Animal Angels in Camo – The Mexican Army opens shelter for abandoned dogs

I talk a lot about making Yucatan pet friendly, but my real dream is to make all of Mexico pet friendly, so I follow important stories from all over the country. So, did you hear the story about the Mexican Army opening an animal shelter? No? Well let me tell you all about it because it’s a wonderful tale about how my fellow street dogs inspired the heroic members of the Mexican Armed Forces to team up with civilian volunteers help make Mexico more pet friendly.

Santa Lucia Airport Base is a military airport located in the state of Mexico. It is all set to become the newest international airport in Mexico and work has been moving forward rapidly on the site. Us street dogs are smart. When we see building going on, we know we’ll find workers. Where we find workers, we’ll find lunch. There is always going to be a generous worker who will share some of his rations with us because, we’re so cute. When we find a great place for lunch, we tell our friends. The problem is that a building site for an airport is not the ideal location for a dog restaurant, especially when about 70 of us start hanging out.

Once we do our quarantine, we’re free of worms, and we are healthy, we get to have fun socialising with humans and other dogs, who get us ready for our new life.

Members of the Mexican Army realised that they had a problem, but they wanted to tackle it with intelligence and humanity. They knew that if they could find a way to work with the local community, they might be able to help reduce the growing population of dogs. Then came along a wonderful human, Maestra Pamela Diaz, who was working for the group of engineers involved in the construction of the airport.  She put forward a great idea. Why not create a refuge for these dogs, where they could be given love and care? An architect, also working on the airport, helped to repurpose an old, abandoned kindergarten building with recycled material and so they all worked together to turn it into a very special kind of place. 

Look at these amazing humans. See what you all can do when you work together?

Los Perritos de Santa Lucia is a one of a kind animal shelter, recently opened by members of the Mexican Army in collaboration with civilian volunteers to rescue and rehabilitate stray dogs from the building site and the surrounding areas. All the dogs that arrive at the shelter are medically evaluated, de wormed, quarantined and then, most importantly, they are assessed. That’s right. The smart officers realised that they may just have hit the jackpot of smart dogs, so some of them will go on to become detection dogs after training.

Veterinarian, Second Lieutenant Carla Medellin, explained the ultimate aim of all their hard work. “The shelter’s objective is to give the dogs a temporary home and to adapt them to live with humans and other dogs so they can be adopted by a family.” 

A Mexican soldier teaching a street dog that humans can be kind.

Those suited as family pets will receive training, be sterilised, and then will be made available for adoption. Adopters will have to meet certain requirements before being allowed to adopt one of the Santa Lucia dogs. They want to make sure that these dogs have truly found their forever home.

The shelter is in the Zumpango de Ocampo municipality and houses up to 50 dogs at any one time. They have a veterinary clinic, individual kennel spaces and plenty of outdoor space for socialisation and training. They have even undertaken some quite involved surgeries for injured dogs such as for Soraya, who arrived with two broken legs after being run over by a truck. 

Even though it isn’t their forever home, these comfortable kennels keep us safe until someone comes to love us.

While the facilities are generously run by members of the Mexican army, including military veterinarians, they do depend on donations from the public. Your generosity to help them continue this important work, saving dogs like me, is very welcome.

For more information about adoptions or how you can help you can reach Los Perritos Santa Lucia:



Photo credits: Los Perritos de Santa Lucia

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