jueves, abril 25, 2024

The ABCs of Helping a Mexican Perrito


This is an Article from our November-December 2023 issue. Join us as Cristin Galullo takes us through this heartwarming journey and shares some of the amazing ways in which we can lend a helping hand to the homeless pet shelters in the region.

With 16 million dogs roaming the neighborhoods, amounting to 70 percent of all dogs surveyed, Mexico takes the top spot in Latin America for the most significant number of stray dogs. No exception is Los Cabos, where the municipal health directorate estimates an astonishing 500 thousand dogs and cats living in the streets. No, we’re not kidding. Half a million homeless pets are a problem that boils down to the well-known three I’s of domestic animal overpopulation: ignorance, irresponsibility, and inconsiderateness. 

Allowing uncontrolled reproduction, which generates the abandonment and suffering of puppies and kittens, is the first cause of animal abuse, which, beyond being inhumane, represents a horrible cultural and moral trait that affects Los Cabos as a society and a world-class tourist destination. If you love Cabo and advocate for animal welfare, keep reading; there is something you can do.
Better late than never, the government has recently created a committee to enforce the animal protection law. Sterilization clinics have been intensified, and schools have started to run educational programs on the good treatment of animals.
It’s essential to mention that, for much longer, local animal rescue groups have been working to save as many doggies and kitties as possible, provide medical care, and find adoptive families for them. They’re both dedicated volunteers and legally established shelters and non-profit no-profit institutions whose primary goal is to reduce overpopulation through low-cost and even free spay and neuter campaigns. 

All rescuers rely on donations from friends and relatives but are usually at capacity, short on funds, and in desperate need of support. Undoubtedly, a growing part of the local community is sensitive and solidary to the cause. However, vacationers and snowbirds can do their bit to help a Mexican perrito or gatito, too! 

Here are the ABCs for animal lovers that Laurie Saunders and I have compiled together. Laurie, now a full-time Cabo resident for five years, has extensive experience helping local organizations. Her journey began when she first visited, coming down from New Hampshire on vacation. She has curated a list of “small acts of kindness” that can significantly change lives.

Attend fundraising events. Ask your concierge, grab local magazines (Destino, your number one!), or stay tuned on social media to learn about golf tournaments, fancy dinners, concerts, fashion shows, or any event with a cause. 
Not in the mood for a hectic evening? Donate to shelters or finance free spay and neuter campaigns. Even one single surgery counts tremendously. Consider this: fixing a dog for the reasonable donation of 28 dollars interrupts a reproduction chain of exponential growth that starts with an average of 16 puppies in one year, jumps to 128 in two years, and 512 in three years. Cats’ figures are also impressive: the small number of 12 newborns in one year inflates to 376 in three years. 

To break this endless chain, private and public institutions run sterilization clinics every month. Imagine a crew of vets and volunteers working on Sundays from dawn to dusk, spurred by the only goal of preventing painful lives by fixing as many cats and dogs as they can afford. You have no idea how amazing these people are! They are true angels. Would you like to become one yourself? Perhaps be one with wings!

Be a flight angel. To further provide medical care to their rescued or surrendered pets, these organizations try to find them foster homes and adoptive families, if not here, in the US or Canada. There are partnerships between shelters at the international level for rehoming rescue street animals and giving them a second chance. When your vacation is over, you might take one (or more) of these lucky pets on the plane with you. All the paperwork and costs are taken care of by the organization. The dog or cat is delivered to the airport, and someone will pick it up upon arrival at the destination. The traveler has nothing to pay for; just check in the furry friend with the rest of the family. “One year, I took 44 dogs to the States,” says Saunders, who also collects the crates used for transportation and flies them back with medical supplies, accessories, collars, leashes, etc. Transporting these goods is also a way to help the cause, as several visitors already do.
How can you volunteer to be a flight angel? It’s as easy as pie. You can contact the institutions directly (see the bottom of the article) or through a Facebook group named Cabo Pet Escorts (link below), where shelters list their needs, and travelers willing to help can post their flight details and wait for a call.

Care for a doggie if you can. Are you snowbirds with property? Are you on vacation in a pet-friendly residence? Make a puppy happy. Consider fostering a dog for the time you are here. When you socialize with the animal, its behavior changes for the better. It regains trust in people and gets ready to live with a family. Even one or two weeks in a foster home can make a difference and facilitate adoption. 
If this kind of help is not feasible, consider donating money or supplies. You can always visit a shelter. You can take the dogs for a walk or cuddle with the kittens. Giving a little love to these domestic animals, even though you can’t provide a home for them, can make a significant difference. After all, these animals are without a place to call home. In word but not deed, they are homeless.
Stand up for the pets that nobody pats. Every little bit counts. As Saunders says, “A little bit goes a long way.”

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