by Karen Sutton (March 2013)
I have been an animal lover all of my life (my husband calls me Elly May). When I was fortunate enough to make Akumal, Mexico, my part-time home, I met some amazing ladies who shared that same passion for animals. I don't need to name them here; they know who they are. My heart is soft, so neglected and mistreated animals are particularly painful to see.
At one time, Akumal streets were full of needy animals, no-kill shelters did not exist and government-operated dog catchers showed no mercy. The public was uneducated and/or in disagreement with the responsibility to spay and neuter their pets. A few of the ladies I mentioned were offering education along with FREE spay and neuter clinics. And then … much to my pleasure, I heard about a group of folks, now known as Playa Animal Rescue (PAR), who were willing to give their ALL in founding a no-kill shelter.
I asked a lot of questions, waiting to see if it would come to fruition. While viewing photos posted of construction progress, I became more and more excited. I began a bit of correspondence and started to feel even more excited about the folks involved. Construction completed, dogs were transported to their safe haven and it was time for me to visit to see it all for myself.
When I entered, I was at first shocked at how well planned and constructed the project was. This feeling lasted for, say, a minute, and then I was totally overcome with emotion, looking at smiling dogs with water and food bowls, shaded shelter, safety … I could only cry! I will never forget that feeling. Indeed, then, through my tears I was fortunate enough to meet some of these gracious folks. As they gave me the grand tour, introducing me to each dog, I still marveled at all they had done and all they had sacrificed for the sake of furry friends! Truly I had met angels here on Earth.
NOW, I was 100% comfortable with supporting them and spreading the word. I am sure people were sick of my talking about it all of the time but when I believe in something, I support it and want everyone else to. Character flaw on my part, perhaps!
With my correspondence and visits (unfortunately they were few since I am in the States more than Mexico), I continued to be supportive in any way that I could. In that I have a 9-year-old Malamute with an alpha personality, I didn't really think that I could adopt until she departed for the Rainbow Bridge, but had kept an open mind. My heart would have me adopt them all. I thought that if, someday, a particular set of little eyes spoke to me differently than the rest, I should listen no matter the obstacles.
Daily review of the PAR page on Facebook would lead me to exactly that! There was a post showing 3 puppies that had been abandoned near the shelter. Our eyes met—yes, she was the one! Now most people want to "interview" their potential furry family member; I knew this wasn't necessary. I knew she was the one, so I contacted those wonderful people, Jan & Eric Northenscold and Richard & Sue Silva, whom I had met through my tears and asked how I could make this my new furry family member. Pat Faulstich responded immediately and we went from there.
I had no idea how I would get her to me in the States and was offered several options and a lot of patient TLC for me while I was being a Nervous Nellie, asking a million questions. They all assured me they would be there every step of the way and INDEED they were. I decided that I didn't want to wait for an escort and flew to Mexico on Feb. 12 and flew back out on Feb 13. All details had been handled in advance. Now it was just one furry little heart speaking to mine.
Zoe now lives in Ocean City, Maryland, and I can't tell you how much bigger my heart is thanks to all of the folks at Playa Animal Rescue. Not only do the folks at PAR provide endless care at the shelter, they are educating by having schools visit so the children can spread the word to their parents and families. They spend endless hours preparing for fundraisers, never knowing if people will open up their hearts and wallets. There are numerous devoted souls who are not mentioned here but do not go unrecognized by me.
During this painless process, I truly came to realize how many hours, how much dedication, and how many sleepless nights these "Angels Among Us" contribute to God's furry friends. They refuse to accept this title from me but I am sure they will have stars in their crowns when they reach the Pearly Gates, but can't we …
Give them the support they need and deserve now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please give the furry friends a chance. ADOPT, don't shop. Spay & Neuter.