This blog began with a single topic, but then it grew into a series all about Mexico’s street dog heroes. To be more specific, it zeroes in on the tropical south-east region renowned for its beaches, archeological sites and eco-tourism. The action starts in Mérida, Yucatán, and travels across the state of Quintana Roo, with stops in Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Cancún. And if you’re wondering who the heroes are, they represent the three countries of North America (Mexico, Canada and the USA).

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


Outdoor Food And Water Dispensers In Mérida

What first caught my eye mid 2018 was an article I read in the online version of the daily publication “Yucatán Al Minuto.” It dealt with outdoor feeders and waterers for dogs and cats that roam the streets of Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán. 

Votes For Voiceless Animals

At the time, political campaigning was in progress for the upcoming general election. Mexicans would soon be voting for a new President as well as state officials nationwide. Animal lovers who were working on behalf of the PRI party candidate running for state governor decided to launch an initiative called “Yucaninos.” This word comprises the first four letters of Yucatán, and caninos, Spanish for canines. 

Those working on this project decided to install the state’s first ever feeders and waterers in Mérida. Then, prior to the launch, they held orientations to gather the support of residents in the Emiliano Zapata neighborhood. In addition to that, the plan also included recruiting volunteers to ensure that fresh food and water was always on hand and being properly dispensed.

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

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


Business, Advocacy, And Endurance

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

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

Feeder Flop

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

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

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

Tee-Shirt Triumph

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

Through their support, García is able to buy food and contribute towards the cost of spay and neuter programs to reduce the canine and feline  populations on the streets. In addition, funds are allocated to construct dog houses out of wooden pallets made by a local carpenter. That way, some of the animals can shelter from the blazing sun and torrential rain.

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

To Sum Up

Here are some of the people who deserve credit for the efforts described in this week’s blog. They are Mexico’s street dog heroes. They are the people who care about the wellbeing of these sentient beings who, through no fault of their own, end up struggling to survive on the streets. Thank you for what you do!

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

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

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