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BECAUSE EVERY DOG HAS A

FRIENDS OF PUERTO VALLARTA ANIMALS

A RESCUE HERO TALE WRITTEN BY: DAVID ROHDE

INTRODUCTION

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is a lovely tourist mecca on the Bay of Banderas just off the Pacific Ocean. It is home to both permanent and winter inhabitants that are charitable-minded.

One can stay in anything from a hostel to a 5 star hotel and can get involved in anything from helping or donating to orphanages, scholarships to U.S. schools, or, as many of us do, get involved with rescuing dogs and cats.

There are a number or organizations that participate in this.

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Friends of Puerto Vallarta Animals is slightly different in that we are not a rescue group. We were organized to support Puerto Vallarta's municipal animal shelter (Centro de Control & Salud Animal).

Adriana Riestra, our president, needed a project for a social welfare course she was taking a number of years back. With a friend at the time, an architect, she designed and had built extra kennels for the shelter.

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Adriana is an interior designer and in conversation with clients got them interested. Through their donations more needs were taken care of at the shelter. Adriana had the luck of meeting Lorna Gordon Brown, an interior designer from Toronto, and together they walked dogs and formed FRIENDS.

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WHAT WE DO

Our organization grew out of these initial humble beginnings. I joined the group a year or so later. Our aim is to make our municipal owned shelter into a state of the art location.

Volunteers on Wednesdays and Saturdays meet there to walk, bathe dogs and aid in cleaning if necessary. We also clean cat boxes and their areas and socialize both dogs and cats in order to get them ready for adoption.

We hold fundraisers during the winter to get funds for food, medicines, office visits to outside vets if the condition of an animal is serious and beyond the capabilities of the shelter.

We also build extra kennels to eliminate crowded conditIons at times.We have an employee who is a second set of eyes and ears to the vets. She also does a weekly AdoptIon at a shopping mall in the hotel zone.

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Another group that started with us but left to accomplish their own goals is Dog For Life.

This is the passion of Greg and Deb Barsalou, a brother and sister team from Vancouver, BC, Canada.

They undertook to build kennels for dogs that were chained to trees and had only a plastic dog house for shelter.

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Across the street was an overgrown lot that was appointed to the shelter but no one had funds to develop it. They fenced it in to create a dog park.

Both of these organizations get dogs and cats to the States and Canada and find homes for them.

We have been very fortunate in that we've had many adoptions both here and up north. One of our mottos, 'Adopt Don't Shop', has been catching on with nationals.

Families have been coming to the shelter to look for a family pet. And hundreds of dogs and cats have found their forever homes over the past year or two.

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One of our great thrills is that we've had three tripods adopted this year. A tripod is a dog that has been delivered to shelter after a traffic accident and had to have a leg amputated.

This is the state of our venture from getting involved with a horrible kill shelter to raising the standard of municipal care in Mexico.

A year or two after Adriana got involved a new vet arrived at the shelter and proceeded to turn it into a no-kill facility and has been that way ever since.

We are the only municipal run no kill shelter in Mexico.

VOLUNTEERING AND DONATIONS

If on vacation in PV and interested in participating or donating to our program, check us out at friendsofpvanimals.com or search for us on Facebook.

If serious about volunteering when down here you may contact me for information on getting to the shelter. I can be reached by email on rohdedavid [@] hotmail.com.

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