Frisky new friends in San Miguel

By Mike Svob

Over the years, my twice-annual, five-to-six-week visits to Guanajuato and San Miguel have been an endless source of satisfaction, and I’ve always returned to Tucson with reluctance. However, it wasn’t until my most recent stay, this June and July, that I felt I had gotten the utmost out of every moment in San Miguel. The reason? This time, not knowing what to expect, I decided to volunteer as a dog-walker at the Sociedad Protectora de Animales (SPA). The usual attractions of San Miguel were as satisfying as ever, but the high point of every day was unequivocally the two hours that I spent with my new canine friends.

Comfortably housed and cared for at the SPA facility on Los Pinos, the dogs need exercise and have various endearing ways of showing their appreciation when you take them for a quarter-hour stroll. Altogether, I eventually walked 20 or so different dogs – all friendly and eminently adoptable – but there were several with whom I felt a particularly strong bond, each in a different way. It was painful having to say goodbye to them when it came time to return to Tucson. If I lived permanently in San Miguel (as I’m thinking about doing), I would promptly adopt a couple of these wonderful, deserving animal friends.

Like Bo Jangles in the song, I’ve been grieving for years over the loss of a black lab who had been my constant, loving companion, but my daily fellowship with the dogs at SPA went a long way in alleviating my long-standing sense of loss: I’m ready now for another dog (or two). I must add that, in addition to the joy of spending time with the dogs at SPA, I found all of the staff and volunteers at SPA to be thoroughly “buena gente” – positive, interesting people dedicated to helping their fellow creatures. I can’t wait to join them again (along with Mina, Tessa, Lucy, Scooby, Tessie and all the other great dogs at the SPA) as soon as I return to San Miguel in early November.

The SPA’s website ( and albums on Facebook ( spotlight all dogs and cats available for adoption (biographies, pictures, and videos).

You can also meet some of the SPA’s adoptable pets at Plaza Cívica on Thursdays from 11am-1pm. Think about volunteering like I did and will do the next time I visit. It’s a rewarding and gratifying experience.

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