Dispatches From Mexico City: Doggone, It’s Nice Here!
La Condesa is one of Mexico City’s most well-known neighborhoods. It’s overflowing with fancy restaurants, fun bars, and fashionable folks going about their business at all hours of the day. It’s also home to two large parks filled with people every day of the week. But on Sundays, there’s an extra special reason to take a walk through the larger park, Parque Mexico. Sundays are dog adoption day.
Every Sunday volunteers set up on the sidewalk with dozens of dogs looking for homes. The animals range in size and age and come from all over the city. This is where we found our dog, Toby.
Finding The Problem
Toby and his siblings were rescued from an abusive home. His sister, who also found a loving home, has a permanent scar circling her neck. Toby made it through relatively unscathed except for some very modest behavior issues that we’re chalking up more to him being an adolescent than a rescue dog. He’s sweet, and loving, but likes to chew our shoes. Still, the only one who doesn’t seem to like him is our cat, and she’s coming around.
Stray dogs are a problem in this country. Mexico City authorities report they put down an estimated 20,000 dogs per month. The issue is even more visible in other parts of the country though. It’s not uncommon to find dogs roaming the beaches of places like Puerto Escondido or Puerto Vallarta, harmless and friendly enough, but it can be a bit of a downer when you’re on vacation.
The Hero We Need
There are numerous reasons for the proliferation of stray animals, poverty and access to resources not being the least of them. But I can identify at least one reason: Mexico doesn’t have a Bob Barker.
Barker, the American game show host, was probably best known for hosting the Price Is Right for more than three decades. Many of us still remember the way he would end his shows, saying “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered.”
There’s a different culture around spaying and neutering in Mexico than in other parts of North America or Europe. Many people don’t believe it’s important and based on what some folks have said to me, others think it’s cruel. Maybe it’s just because I would always watch The Price Is Right when I was home sick from school, but as a Canadian, it’s been so ingrained into me that spaying and neutering is a good thing that I found this different perspective hard to fathom.
So, Mexico needs a Bob Barker to champion this cause.
Luckily though, perspectives are changing. The government has begun subsidizing neutering efforts which is proving to be a successful program; pet culture in Mexico City is growing, promoting healthier and more caring attitudes to the rest of the country; and adoption agencies are popping up everywhere.
We’re grateful for the adoption agency that brought us Toby. I’d have a few more shoes, but I wouldn’t have this little jerk to bark at me and get me off my recumbent writer’s … couch.
Ty Trumbull, from his base in Mexico City, covers the entrepreneur’s journey and business continuity for ChannelE2E. Each Tuesday, he offers views about his ‘new’ hometown.