The Dog Lady of Mexico: A Heartwarming Journey into Animal Rescue by Alison Sawyer Current is a novel that reads like a non-fiction piece. That is because the book is based on the author’s own life experiences.
The story is of a woman and her husband who in mid-life move to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The woman is an artist; the man wants to open an ocean-side cantina. The couple intends to enjoy the rest of their lives in a moderate climate with oceans and beaches nearby.
The woman, called Rose in the book, begins volunteering at a local book store that, in addition to books, provides a home for local dogs in need of a permanent home. Isla Mujere, like Mexico in general, is home to many wild dogs and their offspring. Rose is particularly drawn to the puppies that are brought to the book store. One thing leads to another and Rose begins taking puppies to her home. Soon enough, Rose’s reputation grows and people start bringing homeless pups and even larger dogs directly to her.
The author shares scores of dog stories, most of them with a tragic beginning but a happy ending. Rose names her dogs, sees that they get proper medical care and ultimately does her best to find them loving permanent homes. Yes, there are tears and laughs along the way. Many of the dogs Rose places leave with American tourists visiting the island.
In caring for the animals, Rose works with friends in the area, dog-lovers who volunteer while on vacation and a local veterinarian whose spaying and neutering takes center stage..
The book, in paperback, is long, some 391 pages, but it is a book that can be read, put down and then picked up easily. New stories of orphaned dogs and puppies are told, and a dog-loving reader enters the new stories easily.
The author describes a devastating hurricane that hits the area where she and her husband live. She described setting up a three day clinic for people from a poverty-stricken area who bring their dogs for spaying and neutering. The description of poverty in Mexico and the lives of dogs living with poor families or simply roaming wild is heart-breaking.
But like the “Dodo” stories on Facebook, most of the undernourished animals filled with fleas and ticks are eventually nourished to health. A few photos of dogs mentioned in the book are included. Lots of conversation from Rose’s husband deals with the cleaning aspect of keeping 18 to 20 dogs (hard to imagine), and we hear about exhaustion and fever as well.
My only complaint about the book is that the paperback binding is stiff and the writing on the pages goes pretty close to the binding, so I had to struggle at times to open the book wide enough to read each page.
Otherwise, I quite enjoyed “The Dog Lady of Mexico”. In many ways the story is simple, yet inspiring and leaves a lasting impression. And I also wondered, as a dog owner, would I, on vacation, be quick to want to rescue dogs and puppies I found roaming free. I hoped I would.