A lot of people put in a tremendous amount of time, money, and energy to save animals. But one man stepped the efforts up by combining his passion for travel and dog rescue. Edgardo Zúñiga Juárez spent six years in Mexico, rounding up as many strays as possible.
He then had the animals checked by a vet, followed by finding homes for as many of them as possible. Edgardo’s so dedicated to his work that people nicked named him “Perros,” which translates to “dogs.”
On a mission, he packed up his pets and headed to the Mexico border.
Why Mexico? According to the latest statistics, of the 23 million dogs in this country, roughly 70 percent are strays. As Edgardo traversed Mexico, he made quite an impact on the locals. So much so that he earned a second nickname, “Savior of Dogs.” He didn’t just rescue animals but made sure they were fed and treated for any illnesses or injuries.
During his journey, Edgardo rescued and rehomed almost 500 dogs.
While talking to a photographer who captured images of his 8,700-mile journey, Edgardo said, “No one helps dogs living homeless on the road. This is where I saw their pain.” Watching him tirelessly work day after day making his way through the streets of Mexico inspired other animal rights activists.
He’s been all over Mexico in his effort to find dogs in need.
Initially, Edgardo headed out on July 17, 2013, first stopping in Bucerias. From this tiny town close to Puerto Vallarta, he moved north up the coast, back to the Baja peninsula, and through Tijuana. But his travels didn’t stop there. He also reached Reynosa, passed by Belize, made it to Guatemala, and then on to Oaxaca where he met Stuart Williams, the photographer.
Edgardo ended up with an entire travel team.
Along the way, 14 of the dogs he rescued became part of his travel team. Edgardo relies on a motorized tricycle and cart combination to get him and his pets around. His most faithful dog, a beautiful golden-haired named Patueleco, has dysplasia. That makes it impossible for the animal to walk without pain. With his specialized transportation, this furry friend and others can continue traveling with him.
His canine companions teach other dogs how to trust…probably for the first time in their lives.
Not only do the 14 dogs that travel with Edgardo keep him company but they also show other dogs along the way that they can trust people. Considering most of these animals have spent their entire lives on the streets fending for themselves, that’s quite an accomplishment. Edgardo wants this experience to help “open people’s minds.”
Edgardo has such an amazing perspective of stray dogs.
He’s adamant that he doesn’t want or expect anything in return for his good deed. Edgardo said, “I just want people to see what these faithful animals can do for human beings.” He added, “Dogs are filled with love and the need to protect, but it is also important that we protect them.” As Edgardo explained it, he sees his journey as a sacrifice, something he hopes will send a clear message to people of all ages in society.
Now that animal cruelty has become a criminal offense in about 50 percent of the 32 states in Mexico, Edgardo has some legal backing. Even so, his goal is to prevent animal abuse before it happens. He does that by finding strays and putting them up for adoption. As for the dogs he can’t save, Edgardo remains by their sides until they die naturally and with dignity.
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Source: Inspire More