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  • Writer's pictureAaron Bartlett

The Great Struggle: Can We Do It?!

I'm writing to you from the center of my dog-pack, at the grand table of the main Sanctuary A. We've grown so large but didn't plan for exactly how we'd manage once we split locations (in July). The Sanctuary stands on stilts, and requires reinforcement in the foundational layer. We're being challenged to see if we can fix our problems, maintain our two locations, and feed all our dogs even better food. The challenges, the things we need to do, plans that need to be made, stack higher than ever. We need to reinforce the structure, and re-design the system. All the way down to the recipe for the dogs!

A bunch of puppies! Too many!

Little Aly on Sanctuary B!


Everything seemed okay and we were in-budget for all the dog operations when I went to Texas for 1 week. It was right around when I lost my passport and couldn't get back to the Sanctuary, things started to go bad. A few people had quit just before this, and our schedule manager had not returned from her trip either! She was in charge of making the schedule. I had to then create a schedule myself from Texas for all the people rotating still there on the Sanctuary. Some others who were employed didn't show up for a week. We also had only budgeted that I was gone for 1 week, and I had to send money to the Sanctuary so they could eat! There wasn't enough food, so the people and the dogs suffered for it. We were short on rations and general support.

My biggest lesson looking back: There should be back-up dog food stored always for situations like this. And, I should have asked for more help from our community.

Perrita eating on other Sanctuary

We had a very difficult series of months starting with the rainy season which began roughly in May. It was at this time we were being threatened, by neighbors who didn't want us to have so many dogs. So we made a negotiation, where I agreed to move half of our dogs in a month. This was when we had to put the pedal to the metal and find land, materials, funding, and do-the-impossible which was to meet that request reasonably in this timeline, which we managed to actually do. What a MIRACLE we got done with your help, and one other special person.

Thanks to Daisy, from the San Marcos Foundation, we were given an alternative land to use to make the split from one Sanctuary into two. We had already started our fundraiser and were able to successfully get half the dogs there on time. Woohoo! ::wipes sweat off brow:: 🥵

All puppies needing homes!

Absolutely amazing we were able to do it.

Thanks to fast fundraising, a huge community support, we did what was needed for the safety dogs. However we are only just beginning!

Get ready for walks!


We're in a tight spot: we need to rebuild, restructure, and rehire.

I don't say this lightly: Perros Libres needs some serious support as of late. We've had a some criticism for some of our greater flaws, and that's weighed a little heavy on me. I will lay out some of the main complaints, which I respect and have gained a lot of knowledge from.

  1. Not all of our dogs are sterilized, which has led to puppies being born. (big problem and high priority to change rapidly!)

  2. Food nutrition content is not high enough (low quality kibble, need more iron/meat, and vitamin B12). We're already working on this closely.

  3. We don't have every type of vaccine for all dogs. We should be able to get vaccines more easily, for the various kinds for all the dogs.

  4. Volunteer conditions have been very difficult, downright awful! We're working on this daily as well!

I would say these are the most simplified and direct complaints that I wholeheartedly agree with, and will dedicated my full attention to improve and change.

I admit, I am very flawed as "the leader" of dogs AND people: I'm still learning this. Please forgive my mistakes, my ignorances, and my inexperience which have created these problems. I see these are stepping blocks to our fullest understanding of WHAT is really needed on a Dog Sanctuary. 

That's not all! I've also been very stubborn, lazy at times even, and had plenty of days I was getting really exhausted with people! I'm no prince charming either, when the dogs (or me) are having a bad time.

Old motivational poster I made XD

...but I don't bite! Haha. 😬


We'll be needing new volunteers!

In the not-so-far future our schedule opens up, we always need to be planning ahead to make sure there are enough people employed at the Sanctuary. We need around 6 people to run this place effectively: 3 full-time and 3 part-time does it just fine.

So, full-time people are paid employees. This is how it works:

500 Quetzales for 5 days of work. That's the equivalent of only $65/week USD which, honestly, is pennies. This is how much we're able to afford on our non-profit budget. In our last blog we talked about our finances and left a detailed spreadsheet of the last 3 months of spending. Employees are becoming a big piece, we need constant full-time people.

It's almost a Catch-22...

That's the two elements of our biggest challenges right now: staffing, and budget. Staff need to be paid, but there needs to be money to hire them in the first place! There's only money if we keep these dogs healthy, and we need hands to make that a reality! It feels like we constantly have to "catch-up", and constantly asking for help from volunteers.

Where are our super-sponsors? Who can help us get the budget we need to keep this place going?

This is the golden-question. A Dog-Sanctuary can only operate with a consistent budget: something we have never had. We've never had a super-sponsor who can help us keep operations consistently running flawlessly. We seek the aid these dogs will need, and won't stop searching until we find it.



Thank you to everyone who still believes in us.

This has been a hard year. It's like only 2/3rds done, and honestly: I pray we will make it through. I pray every day for these dogs.

The Lord is my shepherd, and the dogs are my sheep.

I won't give up on these babies. I love them too much.

We can use your support right now.

The Dog Sanctuary works to maintain its ability to remain here in Tzununa, and we're working harder than ever! If you think we're doing a good job, show us your support with a share, comment, like, shout-out, or donation today! Donate button below!

Thank you for your donation!

Thank you everyone for reading all the way to the end!

If you did, you deserve a high-five! And libertad por los perros!

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