Welcome to México!
I've been less than a week in Mexico, and the reminiscences from the last time I was here came very quickly. People are friendly, approachable and happy to share a laugh! Not to mention the world award-winning food, it's hard not to fall in love with this country.
For this trip, I've decided to explore a new area to me at first: the state of Guerrero, and more precisely in a tiny village called Barra de Potosí. The village is at the end of a road next to a laguna and nature reserve on the Pacific coast. It's the home of ~300 inhabitants and famous for its Playa Blanca. This beach has been nicknamed "The last best beach" as it is one of the remaining area which has not been over-built yet; and you can feel the pride of locals about it. There are only some private villas to rent or small boutique hotels, with many empty fields in between the properties. The tranquility as its paramount and lots of untouched nature - I watch daily lots of birds and butterflies flying by. You can walk on the beach for kilometers without practically meeting another soul.
Amigos de animales - the shelter
I've been immediately sold to the idea of coming to this shelter when Stasya - the owner - told me there were about 50 dogs and most importantly around 100 cats :) The shelter is split in 2 buildings, a hundred steps away from each other: Casa principal (where most of the animals are) and Casa de los voluntarios (see next paragraph). We're located 400m away from the main street and beach, in the middle of a field on a dirt road. It's a very rural area and the houses are simple. Currently without A/C and the day temperature goes up to 33°C (with some humidity) and night temperature 24°C so I don't need much clothes at the moment!
I live in the volunteer house with 2 other persons (Caitlin and Adam) who are volunteering here for several months. We have our own 15 dogs roaming outside the house in the garden/yard to take care of. Most of them are adults or almost, which means you don't have so deal with puppy mess ;) They are a cute bunch and get along very well. It feels almost like having 15 kids to look after. Enjoy some photos below!
The cats are located in the casa principal, where the shelter manager - a Mexican lady called Gris - and her 2 adult children Carlos & Adriana help run the place. This is where all the puppies & kittens, the cats (around 30 of them roaming around and having fun with the puppies), as well as 2 large pens at the back for adult dogs. They usually only keep dogs that were in life-threatening conditions and cannot be brought back to the streets. They also have an adoption program so dogs/cats eventually are re-homed in a loving home either in Mexico or US/Canada mostly. I fell in love with so many kitties already, see some cute ones below.
Rescue - Spay & Neuter - Educate
This is the motto of Amigos de Animales shelter. When Stasya moved to Mexico in 2010, she didn't know what was awaiting her. Of course gorgeous beach, warm climate and delicious food are a heaven per se. But when she kept seeing stray animals dying on her doorstep due to poisoning or mistreatment, she decided to take action. What started as a small endeavor became suddenly larger and larger, with the involvement of the local community too. Over 4'000 cats & dogs have now been neutered during the past 10 years, preventing hundred of unwanted kittens and puppies to being born on the streets (or on the beach), and starving without food or water. It's another beautiful story and you can read more about it here.
The weekly schedule is not fixed in details, but 2 days are particularly important:
Tuesday, when the community feeding round take places. We go and feed dogs & cats which live on the streets and in the poorest communities. Often some people own a pet but can't feed him/her nutritious and adequate food so they are quite skinny and appreciate any support. We also explain them the value of spay & neuter, and offer them an option to get their pet sterilized easily for a small contribution.
Friday, when the community pets registered on Tuesday are picked up in the morning, brought for to the clinic for sterilization, then returned to their owners in the afternoon.
I will cover these in greater details next week.
For now, it's time for me to go out and relax in the shade outside (I'm not used to sweat that much indoors!!!) - maybe take a nap with one of the kitties. Thanks for reading and I wish you a lovely weekend!