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  • Writer's pictureAaron Bartlett

"Dog runs", Adoption services, & the new Volunteer!

Welcome Erin! Our very first live-in Perros Libres volunteer :)

Erin Burns traveled all the way to Tzununá from Wakefield, Massachusetts, to be our very first volunteer to move into our current headquarters solely for the purpose of helping us grow, experiencing Guatemala, and helping the animals here in this part of the world. As she was considering a change in her life to expand outward into the world, and potentially create her own non-profit, she saw our Instagram page when the wonderful local business called Karuna, which is a Forest Retreat center that specializes in clean living, solitude, writing and poetry, and organizes events of all kinds for people to share their creative expressions shared on their Instagram story the Perros Libres Instagram page!

This prompted Erin to reach out to us, and she immediately asked if we had any volunteer live-in positions available. Thankfully, around this same time, some of my roommates were moving out and I happened to be all alone at the house for like a week. This was SUPER hard to deal with for me, having roughly 10 dogs every day in the house, and not able to leave for extended periods of time because of concern for bandits (yeah, it's a thing.) I actually had to hire people to watch the house whenever I wanted to go anywhere. AND we had the entire week scheduled to do dog-food runs. This doubled the needs of people whom we had to ask for volunteers, cause one would have to stay at the house for us do the entire length of Tzununa without leaving the house and puppies alone.Thankfully, our one-and-only Erica Derrickson who many of you know to be one of our biggest allies, hired our local doggie-chef to watch our house when we had to do these runs and couldn't find a volunteer.

So, basically, we did it!!! One solid week of dog-food runs (though we missed Saturday 🤷).


Thanks to the combined efforts of the local volunteers, Juana the dog-chef puppy sitting for us, and my good friends like Erica along with everyone who has helped me organize, we fed dogs five days in a row (Monday-Friday) which is the largest amount of consistent time delivering food and medicine to these dogs yet for Perros Libres. We also did some of the longest food runs, going the entire circulation of Tzununa one time. The craziest bit about that is the fact that double the volunteers were needed for the puppy-sitting, while we were on the run. Thank you Erica, thank you Juana, thank you donators, thanks to everyone who puppy sat for us this last week. Of course, because I tend to shoot for the moon, I still didn't hit the full mark I originally set of 6 days in the week for our full schedule. But, ya gotta manage your expectations and not over-work yourself. I also had roommates moving out that day, had to clean the entire house for Erin to arrive, and manage all my pups without any sitters. Thankfully, it all worked out. As of today we're back on schedule with the food runs.


Also, Erin brought her rescue dog :) Meet Mamba!

Turns out Erin also has worked in Animal Rescue before: she worked at a shelter in Grenada, The Caribbean! This is where she got Mamba. Apparently, she saw Mamba in a dream and then saw her in real life afterwards in the shelter. She knew Mamba was meant for her, and now Erin & Mamba are here with the team, helping many more dogs in this Central American area. Thank you Erin, and thank you Mamba!! We appreciate your presence SO much here. It's only been a few days together and you are a Godsend. 🙏🌞


Adoptions: picking up the pace.

This ridiculously cute dog Presh we were given as a "rescue", then thanks to the magic of Facebook found his owner within 2 days. Also, people are starting to know us around here. When a puppy is lost, someone brings it to Perros Libres. This will be a primary role of the dog sanctuary. Puppy "halfway-house'', or "hostel" even, a place both for lost dogs, homeless dogs, and even could hold temporary dogs with owners who are going to go on a vacation. The thing is, this current house was never meant to be that. We just are operating on a "do-what-we-can" basis, because in our current residence which was not meant to operate as a Dog Sanctuary, we gotta get on this building project to eventually move out of here. This house is on a busy street, there's way too many passer-bys which mess with the dogs, and the real space with the dog-land is the ideal space for the Dog Sanctuary. This house was meant just to hold some traveling tenants, and maybe a few dogs here and there. This is one of the next big, and necessary, steps forward.

There is quite a fascinating amount of aspects to this work. Sometimes we're rescuing dogs, sometimes we're adopting them to people, and in-between the two we have to rehabilitate them. Not everyone has the same skills with healing the dogs and giving them the optimal health situation to help them into their fullest physical state and quality of life. We seem to be doing a pretty good job with this as our pups are very happy, learning everyday, better behaved everyday, but still have the same basic needs as any doggies (and currently need their flea baths!) We have more than enough medicine around, but I just have to go get it from Erica's house and she happened to be unavailable at the same time as our dog run today when we passed by her place. We also have a large shipment of Nexgard Spectras coming in from Mexico. That's right: thanks to an amazing nearby dog-sanctuary on the lake we're getting some cheap meds from Mexico! 🇲🇽 Somebody's gotta do it. But the simple truth of the reality is, everything is not available right when you might need it. You have to wait, you have to ask, you have to be polite, and you can never demand. These things are essentially wisdoms you acquire to help harmonize with the culture of this place, and probably all humble alternatives to our hustle-bustle "First World" lifestyle.


Work smarter: not harder. Getting the help to come to us.

Yo so these kids are pretty cool. They know me for helping with the dogs and have started coming by asking for food. They live in two different houses but help each other out with everything: so they came together to ask for help with their individual dogs. I was able to give them cooked food thanks to Erin's quick handy-work and making sure we have extra cooked food available basically whenever. I asked them to please bring back the containers when they're done! 🥸

By building relationships like this with the local families, we can work less, by building our reputation more. People come to us and we can give them what they need. We can also help families with dogs that we wouldn't even see on the street, but might need help nonetheless. This is an obvious pointer to one of the real problems: there is no 'real' veterinary service here in Tzununa. We at Perros Libres in a way have been providing a similar function, and by extension as well by having the real vets come with me when we need them. Thank you Vetitlan, for always being there when we need you. You can check out their Facebook at the link there.

Thanks, as always, to you: the readers.

This is the end of our article for this week, and be proud to know that your help has allowed us to grow and extend our reach and influence further around this place. We're making great progress and starting to get long-term "volunteers", which can potentially soon even become "employees". This is the kinda stuff we need to do to get further than just Tzununa: one day we can maybe help other countries of South and Central America! But of course, one day at a time :)

Libertad por los perros, amigos.

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