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  • Writer's pictureAaron Bartlett

Celebrating & Progressing: 1 full year of Perros Libres!

New Front-Gate Art by Volunteer Nils!

"Nothing in life that's worth having comes easy..."

Perros Libres, since August 8th officially, has reached one full year as a legal organization. This is an incredible milestone, one so amazing it's hard for me to fully realize even still... I am just in awe, here, sitting with a beautiful view of the lake, surrounded by dogs that are happy to be here. Every day we play with dogs, walk dogs, feed dogs, and it's quite a community of dog-lovers that have come together to support the Perros Libres initiative.

Now, we are friends with many incredible people around the lake, and even just in Tzununa, that we have found that want our project to grow, succeed, and thrive. Many of these friends have helped out by coming to volunteer, donating dog food, sharing our pages online, or whatever it is they have been able to contribute to our cause. What's amazing is these groups are both foreign, and local. We are becoming a huge part of the local animal rescue initiative, and have solidified ourselves as the dog rescue and dog sanctuary to call when you have a dog in need of help in all of Lake Atitlan.

Yet, we've experienced intense and crazy challenges.

With animal-rescue work, one must be ready to experience loss. Disease, trauma, especially death: are all a huge part of the job in a place like this. We've seen, in just a single year on the streets of Tzununa, just about everything I could have ever imagined dogs could go through. From the horrible, to the most amazing recoveries and miracles I could have ever imagined to witness (Quixaya's survival and healing). The truth is: it is an emotionally taxing job. If people tried to describe what it's like here, they may say: summer camp for dogs, or, doggie day-care center. But imagine what this is like for the humans, in a place where there are constantly people fluxing in-and-out, no consistent staff besides myself (one of our biggest weaknesses), and not to mention how we don't always know how we're gonna make next months bills. 😮

So, one can say this job is a monumental and constant test of faith.

Yup, I said it. Faith is the key ingredient to this entire project's success. Without faith, we could not have been confident we would have the bills paid every month. Without faith, we could not put every dollar we had into feeding these dogs, and feeding ourselves, knowing as long as we are healthy and taking care of one another: funding will come in, we are doing a huge humanitarian effort that many want to succeed. You guys are all proof of that.

Because of you, the supporters, the faith is validated time and time again, and we are still here.

It is no small miracle, but a series of many, many miracles I believe that led us to be here. I thank God everyday for this opportunity: for being able to have a job where I can live in Guatemala, take care of animals who need it, and make even a small difference in this crazy world. So, let me start by saying thank you.

Veterinarians all the way from Chicago helping Kisses at Perros Libres


So what's going on now: how is the Sanctuary? Perros Libres by the numbers.

The Sanctuary at Perros Libres has been running better and better than it ever has. We take care of dogs faster, get more dogs rescued, and more dogs adopted than ever before. Let's look at some numbers:

  • Adopted dogs: Vos, Kisses, Yuki, Angelita, Socks, Bella, 2 unnamed dogs, Mars, Sky, Sol, Rush-Kush, Gemini, Tula, Arrow, Pebbles, Pizza, Miso, Dragón, Lily, Tesla, Leah, Rocco, Caya, a puppy whose name I forgot, and lastly another puppy (Neptune's sister) named 'Puppy'. 🙄

Doggies that have been adopted :)

That's 25 total puppies adopted in a year!! So cool!

So, currently at the Sanctuary we have 44 dogs. This is, of course, a record-breaker for us. We have constantly gone up-up-up-and-away in terms of how many dogs we have over time. I'd love to make a graph line-chart of it like we did in high school! And that means, if we've already adopted 25 dogs, we've adopted out more than 1/3rd of all dogs received that are still with us at the sanctuary. That's some good numbers!

In terms of fostering, it would be nice if we had more support of that from the community, but that is part of the main problem here: most living spaces (rental) on the lake do not allow dogs. This includes hostels, hotels, and even rental houses very often. So ultimately, there are not many homes for dogs here at all. Thus, our purpose is very strong, and demand very strong as well. Both good things.


Sterilization: next on the list. Collaboration with the "San Marcos Foundation!"

Our poster for the first clinic with the San Marcos Foundation in December, 2021

We have an official confirmation that our next date for our co-collaborated Sterilization Clinic in Tzununá with the aid of the San Marcos Foundation will be on September 7th! This is great news, because we can only afford these sterilizations because of these clinics where we are able to do them at "local cost", thanks to the fundraising of the San Marcos Foundation team, and it costs us little to nothing. But at the same time, we also have to wait a couple months to do new dogs, but it's not that hard to time their growth to get it before the first heat.

Thank you San Marcos Foundation!

And thanks to our recent collaborations being so successful...

we have an exciting development to announce: The Puppy Palace!

We will be partnering with the San Marcos Foundation to create a place called the "Puppy Palace", where we can help raise money for more homeless puppies who need feeding in the neighboring town of San Marcos, including our puppies in Tzununa as well!

Here I have some photos to share of some of these puppies in the Puppy Palace, who very soon will be available for sponsorship through our system and will directly feed these puppies and help take care of our own while we search for forever-homes for them all. Continuing the process and expanding the reach of Perros' Libres ability to aid more dogs is exactly what we got into this work for. We want to help ALL dogs in need on the lake, and San Marcos will be the first official "extension" of Perros Libres aid to direct towns, through the awesome partnership of the San Marcos Foundation! Thank you Daisy for making this possible!

Puppy Palace dogs: These puppies will soon be available for sponsorship!

Hungry puppies currently hosted by the San Marcos Foundation in the "Puppy Palace"


That's all for today, folks.

It's getting late, and I'll be closing the blog here for now. But I have humble ask of you to make today. As you all know we are a purely donation based organization, and funding has gotten dangerously low this month. Where we currently stand, we are not prepared to pay for dog food next month, let alone our rent, as we have gotten to such a dangerously low position in our funding. Please, if you can help at this time, consider making a donation on our website. I'm adding a direct donation button here for the convenience, if you can help at this time would be immensely appreciated. Thank you, and most of all for reading this blog and getting to know our story. We cannot be here without you.

Click the button ⬆️ to donate!


Thank you as always, everyone!

And don't forget: Libertad por todos los Perros!

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