"Rescued" is a word that can apply to so many different situations.
As a family, our practice has always been to adopt a pet rather than purchase one. Over the years, they have appeared on our doorstep, cats and dogs alike, even when we were not quite prepared to take them in, but somehow, we always found a way to include them in in our motley crew. If we could not make a lifelong commitment, which rarely happened, we made sure they stayed with us until the right home was found. On more than one occasion, we were "foster failures." When I was six years old, my parents and I went to the Humane Society in St. Louis to find my first dog, and the rest is history. This is a testament to the longevity of the Humane Society and an explanation of the lifelong commitment our family has made to rescuing animals.
When our business adventures took us to Mexico, we began to understand animal rescue on an entirely new level and with an understanding that was deeper than ever before. Even with this amazing country's overarching beauty, color, music, food, and culture, it was difficult to ignore the plight of so many stray dogs throughout Mexico, from major cities to rural communities. Initially, I failed to understand how this situation appeared to be so highly "out of control". It seemed that everywhere I looked, there were pregnant dogs or females that obviously had recently given birth and were scavenging for food in every pile of garbage that they could access. It was sad to see so many homeless and hungry dogs just trying to survive After spending some time living in Mexico, it became clear that this is a situation that has existed for a very long time. Economically speaking, unless you happen to live in an area where there happens to be an active animal rescue organization (and there are far too few), spays and neuters are more expensive than in the U.S. When the primary provider for the family is earning the average of $20/day, a $200 fee for a spay is usually out of the question. So the animal population continues to grow exponentially. Culturally speaking, there is a need for education about the care and responsibility required when a decision is made to take on a pet. I know that in the U.S., we often tend to go a bit overboard for our pets, but in Mexico, they sometimes seem to be expendable items. Change, if wanted, begins with recognizing a problem, educating oneself or a group of individuals about the situation, where it started, and contributing factors. This fundamental change starts in the family and schools, starting with the youngest students, but changing a mentality and a culture takes years of effort.
01 - 02. One of the first stray dogs that softened our hearts and opened the door to become more active in the communities of Mexico where we work. Found wondering the streets in a neighborhood of the small town of Las Aguilillas. The first day we came with soft food and water the next day we returned with bags of kibble as we found that this nervous sweetheart did have an owner, a term in this situation to be used loosely. We donated the food to the owner and asked if we could assist with spaying the female puppy or possibly assist finding a new home where she would not be wandering the streets, the owner declined both options. | 03.Our Patriarch, husband, father, founder of our company, Harry, with our Mexican rescue, Negra, a mostly black Labrador mix. Harry is no longer with us, but his inspiration and passion for Mexico is embodied stronger than ever in Zenwaro. Negra is still very much a constant companion.
Happily, we have seen wonderful organizations at work in the Lake Chapala area of Central Mexico, making a definite impact on the stray and abandoned animal population. There are at least 4 organizations in this Lakeside community dedicated to rescuing, providing much-needed health care, spaying and neutering, and finding qualified homes for these furry friends. Most of them work together and mutually support each other's efforts, but the one we know best is "Bone Voyage". This is their mission statement "Bone Voyage Dog Rescue is a non profit group created to send Mexican dogs north to loving, forever homes. We work with local shelters and people in the Lake Chapala area that have many street dogs in their care. We also assist individuals that find street dogs and don't know what to do with them. We are all volunteers working together to try to minimize the amount of homeless dogs in the area. Visit our website for more information or to make a donation. Mexican dogs. Northern homes. Because love is a four-legged word."
01 The Big Red Bus upon arrival in Lake Chapala. 02. Crates loaded with doggies and carefully arranged inside the bus, being inspected at a government checkpoint inside Mexico. 03. Finally, arrival and now the unloading into loving, caring arms at the border.
Since August 2018, Bone Voyage has flown and bussed 2500+ dogs from Mexico's Lake Chapala communities to their forever homes in the USA and Canada. They have also placed numerous dogs into wonderful homes within the community. Last year, a big red bus was donated to Bone Voyage to aid in transporting numerous dogs to north of the border. The bus holds approximately 50 dog crates, so every trip north has to be well organized and optimized in order to offset the expenses included in the trip. In the interim, numerous dogs are taken to the Guadalajara airport, transported by volunteers to make the journey north. This also requires a volunteer to fly along with them to their eventual destination in the USA or Canada.
01. This furry guy doesn't yet know how good his life is about to get. 02. These rescuers are turning the Guadalajara international airport into a temporary zoo. When the Red Bus is awaiting to be filled, the rescuing continues thanks to the volunteers who get these pups to the airport for the adventure to their forever home up north. 03. A few of the "masked rescuers" who generously assist in making all of this happen.
There is so much more to say about Bone Voyage and the other devoted rescue groups in the Lake Chapala area. The cooperation these groups share amongst themselves also contributes tremendously to the numerous homes they continue to find for homeless and abandoned pets. You can find Bone Voyage Dog Rescue on their Facebook page, and you can also follow the link here to get more information. Bone Voyage works closely with The Ranch, a no-kill shelter in operation for 20 years at Lakeside. There are some amazing dogs available to be adopted, so please visit their website: TheRanchChapala.com
01. Important rules to be aware of and follow when considering to rescue. 02. Chester has led a very rough life - this is so apparent from the many scars on his poor body. He also has some severe mange that is being treated. He has few teeth and is quite skinny. Bonevoyage has taken him into our care and he has now taken to resting on my bed lol. 03. Thanks to the folks at the Barking Lot, located north of the border, for welcoming these dogs from Mexico and finding loving forever homes.
If you are interested in obtaining information regarding adoption or how you can support any of the organizations mentioned in this story. We urge you follow and reach out to these amazing initiatives via the links included. Bone Voyage Dog Rescue TheRanchChapala.com The Barking Lot