Although you may see some stray dogs in big American cities, Mexico has the most stray dogs throughout all of Latin America.
For obvious reasons, having stray dogs around is a problem for many reasons. While these animals can be dangerous at times, they can also carry diseases and create a public health risk. No matter how you look at it, it’s always sad to see so many of these animals lost and without homes. Though many of these dogs live relatively short and rough lives, that’s not always the case.
As this story shows, some of these street dogs last much longer than others do.
It all started at 10:00 pm one night in Tijuana, Mexico.
Elaine Seamans, Rebeca Altamirano, and Hilda Torres had just finished a volunteer shift at a temporary spay and neuter clinic that they had set up. The work they were doing was organized by the At-Choo Foundation, a group founded by Seamans to offer funding for dogs in need of various medical services. The crew had just eaten dinner and were getting in Torres’ car to drive home. Still, before they could do that they saw two stray dogs walking right down the middle of the road.
As they looked closer, it seemed that one of the dogs was injured.
The animal in question was tilting its head in a strange way and seemed to have a lump underneath his ear.
Before they could get far, Seamans said that they had to pull over to investigate. “We slowed down and they both of them came over to the passenger side,” she said. As soon as Torres got out of the car, though, both of the dogs turned and started to run away. Because the three women were so experienced in working with street dogs, they knew that if one of the dogs truly needed help that they would eventually stop.
Sure enough, one of the dogs stopped and they were able to safely approach him.
Shortly after that, Seamans wrapped the 50-pound dog in a blanket and took him to the vet.
When they arrived for their inspection, it was clear that this dog was no ordinary street dog. For one thing, he seemed to be nearly nine years old—much older than most of the local strays. “He was also well-fed, pretty clean and didn’t have any major skin issues,” Seamans said. “So we figured he must have belonged to somebody. Who knows? Maybe they didn’t want him anymore and let him go.”
Regardless, the cute little guy was more than happy to be spending some time with kind people who were willing to help him out.
Everyone at the clinic was surprised at what a kind, gentle animal this little guy was!
“He was 50 pounds and we didn’t know what he was going to do,” Seamans said, “but he was the biggest, sweetest ball of mush. The vet was poking him and putting his finger in his ear and he just there and was just the sweetest boy.” As it turns out, the dog had been attacked by another dog and had gotten an ear infection.
As it turns out, the ear infection was spreading rapidly and causing nerve damage throughout his head and neck—hence the tilted head.
After caring for him for a little while, the ladies decided to name him Tommy.
Fortunately for Tommy, he ran into help just in time and was able to get the help he needed. Though he needed some surgery and some overnight medical supervision, the At-Choo Foundation was able to get him nurtured and nourished back to health. At the end of it all, he’d be driven up to the United States so that someone could adopt him. “He’s never going to be on the streets again,” Seamans said. “He’s never going to be in pain like he was when we fir st saw him.”
And Tommy couldn’t be happier.
Stories like these show just how much difference a little bit of kindness can make.
Although stray dogs are a huge problem throughout Latin America in general, groups like the At-Choo Foundation along with other volunteers are doing everything they can to help remedy the problem. Although we may not be able to fix everything all at once, their help certainly made a world of difference to Tommy.
Thanks again to the At-Choo Foundation for their efforts and congratulations on your new life, Tommy!
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