From dogs being thrown off boats out at sea or being beaten, typically in Mexico, authorities will not prosecute offenders. To make matters worse, stray puppies are being born at an unbelievable rate, as it is commonly thought that to neuter a dog is to take away his masculinity.
Due to a lack of food, water and searing heat conditions, the street dogs of Mexico suffer hugely. A common and curable illness, heartworm, is responsible for a large number of unnecessary deaths due to a limited supply of medication in some areas.
Opening our Resource Centre would not have been possible without the support of Gillian Wood. After meeting her at a regular Spaython trip in Puerto Rico, Wild at Heart Foundation founder Nikki knew that Gillian’s dedication to compassionately reducing the world’s stray dog population was one that rarely matched her own. From this first encounter, a powerful partnership was formed and would become the basis for our work in Mexico.
Prior to her partnership with Wild at Heart Foundation, USA-based Gillian has kept an impressive track record of her own, with 25 years’ experience working within New York shelters. From creating programmes that have resulted in the highest save rate for municipal shelters in the USA, to developing recovery protocols that allow mobile veterinarian teams to maximise the number of safe sterilisations they can perform, Gillian’s ethos is one that we proudly align with at Wild at Heart Foundation.
In July 2020, when a facility became available in Chemuyil, Mexico, Gillian and Nikki jumped at the chance. Having an outreach centre in the midst of a stray dog epidemic had always been a dream discussed between the two, so, 4 months later, Gillian packed her bags and made the 5500km drive from the USA with her 4 rescue dogs, Rizzo, Tick, Jeffrey and Allie; and the evolvement of the Wild at Heart Foundation Resource Centre began.
The objectives of the Wild at Heart Foundation Resource Centre are to facilitate local community sterilisation clinics, vaccinations and veterinary care, plus to provide food for strays and low-income family owned dogs; with hopes to expand to offer outreach educational services to both local and neighbouring communities, to help guide the next generation on how best to care for their own dogs, and also the strays on the streets of Mexico. Rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work is also intrinsically linked.
Gillian and her incredible team of volunteers, in conjunction with Maya Animal Alliance, pushed on with their vital work, sterilising, vaccinating and de-worming 220 animals within their first month; and by the end of 2021, Wild at Heart Foundation had supported the sterilisation of 517 dogs. A further 250 were sterilised during the summer of 2022.
Further achievements with our support during 2022 have included the construction of an isolation kennel block, which is hugely important for keeping sick and vulnerable dogs safe in a sterile environment. This is a great development of our work in Mexico, and with the combined energy, compassion, and commitment provided by Nikki, Gillian, and the Wild at Heart Foundation team, our Resource Centre will provide a solid launching pad for incredible life-saving work.
If a regular donation towards a specific project is set up and we subsequently cease to provide support in the future, any recurring donations will be allocated to the areas of our other work requiring the most support.