Why have we written about our experience at an animal rescue centre!?
This is not our standard style of blog, however, when volunteering at a small business in Mexico’s Playa Del Carmen, we were asked to visit some local activities and blog about them. One of them we chose was PAR (Playa Animal Rescue) and this is Sam’s write up from our Morning spent there!
We were excited to arrive in Playa Del Carmen as we were volunteering at ´Wonderous World’, a cool new hostel/adventure tours company located just out of the main hustle but only a stones throw from the beach. After not working for 4 months we were looking forward to getting stuck back into something yet still be able to chill each evening in the beautiful Carribean waters!
On arrival in Playa Del Carmen we were surprised at how touristy Playa Del Carmen was, with Cancun just up the road it seems like the two towns are gradually merging together to create one mega holiday resort. The beaches are nice and there is a great holiday vibe throughout the town, however, it is nothing like the other beautiful places in Mexico we have visited in terms of history and culture.
A clear advantage of the sprawling tourist business in Playa is the extensive expat community. The majority of these expats are from the US and therefore have decent disposable income to pour into the Mexican economy. As well as spending money at the local businesses and paying for services around Playa, these expats have done a great job to show their philanthropic side by setting up charitable work, for example, PAR (Playa Animal Rescue) which is a dog rescue centre situated just outside of the main town.
We heard about PAR (Playa Animal Rescue) in the local newspaper ‘The Playa Times’, which has various weekly ideas for non-touristy things to do in the area e.g. organic markets, bike rides, yoga sessions and animal care mornings. Therefore we saw the advertisement asking for Saturday Morning volunteers to help out with the dogs and thought ‘why not give this a go!’
The shelter opened its doors for dogs in April of 2012 and since then they have rescued an incredible 250 dogs from the streets around Playa Del Carmen. At its maximum capacity, the shelter can hold 100 dogs, but is it more comfortable holding between 80 and 90 (due to financial reasons and volunteer numbers). The organization runs solely from donations and each month they need to raise $4000 in order for the dogs to get all the required medicines and food. Incredibly, 225 of the dogs have been adopted, which shows what an amazing job the founders and the volunteers are doing with the animals.
A PAR volunteer picks you up from the local supermarket and drives to the rescue centre which is approximately 10 minutes away. After arriving at the shelter, you have the opportunity to walk one of the dogs. If you didn’t fancy going out into the sun, you can always stay behind and play with the adorable puppies!
Due to the heat, the walk is only 15 minutes but the dogs absolutely love it. Once back, they all have a big drink of water and are given a good clean which we got involved with too. You can also feed them treats in their shaded shelters and play with them using the numerous donated doggie toys.
The volunteers at PAR are doing an amazing job for the dogs in Playa Del Carmen. They are healthy, happy and friendly and have plenty of space to play and relax. There are numerous success stories about the dogs being adopted by loving families (mainly from the US) and the shelter do a great job of linking the right dog to the best fitting homes, taking into account the dogs individual needs.
We cannot recommend a visit to PAR enough. The organization operates solely by volunteers and donations. Why is this so important? As these dogs wouldn’t have a place to stay or a chance to be adopted if it wasn’t for the people who care for them, walk them and donate/sponsor them. The experience warms your heart to see how loving these dogs are despite what they have been through and any dog lover would be mad not to visit when they are in Playa Del Carmen.
If you´re interested in reading/learning more, here is the link for the website PAR