9s
Sergeant Mike Kilian conducted the memorial ceremony to honor police and military K-9s

The events are just two months apart. On March 5th I attended a memorial service honoring police and military K-9s, in north Pinellas County, Florida. The exact location is the Garden of Heroes, an area reserved for service animals and K-9 dogs on the beautiful grounds of Curlew Hills Memory Garden in Palm Harbor.

And yesterday, on May 27th, the nation celebrated Memorial Day. I took this photo a few days prior, just after local Boy Scouts had placed flags throughout the entire property. It was an emotional sight.

At Curlew Hills Memory Garden’s pet cemetery for K-9 heroes, 73 flags fly in preparation for Memorial Day 2019
At Curlew Hills Memory Garden’s pet cemetery for K-9 heroes, 73 flags fly in preparation for Memorial Day 2019

Pastor Danny McDonald Officiated

“All dogs go to heaven.” These words often appear on social media. However, it’s especially poignant when they are said at a memorial service to honor police and military dogs. I think, without exception, we all believe that.

Pastor Danny McDonald lead officers, family members and community supporters in prayer and words of gratitude
Pastor Danny McDonald lead officers, family members and community supporters in prayer and words of gratitude

In addition, Pastor McDonald told the attendees that working dogs have “enormous heart” and are motivated to fulfill their mission to serve. He also said that the memorialized K-9s were “Knights of Valor.” How true.

MILITARY WAR DOG

MWD Sgt E5 Pphantom USAF

Sgt Pphantom completed nine years of service in base security with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Recipient of the United States War Dog Association War Dog Medal, he retired and was adopted by Bill and Sheila Schroeder. 

The ceremony memorializing law enforcement and war dogs was covered extensively by the media
The ceremony memorializing law enforcement and war dogs was covered extensively by the media

MILITARY SERVICE DOG

MSD Honey

Honey was a Certified Full Mobility, P.T.S.D., Medical Service Dog. She was the faithful friend and partner/companion to U.S. Army Veteran, Michael Gaither. “She saved me, my life many times, and always had my back, always by my side.” 

LAW ENFORCEMENT DOGS

As expected, those present at the ceremony memorializing both law enforcement and war dog heroes experienced a range of emotions. As each officer paid tribute to their K-9 partner, there was pride and sadness, as well as smiles, laughter, and tears. Here’s a tiny part of their stories.

It’s tough when you lose your working partner, closest friend and cherished family member
It’s tough when you lose your working partner, closest friend and cherished family member

K-9 Axel, Handler Sergeant Kilian, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Dual certified in patrol and narcotics, Axel was a great dog. But he was also somewhat of a problem child due to his loud, obnoxious barking. And he had a few bites on deputies while on calls for service. Nothing too serious, though!

K-9 Buck, Handler Officer Ambrose, Clearwater Police Department

Buck was so smart they had to change the way they did bomb detection training. He figured out how the reward towels were set up with fishing lines. As a result, the trainers moved the lines to the other side of the fence so he couldn’t see them. He also had an “on/off switch.” He was as sweet and patient as could be when visiting a kid’s school and then go straight back to business.

K-9 Egon, Handler Retired Sergeant Wagner, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

On one call, Sergeant Wagner thought he knew more than his partner. He was pretty sure that the suspect was hiding behind a car even though Egon had alerted in the bushes that were directly behind his handler. Eventually Sgt Wagner took Egon back to the bushes where the suspect was. The big take away from his experience…“Trust your dog!”

K-9 Koa, Handler Retired Officer Dawson, Clearwater Police Department 

I really wish I had a copy of the poem that Officer Dawson wrote about his friend, companion and working partner, Koa, so I could share it with you. But, unfortunately, I don’t. What I can tell you, though, is that it was long, beautifully written and, very emotional. After having been with Clearwater PD for 20 years, Ofc. Dawson now works with Pinellas County School Police.

K-9 Scout, Handler Officer Burnside, Clearwater Police Department

Now, this is some story about a K-9 trained to detect drugs and firearms. On his first day home he was loose inside and what did he do? Well, he started running in full sprints in circles, ran into the china cabinet, and broke all the plates!

K-9 Toby, Handler Deputy Blizniak, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Toby was a stellar, single purpose, narcotics detection dog assigned to the Narcotics Unit. He loved to swim and got so much enjoyment from this activity whenever he had the opportunity.

Somehow this handsome working dog knew who we were memorializing that day
Somehow this handsome working dog knew who we were memorializing that day

A Working Dog’s Oath

At this memorial service honoring the area’s police and military K9s that had passed during the last 12 months, somebody gave me a small card. Here is the text in a different format. It sums up the life, duty and sacrifice of those who protect us.

This working dog’s oath says it all
This working dog’s oath says it all

To Sum Up

The article here that is entitled Memorial Service Honors Police Military K-9s is just the second one I’ve written about working dog heroes. I’m looking forward to doing more research so, if you have any ideas for future topics, please let me know.

And, in case you missed the K-9 graduation story, you can read about it here. https://petpeevesunmasked.com/k9-graduation-day-clearwater-florida/

K9 GRADUATION DAY CLEARWATER FLORIDA

Dogs And Handlers Display Skills, Dedication

An introduction to K-9 graduation day in Clearwater, Florida

“Taco” hadn’t even graduated yet but he was already a hero. Just days before Clearwater Florida hosted K9 graduation day, this talented police dog made his very first apprehension. He caught a driver who had run into the woods and was hiding behind a bulldozer. This was after crashing into another vehicle and rolling into a pond. Taco’s handler, Corporal Matthew Aitken, of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, then arrested the man for leaving the scene of a crash with injuries. Bravo, “Taco”!

Days before Clearwater Florida hosted their annual police dog certification event, “Taco” had already made his first catch
Days before Clearwater Florida hosted their annual police dog certification event, “Taco” had already made his first catch

Teams Of Two Plus Guests

I had never attended an event like this before and I’m so glad I did. It was great to see the community, many parents and children, supporting Florida’s law enforcement. In addition, there were many working dogs and their handlers who also came out to cheer on their fellow officers. After all, they’ve been through this themselves and know exactly how it feels on this special day.

K-9 Certification Ceremony

On March 19 this year the police dog certification event was hosted by Clearwater, Florida, and held at Countryside High School football field. The Master of Ceremonies was Sergeant Mike Kilian of the Special Operations Division – K9 Unit whom I’d met a few weeks earlier at a local Sheriff’s Youth Ranch Open House.

He explained that the Basic Patrol training program had lasted an intensive four months, from November 2018 thru February 2019 at several different locations. They included both Sheriff and Police Department K-9 compounds as well as a few private businesses that allow law enforcement to use their facilities during non-working hours. 

Together with their handlers, these fab five K-9s are now officially certified, ready to uphold the law and keep our communities safe
Together with their handlers, these fab five K-9s are now officially certified, ready to uphold the law and keep our communities safe

Meet The Graduates

You already caught a glimpse of them in the video but here’s a formal introduction. These are the fab five working dogs that we honored on K9 graduation day in Clearwater. They are now all doing extremely well and performing their duties to uphold Florida law.

K-9 “Logan” and handler Deputy Anthony Lorusso from Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

K-9 “Chato” and Officer Nathaniel Hansmann from Largo Police Department.

K-9 Charlie K “CK” and Officer Tommy Nguyen from Tarpon Springs Police Department.

K-9 “Smitty” and Deputy Jacob Baroff from Pasco County Sheriff’s Office

And last, but by no means least, is the duo K-9 “Taco” and Corporal Matthew Aitken, who also happens to be the course instructor. And his right hand man throughout the training period was Assistant Instructor, Deputy Robert Wilkins, from Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

An impressive demonstration of discipline and obedience, working in pairs off leash
An impressive demonstration of discipline and obedience, working in pairs off leash

Action-Packed Demos

I must say it’s pretty impressive to see a really long line of K-9 cruisers circle the field with lights flashing. Then, once they were in their allotted spaces, handlers and dogs awaited signals for action. The group comprised seasoned working dogs and rookies about to join their ranks. Also, a very young little guy who totally impressed us with his smarts and cuteness. The attendees would meet him later.

Police dogs play a vital role in detecting narcotics, some eventually become dual certified patrol/narcotics K-9s
Police dogs play a vital role in detecting narcotics, some eventually become dual certified patrol/narcotics K-9s

We saw agility demonstrations consisting of jumping fences and walking in between the handler’s legs while on the go. In addition, there were narcotics and explosive device detection demos. And, of course, locating and catching bad guys with their bite technique apprehensions. 

These demos are thrilling to watch, but in actual fact the dogs bite less than 16 percent of the suspects they apprehend
These demos are thrilling to watch, but in actual fact the dogs bite less than 16 percent of the suspects they apprehend

But on K9 graduation day it was “Chaos,” the puppy-in-training, who melted everyone’s heart. I wonder how he got that name! Directed by his handler, Deputy Rob Wilkins with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, it was immediately obvious that he was a natural. He knew exactly how to apprehend the “fake” suspect despite his juvenile stature.

Precious puppy-in-training “Chaos” showed us all that it’s never too early to learn apprehension techniques
Precious puppy-in-training “Chaos” showed us all that it’s never too early to learn apprehension techniques

Out Of The Blue

Well, we had all been promised a few surprises. And this was by far the best one of all. The noise got closer and louder. Then we saw it. The helicopter landed on the football field right in front of us. Suddenly out jumped K9 “Hector,” followed by Deputy Brad Byers, revved up to chase down another suspect. Not wasting a second, they went straight into action and got their man! That’s what I call a perfect example of how to hit the ground running!

Wow, a chopper landed at the graduation ceremony and out jumped seasoned K-9 “Hector” and his handler
Wow, a chopper landed at the graduation ceremony and out jumped seasoned K-9 “Hector” and his handler

Unexpected Dangers

Let’s pause now for a moment to think about another aspect of what’s involved here. Even though the public feels the thrill and excitement when watching these training exercises, let’s not forget that this work has very real elements of danger. Sometimes they lurk out of sight, are totally unexpected, and can have deadly consequences. One such example involved K9 “Ozzy” during an assignment where he went into a swamp. As a result, he picked up a bacterial infection that spread very rapidly. Sadly, it overwhelmed him and he couldn’t be saved.

He was certified in March 2018 and had been on duty up until November. During that short time he had already chalked up 20 catches in the City of Largo. Gone too soon, he was in his prime and had been the partner of Officer Nate Hansmann with the Largo Police Department. Nevertheless, he passed his baton to another wonderful dog and was proudly remembered. Through the graduation of this officer’s new partner, K9 “Chato” will now carry on his valuable work.

Events like these are a great opportunity for law enforcement to interact with families in the community
Events like these are a great opportunity for law enforcement to interact with families in the community

Forever Grateful

These magnificent law enforcement dogs respond every day to the call of duty. Their valor and sacrifice are a vital contribution towards keeping our communities safe. 

Thank you all for your service.

Coming Soon

Stay tuned for teasers on Facebook and LinkedIn about my next Florida K-9 story which will be published very soon. In the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, please follow my pet parenting page. You’ll be able to stay up-to-date on all things dogs and cats. http://www.facebook.com/PetPeevesUnmasked/


THE PET FOOD MEAT FACTS

The Carnivore, Herbivore, Omnivore Quiz

If you’re unsure what to feed your dog or cat, take a look at these pet food meat facts.

What’s The Difference

But, before I really get into this, it’s helpful to understand what comes naturally. And, what our pets need to eat to be strong and healthy and stay that way throughout their lifetime. So here’s a quick quiz.

What’s the difference between a carnivore, a herbivore, and an omnivore?

Carnivores, such as wolves, dogs and cats, eat meat.

Bobcats are carnivores, shown here hunting for prey. Photo courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service South East Region
Bobcats are carnivores, shown here hunting for prey. Photo courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service South East Region

Herbivores, such as deer, cows and sheep, eat plants.

Deer are herbivores, seen here eating a plant. Photo by lwctoys
Deer are herbivores, seen here eating a plant. Photo by lwctoys

Omnivores, such as whales, squirrels and humans, eat meat and plants.

Whales are omnivores, here a humpback feeding. Photo by Murray Foubister
Whales are omnivores, here a humpback feeding. Photo by Murray Foubister

Why is this so important? Because once you understand the basics, you may realize that what dogs and cats need to eat may not, in fact, be what you are giving them to eat. And the purpose of today’s blog is to help pet parents choose the most appropriate diet for their companion animals.

What Comes Naturally To Dogs And Cats

Dogs and cats are not vegetarians. They are carnivores. Consequently, I am laying out here why pet carnivores must eat meat. This is a characteristic that has been handed down from their wildlife ancestors. Their anatomy, including their digestive system, was created for that purpose. The fact is, they are ill-equipped to break down plant fiber. Simply said, they were not created to be either herbivores or omnivores.

So, when our dogs and cats eat high quality meat that comes from a reputable source it will contain the proteins, amino-acids and trace minerals that their bodies require. 

A Balanced Diet For Canines

The wolf is the ancestor of our domesticated canine
The wolf is the ancestor of our domesticated canine

The fundamental component of a well-balanced diet for our domesticated canines is meat, organ and muscle. And the source may be beef, bison, venison, elk, lamb, goat, duck, chicken, and turkey. These are, indeed, the facts about meat for all dog pet food.

No kibble for this stray because dogs are carnivores and must eat meat. Photo by Tiia Monto
No kibble for this stray because dogs are carnivores and must eat meat. Photo by Tiia Monto

Nutritionists also recommend including small amounts of antioxidant-rich, dark green vegetables, such as spinach, kale and broccoli. In addition, small portions of fruits like apple, pear and blueberry will enrich the nutritional value of the diet as well.

A Balanced Diet For Felines

This big cat keeps its prey, a gazelle, away from rival predators. Photo by Leyo
This big cat keeps its prey, a gazelle, away from rival predators. Photo by Leyo

It’s no secret. Cats are obligate carnivores, just like their canine counterparts. Their very existence depends on meat and animal organs. Have you ever watched an outdoor cat in the evening hours? Sooner or later, it will catch a mouse. Why? Because it can only get the fatty acids, minerals and vitamins it needs to thrive from animal tissue. Especially important are calcium, vitamin A and niacin, which plant tissue simply doesn’t have, either in the amount, form or ratio that cats need. So, it couldn’t be clearer. Our domesticated kitty carnivores must eat their meat.

The pet food meat facts show that outdoor cats hunt prey, focus on nutrient-rich organs. Photo by Fabian Köster
The pet food meat facts show that outdoor cats hunt prey, focus on nutrient-rich organs. Photo by Fabian Köster

Another point worth mentioning is that although cats lack the enzymes required to digest plant-based foods, small amounts can provide important benefits. Green, leafy vegetables help them detoxify the colon. In addition, they may also enable hairballs to get pushed through the digestive tract or provoke vomiting to expel them.

A Couple Of Great Supplements

Although I will be writing about food supplements at another time, here are some very brief comments about two of them.

Sardines are loaded with nutrients and both dogs and cats love them.
Sardines are loaded with nutrients and both dogs and cats love them.

Sardines. Fortunately, most dogs and cats love sardines. They are loaded with a whole range of highly concentrated nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins D and B12. This small, cold-water fish provides wide-ranging health benefits from bone support to cardiovascular performance to preventing certain allergies and slowing down memory loss.

Pumpkin is a natural stool-consistency regulator, ideal for our pet dogs and cats
Pumpkin is a natural stool-consistency regulator, ideal for our pet dogs and cats

Pumpkin. I always have a can of organic pumpkin handy in case a client of mine is out of town and their pet is in need of a stool-consistency regulator. Usually, dogs as well as cats like the taste and a small amount added to the food works in one of two ways. It either adds bulk to a loose stool, or it will soften a hard stool. 

To Sum Up

If you didn’t know this before, you now have the pet food meat facts at your fingertips. As a result, the domesticated cats and dogs that are part of your family will have a species appropriate diet. Truly nourishing food that will foster longevity by keeping them healthier, longer.

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


DOGGY TREATS CUSTOMER SERVICE

Doggy treats customer service rep offers advice in dog speak with a nanny dog accent
Doggy treats customer service rep offers advice in dog speak with a nanny dog accent

How cool is that! A doggy treats customer service hotline! I bet the staff at this call center give advice on a whole bunch of stuff. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to tell everyone. You know, Chloe the Bichon, and Harley the Golden, and all my friends at the dog park. 

But wait. Where’s that number to call? Gotta search for it online. Then, you know what I’ll do? I’ll post it on my Facebook page. Everyone will see it. Woof! 

Then it’ll go viral. Woof! Woof! 

Our guardians won’t know if they’re coming or going! Woof! Woof! Woof!

I’m so, so excited, like, I can’t stop wagging my tail! 

To Sum Up

For my human readers who have difficulty understanding dog-speak, don’t forget what I wrote last week. Never underestimate doggy smarts. They are prewired!

BEST BRUSHING COMBING PET TOOLS

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.

A shedding blade is ideal for harsh types of coats Credit: Photo by Mickey Samuni-Blank
A shedding blade is ideal for harsh types of coats.
Photo by Mickey Samuni-Blank

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.

Grooming pets brings benefits such as improved blood circulation Credit: Photo by Fluter
Grooming pets brings benefits such as improved blood circulation.
Photo by Fluter

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.

A metal comb is particularly useful in sensitive areas Credit: Photo by Bordercolliez
A metal comb is particularly useful in sensitive areas.
Photo by Bordercolliez

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.

Cat being groomed with a long-handled rubber brush Credit: Photo by Jiaqian AirplaneFan
Cat being groomed with a long-handled rubber brush.
Photo by Jiaqian AirplaneFan

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.

Flea combs remove live and dead fleas as well as their eggs
Flea combs remove live and dead fleas as well as their eggs

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.

The FURminator is an example of how brushing and combing pet tools have evolved
The FURminator is an example of how brushing and combing pet tools have evolved

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!  




CANCUN DOG RESCUER SAVED CHICA

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.

Chica the Mexican Doberman survivor provides support for her adopted sibling, Tasha, right
Chica the Mexican Doberman survivor provides support for her adopted sibling, Tasha, right

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.

On this special day Chica’s mom, Carla, got plenty of hugs from her adopted and rescued kids
On this special day Chica’s mom, Carla, got plenty of hugs from her adopted and rescued kids

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. 

Héctor, who is known as the Cancún dog rescuer who saved Chica, is a dedicated dad to many
Héctor, who is known as the Cancún dog rescuer who saved Chica, is a dedicated dad to many

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.

Chica the Mexican Doberman’s abusers did this and were “bribed” to surrender her
Chica the Mexican Doberman’s abusers did this and were “bribed” to surrender her

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.

Here is Chica doing her favorite thing, walking on the beach with dad and pals
Here is Chica doing her favorite thing, walking on the beach with dad and pals

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!

Follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/chicathedoberman

Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/ChicaDoberman 

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.

Part 1 – MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES

https://petpeevesunmasked.com/mexicos-street-dog-heroes/

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/ 

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


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!  

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 1 – MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/mexicos-street-dog-heroes/

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


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!  

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 1 – MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES https://petpeevesunmasked.com/mexicos-street-dog-heroes/

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 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/

VETERINARY MEDICINE IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN

PART 3 IN THE SERIES “MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES” 

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.

Dr. “Lalo” has practiced veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen for 25 years, here with Chanel
Dr. “Lalo” has practiced veterinary medicine in Playa del Carmen for 25 years, here with Chanel

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?

When strong enough, Chanel will have surgery to remove a bladder tumor, seen here in this ultrasound
When strong enough, Chanel will have surgery to remove a bladder tumor, seen here in this ultrasound

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.

Note:

Ehrlichiosis is an infectious tick-borne illness. The ehrlichia bacteria attacks a dog’s blood cells and causes chronic infection.

Anaplasma is 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.

Note:

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 distemper has 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.


An outdoor pet, Robin had a tooth abscess which caused a serious oral infection, here after surgery
An outdoor pet, Robin had a tooth abscess which caused a serious oral infection, here after surgery
This surgical procedure shows how veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable makes a big difference
This surgical procedure shows how veterinary care for Mexico’s most vulnerable makes a big difference

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.

Neutering

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.

Mistreatment

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.

Advice

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

Visit HospiPet Playa’s website: http://www.hospipetplaya.com

Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hospipetplaya

Please be sure to check in next week. We’ll be returning to Tulum to see how the community works together for the good of the animals.

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 1 – MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/mexicos-street-dog-heroes/

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

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/

DOG HOUSES SHELTER MEXICO’S PETS


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. 

Master carpenter Alonso Roda and his latest dog house, finished just in time for Christmas

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 djwhittemore62@yahoo.com

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.

The Snoopi Project founder, Kelly Whittemore, takes rescue pup Chanel to the vet for more tests
The Snoopi Project founder, Kelly Whittemore, takes rescue pup Chanel to the vet for more tests

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 1 – MEXICO’S STREET DOG HEROES
https://petpeevesunmasked.com/mexicos-street-dog-heroes/

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/