I was warned before coming to Nicaragua, the stray dogs are going to break your heart. Nine months in, my heartstrings are stretched but not broken. In a crazy beautiful way the dogs here have gifted me introductions to good, kind people, and organizations devoted to helping them. The sting of their suffering is a little less pronounced knowing there is relief.
I lost my own dog, my best friend, my closest ally, to cancer two years ago. I learned from her, the meaning of the words, unconditional and loyal. 18 years and fading, she kept hanging in. I know how special dogs are. I know like every living being, they deserve to experience joy and kindness. The cruelty creatures are subjected to worldwide breaks my heart over and over again. But it is time spent with kittens curled up on my lap while I type and runs with packs of dogs frolicking, splashing, and racing beachside that makes me whole again. Their powers of healing can’t be denied.
After an eventful few months in Nica-land, I left a life altering experience and a tight-knit community behind me on the beaches of Gigante and moved my home base to Granada, Nicaragua. It did not take long for me to find the Granada Animal Outreach shelter. I am a trail runner and at times I like to appreciate the trails sola. But a lonesome gringa running through the jungle can be an invitation for a mugging. I needed a running companion. Enter Granada Animal Shelter and happy, healthy waiting for their forever home babies bursting with energy. A win win solution came to light.
My beach runs now are packed with bursts of energy, well accompanied, and sometimes push me to sprint in pursuit of a dog wanting more time free willy. On a Friday morning, after running the length of the beach, I’ll unite my lucky pups with their tribe and join the pack of dogs and GAO volunteers for the walk home from Happy Hour. This video will make you smile. Shelter dogs creating community. (Video by Doggey Rehab, a GAO volunteer and Granada resident dog trainer.)
Visit GAO’s website to make a donation or contact them here about adoption or fostering