Want Something Different? Dog Washing Day!
Posted by Tony & Cheri on May 24, 2008
Guests at our hotel, the Luna Blue Hotel & Garden, are always asking for advice on something different…a new restaurant, a unique tour or some activity only the locals know about. Lately we have been telling people about something we think is fun, special and very different: Dog Washing Day at the Peanut Pet Shelter.
First a little background. A couple of years ago, Andy and Jen left their home in the United Kingdom to move to the paradise of Playa Del Carmen. Once they got here, they began to notice the large number of abandoned and stray dogs that wander the streets. Some are born here and others are left behind when their owners move on or go back home. Unfortunately, the local government doesn’t have the resources or facilities to do much about it. Dogs which are captured or turned into the animal control are quickly put down.
Being the animal lovers they are, Andy and Jen decided to do something about the situation…something very different for this part of the world. They opened an animal shelter to house abandoned dogs. Well, actually, they opened their home! They began to collect street dogs, care for them, feed them, get them medical attention and try to adopt them out to local families who wanted a pet. They did all of this on their own time, often with their own money supported by the contributions of locals and visitors.
They currently are housing and caring for about 50 dogs, many of them very young or small puppies. That’s a lot of work. One of the biggest chores is giving the dogs their weekly bath. No, the very active puppies don’t stay clean for long, but they do get washed down, and more importantly, they get used to the feel of human touch. They become accustomed to playing with and seeing people which turns them from street dogs into potential pets.
For some time now, local expats have gathered at Andy and Jen’s home/shelter on Saturday afternoons (1:00pm to 3:30 pm) to help with the washing. Hoses, buckets and towels litter the yard as playful pups are grabbed and scrubbed. Lately, the local crowd has been joined by more and more visitors. Guests from the Luna Blue Hotel are now starting to ask about washing day and how they can help. Last week we had a sweet young couple spend the final day of their honeymoon joining in the fun. They are returning later this year and plan on taking a puppy home! And recently, a mother and daughter visiting us from the states (ages 82 and 58 respectively) spent two Saturdays of their trip at the Pet Shelter and said it was the highlight of their vacation.
So, if you are going to be visiting us here in Playa in the near future, and you are a dog lover, think about spending some time at the Peanut Pet Shelter. You will see some adorable dogs and puppies. And yes they are all up for adoption, and yes they can be taken back to the US and Canada without quarantine. Mexican street dogs (or MSD’s, as we jokingly refer to them) are loyal, hardy and loving—we know because we own one (read Gypsy’s story here). And while you might think street dogs would be fearful or anti-social, it’s just the opposite. These dogs are starved for love and are grateful and loving in response to any attention they get. You will also get to hang out with folks who live here and will be glad to tell you about life in Mexico, as well as some of their favorite places to eat, go, drink etc. If you do stop by to help, make sure to wear old clothing and nothing white. You’ll end up dirty and smelling like a lot of puppies. 🙂 This is a chance to see part of Playa Del Carmen you won’t find in the guidebooks.
And while you are visiting you will notice the construction on the lot next door. With the help of generous donations from around the world, Andy and Jen are now building an actual kennel/shelter for the dogs.
If you want to wash a puppy or two when you come down on holiday just contact Andy & Jen via their website or contact us at the Luna Blue Hotel & Garden. It will be a vacation memory like no other.
Here are some more pictures from a recent Wash Day at the Peanut Pet Shelter in Playa del Carmen:
Gypsy, our own Mexican Street Dog. She was ALMOST a resident of the pet shelter!