Revving our engines for the big build: we’ve begun construction!
Updated: Feb 18, 2022
Very exciting news everyone: we’ve begun construction on the Dog-land! The last time we did this was building the fence that was the first thing we fundraised for related to the land. But now it’s the time for the next big steps for Perros Libres: make it useable! For truly the first time, we’re in a position of security that we can put resources into the land not needed in our monthly budget. We’re sustaining needs for us and the animals with ease using a tight-budget, as well as a more developing consistent monthly income (thank you to those monthly donators using Donorbox! You guys are amazing and accelerating our momentum greatly).
Also thanks to the affiliate relationships with El Perrosecco (instagram) and Purple La Luna (facebook) whom are donating percentages from sales to us for promotion and support. Things are looking very good, really. I’d had no idea we’d be here at this time, even though my idealist-self thought we’d been constructing already 3 months ago! I also didn’t expect we’d have 17 dogs on the property at this current time, before even having built the real Dog Sanctuary! But reality shows you what’s needed: and it’s taken a good 6 months to get settled with our own sustainability (mostly because of the ever-increasing dog numbers) before we could begin to build externally of our home base. But now, we’re kicking it into gear!
It might not look like much yet, but we’re gonna share with you “The plan”. Thank you workers!
Time to terraform: shape the land the way you want it to look.
The cool thing about this rental agreement for the Dog Land, is that we are really sharing it with the local family that owns it, under contractual agreement, and they eventually will have rentable spaces on the property which will up it’s value and attractability. We share the land, rather than own it (like many other projects) and yet are given perfect room both to coexist and accomplish our personal animal mission. We also have a division of space that we cannot use drawn in the map (in the red), for the landlord’s future building plans. That is actually great to have, because that means the rest of the space is for us to use for the dogs as needed. That’s a nice amount of space (about 1/3rd of an acre, or ~2.5 cuerdas), and here is the map in question, with colored areas I added to show our layout for the land, with names of local land owners adjacent erased for anonymity.
The map of the “Dog-land”: undeveloped road “calle Xeabaj” on the south side, and a river to the north.
The purple pentagon: that will be the location for the Volunteer house. This is where the volunteers will live, cook, sleep, and relax outside of spending their time with the animals: which of course is a big part of our days here. But the idea is, the more people that can live there with the animals, the less each individual person has to dedicate daily time to them. I already know how much one person can take with many dogs, sometimes I’m alone with 17 at a time. Even two days of this alone can be quite taxing. With just one extra person it feels quite manageable (thanks Erin! :) So if we eventually have, say, 50 dogs on the property, I’d want there to be a ratio of at least 1:10, Humans to dogs.
The blue hexagon: this is what the guys started on in the beginning of the post! It’s going to be an outdoor patio, play & sleep area for the dogs. It will have a (techo) roof to protect from the rain, and some kind of wind/rain screen as panels to protect them if necessary. But the idea is it’s a doggy-hang-out-spot. We’ll put some dog-bed spaces there that they will naturally use to sleep and take naps, as well as jump all over in the daytime during playtime.
The pink square: this will be an open-air bodega, which when I say ”bodega” I mean it in the slang-sense, which is more just like a human hang-out area. I think this will be cool to make out of adobe and have a very earthy-style, with open-air windows so people can see the dogs, a table and chairs, maybe a bookshelf, and where people can drink tea, have a cigarette, or read a book while enjoying the nice outdoor space around, and watch the dog-play area at the same time.
The green space: this is more outdoor area that is exploration area for the dogs. It also could be used for other things, but so far it’s just lots of rocks, boulders, banana trees, up-and-down. Great for doggie-exercise. It’s also got a lot of coffee growing naturally, and is used by the family to harvest fresh coffee every season. We will have to get in on this, somehow! Growing coffee and having it available on the dog-land for volunteers sounds like, the move.
Extra context: where you see “Calle Xeabaj” that means it’s the street of Xeabaj, which is the Mayan Kaq’chikel language name for this specific area of Tzununa. Xeabaj means: ‘below the rocks’ and that‘s because the big boulders on our property have once fallen from the mountains in far-back previous years (we anticipate this can happen in the future, and design around accordingly). So this entire area is a valley, underneath a much-higher mountain face. Hence all the waterfalls everyone knows in Tzununa.
Also, lastly, there is a river directly adjacent the land and small waterfall (you can see in the blue, behind the property on the map). However it will not have much water running until the rainy season comes back (May). We already have a gate built in back to access the waterfall area, where the dogs can drink and play in the water without having to even leave the property. Cool!
Super-happy we’ve gotten to this point. Hooray for following-through!
After these 6 months I’m really starting to feel in the flow of this running-the-orgainzation thing. I’ve got all of our finances documented, I’ve got our budget worked out, and we’ve been spreading word around the lake that many people know of us now, without even knowing me or the organization name’s personally. Word is getting out! People are hearing of us all over, and people are coming up to me often saying they know of the work we’re doing here. That’s a nice ego-booster, that’s for sure. But it also means we get more and more requests for help daily, now that people know there’s a place to actually take the dogs, my inbox is overflowing with requests to take more. This is why it’s so important to follow-through with this project, and with haste, to get this space built for the dogs to live, because we’re practically filled up in our current living space already. Requests have come in, and word has spread, much faster than I originally imagined. Take a look at how many dogs we have in our current headquarters!
There’s like 17 dogs here bro.
To end for the day, as always: Thank you.
We’re having a lot of fun with our pups here lately. We have more and more work to do everyday, but we always manage to get a lot of playtime with our littlest puppies and big dogs too and it makes this job super-fun. They (the puppies) are mostly around the 5/6 month age level now, where their energy levels are so high and they just wanna play all day. However, we can dig that! We just make sure they get their walks and stuff so they’re not tearing up the house, ya know?
Will be sharing the updates on the land progress, as well as the fundraiser we plan to launch (anyyyytime now) for the special volunteer house. Planning to take a piece of land from absolutely-nothing (except rocks, trees, garbage, and overgrowth last year) to a functional, beautiful, and tended space that is both pleasant to look at, comfortable for people to live, legal to rent, and fitting for a large amount of animals this year is a huge undertaking, but we have this entire year to get this thing built. However we don’t want to waste time, or money, so we are doing whatever we can right now. Though the funding is not in place yet for the biggest steps yet, the more we can prepare right now the easier it will be then. I’m grateful we can even get a patio built and that is going to be highly motivating for me to see. I make sure everyday we get steps taken forward for our animals, and the job doesn’t slow. Thank you to all of supporters everybody, and I hope you enjoyed this post today! Libertad por los perros.