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  • Writer's pictureAaron Bartlett

The Next Chapter: 2022! We've got a new sanctuary!

Hey everybody! Been a little while. Updates on Perros Libres abroad!

We have a brand-new specifically allocated dog-sanctuary!!

A both surprising and incredible situation was pushed upon us. In our previous location, where I wrote in the last blog how difficult it was to maintain proper security for the dogs, and the proximity to the main road which provided a high risk factor for the animals, the local owner of the property decided to come back and not renew our lease. They then asked us to move out, on a very short notice. At first this was really upsetting, because I heard this on the 28th of December, and we were asked to move out by the 2nd of January. I couldn't believe the short notice, and at first asked if we could have more time, as I had no idea where all of our dogs could move in such a short notice. I considering camping out on the dog land, but man that was really the last thing I wanted to do. It was an extreme situation. I sent out messages to everyone I knew around here that would want to help us and find us a home.

Along comes Andrés, our Sanctuary land owner.

Andrés knew a place right away that we could move. And here's the best part: it's right next-door to the dog land we plan to build on! I can literally see it from our front porch. So for the first time, we have an easy access to our dog land where we can begin working without being more than a few feet from our house and animals at the same time. The new location is actually much cheaper for us to rent, and much more secure for our animals. There is a road down the hill, but it's not a main road and there are no cars that drive on it almost at all. Our dogs now have a much better, safer, and more open-space to play and have fun daily. This new space is also fully operational as a dog-sanctuary, with full permission from the landlord to use it as such. So while we build, we now have a small home-base sanctuary we can take dogs in and out. It's truly a blessing. And in a way, it's the opening of our first official space sanctioned for the dogs, with full acceptance of our landlord. But this is only the headquarters, we plan to get this big sanctuary started ASAP. Await our soon-to-launch GoFundMe.


And what about December? We didn't hear much from Perros Libres.

December was easily the hardest and most difficult month we've ever had at Perros Libres. There are a few reasons for this: our first live-in volunteer, Erin, decided to leave halfway through the month. We adjusted a whole schedule for her to be available for the dogs, so that I could continue going out and do the dog runs. But with another short notice change, Erin decided to move to a new location and I was alone at the house with the 10 dogs again. This makes it nearly impossible to go out and feed the other street dogs, and do our dog-runs, because we lived in an area where if a house was unoccupied for at least an hour, the house would be robbed. So I reached out to the Dog Volunteer WhatsApp group, and almost nobody responded or was able to house-sit or help do dog runs. I ended up being basically alone all the time in the last 2 weeks of December, and was scrambling to find another volunteer. Nothing came. I had to hunker down and stay at home, feed the dogs, and look online constantly for someone to either rent a room from us as a tenant, or was offering free rent to a volunteer. Still, nothing. But in spite of this, I did my utmost for our animals and the street dogs, too. We got local kids coming over daily to bring dog food to their families dogs. I eventually however, at the end of the month, got some volunteers to come and help out so I could take care of business.

In the beginning of the month, I had lost my phone. I had no phone for atleast 3 weeks from the end of November until halfway through December. This made work very difficult. As anyone who has following us knows, I have to spend a large part of time writing these posts, doing social media to spread awareness and help secure donations, as well as communicating with the local people here using a local Guatemala phone number and SIM card. Without my phone, I had no way to contact the WhatsApp Volunteer group. It felt like lock-down. Eventually, I was able to get a chance to go to Panajachel to get a new phone and get back on the grind, so-to-speak. It immediately kicked off work and helping the locals again.

Despite all of this: we accomplished a lot in December.

We work extremely hard at Perros Libres. When I say we, I mean both me and every volunteer who's ever come to help us. We have had a lot. But volunteers have been quite flaky, and I've never been able to rely on somebody long enough to get over and start building the dog land. But we are hiring our first live-in employee, similar to Erin's situation, but we will be paying them a wage to stay with our dogs while I get outside and get this Sanctuary built. As anyone knows, taking care of ~10 dogs is a huge amount of work, if it's to be done properly. They are just like people, they need love and attention, food, walks, and can't just be locked up behind a fence all day. This has always taken the majority of my time.


However, we still did so much. Let's sum up what we accomplished in December:

  1. Kiwi has achieved a full recovery! Kiwi no longer has any signs of mange, nor injuries on his body. He's fully functional and an amazingly sweet dog. We are so honored to have gotten to help Kiwi, and will be returning him to his previous owner who was a local who we happened to meet on a dog run. That is, if Kiwi doesn't decide to sneak back into our place again 😆

Here's a video of Kiwi playing with Scabby and Surya:

2. Sterilization Clinic success! It was an amazing feat that we were able to fix those 36 animals in Tzununá, all thanks to the help of a partner organization which made it possible. We plan the next one for February, where we will be able to fix every remaining dog of age in our current Sanctuary.

3. We've adopted 4 new dogs! Take a look:

  • Ojo

  • Angelita

  • Leah

  • Pebbles

We worked very hard to find a home for all of these dogs, posting at least 3 of them on all of our social networks, as well as communicating with the local community here on the lake. But with 3 weeks of this online searching/word of mouth searching, not one single person offered to take any of them in. This lake is loaded with animals that need homes, and not enough people to take them in.

  • However, the locals are quite happy to take in healthy looking dogs. Which leads us...

4. We found a home for Pluto! Our neighbors in our new location have taken in Pluto, and they live right next door to us. So we are getting to know them, and getting to come by, see the house he lives, and he gets to visit any day that he wants to! His sister still remains with us, and if it works out with keeping him, we can adopt his sister Vibiana to them as well. But this is a trial-period, to see if he can adjust to this new home just down the street from us.

5. Even with no other living-in-volunteers, we occasionally had house sitters and were able to get some food to our street dogs and local families.


So there you have it, folks.

December was a rough-ride, for sure. Not many people want to work around the holidays. Go-figure. However, it's a new year, and Perros Libres is ready for the next chapter. Build the real dog-sanctuary! This month we have quite a few volunteers, including the employee, lined up to live with us and help in our new space. This will allow me to free my hands, and even before we do the GoFundMe, we can get to work on the dog land by cleaning it out, re-securing the fence, and plotting the area for where the outdoor areas will be, as well as getting the design of the volunteer house just right. This stuff is soon-to-come!

In the meantime, since we are a charitable organization, we operate solely on your donations. If you are able to support Perros Libres in this new year, please consider donating to our cause to support us in growing our care for the animals here in Tzununá.

Happy new year, and Libertad por los Perros!

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1 Comment

Geoff Bartlett
Geoff Bartlett
Jan 07, 2022

So heartwarming. Such a huge sacrifice for the helpless dogs. Your making a difference. God bless you.

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