He was such a little boy. He looked up at me as I approached the crate, as if wondering what was coming next. His expression was not fearful but rather one of anticipation. He was looking for information with which to prepare himself. A paper tag rimmed in metal hung from his collar and the name Mohawk was written on it in ink. Such a big name for a twelve pound dog. The tag looked worn and shabby and it made me feel sad.
Mohawk and his sister were found living in a hole under a large rock near Guadalajara Mexico. Holding this little boy and his sister Honey close to me dispelled any concerns I had had about taking dogs from Mexico. I even felt a bit embarrassed that I had refused the first time we had been asked for our help. I feel strongly that we should rescue in our own backyard and that other countries should be able to do the same. I realized, while having my chin licked by two very small Mexican Terriers that as true as my belief may be, it didn’t matter. These dogs needed rescuing as much as any other dog we had ever taken in.
It had been Irene, one of our volunteers, who had asked if I would consider taking some dogs from Mexico. She had met and walked a few for a shelter in San Miguel when she vacationed there and had been most impressed. The staff had told her they were one of the few “no kill” shelters in the area and that they were looking for a Canadian rescue to help with their overflow. When Irene returned to Canada she posed the question to me. My first reaction was to say no. I had many concerns but mostly I felt importing dogs when so many nearby needed us was wrong. The matter then became one of respect. I ask a great deal of everyone who works with MPR so when asked for something myself who was I to automatically refuse. It meant a lot to Irene that we at least consider the idea so we did.
Mohawk now represented the first five Mexican dogs ever to enter the care of MPR. He was the perfect ambassador. He was proud, stoic and grateful – much like the northern dogs we were far more familiar with. He and his sister Honey had depended on one another to survive and it was clear they had lived precariously. The only shelter they had known was a hole under a rock at the side of a highway and their only comfort was each other. Where they found nourishment, water and hope I do not know.
Honey was outgoing and looking for fun while Mohawk was more serious and mostly looking out for Honey. I wondered where he had found the courage to act as a protector and how he had managed to see them both through. She clearly repaid him with love and loyalty. They belonged together and always would.
I removed the tag from Mohawk’s tiny collar and slipped it in my pocket. He didn’t need it anymore but I did. It would remind me that the dogs have always led us to where we were needed and this was no exception. Mexico had not been in the plan but nor had many of the 1,547 dogs we had rescued to date. Mohawk looked up at me with hopeful eyes and Honey wriggled to get out of my arms. They were eager to begin the lives they were meant to have.
All five dogs were driven from San Miguel to Perrysburg Ohio in a van equipped for such a trip. We met them in the parking lot of a hotel that welcomed rescuers and their dogs to stay. All the dogs came with vet records and health certificates and MPR had hired a broker for the border crossing into Canada. The logistics and paperwork required for the trip were extensive and involved the dedication of many good people. When dogs in need are the mission though the job gets done.
While our main focus in rescue work will not be on Mexico we will help again. No dog anywhere should suffer and if we can make a difference we will.