My heart has always been with Mexico. I visited Mexico on two mission trips as a child and then stayed there for a month while studying in undergrad and minoring in Spanish. This trip opened my eyes to more. I am inspired to go back and help setup programs through “The Homeless Pet Clubs of America” to educate the kids on their pets health and how to treat them and spay/neuter. Also, I am inspired to help get the people in the slums to better incomes and a better way of life through providing them with the tools they need start small businesses.
Trying to come up with the words to adequately describe my family’s trip to Mexico, and I am truly at a loss. I am heartbroken for the conditions that so many human beings and their pets are living in. Please take time to watch the videos and photos from my trip. I hope it impacts you the way it did me.
I will be going back (with more people) in 60 days to run another spay/neuter and vaccination clinic in Ensenada and one in Tijuana after a successful clinic where we spayed and neutered 54 dogs in Ensenada this past weekend. I am hopeful to eventually get more support from big players in the pet health industry in the United States.
The people that come to these clinics that are put on in poor parts of Mexico walk down dirt roads with their dogs that don’t even have leashes or collars because the people are so poor. Almost all of the dogs I saw had fleas. Many had ticks. These people can barely feed their dogs, let alone give their dogs flea/tick medication. There are street dogs EVERYWHERE. The dogs of the residents aren’t fixed because of the cost and the street dogs aren’t fixed. So…many many puppies!! All the time!! And so many are born sick and die. There were several dogs and one cat spayed at our clinic, that were pregnant. I won’t share those photos on here, because I know it will upset people to kill puppies and cats, but you have to understand that there is no animal control in these parts and no rescue groups. There is no way to let the dogs go give birth if you can stop it. The crisis is so unreal. The government has such a mass problem on their hands that they throw their hands up. Same with the people in the slums-throw their hands up. In Ensenada, many dogs are security and not part of the family. When I go back, we will be working on the education piece with Norma in Ensenada to enter more of the schools (as she already has been doing) and educate the children. We will keep putting on spay and neuter clinics. The School that we visited to do this spay/neuter clinic this past weekend, nearly 100% of the children in that school have a dog, and they aren’t fixed. Many of the sick animals that we saw will eventually die. There was nothing we could do for some because they were so very sick. It was horrifying. In Tijuana, you will see very small puppy chihuahua’s in my post. Many of these people breed puppies to sell to American tourists. Johnny told me that one puppy can be sold to American tourists for at least TJ’s weekly wage to two weeks wages and that’s just per puppy. 80% die on the other side of the border due to sick puppies (no vaccines).
You may not believe this, but it is true. Of the one school of this one poor village near Norma, there are 640 students, as I mentioned earlier. Well, of 320 of the students (they go to school in two sessions to make space for everyone, 9-1 and 2-7), there are 765 dogs/cats. That is just half of one school. There are 5 schools in this village and there are 28 nearby villages that need help. If you do the math, there are tens of thousands dogs/cats needing to be spayed and neutered just in this one area. The crisis is out of control and we have just scratched the surface.
Many people don’t understand how people end up living in plywood makeshift houses in the slums other than drugs/alcohol or laziness. There are many reasons that Johnny covers in a video on this album from my trip. For Angelica, she works in an American owned factory in Tijuana. She makes $1.85 an hour ($14.80 for an 8 hour shift, just over $5000 a year). She told me the name of thefactory. She won’t, however, tell me what she does there because she signed papers that she wouldn’t talk about it. Her friend (her home is also in a video-she is the one with small puppies) also works in the factory with her. This is more than most make in the factory because she works the night shift, every night, 5 days a week. The daytime crew make $10/day. And all of that is more than the poor in Ensenada that come up from souther Mexico (where they have no work available) because they know they can get jobs working the crops in the villages near Ensenada. They make $9.44/day. Angelica’s husband works on cars and her in-laws live next door and run a hamburger stand. She said life has gotten harder lately because her kids are entering school and they have to buy materials and uniforms for the schools (in Mexico, public schools wear uniforms). They live in extreme poverty, yet they work so hard and can never get ahead.
Our work has just begun. I am thrilled to work on exciting plans to put these people to better work and give them a hand up as entrepreneurs (more to come) while working on the spay/neuter crisis.
With Facebook, many of the poorest people in the world can get cell phones and be on Facebook (it is $5 per week for the people in TJ) and they are on Facebook. So are the richest people. With videos and stories, we can change the world now more than ever before. Awareness is half the battle.
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