Brush with Fame- Nino the puppy meets Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale

Nino, the little shepard mix puppy from Cancun Mexico, arrived Home for Life on Wednesday this week. He was very tired and spent most of the rainy afternoon sleeping. The weather was so rainy all week that it made everyone sleepy. He is a pretty gold color with black markings creating a brindle effect. His coat is still that soft fuzzy texture that puppies have, and he has the needle- sharp puppy teeth. I was worried initially because he seemed so subdued ..but considering all that he has been thru in his young life it is not surprising it took him a few days to regroup and get his normal puppy energy back. I had a chance to have lunch with Angie who runs the Cancun Mexico rescue Rescate Malix,where Nino was taken after he was rescued. She cared for him for months after he was rescued and is quite bonded to him. I was glad to have the chance to talk more with Angie to learn more about what had happened to Nino and also to hear more about her rescue efforts in Mexico. Rescate Malix means rescued strays in spanish. Angie and all the people who assist with her efforts such as Maia of Pet Project Rescue of Minnesota are doing so much to help these street dogs who suffer greatly from ignorance,disease,neglect and outright cruelty. Angie believes that education is the key to transforming the attitudes of the people which result in so much suffering among Cancun's dogs. She coordinates spay/neuter clinics, rescues and finds homes for many dogs through organizations in the US like Minnesota's Pet Project Rescue and cares for many dogs at her shelter in Cancun.
Angie gave me more details about how Nino was injured and how he came to her at Rescue Malix. Apparently, Nino's mother, a small stray ,street dog, hung around a taco stand with her pack of three dogs.The taco stand was in a small village outside of Cancun,near protected forests or jungles( like our state forests). The husband and wife who ran the taco stand noticed Nino's mother was pregnant and fed her more to try to help her. At some point,according to the couple, she had her puppies in the protected jungle near the taco stand but would continue to visit the stand to be fed. She had had 5 or 6 puppies they told Angie. When the puppies were about 4 weeks old, one afternoon, the taco stand couple heard cries and screaming, yelling, then barking coming from the direction of the forest where the the mother dog had lived with her puppies. They were puzzled but the cries were so distressing,that the husband went to investigate. As he approached the protected jungle area, he saw teenage boys carrying MACHETES laughing and running from the area. The man entered the forest where he knew the mother dog had been with her puppies. What he found horrified him: blood everywhere. But the mother dog and the puppies were gone. He was very upset and went back to his stand to tell his wife about what he found. A short time later, that same afternoon, the mother dog emerged from the forest where she had been hiding and approached her friends from the taco stand who had always fed her and helped her. She was carrying her only surviving puppy in her mouth;she approached the man and dropped the puppy, who was Nino, at his feet, and then ran off. The man and his wife examined the puppy and saw that the hind legs had been cut off half way up the leg. The stumps were bleeding. They were in an area that was really very remote,with nothing like a veterinary hospital near. The wife grabbed some onions they had at their stand, cut them in half and put them on the puppy's stumps to stop the bleeding. Apparently onions are a natural disinfectant and anti-coagulant.
Through the grapevine,the taco stand couple had heard of Angie and somehow from their village got word to her and brought her the puppy for care. Shortly thereafter, through volunteers with Candi, an organziation of professionals in the travel industry who help in third world countries, Nino's case was brought to our attention, and we agreed to help him. Nino is the name given to him by Angie and it means 'little boy". Nino's mother is still living on the streets of the village,near the taco stand. Angie and her volunteers hope to be able to provide vet services and spaying for her at some point. It is hard to think of the mental trauma and heartbreak Nino's mother went thru trying in vain to protect her puppies and having to watch them be slaughtered and her desperation as she tried her best to save her last living puppy by bringing him to the taco stand couple.
Candi International made arrangements for Angie to accompany Nino to the United States and to Home for Life. Angie spent time in Los Angeles raising awareness for Rescate Malix with Nino serving as the ambassador and representative for all the dogs of Cancun and while there she and Nino met musicians Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale who were very touched by his story and were delighted to pose for this photo with him.
Despite the cruelty Nino suffered,everyone who has had a part in his journey are determined that good will come out of this evil. The first goal is to make sure that Nino has a great life and either with prosthetics or a cart,has the ability to walk and run like a normal dog. He is only four months old so we will have to wait for him to reach his full size before he is fitted for the cart o prosthetics so his bones are strong and fully developed. We will also consult with veterinarians experienced in rehabilitation to be sure we are doing all we can to facilitate his ability to live as much as possible as a normal dog. It will be challenging to give him the ability to be mobile but not cause trauma to his stumps which will be prone to the development of sores. Nino loves people and other dogs so a full life for him will include ample opportunities to play and socialize with other dogs as well as the chance to have training to become a therapy dog with the goal of participating in our outreach programs. Another positive to emerge from this tragedy is the way Nino's situation has united the goodwill of people from all over the world, from different rescues, different countries,individuals from humble backgrounds and those who are high profile and famous. It is truly miraculous that Nino,who started life as one puppy of a litter born to an anonymous street dog from a village in Mexico, is now held close to the hearts of so many people,and through the tragedy that befell him, will now be able to bring awareness to the plight of the stray dogs and the heroic efforts of Rescate Malix to help the street dogs of Cancun.