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Mexico City "Dog Lady"

Christine A.
October 8th, 2004, 10:43 AM
Although she will never see this, a huge thank you needs to go to Felisa Osorno who runs the Franciscan Refuge in Mexico City. See article here: http://kicon.com/mexicodogs/saga.html This is their website: http://www.geocities.com/refugiofranciscano/indexenglish.html

I personally volunteered there while living in Mexico City for 3 years and it was the most moving experience of my life. There were over 2,000 dogs there at that time and Felisa knew all of them by name (that she personally gives them), as well as the over 200 cats. Not one animal will be put down in this shelter due to lack of space, and Felisa interviews every single person who wants to adopt an animal from this shelter. I remember one particular day, when Felisa was not there at the time I was volunteering. A family came in wanting a particular dog for their daughter and had chosen a Jack russel mix. A senior volunteer allowed them to take the dog the same day. The next day, I saw Felicia who told me that she was not happy about the decision to let this dog go to that particular family, and that had she been there she would not have let him go. She told me she was sure he would be returned that week. Well, not even a few hours passed when I heard a knock on the door. I opened the viewing slot at the top of the door to see who it was and there was Pepe (the dog) and the family there to return him. As Felisa had predicted he was not the right dog for a family with a small child as he was too hyper for children and tended to prefer the company of an adult male. This was common with Felisa as she knew the personality of each and every dog in that shelter.

The dogs were taken for group walks in the 10 acres of land behind the shelter on a daily basis. "Negrito" was a dog that had lost his leg and had been set on fire as he lived on the street. But he hobbled along for his walks, staring at the ground as was his trait. In the background you would here Felisa yelling "Juanito has diarrhea" or "Sam looks depressed" as she made note in her agenda and a volunteer vet, or staff would come and take the animal to be checked. I will never forget Leslie, a collie mix, who would always find me through the ocean of dogs whenever I arrived. She would simply jump up, but her paws on my shoulders and stare deeply into my eyes. I remember crying one day and Felisa came to me and said "why are you crying". There is no place in the world where these animals will receive more love". She then said, "My goal is not to find these animals homes. My goal is for them to be happy. And if this means that I will forver have thousands of cats and dogs in my care, then so be it." And I knew in that moment it was true. Through all the chaos, each and every one of the animals in this shelter was deeply loved - this one woman, 70+ years of age had a heart big enough to love them all and, I knew that in her care no harm would come to any of them ever again.

Felisa Osorno is a hero, and should be recognized worldwide for her efforts. I am now back in Canada and not a day goes by that I don't think about my experience there. I no longer cry when I remember - I know how lucky every animal is that reaches the arms of Felisa Osorno - they are in paradise. A little lady with an enormous heart. Thank you Felisa. The world needs more people like you.

mastifflover
October 8th, 2004, 11:52 AM
What a great lady I really admire someone that gives that amount of love and asks nothing in return. These animals are very lucky to have her. You were lucky to have known her. As we go through life not everybody is lucky enough to meet somebody like her.

chico2
October 9th, 2004, 09:34 AM
What an absolute angel!!! I can't help but thinking of what happens when she passes on.I am hoping she'll be happy and healthy to at least 100yrs... :)
It takes an extra-ordinary person to do what she's doing..how many people out there,would be able to take over??

Christine A.
October 9th, 2004, 09:55 AM
I once wondered that myself. But after working there I realized how many dedicated volunteers she has had from the Mexico City area who have been with her since at all started in 1978! One woman in particular, Gina Rivara, plays a key role in running the shelter. I am not sure if she is a family member or friend, but she really seems to be a younger version of Ms. Osorno (her passion and dedication to the animals). It would be a good question to ask......I'll write to them and see what they say and post the response. I am sure that being as passionate as she is about these animals, she must have a secure plan to leave behind. I don't know if there will be another "Ita" (Ms. Osorno) but I feel confident that the love of all those wonderful dedicated volunteers with play a vital role. :)

chico2
October 9th, 2004, 10:24 AM
Thank's Christine :) I read on the Web-Site a mentioning of the Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah.I have been trying to pressure my husband(so far no luck!)to spend a vacation there,it seems like a wonderful place...maybe they would help out if the situation in Mexico becomes too difficult.
I've been to many resorts in the Carribean and Mexico and spent my holiday feeding dogs and cats,being heartbroken when I have to leave.
That is one of the reasons we probably will not return again,there are hungry dogs and cats everywhere :(
Thank you for letting us read about this wonderful lady and hopefully there will be someone equally wonderful to take over.

cutiecherise
October 11th, 2004, 12:27 AM
Indeed, there should be more people like this in the world.

marko
October 12th, 2004, 11:53 AM
What a beautiful person and a beautiful story.

Thanks for posting this! Great inspiration!

Thanks

krdahmer
October 13th, 2004, 03:26 PM
What an amazing lady and a beautiful story thank you for sharing. May I suggest that you maybe contact a local news or appropriate network...i.e. Animal Planet who could share this inspirational story with others? It could help her by boosting donations and perhaps inspire others to volunteer. :)

Christine A.
October 13th, 2004, 09:56 PM
That's a wonderful idea! I will get on it ASAP. Thanks so much for the advice - wish I would have thought about it earlier! Oh, well, better late than never! :p
Thanks to all for your kind comments.......I will forward them all to Ms. Osorno. :)