START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
Mar 31, 2007
Focus: Animal Welfare
Action Request: Donation
Location: United States
One of our local rescuers is traveling in Guatemala right now and a week ago she sent me an email asking for help in saving 4 street dogs she has befriended who are on the verge of  death. She is in a little village that is only accessible by boat. The animals on the mainland are also living under horrible circumstances but it is especially bad in the isolated area in which Minoo is staying. She has been trying to help many of the animals she has met but the 4 she has befriended need medical attention immediately. A Dog's Life Rescue wants to help Minoo save these dogs! We think we can do this but we need help.

At first this seemed impossible but little by little we have made progress. Minoo has pieced together most of the plan and found the means of transportation, but now we need to raise funds to make it all happen. The dogs will have to be transported by boat out of the remote area and then by car/bus 6 hrs to the nearest veterinarian. Once the dogs are stable they will travel two more hours to the only rescue that exists in Guatemala. Finally, all 4 will be loaded and transported by plane to the US where they will have a chance at an amazing life.

These poor dogs are very, very weak so this is urgent. Minoo is set to leave the country of Guatemala on April 3rd, so if these dogs' lives are to be saved we have to coordinate everything quickly. We've estimated that it will cost $450 for each dog's transportation (boat, car/bus, plane) and initial vet care which means that if we can raise $1800 we can save all 4 lives...which is amazing! If you can help by making a donation please do so thru Paypal at Every dime will go towards saving these animals and getting them to safety. This is their only chance. If  these dogs are left behind they will definitely die on the streets. Thank you for your support and care in helping us gives these dogs a chance. Please forward to anyone you may think can help.

With gratitude,
Julia Pennington and Allison Lange
A Dog's Life Rescue

Please tell her you got this from me, Susie, one of Minoo's good friends.  Thanks!

*Below is the email plea I received from Minoo and here are photos of one of the dogs...who is still on the street. She is not safe until we can get her out of there.


Hi Julia. In your e-mail the other day you said that you had brought one of your dogs back from Mexico. So because of that, I  wanted to get some advice from you. I´m flying from Guatemala City to Miami, and then from Miami to LA on April 3, so I don´t know if it´s different when you come in by plane (vs car), but do you know what the restrictions are for bringing dogs into the US? Of course I know we have lots of dogs that are being killed right at home in the USA. But´s the reason for my question: I'm in a town near the Belize border. Throughout Guatemala I´ve seen many sickly looking dogs, but here there's a female who is in the worst shape I've ever seen ANY being be in my entire life. She is so, so, so skinny, you can see every single bone in her body, and she´s mangy, and has open wounds/slashes that are getting infected. Plus, she´s infested with worms (big belly) and fleas. And it seems that a car or a person has hit her, because she has trouble walking. Anyhow, I put on gloves and spent a lot of time petting her, and I fed her and gave her water. Her tail was wagging the whole time. And I think that was the first time anyone had touched her in a long time. It broke my heart into tiny pieces. I feel so bad leaving her like this. The only way out of this town is by boat. They have no vets nearby - anywhere. I´ve made friends with a wonderful 15 year old American-raised local girl who I´m giving money to, so that she can continue feeding her, and I´m trying to find local groups to help her. I even looked into trying to find someone to euthanize her, but had no luck either. I guess I'm writing also because I know you guys would all understand. I do realize that it´s close to impossible for me to do a single damn thing, and that there´s others like her. I´ve just never seen anything like this, not even in Africa....
Thanks for listening...

SUSIE'S NOTE:  Then there's this post from Minoo to us.....
My friend Shauna and I took a shuttle bus to Antigua today. I could not get through to Xenii by phone, so I decided to do the next best thing. It was a 6 hour ride, but we're here!! I'm going to look into buying a local pre-paid cell phone tomorrow, because I think I may need it over the next few days in case we run into any issues during the transfer. I'm looking into this tomorrow, and will call to give you the phone number if it works out.
So our plan is to go to the dog rescue tomorrow and see if we can borrow a carrier or two from them, or see if they can point us in the right direction to buy one in Guatemala City. If all goes well, I'd like to try to head back up to Livingston on Sunday. I'm still worried about the trip back to the rescue for the dog, but I'm also worried about leaving her there. If the carrier thing is impossible here, I'll let you know to see if you guys can send me one!
I can't get through to American Airlines from here, and wanted to try and see how many dogs a passenger can bring. I'm currently on the April 3rd flight from Guatemala City to Miami, and then Miami to LA. I used a free Advantage ticket, so I don't know if that will make a difference. If you could find out for me whether it'd be possible for me to add a dog (or 2 or 3) to my ticket, that'd be great (and how much it would cost). The other ones are strong enough to make the flight for sure, but my main girl is the one who I have doubts about. I asked Jacky to name her by the way, since she's the only human being who's ever given the poor girl love (and that's only been since Jacky moved back to Guatemala from the US a year or so ago).
If I did succeed in bringing some of the starving ones, would you be able to help find fosters? Of course, I'd take one or two myself.
On a personal note, I really am struggling with all this because a part of me feels guilty making all this fuss, when in my own back yard (east valley) there are so many dogs who are being killed every week...Damn it....
Now that I'm in a city, I'm going to see if I can transfer the photos to send to you.
In the last few days, Shauna and I have come up with a very exciting plan to help the people and animals of Guatemala through a mobile clinic named after my baby dog who died on Feb 15, Zorba. We want to set up a non-profit/NGO in Zorba's memory and run a mobile clinic, where she (as a human doc) will do vaccinations for children, and basic med care, and a vet who we bring along will help vaccinate, medicate and spay/neuter the street dogs and cats (as well as anybody else's). She's done this sort of thing before in Ethiopia, and we've discussed some of the long-term goals, as well as some details. We want to use Livingston as our pilot project, since both the people and the animals there are the worst we've seen in Guatemala. So hopefully later on this year, we'll be able to come back to do that. Of course, if it were up to me, I'd only do animal stuff (don't tell anybody I said that =)  but Shauna made a good point....she said that this way, the people won't resent us, because it'll benefit them directly as well.  We are temporarily calling it the Zorba Memorial Clinic: Salud para Todos (health for all). I'd love to tell you all about our idea when I'm back, and would love any and all collaboration and help!!! There's a lot more to it, including educational puppet programs on both the humane education and preventive medicine front....
I'll update you tomorrow on the rescue, since I have easy e-mail access here.

SUSIE'S NOTE:  Followed by today's post from Minoo to us.........
Actually, it's not that cheap here. I think you were here a really long time ago. And I'm pretty good at haggling. The issue is transporting dogs. If I were just taking a boat myself, it would cost me about $2 in the lancha collectiva. But we have to hire a private boat round trip, and one that would be alright transporting four crates of dogs (some boat operators refuse to have dogs in their boats - even in crates). Jacky is the one who has found the boat for us, and she is a local Guatemalan. It'll cost between $50 and $100 depending on the size of the crates (which will determine the size of the boat). I'm taking $100 to be on the safe side. And in the case of the bus, it would cost me about $10 to go on my own in a second class bus, or about $5 for a chicken bus. They don't allow animals (other than chicken) on either of those buses, unless I agree for the animal to be strapped to the rack on top of the bus - which is obviously not happening. So I have to get a private minibus that can fit four dog crates INSIDE the bus, plus a driver who's willing to leave at 5am and get back at 11pm - and on top of everything, gas costs about US$2 - 2.50 a gallon. So all that makes it expensive. Everyone charges 1500 quetzales for the roundtrip. I found one guy who'll do it for 1300, but I'll tip him since he also agreed to take me to Xenii's to pick up the crates (that alone is a 200 quetzal trip), come with me on the boat ride (since carrying 4 carriers of dogs by myself won't be easy), and to drive 14 hours in one day (7 hours each way). And he's going to drop the dogs off at the vet's office, and then drop me off.
My own trip has cost me only $600 since I stay at cheap hostels and take chicken buses everywhere. But believe it or not, I've already spent over $200 of my money just on the dog stuff. And that's for things I didn't even include in the e-mail below. Just making a local call costs $1 for each five minutes (it's more expensive than that from a pay phone), so I keep needing to get more money for the cell phone to coordinate everything. It seems like I'll have to take money out of my credit card for the rest of the stuff. I also need to pay the vet for the treatment, which be a lot since our one girl is in such bad shape. So I'll probably need to take out close to $1,500 to cover everything. Whatever you raise would help, and if you don't, then I'll just pay off my credit card later myself....No biggee....When I get back, I have to raise the cost of two roundtrip tickets to pick them up in a couple months and fly them back to the US. It's almost impossible to find homes for them here.
- me.

SUSIE'S NOTE:  And then this one.....
Hi everyone. Finally, I'm getting a chance to sit down and write you guys to fill you in....
Shauna had to return to the US on Tuesday because of her job situation. She was risking losing the job, so she took a last minute flight. I made my way down to Antigua, where I am now, and have been trying to coordinate everything from here. Everything is harder to do since Semana Santa (Holy Week) is in a few days, and the whole town seems focused on nothing else. A lot of people are off from work, so everything is happening even slower.
After a million phone calls and inquiries, looks like things are finally under way. I went to the clinic of a vet named Dr. Linares yesterday. Despite it being Semana Santa, he's agreed to board the dogs and treat them!! He's really nice. Not as good as Dr. Kelly of course, but he's really good by Guatemalan standards (their vets aren't that great here). He's charging only 40 quetzales a day for boarding, which is about $20 a day for all four. He will be giving them all a bath, treating their mange, putting revolution on them, deworming them, and in some cases, suturing up all their cuts and slashes, suctioning their abcesses, and starting them on antibiotics. All that costs extra of course. And that's just the basic stuff. Depending on which dog I succeed in finding tomorrow, there will be more issues. I'm sure our one girl (who we're either calling Jackie, after Jacky the girl who's helping, or "Ria" - meaning little river - after the Rio Dulce near Livingston), will definitely need other treatments like fluids and an IV. That's assuming she survives the boat and car trips back down to Antigua. God, I hope so.
I'm picking up a carrier today from a woman here in Antigua. I'm hoping to get three other carriers from Xenii tomorrow at 6am. If she only has two, then I'm going to have the fourth dog ride in the dog, without a carrier. Xenii has given me the go-ahead for four dogs, so I'm bringing four dogs down one way or another. I'm also trying to get some blankets and leashes, and a water bowl.
So the plan is that Daniel (the driver) is picking me up between 5 and 5:30 am tomorrow morning. We're going the opposite direction, to Xenii's shelter first, to pick up the supplies. Then we're heading northeast on a 7 hour drive to Puerto Barrios. We'll leave the van there, and catch the private boat to Livingston (1/2 ride by speed boat). We have to be discreet there and park the boat in the private dock - which I hope will be possible. I don't want the whole town to see us at the public dock. Then I have to go around town searching for the ones I remember being the hungriest and worst off. I already have four in mind, one of course being the girl I sent you the photo of. I have to get some food to lure them down to the dock with. Once everyone is in the carrier, we'll take off and take the boat back. That's the trickiest part - to get them out without incident. Once we're back in Puerto Barrios, I know I'll be so relieved. Then we have a 7 hour ride back. We'll come back to Antigua, and settle them into Dr. Linares' clinic. I'll go over to the clinic on Monday to check on everyone, and make sure that everything they need is being done. From Monday night onwards, I'll be spending the nights at Xenii's shelter since there's no rooms in Antigua during Semana Santa. I'll be helping Xenni with general shelter stuff, but also in building the housing for dogs. I'll probably still take the bus to the clinic from Xenii's to visit with the dogs during the day for at least a couple hours (three bus changes and an hour ride on a chicken bus). I know the poor babies will be so confused. Though I'm sure they'll also be relieved to have ample food and water, and to NOT be kicked by anyone!! The dogs will be boarded at Dr Linares´ place until we can move them to Xenii's shelter.
The thing with the housing at Xenii for the Livingston dogs is that there aren't many laborers working next week, so it might get delayed. I met a couple of very sweet ex-Peace Corps guys, one of whom used to work in construction in the US (and who said he MIGHT ride up to Livingston with us to help!). So I'm trying to see if I can talk them into helping out with the construction. Livingston is hot and humid, and at sea level since it's along the Caribbean. That's what the dogs are used to. Xenii's shelter, on the other hand, is at a very high altitude in the highlands, in the woods, with cold nights. So the shelter we build has to accomodate for the climatic difference so that they don't get sicker....Remember, that their immune systems are already extremely compromised. I don't think their bodies can take much more!
I´m really hoping that we're able to finish building the shelter soon, so that I can get the dogs transferred and settled into it before I leave. But I don't know how that'll work, since there's only three options for my return - April 3, 6, 18. Everything else is totally booked. The 18th is too late, since I need to get back for my LAUSD project, so I'm aiming for the 6th. Worse comes to worse, I'm going to have to ask Xenii to do the transfer for me once I'm gone. I hope that won't be the case though. I'll be transporting to dogs for Xenii on my return - most likely to Florida....
Our main issue here now is money. I'm taking about $1500 out of my credit card to pay for everything. But it's hard to know how much everything will be, since the vet bill is an unknown. So whatever money you guys are able to raise will be great!! I know Julia has already raised 200 of it - thanks, Julia!!! Bobby has my account number, so if you guys deposit anything, let me know so I can keep track of it.
Please keep your fingers crossed for us tomorrow. I'll call one of you from Puerto Barrios once I have the dogs. It's going to be so painful to leave the others behind, and take only four. But at least I'll be able to take four, thanks to Xenii. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be able to take any.
I think the dogs will be ready to come to the US in a month or two, once their various infections are cleared and once they've put on weight. I bought more memory for Shauna's camera since her memory stick was full. So I'm going to take more photos of all the dogs, in case we can post them online and find people to foster or even adopt them beforehand. If you guys know anybody who can donate air mileage, please remember that we can use those as well, since we'll need two people to fly back to pick up the dogs. And it's about $100 or so for the paperwork....
Anyhow, I'll e-mail you with another update on Monday!!
Thanks to everyone for your support = )

SUSIE'S NOTE:  And, finally, this brief post this evening.........
Dear friends,
As most of you know, I had come for what I thought was to be a relaxing trip to Guatemala, to give myself a chance to get away for a while - mainly hoping that it would help me heal from the loss of my sweet Zorba. While here, I found myself getting involved in a rescue operation instead! Anyhow, I'm forwarding an e-mail plea sent out by Julia Pennington, whose group has graciously taken the lead on this and given me 100% support. Please feel free to forward this to anyone who you think might be able to help....And if you think you can offer any financial assistance, please contact Julia's group directly.

You can also contact me, Susie (, and I will GLADLY forward on anything to the right person.  This is a highly desperate situation -- with so much hope in sight -- but money is now the major issue, and right away! 

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Posted: Mar 31, 2007 7:44pm


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Susie V Kaufman
, 1, 1 child
Santa Clarita, CA, USA
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