When Hurricane Delta was tearing towards Cancun in Mexico last year, people were scrambling to protect their families, and their homes, from the likely destruction caused by the tropical storm.
Ricardo Pinmental, a founder of Tierra de Animales, which is a shelter for abandoned animals, decided that he needed to think outside the box to protect his animals from the hurricane.
Instead of risking the safety of the animals in his shelter, he decided to open his home and welcome all 300 dogs inside to seek refuge from the battering winds of the hurricane.
As soon as he heard about the path of Hurricane Delta and realized that his shelter was on its route, he immediately put plans in place to protect the animals he has dedicated his life to caring for.
After all, for more than nine years of his life, Ricardo has cared for 500 animals, including cats, dogs, chickens, turkeys, horses, sheep, pigs, cows, and donkeys.
He faced the horrifying reality that his shelter wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the incoming category four storm, and he came to the conclusion that his only option was to bring all the dogs home with him to protect them from the dangers posed by the hurricane.
In an interview with The Dodo, Ricardo recalled:
“We decided to put almost all the dogs inside the house, simply because we don’t fully trust in the shelters that we currently have because they aren’t hurricane-proof.”
But how do you get 300 dogs from one place to another when time is of the essence?
Ricardo relied on the help of five dedicated volunteers, who spent five hours transporting the dogs from the shelter to his home. Incredibly, all 300 dogs made it inside his home before the hurricane made landfall.
Ricardo remembers the logistical challenges faced by bringing the dogs home:
“We had to bring them in on leash two by two. Some of them are afraid or don’t know how to walk on a leash, so we had to carry them to the house, but in the end, it was worth it because they are all safe.”
As well as the dogs, Ricardo brought home enough food and supplies to get them through the storm, so all was left to do was sit it out and wait for it to pass. Fortunately, when it reached Ricardo’s home, it was only a category two storm, and all the animals were safe.
In spite of their best efforts, Ricardo and the volunteers were unable to save the shelter, as it was destroyed by the hurricane. After the storm and news of Ricardo’s efforts spread around the world, they were inundated with donations and messages of love and support.
Ricardo vowed to use the money to rebuild the center and ensure it is hurricane-proof, so that in the future, his animals can be safe from any incoming tropical storms.