Among our 60 animal rescues already in 2022, there are many heartwarming encounters with animals that have touched our lives forever. But, there is always a rescue that stands out above the rest……you know, the kind that makes you believe in miracles!
On new years day, Karen and Barbara took a small kitten to the airport, hugged the furry critter goodbye and then realized that was the last animal that was in our care. It had never happened before…zero animals under our care! They joked on the way home about what they would do without all the chores that go with rescue. No running animals in for vaccinations and grooming. No begging people to help foster, to be flight angels, to adopt. No preparing travel paperwork, no looking for homes…. a vacation! Seriously, we all knew we would be full up in a few days…. It was nice to dream for a moment.
By the middle of January, we were once again, inundated with little souls that needed medical care, homes, and love. It started with an emaciated mama dog and her seven babies from Lo De Marcos, followed by four abandoned puppies from San Ignacio, three kittens seemingly from nowhere and two nice dogs who’d been dumped in San Pancho who were traveling as a team in search of help …. But before those 17 waifs showed up we had gotten Salsa!
On January 4th Karen and Barbara were at the market when they received a frantic call that a dog had been run over on the highway. A good Samaritan took it to Dr. Julio Martinez and Barbara and Karen ran to meet the dog at the vet’s office. The poor dog was scraped to the bone and bleeding, her eye had popped out of her socket and she had multiple fractures and breaks. The extent of her injuries would require special surgery, so Julio administered pain meds, put the eye back in the socket and got her stabilized. Off went Barbara and Karen to get the dog to a veterinarian that specializes in bone, spinal and hip injuries about an hour south.
While she was in the hospital we named her Salsa in the hopes that she would live a colorful and spicy life — if only she could be put back together. We posted her photo on social media, in the hopes of finding her owner. No one came forward so we now we were in full rescue mode. We’d need rehab, we’d need a foster who could deal with the special needs, and we needed $5,000 US dollars to pay for her surgery. And eventually, we were hoping we would be needing to find her a home.
A week and a half after the accident, Salsa had undergone surgery that left her with multiple screws, pins and plates holding bones together on both legs and hips. She could walk haltingly but would need lots of therapy. Her eye was starting to heal and some of the skin that had been scraped off was starting to regenerate. She was ready to get on with the business of being a dog!
We took her to our best recovery foster – a couple in Sayulita who had helped us rehabilitate other dogs who had been injured and needed extra care and attention. Cheryl and Geoff did an awesome job, and after two weeks Salsa was walking with a bit of a limp but was happily joining her foster parents on short walks to town and to the beach. After a month of fostering and rehab, Cheryl was reporting that Salsa’s spirit had healed and she was mentally and physically ready to be adopted.
Sometimes the stars and planets align for a special dog like Salsa. She was ready to find a family and the next week one of our most awesome rescue partners, Street Dog Heroes, told us they were coming to Mexico to see how they could help us place some of the dogs who were ready to go. They asked to visit our dogs in foster care to see if they looked like dogs they could place in Oregon. They said yes to the first couple dogs they met. Of course, they did – these pups were young, healthy, cute and playful…highly adoptable.
And then we held our breath as we pulled up in front of Cheryl and Geoff’s house. This rescue group notoriously found the best homes for dogs and we knew they were Salsa’s best chance. We all felt Salsa deserved a forever home but she was still limping and her fur was still growing back and her eye was so bloodshot. We were afraid others wouldn’t be able to see past all those imperfections to see how full of love she was. But when Salsa greeted the Street Dog Hero Team with a smile and a wagging tail, we knew she had touched their hearts. The SDH team asked if they could take her for a walk to assess her post surgery progress. When they returned 20 minutes later and asked for us all to pose with them and the dog, they snapped a group photo, and said, “Yes, of course we will help her!“
And so they did! But wait! There’s a little bit more to this story.
Back in November we helped a young woman who had rescued a dog she named Rayo. Rayo looked a lot like Salsa, but he was a little older. There was no drama surrounding Rayo’s adoption – he was just a beautiful and healthy dog someone found and helped and San Pancho Animales, in turn, helped by finding him a great family in Oregon. Rayo left in the middle of December to join his new family. Usually that is the end of the story …except for occasional adorable photos of the adopted dog living a great life.
We had no idea that Salsa and Rayo might someday meet. When it was time to say goodbye to Salsa, we were sad that he wasn’t yet adopted but knew she was safe and headed to a Foster Care program run by Street Dog heroes. We knew if we were patient we would soon get good news.
Well it seems Rayo’s mom had begun following San Pancho Animales on Facebook and she saw the photo of Salsa we posted as she proudly walked with her flight angel through the Puerto Vallarta Airport on her way to Oregon. Rayo’s mom was struck by how much alike Rayo and Salsa looked. So on a whim, she forwarded the post to her friend and neighbor and said, “Look at this cute dog, wouldn’t it be fun if you adopted her and our Mexican Street Dogs could grow up together?” Well, her neighbor was in enchanted by Salsa’s photo and a bit saddened by her rescue story and, of course, she adopted her.
And, yes, Rayo and Salsa are now neighbors, fast friends and constant companions.