San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Street Dogs Find Homes

NEARLY 20 animals put up for adoptionlast Saturday in La Sabana Park, onthe western edge of San José, werewhisked away by smitten families duringan open adoption event run by Amigos delos Animales Asís. Theprivate nonprofit organizationrescues streetdogs and mistreatedanimals in San José andmakes them availablefor adoption once theyhave been neutered orspayed, vaccinated anddewormed.“A member of theorganization goes outon a bike to pick up allthe stray animals hecan find,” saidAlejandro Solís, a volunteerfor the organization.“We collectany ugly, thin, mangyanimals that are suffering,and take them offthe street,” he said.The organizationworks in conjunctionwith students from theUniversidad Nacional(UNA) and approximately15 interested volunteers. Solís saysthere has been a marked increase in adoptionsevery year since the organization’sinception in 1997, when nearly 300 petswere adopted; in 2004, at least 1,200 animalswere adopted. Solís says the figure isexpected to continue growing.“We have more help getting the animalsspayed or neutered and seen to by avet. Rather than people coming to us toadopt when they feel like it, we now havean organized calendar of events and publicizethem as much as possible,” Solís said.Sixteen dogs and two cats were adoptedon Saturday in La Sabana, out of a total of20 animals. The same event was also heldin the central park in Heredia, a provinceand town in the Central Valley, north of SanJosé, where 15 animals were adopted. Thedogs ranged from adorable month-old puppiesto nicely groomed adults.“The rain hampered us a bit, but therewas a fairly good turnout,” Solís said. Theevent began at 10 a.m. and worked on afirst-come-first-served basis, with manypeople arriving up to an hour in advance.“They announced the event on televisionand I decided to adopt a puppy, as mydaughter is an only child and she getsbored on her own,”said AuxiliadoraRamos, who addedshe was very happywith the dog she hadadopted.The organizationrequires the adoptersto fill out detailedinformation aboutthemselves and theirhomes, to make surethe animals will bewell looked after.Adopters are provideda bag of food andadvice on lookingafter the animal, inreturn for a donationof ¢1,000 ($2.20).“I heard about theevent and knewstraight away that Iwanted to adopt adog,” Estrella Loriasaid. “I don’t mindthat they used to bestreet dogs; a lot of love and attention iswhat they need now,” she said.The next animal adoption event run bythe organization will take place Jan. 30 inLa Sabana Park, Feb. 2 in Heredia’s centralpark, and Feb. 3 in La Sabana Park again.Anyone interested in adopting a pet is welcome.For more info, call 267-6011.

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