top of page


The Dog Sanctuary is a-go! 


It's time to make some big changes for the volunteers, for the employees, for myself, and for the dogs.

For over two years, we've operated here at Perros Libres to both great success and great controversy. The success is due to accomplishing our mission: many dogs have been rescued, rehabilitated, and adopted. Things are moving in a positive direction.

One of our adorable dogs: Aly


The controversy is primarily due to our living situation: the sanctuary has been showerless, very dirty at times, and difficult to maintain with various in-and-out volunteers. The living situation is one of the first and most important things to address: without happy volunteers and employees, the sanctuary cannot operate in continuum.

We have had many volunteers who have dealt with the difficult living conditions and yet love the heart and soul of this project. They didn't complain, they helped in every way they could. Volunteers who gave their sweat, blood, and tears but stayed with us until it was their time to head home. It was never easy or comfortable for any of us, and this is what everyone who has been watching our story already knows.

Throughout this year, we've experienced all kinds of challenges and difficulties: staffing the sanctuary, keeping the neighbors happy, splitting the pack, opening a new location; and the list goes on.

Artur and Anna in unfinished build


Our successes, however, started happening during the summer when we moved half of the dogs into a second sanctuary. It took months and thousands of dollars, but we got it done. We raised over $8,000 in May, June, and July from the Emergency Build-A-Shelter fundraiser. We could pay our employees for months, purchase much-needed new material, medicine, dog food, tools, wood, buckets, gloves, a hose, an extra propane tank, blankets, and sheets, and then started to operate the second sanctuary. Upon its opening, we immediately had employees who were the stewards of the land.

To split locations was like moving mountains. But because we had strong financial support at that time, it was able to be done as fluidly and easily as possible. Thank you so much for your support at that time, everyone who helped us do that. It saved our dogs.

Despite this win, we were having a hard time keeping employees and volunteers happy. We cycled through a lot of people, now just one remains: the best employee we've ever had: Pablo.

To clarify, it is simply me and Pablo currently working here (there are no current live-in volunteers), but Pablo currently resides in a brand-new apartment across from the second sanctuary. It is an incredible change, but resulted in us needing to give up our original volunteer house to do this.

Our best employee: Pablo

We did this because we currently have no volunteers due to the bottom of low season and conditions that haven't improved in a long time. The dogs and I surely have never experienced anything like this. We're ready to make this major shift in the right direction to perfect our model of the dog sanctuary and the organization of Perros Libres.

We need consistent employment to make two sanctuaries run properly. Without this, it will be impossible. Now that Pablo is in his new room and we have a NEW SHOWER, we can finally provide comfortable living conditions for our small yet stable team.


Exciting Volunteer Plans

As previously mentioned, we have not been able to get enough volunteers to help with the care of the sanctuary. It has been difficult to manage all ~50 pups with just Pablo and myself. One of the main reasons we have fewer volunteers is due to the fact that we were taken off our primary volunteer-finding platform, Workaway, when our shower stopped working. However, I am proud to announce that we have teamed up with a local hostel, Hostel Cascadas Xibaj, to provide much-needed housing for future Perros Libres volunteers!

We have an incredible agreement that will benefit our volunteers, Hostel Cascadas Xibaj, and Perros Libres. Volunteers who come can stay at the hostel, surrounded by incredible views in Lake Atitlan, in exchange for volunteering at the hostel and the sanctuary 50/50. We are excited to launch this new offer on Workaway now that we can provide proper housing for our dedicated and invaluable volunteers. We are excited by this new collaboration and the potential it holds for us to gain much-needed help.


Future Plans

Currently the sanctuary is on a rental property, however we ultimately plan to build our very own. If you are able to contribute to our construction fundraiser to build a bathroom and a brand new volunteer house, you will help us be the best dog sanctuary in 2024. We've experienced several challenges this year to the point where we nearly had to stop operating. It got way closer than I ever would have liked, and I have learned mountains of things from these experiences.

I'm confident that I am the right person to manage this operation and ensure the success of Perros Libres by overcoming obstacles, and expanding upon all the good we've done for the dogs and the community.

Volunteers with dogs at Sanctuary B


Time for big steps:

We're beginning the process to upgrade our Sanctuary. We're going to build a real bathroom, with hot shower and all, we're going to finish a half-completed house that will be for future volunteers.

With time, we can make this place into a sustainable community and project which will be able to take care of animals here for 20 years or more.

Because of our growing project, expansion into two locations, and the need to hire full staff year-round we continue the most ambitious fundraiser we've done yet.

We're asking for a total of $10,000 USD to upgrade all conditions & fund development of a comfortable and sanitary home for staff.

Yes, it is a high ask, but this will be funding put to very good work. It will build liveable and comfortable conditions for humans to perpetually run this project.

I know people usually are motivated to "donate for the dogs", but because of our near-failing conditions during this year from lack of happy people, and therefore constant relearning and readjusting....we need to shift this direction completely. It's a necessity for our health, wellness, and expansion into a full-fledged long term project and movement to continue to do the job we have created, and continue to rescue dogs on lake Atitlan.

Two volunteers prepping to walk dogs

Please consider donating to our cause to help us make Perros Libres sustainable for more than just two caretakers. Consider donating to help us meet our goal to build a proper home with our own bathroom, shower, and basic amenities so we can give our best to our incredible team and beloved dogs who so desperately need our love and time.

Here is the link to the fundraiser page direct, or you can donate below:

Thank you for helping us help dogs in need, and have a great day!

Libertad para los perros.

116 views0 comments

With a wonderful will and community effort, we pulled off a big event: our very first hosted and fundraised sterilization clinic! This was not done alone: we had the helping hand of the San Marcos Foundation, who we previously collaborated with many of their clinics in San Marcos and Tzununa alike, Daisy Shlackman helped organize and coordinate in all the areas we fell short 😜. Daisy comes with years of experience of hosting these clinics and kindly helped set up the whole process so we could have a "successful first clinic".

It went swimmingly! We did have a few setbacks, as should be expected, but we ended up getting a

total 30 animals sterilized in the day, with the majority 18 being Perros Libres dogs, 10 dogs from the community, and 2 cats!
Dr. Isael performing one of the first sterilizations

Congratulations!!! Thank you to all the donors who made the fundraiser a success!


It was a really tough day, but we made it through!

Our original intended goal of 100% sterilization was only partially accomplished (for dogs over 6 months)

"Let's see some pictures!"


Well, we got 'em. but they come with a warning.

Graphic warning: operation photos are somewhat difficult to see (recommended children do not see), but for the sake of science we show those with the courage to look and see what it's like.

Well, without further ado: here ya go.

A lovely group of volunteers showed up to help during the course of the day!

Thank you Daisy, Dr. Isael, Alyce, Nina, Manolo, Diego, Carolena, Pablo, all the vet techs, every visitor and every donator for making this happen!


Running the numbers!

We knew (atleast Daisy did) that it would be almost impossible to get all 40 dogs done in the day, it being our first self-hosted clinic (she was right). The vets came about an hour late and set-up took some time as well. And because we opened the clinic to be partially public, we had about 12 animals from outside, so we needed to prioritize:

  1. All Perros Libres 18 dogs older than 6 months got sterilized, so even though we didn't hit a full 100% sterilization rate yet, we are now completely pregnancy-proof for the next 3 months at minimum.

  2. If we can do another clinic by December at latest, then we can reach the FULL 100% sterilization.

  3. We'll also be able to do this again, and soon, because we've proven we can pull it off. Though it was a lot of work, it was EXTREMELY worth the effort, as now we're 100% sterilized for all dogs over 6 months*, and therefore stress-free from pregnancy.

*Quixaya, however to note, is not sterilized even though her age is unknown. We were alerted to the risk an operation of that kind has a high chance of being fatal for her, so we have opted for her to remain as-is.

She's been through a whirlwind lately, but recovering amazingly!

Quixaya today, on a new diet & in strong recovery


Okay, on to the next one...the big announcement! Drumroll please......

Project: Build-the-Volunteer House & Bathroom!

An inside look of the structure, currently very doggy-inhabited

It's time to make a big change: We're going to turn this cement-brick-house into a quality volunteer home! With bathroom, hot shower, cement floor, doors and windows!

This will be the largest construction project and fundraiser we've ever initiated.

& we'll need your help to make it a reality!

Poster made by a supporter!

It's no secret that the volunteer and living conditions at Perros Libres are far less than optimal. This has created a lot of drama ever since we begun, because they are far below western and many peoples standard of living. We were temporarily removed from because our shower is technically broken, and we need to fix things like this to be put back on. We've had as my friend so aptly put it, "volunteers literally running away" until we get a proper shower and bathroom on our locations.

Thusly, this created huge gaps in our normal volunteer schedule, and that made these last few months extra difficult, with less people than we planned for taking care of a pack truly larger than life.

This is what I mean by "larger than life!"

For this very reason, last year, a construction project was initiated by a strong donator who had a great working crew: who made this current structure you see here below. For a few different reasons involving the construction crew and funding, this project was halted mid-way and we were left with an unfinished structure. A year has gone by, and our living situation has not really improved at all.

Our biggest setbacks:

  1. We have no proper working shower, besides an outdoor private space with a hose.

  2. Our volunteer house is currently a 4-bed dorm-sized room (yikes!)

  3. The bathroom is a simple toilet, with a black tarp covering it for privacy.

  4. Sanctuary A & B technically have no bathroom on them, so with just direct access at the Volunteer house across the street, it's not the easiest working conditions for anyone.

Under these simple facts, one can see a root of many of the basic, basic issues we've had that could be easily fixed with something like: A high-quality volunteer house on the property, with plumbing, bathroom, HOT shower, and toilet. The house can even have a real kitchen, and we have the whole space planned out thanks to our amazing Guatemalan friends and helpers.

Planning where the septic goes!

So the big plan goes like this, we do it in 3 phases:

  1. Housing (Floor, Windows, Doors)

  2. Bathroom (Septic, Plumbing, Toilet, Hot Shower!)

  3. Kitchen (stove, countertops, etc.)

Here is a closer look at the house in it's current condition, and what the funding will go to finishing:

Help us turn this into a home for our ever-growing group of volunteers and staff!


Right now, we have the walls and roof of just the house done, but we need a cement floor, plus a separate kitchen from where we prepare meals for ourselves and our dogs.

We'll be digging and installing a septic tank, water system, and hot-water shower which will be the most complex part of the job.

There are so many dog lovers eager to volunteer with our dogs, and some local residents who have been housing them, but we need to finish our own housing to make this project space live-able for the long term. We have already prepared our materials list, and we have eager workers lined up to start up right now!'s time to start! We can't allow the living conditions to remain like this any longer, and fundraiser harder than we ever have to make something people want to live in.

This team must grow, our conditions must improve, and that will secure our long-term potential to live here, host volunteers and employees in a sanitary and comfortable environment.

An example of our staff size, how many we'll house


Here is the fundraiser campaign where you can donate, and a direct webpage!

This is the largest fundraiser we'll have ever attempted, and it will be for the most primarily important cause for our projects success: proper living conditions.

It is truly a miracle of miracles we have survived 2 years with this project, and despite the little we've had, and very rustic conditions, we've shown dedication and brevity towards the goal of a real, incredible, and 1-of-a-kind Dog Sanctuary in Guatemala. Without government aid, without any grants or seed-funding, this has been a 100% grass roots fundraised effort from the start. So now we go the strongest we ever have, and must ask for the strongest support we can as well. Tell your friends, share this page, and spread the word to create the best Dog Sanctuary with good housing we can make.

Unlike previous fundraisers, who have often had a deadline, this is without one. We will use this Fundraiser as a long-term endeavor, being able to slowly construct the house without having to rush, make rookie mistakes, or do a sloppy job.

This is going to be 100% professional, with craftsmanship-level aid and we need a strong funding base to do this. For this, we are working to raising an entire $10,000 USD for the total cost of all construction, materials, all installation costs, food, and labor. Literally all costs covered in the process of making a quality construction.

This project could take as little as 6 weeks, or as many as 3 months. It's a grand undertaking, and we're asking the community of the world to help us reach this goal. If you can support our cause in any way, consider donating or spreading the word. Let's make a great place to live.

Here is the link to the fundraiser page direct, or you can donate below:


Thank you for following our story, helping us get to this point, and helping create the magical dream this Dog Sanctuary has been.

Gracias, adios, y Libertad para los perros!

Aaron & Flacka say: see you later!

166 views0 comments


Let's start with the good news: we're finally gonna sterilize the pack!

A single strong criticism against how we've operated is taking in too many dogs, too fast. I have to agree that we moved perhaps faster than we should, and had too many dogs with not the right team or infrastructure to perfectly manage. Too many dogs means it's harder to feed them all, and especially if not everyone is sterilized, you will inevitably have too many dogs. I know it was a mistake to not get this done sooner: but now is the time. We have the support to make it happen: but we need your, and others, help to continue on.

I have learned so much doing this, and there is still yet so much for me to learn. I'm still a beginner, and acknowledge we are start-ups who really can use a leg-up from those with more experience. I want to be open and connecting to the community, and not an "island", where we do things our own way and ignore the aid of others. I am here to learn to accept help, know how we can improve, and protect my animals all at the same time. It is not an easy task.

A cutie puppy who needs sterilization!

The time has come! Get up to speed with sterilization!

So...what are we going to do?? Maybe one of the most important tasks we've ever taken on: set up our OWN sterilization clinic, where we can finally sterilize ALL of our dogs and reach 100% sterilization rate.

This is essential for the continuation of Perros Libres. Without properly getting the dogs sterilized in time, we will unintentionally add more dogs to the population, which we are here to prevent. The population is over-run with dogs, and we need to find homes for who we do have, and not add any more dogs to the population making this task any harder. It's already challenging enough!

So...this is where we need you! We are trying to raise a total of $1,340 USD in order to pay for the entire clinic, with the ability to sterilize up to 40 dogs. This fundraiser's sole purpose is to pay for all the sterilization of our dogs, and whatever additional dogs we can fit in.

This will help our Sanctuary get up-to-speed on sterilizations and prevent the spread of any extra dogs. This is huge.

Click here to see the last time we helped host a Sterilization clinic!

As little as $33 USD can sterilize a single dog in our Sanctuary. Please consider supporting us so we can sterilize the remainder of our pack by this upcoming, Tuesday, September 12th. We have a Facebook event page I will link here. We've already raised $446.45 by the time I'm writing this blog, but we still have a ways to go!

Just like always, we need you guys to get this goal met. Our Sanctuary is a community effort which feels weakened at this time, with volunteers dropping out, Workaway issues, and even pressure against us from all of the challenges of this year and especially the final push of the situation of this month. We fight harder than ever to stay here, and I humbly ask if you want to help us continue our work, and get the Sanctuary sterilized at 100%, please help us reach that goal here:

This will be the single largest step forward for the Perros Libres organization, in fact a huge leap in our ability to operate successfully here.

Thank you for those who can support at this time!

Any additional funds raised beyond the cost of the event, will pay for dog medicine we greatly need, or potentially a second clinic for more dogs if this goes really well.

There is not much support for the dogs here in Tzununa, and really we are it. Despite how some may feel we haven't done the best job, we're still the only ones here. And we won't quit on the dogs.


Once the doggies are sterilized: everyone is up for adoption!

Doggies that need homes <3

This is the goal of a rescue:

  1. Rescue

  2. Rehabilitate

  3. Vaccinate

  4. Sterilize

  5. Adopt!

Slowly we improve our reach and accessibility to every step.


Some bumps in the road...but with a clear path ahead!

It's been a long journey. It's been 2 years we've been doing this, and I daresay it's only gotten harder, and not easier. That is the simple truth and the team needs to grow, since the pack has grown.

Thankfully I am here to do just that. I may have felt alone in this before, but it won't be forever. Our team will grow, and these dogs conditions will only get better.

The ultimate thank you to those who has stuck with us in these tough times. We will improve and continue on, to make the Dog Sanctuary this place really needs.

Libertad para los perros.

72 views0 comments
bottom of page