After seeing this announcement in one of the Playa del Carmen forums, I knew I had to go help out with the dogs at Playa Animal Rescue. Volunteers with vehicles even provide rides for volunteers without transportation (like me!) there and back, so it couldn't be easier. The pickup place at Mega grocery store is very close to our rental.
Last Saturday was my first time, and I got to walk two sweet and energetic dogs (not at the same time!) I walked with an experienced volunteer to learn the ropes and the route.
This week, I knew that my bruised hand from my bicycle mishap last Sunday was going to make walking dogs a bit challenging. Of course it's my right hand, and wrapping a leash around it was not going to be comfortable at all. Still, I wanted to go to see if there was anything I could do.
Fortunately, there was Reggae. He's a small senior Cocker Spaniel (or Cocker mix), and had to be kept in a pen by himself as he's been under treatment for heartworms since arriving at PAR a couple of months ago, from what I was told. He seems to be doing really well, though!
Since he's small and an easy walker, I knew I could walk him with my left hand, so we set out. It was a long walk because, as an intact male, he likes to mark. A lot. But that was okay. I was happy to accompany him on his outing.
Reggae's coat had been closely trimmed and his ear feathers were cut quite short, so I didn't even recognize the Cocker in him at first. His tail is not docked as most Cockers in the US either.
He was a bit camera shy, but oh so cute.
Here we are back at the shelter after a fine walk.
Here are a couple of the other volunteers who came out this Saturday. They are from Toronto, which is apparently a top destination for many of the adopted dogs from PAR. The dogs they were walking were enjoying the water in the kiddie pool. Reggae was not interested in the pool!
The PAR facility is really nice, with large pens, concrete floors, a sanitation system, and colorful painted murals on the walls. They even have a full-time vet on staff!
I can't wait to go back next week. I expect my hand will be much better and I will be able to walk more dogs. Most of the dogs are middle-sized to large and full of energy! I'm only used to walking 16-lb. Paisley, so this is a new experience for me, but I am thrilled to be able to help out. Volunteering at PAR is one of the most fun things I've done since coming to Playa, and certainly the most rewarding.
For more on Playa Animal Rescue, visit their web page (they have a really cool Store with handcrafted items and free shipping in the US -- great gifts for your dog-parent friends) and their Facebook page. They are doing great work for the dogs in need in Playa!
Hope everyone has been enjoying the new year. I know that much of the US has been suffering from extreme arctic blasts, making us even more thankful that we are here in Mexico, where the low temperature only rarely dips below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. One of our greatest joys is being able to wake up and put on shorts every single day. We definitely picked the right place to hang out this winter!
We have been keeping up our fitness activities, though we've backed off on the biking a bit after meeting our 2014 goals. We've continued to take lots of walks around Playa and to run on the really nice track near our rental. I've worked up to a schedule of a couple of 5K runs per week. The synthetic surface of this track is far preferable to pounding the concrete roads and sidewalks around here.
I've also been keeping up with my yoga practice at Yoga Shala 38 (their Facebook page). The classes are conducted entirely in Spanish, which is definitely a challenge, but my comprehension has improved quite a bit since I first dared to venture into a class back in November, ever so timidly! I'm really enjoying the improved strength and flexibility I get every time I do yoga regularly, and I try to go at least two mornings a week.
I'm currently having to take a break from yoga, unfortunately, as I bashed my right hand against my beach cruiser bike handlebar yesterday during a moonsoon-like downpour on our bike ride. I was looking at puddles and down at my front tire and almost ran right into a sign post on the bike path. D'oh! I was able to make a quick evasive maneuver to get around it without falling, but in the process, I did a number on the outside of my hand, and in its current swollen state, it would be no good for yoga. Hopefully I'll be back at it soon.
Here's what was left behind after the rain yesterday. We both arrived at our rental completely drenched, but this is one "puddle" I didn't ride through -- I took my bike up on the sidewalk to avoid it.
In addition to fitness activities, we've continued to enjoy all the good food Playa del Carmen has to offer. While we do cook quite a bit at home, we have developed a rotation of our favorite restaurants as well. We recently enjoyed another excellent dinner at the Mayan Bistro at the Hotel Aventura, which is probably our very favorite place to eat here. The setting is charming, the service excellent, the sangria expertly made by bartender Jorge, and the food is perfectly prepared and not too expensive. And since it's not on the big tourist strip, 5th Avenue, it's never crowded at the early time we eat dinner -- score!
We both tried something new this time: Pollo Mole for me and Pescado a la Diabla for Barry. I love the little artwork on the plates...the chefs are very talented.
We may never eat dessert at a restaurant again (well, not really!) because we have really hit the dessert lottery recently. An absolutely excellent gelato place, Amo Gelato (their Facebook page), has opened up right around the corner from our rental. It's dangerously delicious, and the couple who own the place couldn't be any friendlier. Lucky us! This is not grainy Mexican ice cream -- no indeed. It's as good as any gelato we've had.
The first time we discovered this wonderful spot, we just got small single portions, but since then we've returned and bought more cost-effective litros. They let you get four flavors in a litro, and they have such a great assortment of flavors, of course we have to do this!
Our first litro was all chocolatey/caramelly flavors...
And for our second we went with fruity flavors. It's impossible to pick a favorite!
The gelato is rich and flavorful, so we only eat a little at a time, no worries. But now you can see why we have to keep up our fitness activities!
Last but certainly not least, Paisley is enjoying her new year too. She enjoys soaking up sunshine in the garden, playing ball inside, and long nightly walks around town. She's definitely gotten used to being a "city dog" here.
Happy New Year from Playa del Carmen!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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