patas-sin-fronterasWhile those of us working in animal welfare in the Yucatan know that sterilization combined with education is the long-term solution to the overwhelming dog and cat overpopulation problem here, many of us believe that we owe it to the animals out there right now, whether on the streets or under the care of one of the shelter/foster groups operating in the area, to do everything we can to make their lives worth living. One of those groups, Evolucion Animal A.C., is accomplishing this goal by developing relationships with animal shelters north of the border which have the space and demand to accept animals for adoption.

Since November 2013, the Lincoln County Humane Society of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, has given 11 Evolucion dogs a second chance at finding the loving and responsible home they deserve, with incredible success.  In March 2014, we had the fortune to welcome Kevin Strooband, the Executive Director of the LCHS, to the Yucatan so he could see where his new charges were coming from and see first hand the challenges that Evolucion Animal and other local rescue and foster groups are up against.  Strooband is no stranger to the living conditions of street animals in other parts of the world  – his shelter has accepted dogs from Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the far north of Canada and the Caribbean.  His own dog, Avy, is a rescued “potcake” (local term used to refer to street dog) from the Bahamas.

When asked his impressions on visiting Evolucion’s Uman shelter last Wednesday, Strooband commented: “Even for someone like me who is used to being around a lot of animals, the sheer number of dogs is overwhelming. But with the exception of a few animals who are being treated for more serious health problems and the minor issues you normally encounter in a shelter setting, these animals are in remarkably good condition.”  Strooband went on to note that he was surprised there were so many adoptable dogs at the shelter.  Pointing to a number of the shelter’s current residents, he notes, “We could have those dogs right there adopted out in a matter of hours if they were at our shelter”.

So why aren’t these adoptable dogs finding homes here in Yucatan?  Well, some of them are, but adopting a mixed-breed or rescued animal, instead of buying a so-called purebred, is still not part of the psyche of many Yucatecans – but times may be changing.

“One of our priorities this year is to reach out those people in Merida that have had exposure to the adoption culture and have developed a love and respect for animals in general,” says Silvia Cortes, the founder and Director of Evolucion Animal A.C.  “These people are out there: we have a number who currently volunteer, donate, foster and adopt our animals, but we need to reach more.”  Cortes explains that, as part of the organization’s efforts to reduce its population, a concerted effort is being made to get the dogs out of the shelter and into the public eye.  “Even if we can only manage one or two dogs at a time, our animals can be seen regularly on Sunday mornings during the popular Bici-Ruta event on Paseo Montejo and at mini-adoption fairs scattered throughout the city”.  Although these efforts may not necessarily result in an adoption that very day, seeing and interacting with these beautiful animals may mean planting that seed in in a person’s mind for the day he or she decides to bring an animal into the family.

In the meantime, although the animals Evolucion is able to send to Canada may seem like a drop in the bucket when one looks at the 240+ furry residents currently at the shelter, to the dogs who have found their forever homes north of the border, the efforts have paid off in droves.

If you would like to become a part of the Evolucion Animal International Adoption Program by sponsoring a dog for its trip north, or volunteering to help with the logistics of these trips, or would simply like more information on Evolucion or the dogs we have up for adoption, please check out our Facebook page at Evolucion A.C. (Spanish) or Evolucion A.C. (English), or contact us as follows: (from Mexico) (999) 746-2928 or from Canada or the US: (905) 329-5155.

 

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