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Why Volunteer? For Us, It’s All About Going to the Dogs!

From the SPA

By David Stambrook

I recently volunteered at the Sociedad Protectora de Animales (SPA) as a dog walker. I loved the experience and will miss my SPA doggie friends and walker colleagues for a few months until my return in the fall.

During our extended stay in SMA, my wife, Anne, and I went to the SPA twice a week. The dogs were appreciative of our time (90 minutes each day) and greeted us with excited jumping and playful pawing. Every dog has a distinct personality. Part of our reward was to learn their eccentricities and how they interacted with other dogs and people. We tended to develop a special bond of affection for some of the dogs. Mine were Spice, a friendly German shepherd mix, and Alegría, a little brown ball of muscle with a bit of an attitude towards other dogs. Anne’s were Mitzy and her daughter, Bailey.

Why did we do it? The rewards are several: needed exercise (for me!) walking uphill on a regular basis; the pleasure of a wagging tail and an eager walking partner; the animal enjoyment of the outdoor environment with its doggy smells; stops to sit, cuddle, and stroke fur; the contrast between the bounding eagerness to “get-out” and the satisfied “return” to their SPA home; and the knowledge that a good home may await and that we have made a small contribution to their human socialization. As Anne has aptly told me, walking the SPA dogs is unadulterated pleasure for the dogs and for us. Such enjoyment cannot be purchased.

We know that some friends may not be there on our fall return—but there will be new wag-tails to befriend. Do any of you out there want to join the pack? You are welcome to drop by the SPA and talk to the volunteer coordinator. Volunteer hours (for cats and dogs) are Monday–Saturday, 11–2, Los Pinos 7, 152 6124. The SPA’s website ( has photos and bios of all the animals waiting to meet you on the Adopt Me! page.

The SPA is working hard to raise money to cover its annual cost for dog, cat, kitten, and puppy food by asking for donations to its Pet Food Money Bank. Please contribute to this great cause. The goal is to raise 150,000 pesos or US$9,000, 100 percent of which will be applied to the cost of food for their 100 resident cats and dogs plus SPA animals in foster care. See or write for more information about the Pet Food Money Bank and how to support this effort.


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