Upon crossing the border from Tucson into Puerto Peñasco, Mexico (Rocky Point), one is met with gorgeous beaches, cultural experiences, and usually several street dogs. The homeless pet population in Mexico is significant, leaving an impression on many people including Barbara Mumaugh (“Barb”). Yet, after Barb moved to Puerto Peñasco following the death of her daughter in 2001, she decided to take it upon herself to do something about the homeless pet crisis she saw. She began by taking in a few stray dogs for whom to care and find homes.
Before she knew it, she was the resident “dog lady” as more and more animals showed up at her doorstep. Eventually, Barb formalized her organization with 501c3 nonprofit status and a team of staff and volunteers to assist her. Now, 20 years later, Barb’s Dog Rescue serves as many as 350 dogs at a time, all in a facility extended off of Barb’s home. “Her house became the shelter,” says Amy Lake, a marketing associate with Barb’s Rescue. While the shelter serves to provide animals with temporary care, the extremely high population of stray pets in need means it cannot serve as a permanent home. Right now, this rescue needs our help.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many travelers passing across the border would bring donations of supplies and dog food to drop off and even transport dogs from the rescue to Tucson. “Foot traffic” from the border was the lifeblood of the organization as this brought in new adopters, volunteers, staff, and more. Over the past year, Barb’s Dog Rescue has been faced with significant challenges as a result of quarantine mandates and the rising public health concern. When the US border initially closed, there was a time during which even the organization’s staff were unable to reach the facility in person. In order to make up for the loss of available caregivers for the overflowing population of dogs being brought in, many people who could be present literally moved onto the rescue property full time. “If we were lucky enough to get one dog adopted, there were two more waiting to come in,” recounts Lake. The shelter was even faced with a water shortage at one point over the Summer, resulting in the need to purchase and ship trucks of water.
Now, as the pandemic continues to ravage our communities, Barb’s Dog Rescue and the 350 dogs they serve at a time are calling on Tucsonians to help them help homeless pets. Many American shelters and rescues have recently reported a shortage of pets and an overwhelming demand from adopters. With many still working/schooling from home, the desire for a pet to keep them company has increased rapidly. Meanwhile, at Barb’s, “we’ve got all the dogs you can want,” Lake says. They need our assistance to help alleviate the strain on their resources and give prospective dog parents the furry friend of their dreams.
There are many ways to help Barb’s Dog Rescue during these trying times. For one, you can adopt! The rescue is situated “just a couple of hours away from Tucson,” a short distance to travel for a lovable four-legged friend. Another way to help is through donations. The rescue accepts monetary donations through their website, www.barbsdogrescue.org, and material donations that are dropped off at the shelter. Just remember that local guidelines require food donations to be under 50 pounds and without meat from any hoofed animal. Otherwise, the rescue is always looking for more volunteer transporters. So, if you are crossing the border sometime, consider emailing email@example.com to arrange to bring a dog on your way back. As long as you notify Barb’s Dog Rescue of the dates during which you will be traveling, they will be able to complete all the required paperwork and planning to ensure that you have no issues bringing a dog across to Tucson. As Lake puts it, “all you have to do is make a little room in your car.”
At the end of the day, when con-sidering making contributions to the necessary and demanding work that animal welfare advocates have continued throughout the ongoing pandemic, it is important that we don’t forget about our friends located just south of the border. Besides, there has never been a better reason to embark on a spontaneous, mini-road trip than to donate, volunteer, adopt from, and/or transport pets for Barb’s Dog Rescue.