Animal House

It’s stressful at times managing both animal rescue and an eco-lodge, but when it works, it is truly beautiful (as illustrated by the stories below). I’ve worked to rehabilitate hummingbirds, doves, a cormorant, egret, iguanas, coatimundis, parrots, an owl, grackle, mot-mots, and of course dogs and cats. Thanks to support from guests, we’ve facilitated at least 30 street dog adoptions to Canada, USA and Mexico, hosted a veterinary clinic, school presentations and community animal health programs.

In general, street dogs of rural Mexico are highly adapted for survival. They live in conditions our papered pets could never tolerate: scarce and bad food and water, skin parasites and diseases, danger at every turn. The strong survive and because of that, I think, they are more resistant to disease, more intelligent, resourceful, independent and sociable. They recognize their good fortune in having found a friend like you and are loyal beyond measure. Contact me if you would like to know how easy it is to adopt a Mayan street dog.

Osita and Osito

Osita (top) means little bear or Teddy Bear in English. Osita has a lush black coat with flashes and streaks of gold. She is rolly-polly puppy having had 4 automatic milk dispensers all to herself (one of only 2 puppies born March 2 to a healthy mom). Fortunately, she has the amazing genetic heritage of a Mayan “Maleesh” without malnutrition or fear of man which is often the case with feral dogs. I expect Osita will be healthy, calm and non-dominant: suited to family life with small children, other pets or even a quiet home with older adults.

Oso, like his sister Osita, is on the large side for a Mayan “Maleesh” having enjoyed a buffet of mother’s milk between just the two of them. Oso has no problem expressing himself: he is bold, friendly and confident. He will do well with other dogs and will be a delightful part of a family who has time to include him in their lives. He will be a medium to large dog, demonstrating the best of his noble Mayan lineage.

Boxito and Boxita

Boxito (Bosh-e-tow is Mayan for Blackie), will never be the most pedigreed on the block but he will charm and outwit all of them. He’s sweet and sharp and ever so eager to please. Pure character.

Pure devotion. I would pick him over a purebred anything, anytime. In fact he will be the most difficult of my fosters to give up. I think of Boxito as having an “old soul”. He is extremely precocious. While the other puppies are tumbling around, Boxito– the tiniest among them—is standing guard like a toy toy soldier choosing when it is safe to jump into the foolish fray.

Boxita has much of her brother’s engaging character, although shy and not as willing to take risks. She is one of the traditional Mayan farm dogs I see running behind local farmers on their bikes as they go to the corn field. Boxita had been abandoned with her siblings on a rural road with perhaps only a day left in the hot sun before they perished. What a long way she has come from that emaciated, dehydrated bag of bones! Her round black eyes and tentative wag of her little tail are simply irresistible. She is a love sponge, grateful to soak up all the attention you can provide.


Just "Cookies" and cuddles

Unable to pay for spaying, locals often abandon pregnant dogs far from home perhaps thinking they’ll have a remote chance of surviving. But they are usually hit by cars or die of dehydration or starvation. When locals then started leaving pregnant dogs in front of the lodge, I had mixed feelings: encouraged that they cared enough to bring them here, yet concerned that I would not be able to find homes for still more dogs. All but one of the last litter of five puppies have found homes as far away as San Francisco.

Suerte, now a leggy brindle adult, is still available to someone who will appreciate this loving, mischievous, quirky character.

My Favorite Adoption Story

During a family stay at Genesis, 11-year-old Maya, of Boston, took a liking to a shiny black dog which had been abandoned in front of the lodge. The feeling was mutual. Each morning the dog would wait to greet Maya and they would spend hours cuddling and playing. Maya’s parents noticed the mutual bond and were broken-hearted watching their daughter say goodbye to the friend she had called Lucia.

“Maya commented yesterday that she still had a scratch mark from Lucia and she hoped it was permanent,” wrote Maya’s mom a few days after their return. “Then, on our walk to school this morning, she proclaimed that when she grew up that she was going back to Mexico to find Lucia. That Lucia would still be there waiting for her.”

Maya had no idea that her parents were making plans to bring Lucia to Boston.

Maya’s dad, on his next day off, drove from Boston to New York to catch a direct flight to Cancun. He rented a car and drove 2 hours to Genesis. Lucia greeted him like an old friend and early the next morning, with new kennel, collar, leash, vaccination tags and travel papers, she set off to reunite with Maya.

What a joyful reunion when Maya’s dad walked in the door with Lucia!

“Lucia really seems like a happy puppy in her new home,” wrote Maya’s dad a few days after his grueling trip. “We are all amazed at how well she is adjusting. Maya insisted on sleeping on the floor with her for the first several nights, and they are really bonding. When I arrived in Boston everything was covered in snow. Lucia didn’t know what to make of it, but eventually decided that it was fun and she had a great time jumping and playing in the backyard.

“I have to say she is really a very good dog, easygoing and playful. She is quickly winning over the neighborhood and everyone agrees she is really beautiful and good-natured.”

Originally posted on February 18th, 2012 via

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