Monday, October 9, 2017

Evolución Animal

When we first arrived in Mérida, I started following Evolución Animal on fb. They are a local no-kill animal shelter. Because of this they often have too many animals to care for and need as much support as they can get. Right now they have more than 200 dogs in their care. Their website is very informative and a few of their dogs are adopted every year to people in Canada and the US. I participated in their online auction earlier this year and purchased a lovely painting in support of this cause.

Painting of local artist Edith Eloisa

They are quite a distance from where we stay, but on Sunday I finally managed to get out there and help. It was their wash-a-dog day and it was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed.

It is the first time that I have gone to an event on my own and had to follow directions from Google Maps on my phone because the Ford GPS maps for Mexico are not up to scratch. So I was driving "blind" with just voice commands. It was not bad and since Sunday mornings are quiet on the roads, I missed only one turn. I ended up where I needed to in the end.

Evolución is located in the town of Uman just outside Mérida. I was the only English speaking person there, but everyone was friendly. I had brought rubber gloves, but felt too stupid to wear them when everyone else just wash the dogs with their bare hands. The things we get used to in Canada, eh.

There were three staff members who coordinated the event and they had their hands full but they were amazing! Right at the start there were a lot of volunteers from the local community and we all got a short lesson on what to do with the dogs. It was simple: ask for a dog to wash (you cannot just grab any dog), tie the leash to the fence so that the dog cannot move away, use the buckets with scrunchies to wash the dogs, rinse, pour the anti-tick and flea dip over the dog (not the face), then take the dog to clip their nails, then have their ears cleaned. I got most of this but had to ask about the dip, because I wasn't sure if that had to get rinsed off.

Most of these dogs have been treated badly, so some of them hid under tables and counters and sometimes catching one for a wash was a task. However, once caught they really didn't move. In most cases once you had the leash on, they would refuse to move and we all ended up carrying a lot of wet dogs to each station. That's why you wear old clothes!

Only one of the dogs I handled was a bit of a biter and his mouth was tied shut with an old shoelace until I was done. We didn't cut his nails though, because it upset him too much. There was this one beautiful dog who jumped up against me every time I walked past her...yeah, never mind, I didn't bring one home.

I cannot remember all the dogs' names, and I cannot remember how many dogs I washed, but I learned that cutting their nails is uñas cortades and asking for another dog is busco otro perro.

I was amazed at how many teens were there helping out. Some of them had T-shirts that indicated they were regular volunteers. It made me feel great to be part of this positive activity. We had some laughs when one of the young guys next to me thought he was washing a girl, only to find out it was a boy. His friends ribbed him over that for a bit.

Xena was not happy with my "other dog smells" when I got home, but soon her buddy from across the street arrived for a little playtime and she forgot all about my unfaithful ways. It was a good day for me and I felt like I am slowly starting to realize that this is my home now.

My next to-do is to find a human cause that I can get involved in closer to home.