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  • Writer's pictureAaron Bartlett

Looking forward, and looking backward, are both necessary for progress.

What a beautiful day it is on the lake. I realize how blessed we are, to be here. To many, this climate and environment would equate to paradise. There’s always trouble in paradise: but the trick is how does one avoid the trouble, and accentuate the good qualities of any new experience?

My answer to that is, get to know the people. If one knows his neighbors, there is little that can go wrong in a day. When everyone checks up on each other, has different skills that can help one another, and general friendly communication as which is normal anywhere in the world: one’s quality of life is high. A healthy community makes for happy families.


We’re a family here, too, at Perros Libres. We have a doggy dad: Aaron, a new doggy caretaker: Erin, and 14 amazing and energy-packed dogs. And I dare say, this is the best fed pack of dogs around. We take care of our own, but it took a lot of work to get here. We’re blessed because we have excellent neighbors, a good community, and a good system of self-preservation. When we all work hard, we all eat well, and we all get to sleep another night in this cool brick house. Thankfully the dogs are easy to keep happy, as long as they have the right amount of both food, and exercise/stimulation. Both of these things are the main essentials to a dog’s happiness, in my eyes.

Thankfully, when in a pinch, they are even smart enough to hop outside and go find some avocados in the jungle at dinner time if they would still happen to be hungry. We’re blessed to have such a calm, well-behaved pack and they are working more like a happy family than I’ve ever seen. That’s thanks to the constant attention they get: which we have now with 2 constant people dedicated to them full-time. The dogs are also coming in faster than ever before, with our pack growing at near-alarming rates (more on that below). But we have a good system in place to ensure their happiness, and are graced to take time to find them the right homes to move on from here.

Perros Libres is not designed to house dogs forever. It’s easy to get attached to dogs, especially ones you raise from birth or spend all your day with, but one hard part of this job is being logical with all choices. Dogs are entire lives we are responsible for, and cannot just pass them off to anyone who says they will take them; nor can we keep all of them (without a bigger space, ::ahem:: Dog Sanctuary) It’s necessary to find adoptees eventually, and vet the adoptees. I’ve learned this the hard way, with having a “failed adoption” where one our dogs was found in San Marcos (Pluto), all by themselves, 2 weeks after passing him over. Thank God for Erin, way before we ever hired her, found him and brought him back to us. That’s how we met, actually.

But what’s on the Perros Libres agenda today?…

You guessed it; even more puppies. 🥺

We’ve already got 2 new puppies since our last blog. One came in two days ago named Neptune, and the other is named Caya who is due in this afternoon. These dogs are both from friends of our organization: people know us so well around here, we’re the catch-all for street dogs in Tzununa. Apparently San Marcos, too, lately. This is both a blessing, and a curse.


I am very sorry to say, our beloved Maya has passed away. She had seemingly contracted Distemper, though we know not where she caught it. She lived with us for roughly a week, ate a ton of food and went on hikes enthusiastically, and in the last couple days she stopped eating and her energy level completely shot down to nothing. The next day her mouth was covered in mucus: we put her in a quarantine space and called the vet. We had her owner come take her to the vet, and she passed on the boat ride there. We mourn your loss, Maya, and will continue to learn more about Distemper and the rapid-type of treatment it needs to possibly recover from. It is, to this day, one of the most deadly diseases a dog can get we know of.

R.I.P. Maya 🙏👼

We have to medically assess all dogs we bring in, to be safe for a pack. Sometimes these street dogs, or even dogs from homes, harbor very dangerous illnesses like Parvo and Distemper. If some new dog brought diseases any other dog could be victim too: that spells trouble. I have to check every dog before they come in with just the best eye I have: the vet is not always available to come every time we need to bring in a dog. Locals also can’t afford vet visits, generally speaking. The process gets more complicated: but we learn along the way. The best defense is a good offense: meaning a strong immune system is the best defense against all of these diseases. We also have vaccines against Distemper and other things in all our dogs who've been seen by the vet. That’s why it is difficult to infect our pack: they are very healthy. However new dogs are wildcards. We’ll miss you, Maya.


Thankfully, the 13 dogs currently sitting around me are happy and need not for much in a day, as long as they get their walks. I personally also have double the time available now to feed the street dogs, bring assistance to local families, and improve our system of operation. The biggest steps are to come next: Build the big sanctuary. When it runs, it will be a self-sufficient Dog Sanctuary which can both employ locals to help maintain it’s operation, as well as live-in volunteers from websites like that can live for free, but must take care of the dogs in exchange. As low cost as low can get.

So, that’s where we are for now. We’ve got a good house, good working system to take care of all these animals, but must prepare for even bigger and more ambitious steps. We also have to be even more cautious about our new rescues, to make sure these dogs remain in the best health and happiness, always. Thank you for supporting us all this time. It hasn't been an easy road. But, our love for the animals here, and our ability to care for them, does not cease to grow. Libertad por los Perros.

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