Amigos de 4 Patas with Baja Dogs La Paz launched a fund-raising campaign during the Giving Tuesday initiative on May 5th when it became apparent that the lock-down of businesses and schools in La Paz would last a lot longer than thirty days.
Around the world the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting people and economies. People are without work and told to stay home in an effort to flatten the curve or the spread of the virus. Governments are working on programs that offer financial aid to millions of people.
Rescue communities are dealing with rumors that saw people surrendering dogs at shelters because they thought the dog could be a carrier of the disease. The CDC debunked that theory and in fact your dog is more likely to get Covid-19 from you than the other way around.
Amid all this uncertainty, many rescue organizations in the US and Canada are facing a drop in their donations because people are without work and uncertain about their future job situation. Potential adopters unable to go to the shelters to pick out a dog, resulted in some shelters not accepting more dogs. However, because people are sheltering in place, those organizations have seen an increase in demand to foster a dog or cat. That comes as a welcome relief.
In La Paz, where Amigos de 4 Patas operates a foster-based rescue organization, it is less likely that dogs will be dumped because people think they spread Covid-19. Rather it is more likely that dogs will be abandoned in the streets because their families can’t afford to feed them.
An update from the Mexican government states that only essential services can operate until at least June 15th. That means restaurants, schools, transportation, personal services even some banking are still closed. It was just announced that construction is now considered an essential service which is welcome news to many who work in that industry.
In an economy where many people work and live on a week to week or a day to day basis, this is turning out to be disastrous. Government assistance appears to be slow to reach the people in real need. The communities of more affluent people are stepping up to fill the gap with food distribution programs for the most vulnerable.
Our volunteers who live here year-round recognized that this trend would result in many more abandoned dogs hitting the streets with few resources available to help.
The Giving Tuesday campaign raised more than $4500 US that will be used to supply dog food to those families in need. If people are struggling to feed their families, we know their dogs are not being fed either.
More than Two Tons of Dog Food Distributed
Thanks to our generous donors, we have so far delivered just short of 1800 kgs or 4000 pounds of dog food to more than 375 families.
We accomplished that by connecting with the various relief efforts in La Paz including FANLAP, Food for Families and the Amigos de Navidad group.
As well, our very own rescatistas are delivering food in their neighborhoods to people in need.
An interesting fact is that more than 90% of the families we served had an average of 2 dogs per household. Of course, a few families had no animals, and some had 4 or more dogs.
Our real-time data collection noted that some families also had cats, so we even included some cat food for distribution too.
I am personally involved in the delivery of both the dog food and the pantries for people.
These are proud people who are used to making it on their own.
You can see desperation in their eyes and then the gratitude when they receive the much-needed supplies.
It is a very humbling experience.