A few weeks back, a thread on one of our regional message boards, LocoGringo, caught my eye. It was about the plight of a particular beachmutt, named Catelonia by concerned and caring visitors for the beach she roamed and called home. It seems she has been a fixture at this resort for sometime and apparently nursing yet another litter of pups. After reading about several unsuccessful attempts to capture and rehome her, I offered my time and efforts to Steven from NACER who assisted me in coordinating this with the management of the Catelonia Royal Tulum. I arrived at the resort on Thurday afternoon, armed with a collar, leash and several cans of tuna fish. The General Manager, Alexis, was waiting for me and set me up with one of the beach security guards who was to assist me in this capture. We made off down the beautiful paths and foot-bridges that wind through the lush jungle of this beautiful resort until we finally reached the beach.

We spotted Catelonia immediately and the chase ensued. I knelt down on the sand and opened my first can of tuna fish. The breeze off of the water carried the scent right to her and she ambled over to inspect. One look at the leash and collar and she was off like a shot...taking with her the can of tuna!! OK, I was clearly not prepared for my mission. She headed into some scrub brush littered with garbage, remnants of many stolen meals. She enjoyed the tuna in peace while I cursed and strategized. I opened can of tuna number two and laid it out for her.

Clearly, I was fooling noone with this rig. She headed off in the direction of the tourists sunbathing and observing my antics. Several friendly folks inquired about my intentions and tried to help corral Catalonia, but they too were deftly eluded. One well-meaning tourist convinced that my intentions were less than noble, took my business card and intends to call the embassy to check up on me. (I wonder what she'll find...eek) I told her all about NACER and The Peanut Pet Shelter in Playa del Carmen, but she remained unconvinced. Finally, Catelonia took off running in the direction of some small rustic shacks erected close to the beach on the south end of the resort property. Two men were relaxing in the shade of a wooden structure. She headed in their direction and collapsed in a panting heap at the foot of the elder of the two. I approached slowly, showing the gentlemen the leash and collar in my hands. The old man clearly understood my plan and held her so could slip the leash around her neck. In this close proximity, I was surprized to find that she had no fleas or ticks to speak of. With my dogs, it is a constant battle and we live in the middle of the city. The dog now safely leashed and calmed, I thanked the men for their assistance.

Then, the unexpected happened. The old gentleman asked where I was taking his dog. Now, mind you, my Spanish is far from perfect, but I was very clear about his meaning. "Your dog?" I asked "She belongs to you?". He responded that she was indeed his dog and her name is Vanessa. She had a litter, her third from what he could recall, and the pups were in his home, just past the dunes, safe and sound. Embarassed and a little nervous, I told him, in my very best Spanish, about the Locogringos and NACER, Dr. Juan Erazo, the vet in Tulum and the Peanut Pet Shelter. I explained that everyone was concerned for the welfare and health of his beautiful girl and her babies and that we wanted to offer our help. After a bit of back and forth, we agreed that I would take Vanessa to Dr. Juan in Tulum to be spayed and that I would return her to him within two days. He agreed that he would keep the pups fed in her absence. He also agreed that any pups that he did not chose to keep, he would release to me to bring back to Playa to our wonderful no-kill shelter, where they would be certain to find loving homes. He vehemently declined my offer for a photo opportunity and Vanessa and I made our way back through the resort grounds to my car. A nice young couple helped me muscle my captive into the crate for transport and we made our way to Tulum.

After a social call to a friend and fellow real estate in town and a slow drive down the beach road to kill some time, we found the vet's office and dropped a very nervous Vanessa off with Dr. Juan. We agreed on an excellent price for her procedure, I made payment arrangements and promised to pick her up the next evening. So, this is where we are. The fate of Vanessa is perhaps uncertain except that she will return today to her family and her home. Here, she can live out the rest of her days care free, without the stress of future litters and small furry mouths to feed, a happy companion to Sr. Salvadore. Next time you visit the Catalonia Royal Tulum, be sure to look for her, give her a treat and let her share your shade for a bit under the palm trees on her beach.