WHAT WE DO AT OUR SHELTER
- At the shelter, we care for 100 or more dogs and cats at any given time. Many are adopted as a result of our active adoption programs, but new animals are always coming in. We receive animals whose owners can’t or won’t care for them and animals that people find lost or in distress. We also receive dogs that were picked up by the local pound and were never claimed by owners.
- Our kennel staff stays very busy keeping the shelter clean and presentable. They also feed, bathe, walk and play with the animals. Volunteers help out too, so if you’d like to spend a few hours with us, it would be greatly appreciated!
- Our staff and volunteers also perform TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) operations. Many times we get calls reporting abuse or neglect and we do our best to provide a solution to the problem and even provide rehabilitation to animals in need.
- Our medical staff take care of all our resident animals’ health and also spend several hours each day dedicated to operating on animals brought in for the free spay and neuter program. We also provide veterinary services to the public, which covers some of our costs and allows us to give information about responsible guardianship.
- Our medical staff takes care of all our resident animals’ health, spending several hours each day dedicated to sterilization surgeries. We also provide veterinary services to the public, which covers some of our costs and allows us to give information about responsible guardianship.
- The shelter is open to the public, so please stop in to visit us and perhaps meet your new best friend!
SPAY & NEUTER PROGRAM
Spay/Neuter is the most important program we have to help reduce the amount of unwanted pets living in the streets of Cozumel. Our medical staff spends several hours a day dedicated to sterilization surgeries.
In the spring and fall we are overwhelmed with litters of kittens and puppies that are either found abandoned at the Humane Society doors or surrendered by people who encounter them on the street. As we receive them we do our best to educate the owners on the importance of spaying and neutering their animals. Our goal is to make spay/neuter more familiar and available to the people of Cozumel, Mexico.
Your donations will help us continue this important service.
COORDINATING INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS
Thanks to the generous support from many caring people and organizations in the U.S. and Canada, we are able to relocate many of our animals to rescue shelters abroad. Once there, they are fostered or rehabilitated as needed and then adopted into loving homes.
Getting these animals to their final destination takes quite a bit of coordinating on both ends – from arranging transportation and getting the required paperwork to recruiting volunteers and finding escorts for the flights. Pamela Palmer, Ricardo Peralta and Joei St.Germain devote much of their time coordinating these transfers. Most of our international adoptions fly from the Cancun Airport, which complicates things even more! The animals and volunteers travel between Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen by ferry, then to Cancun from Playa Del Carmen by vehicle.
Fundraising is critical, so considerable time and effort is spent on it. We have several major annual events, such as our Mardi Gras bead stand, Art Exhibition and Auction, Halloween Costume Party at Senor Frogs, Sunset Sails and the big Christmas Dinner Party. In addition, we have garage sales, raffles and other activities throughout the year. Click here to learn about our upcoming events!
Our monthly expenses average about $140,000 to $180,000 pesos (approx. $7,700 to $10,000 US dollars). The largest expenses include:
- Salaries for the Veterinarians, Vet Technician, Assistant, Secretary, Volunteer Liaison and 4 full-time kennel workers totaling 14 employees
- Medicines and treatments for animals
- Food and general supplies for the shelter
Only a small portion of our costs are covered by veterinary services provided at the shelter. Many of our patients owners cannot afford to pay anything. In those cases 100% of the cost of treatments is absorbed by the HSCI. The rest comes from active fundraising, donation boxes in town, donations through this website and sales of t-shirts and pet accessories with our logo available at our stores.
Taking Care of Business…
In addition to running the shelter and clinic, much of our work involves answering emails, ordering supplies, contacting other organizations, fundraising, acquiring equipment, supplies and veterinary help, as well as networking for adoptions abroad. And, of course, there’s bookkeeping, making reports, running errands…we happily do all this and more for the animals in our care.
We have been fortunate to be directly involved with many heartwarming success stories of animals that virtually received a “new life”, thanks to the tireless efforts of our staff and volunteers. We will regularly feature these Success Stories to share with you. Please read on to discover “Chicharito, Coconuts and Ricky the Box Dog stories”. It is quite moving and reminds us all that what we do is absolutely worthwhile!
While performing a major campaign in March of 2016 we were surveying the crowd of dogs, cats and their owners waiting in line and we came across this horrific sight of a dog that had fallen off a second floor landing two years prior and shattered both of his front legs at the joints and below. His name is Chicharito. His owner, desperate to help her dog sought help from a local vet who was not qualified in orthopedics to perform such a complicated surgery. This is what we saw.
Chicharitos owner Reina paid $5000 pesos to the local vet and this was the result. Reina had accepted that her beloved dog would live the rest of his life in racking pain. She said he cried constantly and she had to carry him everywhere. She simply could not afford another surgery and lost all hope of her dog every living a pain free life. The HSCI through local veterinarian and BOD member Dr. Ivan Aguilar recruited the help of Internationally acclaimed ortho surgeon Dr Beremiz Sanchez of Mexico City. By raising the funds to bring the doctor to Cozumel we were able to perform the extensively complicated surgery to rebuild Chicharitos legs.
While hosting a visit from IFAWS CEO Azzadine Downs we were taking a drive around the island when we encountered a dog on the far east side in the middle of the road. Our caravan of cars pulled over to find a dog with a dried out piece of possum flesh in his mouth. He appeared to be clinging to life. Weak and frail, suffering from dehydration and starvation, we picked him up and put him in the back of our car. His coat appeared to be covered in what looked and felt like tar. As we bathed him the oil hair and flesh fell from his body. His skin was raw from the burnt oil that someone had poured over his body to possible heal mange. This is a common local myth that people use to cure skin problems. Our vets were not 100% optimistic that Coconut would survive.
Lisa and Ernesto took Coconut home. Lisa…“We all decided to give Coconut a fighting chance. He had a look in his eyes that reflected the suffering he had endured. Once we brought home he curled up on a comforter with his bony body and slept for 3 days. We had to wake him up to eat.” After 3 months of tender loving care Coconut was ready to begin the grueling and painful heart worm treatment. Lisa…“The treatment was a huge setback in his health, but without it he would not live. We were once again so worried he would not make it. He was so weak Ernesto had to carry him to the grass to urinate.” But once more Coconuts spirit prevailed and he was again on his way to recovery. After 6 months of extensive treatment for heartworm, erlichiosis, skin therapy and anaplasmosis, all paid for by the HSCI, Coconut was ready for adoption. Carolann Cassello from Cape Cod Michigan saw Coconuts story on youtube and it was immediate love. She applied to adopt him and plans were being made to take him to his new furever home. Lisa….”Saying goodbye to Coconut was the hardest thing I have ever done in my many years of rescuing animals. Our family had grown to love him as if he had been ours since he was a pup.”
Please watch both youtube videos to see Coconuts road from side of the road slow death to happy healthy pup with his new family.
Coconuts medicines and therapies were completely paid for by the Humane Society of Cozumel Island made possible through donations to our organization. Please donate!
Ricky “The Box Dog”
The makeshift doghouse above is where Ricky lived… a small wooden frame wit black cardboard sides and roof covered with a black curtain. Above is the way we found him… chained inside that box. He lived in the dark… for 6 years.
The photos below show Ricky the day he arrived at our shelter. This was in September, the day Monica took him out of the wooden box he had been living in for 6 years. Never let out or receiving vet care in his sad life. Sick and diseased but so sweet and grateful to be taken out of the box, we decided he needed a chance.
Ricky is a large, white dog, probably a Labrador mix. By the time we knew about Ricky and went to rescue him, he was emaciated. His platelets were extremely low from Erlichiosis and his penis bleeding from more venereal tumors than we have ever seen in one single dog.
Nora Hernandez stepped up and fostered Ricky. She brought him out of his box of fear and taught him not to be afraid of new experiences. We are certain that a man abused him. He is not aggressive, but terrified of all men. He becomes shy and freezes. Small places also scare him and he was quite hesitant to get into Nora’s VW bug, but once he crossed the line he was OK. Nora took Ricky for nice long walks, taught him about life outside of a box and gave him the love he never had. Thank you so much Nora!
Below is a picture or Ricky today – strong and beautiful. He has come a long, long way. We were so lucky to have found a placement that could work with him a bit more to make him perfect for adoption. He is now in his forever home in Canada near Toronto. Special thanks to Ola Zalewski from www.pawsabovecanine.com for her help in rehabbing Ricky.
A HUGE thanks to Nora Hernandez for fostering him and to all the Humane Society staff for pulling him through all his medical issues!
Ricky’s transition was costly and the Humane Society of Cozumel absorbed the entire bill for his rehabilitation. We had a few people help with food but the meds alone were in the thousands of pesos. If you haven’t made a donation to the HSCI in a while, now would be a great time. If you have never made one, search your heart and see if it’s the right thing for you to do.
We need help! We need money to keep going!
The HSCI is funded by donations and the last 2 years have been extremely difficult.
You can make a tax-deductible donation in the U.S. or click on the PayPal link.
Thank you to all of our volunteers and sponsors for your year-round support!