IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO SAVE A DOG
Not every dog has its day, nor do millions of dogs and cats have a home, or shelter, or even a fighting chance of survival.
This is particularly true in rural areas where stray dog and cat overpopulation has become so desperate that in many towns street dogs out-number entire human populations.
In Mexico, where the stray dog population has recently exploded, several amazing rescue groups such as Riviera Rescue, Cause 4 Pause, SOS el Arca, Playa Animal Rescue, the Snoopi Project, and Coco's Animal Welfare are beginning to have a tangible, positive impact in reversing the stray animal problem.
How the rescue groups have been able to combat the stray animal crisis is a remarkable tale of resourcefulness and sheer perseverance.
Together, and with generous financial supporters from around the world, these rescues have formed a community – a village dedicated to Mexico’s forgotten dogs and cats.
The first and most critical challenge (aside from funding) for rescue groups is to educate the population on the importance of spaying and neutering.
This is an incredibly daunting task due to deeply entrenched cultural beliefs which hold that reproductive procedures are unethical and/or change their pet's personalities.
In fact, many pet owners remain convinced that neutering ruins a dog’s “masculinity.” These beliefs are much more common in poorer rural areas simply because modern veterinary services and educational programs are often non-existent due to lack of financial resources.
In addition to tearing down antiquated cultural barriers, the rescue groups are teaching people about the increasing threat of disease which can cause even more suffering in their already struggling communities.
An estimated 70% of free roaming animals in underdeveloped countries carry a variety of diseases: intestinal parasites, parvovirus, heartworm, leptospirosis, venereal tumors, and mange.
Even more alarming, zoonotic diseases like roundworms and infectious tick-borne diseases, as well as parasitic conditions such as scabies, ringworm, and toxoplasmosis can be transferred from strays to humans.
SHARING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The rescue groups of Mexico are determined to enlighten the rural communities about the potential catastrophic health consequences of stray overpopulation, while simultaneously taking in and caring for as many abandoned dogs and cats as possible.
This poses yet another major challenge due to, of course, financial resources.
Veterinary services, housing, and educational campaigns are costly. No single rescue group can handle the financial burden alone, especially with a stray crisis that is reaching epidemic proportions.
This is where it truly takes a village to overcome such overwhelming odds.
While the dispersed rescue groups face different challenges, deal with diverse communities and cultures, and provide varying veterinary services, they all work together to help the “discarded” dogs and cats.
They share equipment. They share information. They share veterinary expertise. They share all available resources within their village whenever possible, especially financial resources.
There is no better illustration of this than a recent donation of $6,500, from Friends of Dogs I Meet, which the rescue groups shared to address the most pressing needs of each.
HOW THE DONATIONS WILL BE USED
The jungle sanctuary will use the money for medical care, food, a website, and enclosures to protect their dogs from jaguar attacks. Riviera will also benefit from world-class dog photographers visiting from around the globe to donate their talents and create images for the new website.
"We are grateful for the generous donation from Friends of Dogs I Meet. It will be used to continue our community outreach in Playa Del Carmen. Without donations like yours, we would not be able to assist the hundreds of dogs and families we have been able to help in the last 4 years." Kelly Whitmore, Founder.
"Thanks to a very generous donation from Friends of Dogs I Meet, Playa Animal Rescue will be able to buy a gas anesthesia machine. This will allow us to more safely anesthetize dogs undergoing surgical procedures like spay and neuter." Jan Northenscold, Shelter Director
THE HUGE PROBLEM OF STRAY DOGS
Make no mistake, dogs are adored by the people of Mexico. Tragically, an estimated 70% of the 23 million dogs in Mexico are now classified as street or stray dogs.
That equates to nearly 16 million strays, including a whopping 20% annual increase thanks to the heartbreaking trend of owners abandoning dogs gifted to them during the holidays.
So, it’s no surprise that rescue groups throughout the country are on the rise and motivated more than ever to rewrite the country’s stray dog narrative.
These unsung heroes are mobilizing for a lengthy battle, against tremendous odds, with limited resources.
However, out of pure necessity and love for innocent creatures, the rescue groups of Mexico have learned to share resources and cooperate across their own borders to offer genuine hope to millions of dogs and cats that would otherwise suffer under horrific conditions.
YOU CAN HELP TOO
All of the rescue organizations have ongoing expenses and are in need of donations to continue their wonderful work.
Please consider donating to any of the mentioned rescue organizations, any amount helps.
If you can’t donate, please share this story to help create awareness of the amazing work these rescue organizations do to help save dogs and cats.