Sunday, August 24, 2008

mission statement rumination

Despite being a blog for pictures not words I feel I should make some attempt to clarify what we're doing here.
We left America for a hundred reasons, all subjects for another blog and posts I have no intention of writing.
Why the Yucatan?
Part of the draw was not knowing what to expect, just knowing everything would change. We knew It was warm, cheap and quiet. We thought we could have a positive impact on the lives of the local dogs. We hoped living here would teach us to relax and be less uptight, to live with less.
It has, and patience too.

We've learned that together we can do remarkable things. The trick is in deciding what's worth doing.
The crux of the biscuit is that I'm unwilling to claim rescue/shelter status, either in name or in soliciting donations. I'm unsettled on a few things and I think there should (at least) be a clearly defined mission statement in place first.
Let's just call it a refuge for now.
Sterilization is of paramount importance, but the dog's quality of life is also important. I won't have them tied out or left alone to guard a property or allowed to roam unsupervised. I'd rather spay/neuter and release. At least that way I'd be less emotionally invested. The one puppy we managed to place didn't live to see her first birthday. This has cast a pallor over my enthusiasm for future adoptions.
Medical care is a thorny issue. There is no local vet. Not everyone can afford to take their dog to the city and I don' t think only the wealthy should have pets. These dogs would be better off with a loving family than on their own. I'm torn. Enthusiastic or not, I'd like to find homes for the newbies.*
There is a tiny chance that a couchsurfer will fall in love with one, but traveling and dogs don't easily mix. Additionally most of the pups take a few days to warm up to new people and they rarely have that opportunity.
In reality, it is all so much wasted thought since people don't want these dogs. There is no shortage, anyone in any part of town that wanted a dog could find one to bring home. There are probably hundreds near the dump alone. We inevitably run into a few during our walks in the woods with our pack. Every sympathetic soul has as many as they can. Many people are having a tough enough time feeding their families without the added expense of a pet.
Admittedly, our dogs are cleaner and healthier after some time off the streets and I realize that makes them more appealing/adoptable to most folks. They all come to us skinny, with ticks and fleas, worms, often mange and sometimes an injury. Sean and I know dogs all over town. We are greeted by wagging tails in most places. We feed more than we can know and we are full up at home.
Despite their numbers, they are all fixed, up to date on shots, parasite-free, (mostly) housebroken, and are walked every few days (we rotate). There are so many left that are not so lucky and we plan to do more to help them.
I have some small hope that we'll eventually find a competent, amiable, person or couple interested in helping for a while. In the meanwhile, we intend to organize a low cost spay/neuter clinic in town. The closest animal shelters are in the city and they are dealing with much larger numbers.
New programs need to be enacted. I think neuter/spay/release is the best answer. Poison is the popular one. As a recluse, outreach is not my area, but I'm trying to get my head around it. But this isn't a blog about me.

If we do make things 'official', a name would be a good start. Christianity is all the rage in these parts and co-opting religious symbols is a Christian tradition so maybe that's what we'll do. I'm partial to the stories of St.Martin Porres and his examples of humility, practical service and compassion for all creatures. How about Perros de Porres?
"Compassion, my dear Brother, is preferable to cleanliness."

* the newbies: brother and sister, Rumsfeld and Tuesday. I'm nearly certain that their mom is a stray that we see almost daily (Stray doesn't seem like the right word. She hasn't strayed.
She has no human to stray from. She lives in the area.). She is still too shy for us to get near but I'd love to have her spayed. She's always pregnant or nursing. I have my suspicions that she intentionally led her pups to our house but I'll never know.
• Rumsfeld has an amazing coat. Short, plush and a color I'd have to call taupe (I
don't think I ever typed that word before.) with gunmetal highlights.
• Tuesday has long legs, pretty boxer-like markings and a fawn colored coat.
They both have puppy breath, white socks and white tips on their tails.
Ah you task me...y
esterday was Rumsfeld's 1 week anniversary and tomorrow is Tuesday's. Guess what this morning brought...
...another sister, she got us all up before dawn. Lucky for her she's so cute.
She looks like Gowron. What? That doesn't sound cute? Well, it works for her!
She was infested with fleas so she got a bath and an apple cider vinegar rinse. Now she's a trembling ball of fluff. The Notorious Fluffy G! darn, now it will be stuck in my head all day...."look how fluff I be"...
Pictures in a bit...gotta walk some dogs first.

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