Why I Write About Humane Travel
For the majority of my many vacations, I have enjoyed sipping cold drinks by the pool, taking advantage of white sand beaches, shopping ‘til I dropped, and then eating a lovely dinner at a nice restaurant. About 5 years ago, however, my honey and I ventured out into the local community while on our way to a major tourist attraction in Mexico. We rented our own vehicle and with directions in hand from the concierge, we bravely (I say bravely because driving in a foreign country can be challenging!) set forth to explore. What I found on our day trip would change my life.
It seems that beyond the walls of our exclusive resort, there is another world. A world that on that day deeply and forever touched my heart—the sad, cruel world of stray dogs and cats around resort destinations. Starving, diseased, and uncared for, these animals surround the resort destinations where we come to relax and indulge. Usually they are kept away from tourists so we don’t have to see the suffering that would ruin our vacations. In my case, I saw a starving female dog that must have just had a litter of puppies because her teats hung low to the ground. Even though she was obviously mistreated and ignored by most of the locals, she came up willingly to me and nuzzled my hand. Not knowing what to do or how to help her (I was in a foreign country!); I left her in the street to continue suffering. It was a decision that haunts me to this day.
Later that night, back at the luxury hotel with the incredible view of the ocean, I cried until sunrise the next morning which happened to be my birthday. I made up my mind–the only birthday gift I wanted was to go back and find that poor mommy dog, who I named “Nova”, even though I didn’t know what the heck I would do once I found her. My loved one patiently drove me back to the area where we had seen her and we searched down all the streets around there but no mommy dog. More tears resulted but also a solemn promise rose from my soul that day. Nova, I will help dogs like you and your puppies, I promised her. I will work to help with everything in my power.
At the time, I was in law school—a second career for me after nearly 20 years working with a major airline in sales and marketing. I went on to graduate and become a licensed attorney. It took me a few years to get settled enough to be ready to help but then I sat down at the computer one evening and searched for ways to help. I came upon Darci Galati and her organization, CANDi-Cats and Dogs International (www.candiinternational.org) and sent off an email asking how to help. Darci immediately responded and welcomed me into the sometimes wonderful/sometimes strange and challenging world of animal rescue.
It was the beginning of a new journey—out of the “virtual” resort where I had stayed in comfortable, gloriously unaware bliss most of my life to the reality of the hard work it takes to stop the suffering of animals on a global level. It’s a bumpy ride and I don’t pretend to always be able to handle all the suffering and pain I see. However, I have the most wonderful traveling companions who constantly amaze me with their strength and commitment to this cause along with the support of my loved ones and dearest friends.
It is my sincere hope that every one who reads this finds their own “Nova” to inspire them on to share their gifts. It is the calling of a lifetime.