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Tag: mexico

Returning from an exotic locale? Chances are you can bring someone home with you

wapo2We don’t expect Donald Trump to like this (so don’t anyone let him know) but if you’re returning from a trip to some exotic locale — Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, India, Turkey, Colombia, and the Carribean to name a few — you can bring someone back with you to live in the good old USA forever.

And you don’t even have to marry them — or even ever see them again.

Yes, we’re talking about dogs. (Aren’t we almost always?)

But we’re also talking about an easy-lifting way to accomplish a good deed and play a small role in making a dog and a family happy.

Our country’s incoming new leadership may no longer wants those tired, poor and hungry humans we once welcomed from other countries, but the door is still pretty open for dogs (my dog included) that have been saved from horrific conditions in other countries.

Many of them have gotten here thanks to Americans returning from vacations, who are willing to take a little extra time to serve as their official escorts.

How it all works was documented recently by The Washington Post, in a story by Andrea Sachs, who not only talked to people who have done it, but did it herself.

Sachs recently returned from a trip to Colombia with a dog named Max.

“To unknowing eyes, I was just a typical traveler with a strong pet attachment. But in truth I was a flight volunteer for Cartagena Paws, an animal-rescue center that, among myriad services, places Colombian street dogs with adoptive families in North America. My ultimate responsibility was to escort the 8-month-old puppy with the overactive tail to the District. I was headed north anyway, and, well, Max needed a lift.”

There are animal welfare groups around the world rescuing dogs who face bleak lives, or worse, and then finding themselves hard-pressed to find them homes.

One solution they’ve turned to is exporting rescued dogs to the U.S.

Often, though, they need a little help getting them from there to here.

“We use flight volunteers who are met at the airport by the adoptive parents,” said Lisa Anne Ramirez, executive director of the Humane Society of Cozumel Island in Mexico. Those meetings, she says are “usually very emotional and tearful.”

While most airlines will ship a dog traveling solo in their cargo holds, that’s the most expensive and least desirable method.

Dogs are generally permitted to travel as checked baggage, or as carry-ons in the cabin, but in those cases they must be traveling with someone.

The rescue organizations handle the paperwork, so, for the escort, it’s often just a matter of handing those papers over at customs.

Sasithorn “Sas” Moy of Harlem said little inconvenience was involved after she agreed to escort five dogs from Thailand to the U.S. when returning from a trip to visit family.

She contacted the Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation, which sends at least 25 dogs to North America a month.

“I just showed up at the airport and they gave me the paperwork,” she explained after a nearly 20-hour flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. “I said goodbye to the dogs at the X-ray machine. It was painless… There was extra time on the front end and the back end, but it was worthwhile.”

wapo1Sachs advises in the article that travelers wishing to serve as flight volunteers contact the rescue center as soon as they secure their flights.

“I messaged Cartagena Paws two weeks before my departure and received a reply peppered with exclamation points: We would love to have some help! Yes please!”

She and Max flew from Cartagena to Atlanta to Washington — he making the trip next to her in a carrier in the cabin. In Washington, he was picked up for a trip to his new home in Texas.

Sachs also put together a list of international rescues seeking escorts for dogs coming into the United States. You can find more details and contact information at that link.

(Photos: Max arrives in Washington from Cartagena, Columbia, and waits to make the trip to his forever home in San Antonio; volunteers at Cartagena Paws say goodbye to Max at the airport in Cartagena; by Andrea Sachs /The Washington Post)

Dog burial site dates to Aztec times

burialsite

A dog cemetery that goes back to Aztec times has been uncovered beneath an old apartment building in Mexico City.

Archaeologists announced the discovery Friday and said that — while the remains of dogs have been found in Aztec ruins before — this is the first time a group of dogs has been found buried together at one site.

The 12 dogs were buried around the same time in a small pit between 1350 a 1520 A.D., according to the Associated Press.

Aztecs believed dogs could guide human souls into a new life after death, and it was not uncommon for dogs to be buried under monuments under the thinking their spirits would provide protection.

The team of archaeologists determined when the dogs were buried through ceramics and other items found in nearby pits under the apartment building in the populous Mexico City borough of Aztacapozalco.

Archaeologist Rocio Morales Sanchez said digging deeper could help reveal why the dogs were buried there.

Experts with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, called the find “exceptional.”

Archaeologist Antonio Zamora, who works at the excavation site, said a biologist told the team the remains belonged to medium-sized dogs, likely Techichi dogs, a breed believed to be an ancestor of the Chihuahua, and Xoloitzcuintlis.

(Photo: Courtesy of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History)

Airline loses stray dog rescued in Mexico

A Canadian couple fell in love on their vacation in Mexico — with a stray dog.

Josiah Allen and Erin Docking were sitting on the beach in Puerto Vallarta when the small white dog came up, sat down next to them and stayed all day long.

By the time their 10-day vacation ended, the couple had determined to take the dog, who they’d named Paco, back to Canada.

They filled out paperwork, took him to a veterinarian for treatment of an eye infection and tick infestation, and paid to get him the necessary shots.

But on their flight home, Delta Airlines somehow lost the dog, the Detroit News reported.

On May 3, the couple placed Paco in a pet carrier and flew from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City. At the airport there, they ran into trouble getting approval for Paco to fly to Detroit. Airline officials questioned whether the carrier was large enough for Paco but approved him for the flight once Allen signed a waiver protecting Delta from any claims if the dog was injured.

When Allen and Docking arrived in Detroit,  Paco was nowhere to be found.

“After waiting around for two hours, they told us (Paco) was in Mexico City and would be flown in on the next flight,” said Allen, 19, a kinesiology student at the University of Waterloo.

But Paco —  described as a mix between a “wiener dog and a Jack Russell terrier” — didn’t arrive the next day, and hasn’t since.

After Allen went public with the story, Delta officials called and offered to cover the expenses he’d incurred with Paco and throw in some extra cash, Allen said.

“Our staff has conducted exhaustive searches to locate the dog,” Delta officials said in a statement. “We have been in contact with the dog’s owner to inform them of the situation and to offer our sincere apologies that we have been unable to recover the dog…”

Some reports say Paco broke out of his cage at the airport and ran away — meaning he may once again be a stray, only this time in Mexico City rather than Puerto Vallarta.

Dogs from around the world headed to Haiti

Dogs from New York City and around the world are being sent to help in the search and recovery effort in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

The U.S. government is sending two, 72-man search and rescue teams with dogs to help dig out survivors, said Rajiv Shah, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Business Week reports.

French teams with “sniffer dogs” were seen boarding vans yesterday, headed to the airport on their way to Haiti. China dispatched a chartered plane containing multiple sniffer dogs and 10 tons of tents, food and medical equipment. A team from the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations left Moscow, also bound for Haiti, Discovery News reports.

Elsewhere, dogs were departing from Peru, Taiwan, Mexico and Britain, where a 64-member team, including dogs and handlers was en route.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation has sent at least six dog-and-handler teams have been sent to Haiti.

“Our hearts go out to our neighbors in Haiti, and we’re honored to be able to help find survivors of this terrible tragedy,” NDSDF executive director Debra Tosch said. “This is the day that our teams have trained for; when the unthinkable happens, SDF Teams stand ready to respond, bringing hope and comfort to victims and their loved ones.”

Hailing Cesar: Times looks at Millan’s empire

cesarmillan

 
With “The Dog Whisperer” starting its sixth season, his new magazine hitting the stands last month and his fourth book going on sale, the New York Times Saturday took a long and mostly complimentary look at Cesar Millan and the empire he has built since crossing the border illegally 20 years ago.

Proclaiming him a “cultural icon”  the article recounts how the once-penniless native of Culiacán, Mexico (he became a U.S. citizen this year), became a dog trainer to the stars, then the world.

One of his first clients was Jada Pinkett (before she added the Smith) who in the early 1990’s was 20 and starring in a television sitcom. Millan helped Pinkett take control of her four Rottweilers, and they went on to become friends. When Millan told her he wanted to be on TV, the article says, she told him he wasn’t ready, and needed to study English.

Pinkett and Will Smith started recommending Mr. Millan to friends in the entertainment industry, starting with director Michael Bay, who needed help controlling his 230-pound mastiff, Mason. He’d later go to the aid of  Oprah Winfrey, former Disney chief Michael D. Eisner and director Ridley Scott, among others.

In addition to books, a magazine and a television show, Millan and his wife, Ilusion, runs Cesar Millan Inc., a constellation of businesses that coordinates Millan’s speaking engagements and executive leadership seminars;, and puts out a line of products including DVD’s, collars, organic dog food, fortified water, shampoos and toys. His website, cesarmillaninc.com, grosses annual sales in the mid-seven figures, according to a company spokesman.

The Times article devotes only one paragraph — tssst! — to the debate over Millan’s macho leader of the pack techniques:

Not everyone agrees with Mr. Millan’s methods. “Positivist” trainers like Ian Dunbar reject the idea that a submissive dog is a happy dog. Mr. Dunbar advocates treating dogs as companions, not followers. While Mr. Millan uses his hand like a mother dog uses her mouth — to nudge dogs to behave — Mr. Dunbar shuns physical corrections and relies instead on treats and rewards.

Despite any controversy, Millan’s fame and empire are only expected to grow.  This summer, the National Geographic Channel struck a deal with Fox to syndicate “Dog Whisperer” next fall.

(Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic Channel)

Framed: Dog detects marijuana in artworks

Eye-catching as the paintings might have been, it was their frames that caught the nose of a U.S. Customs drug-sniffing dog on the Mexico-Arizona border.

Federal officials say a man was taken into custody Friday after Customs and Border Protection officers found 90 pounds of marijuana hidden in the frames of six large paintings in his vehicle.

Officers selected the man’s vehicle for a routine inspection Friday at the border crossing in Douglas, Ariz., and their dog alerted to the paintings. An X-ray revealed the marijuana in the frames.

The man was being held pending the filing of charges, according to an Associated Press report.

The agency says the paintings were professionally done and the frames were nicely constructed.

Raise your right paw and repeat after me

Cesar Millan — star of the National Geographic Channel series “Dog Whisperer” — took the oath last week and is now an official U.S. citizen.

Millan, who passed his citizenship test earlier this year, attended a swearing in ceremony Thursday morning with dozens of others in Montebello, Calif., just north of Los Angeles.

Millan was joined by his wife Ilusion and two sons, Andre and Calvin, who attended to cheer him on (they are already U.S. citizens).

“This is the ultimate culmination of living the American dream,” said Millan. “Becoming an U.S. citizen has been a goal of mine since I first came to this great country. I have much to thank this country for, and all of the success it has afforded me and my family, and now I am proud to be a citizen.”

Millan, who shot to fame in 2003 when his series premiered on the National Geographic Channel, was born in Mexico, where his talent for rehabilitating dogs was developed on his grandfather’s farm.

He chronicles his childhood in Mexico and how he crossed the border as a young man in his first best-selling book “Cesar’s Way.” He has been a legal resident of the United States since 2000.

(Photo by Ray Mickshaw, courtesy of National Geographic Channel)