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Playa Animal Rescue

This article highlights the stray dog problem in Mexico. After doing some research and talking to a few people in the city I used to live in (Playa del Carmen), I decided to visit Playa Animal Rescue (PAR) to better understand the issue and help as much as possible to spread the word to finally find forever homes for the doggies in the animal shelter.

'Dogs at PAR Animal Rescue, Playa del Carmen'

Dog rescue in Mexico

Mexico has a street dog problem, the country has nowadays the largest number of stray dogs in Latin America and this has become a public health risk. But how many stray dogs are in Mexico?

As reported by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, 70% of Mexico’s estimated 18 million dogs live on the street, either abandoned by their owners or born as strays

This is an insane number of dogs living in the streets and despite the efforts of some authorities and local animal rescue shelters to take care of the situation, the truth is that the situation is unbearable and there is not enough space and means in shelters to rescue all dogs.

Mexican street dogs

Most Mexican street dogs are super friendly, they are eager for you to pet them and of course, if you happen to drop any kind of food, you’ll probably make them happy for the rest of the day! On the other hand, there are many wild dogs, also developing diseases and this is putting at risk other wildlife in the areas they wander around.

Playa Animal Rescue – How it works and my experience visiting the shelter

Playa Animal Rescue is one of the best non-profit initiatives in town. The shelter has only dogs for now and survives 100% on donations.

Playa Animal Rescue
'Graffiti at PAR Animal Rescue'

Long before I decided to visit Playa Animal Rescue, I heard very good feedback from everyone volunteering there! Therefore before my visit, I got in touch with Mauricio Ramírez (Mau) who is Coordinator/MVZ at the shelter. 

Mauricio deals with the many issues related to the maintenance of the refuge; he also makes sure dogs are healthy and provides professional veterinarian assistance whenever animals need it, as he is a certified Vet! He has a team of two other workers who help clean, feed, and take care of new doggies until they recover from their past life wandering the streets and potential traumas.

When I see the transformation and progress these incredible animals make in their lives once they arrive in our refuge, I feel plenty and this encourages me to work harder for their well being


– Mauricio R.

Playa Animal Rescue
'Dogs at Playa Animal Rescue, Playa del Carmen'

My experience visiting PAR Animal Shelter

I spent a few hours at the shelter on a Saturday morning in January 2021. I helped take the dogs for a walk. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any previous experience!

Mauricio and his team can also teach you the basics to do ‘proper dog walking’. I used to have a dog several years ago and only that day I learned a kickass trick to make the doggies stay by my side while walking in the street – They say it is never too late, isn’t it?

Playa Animal Rescue
'Me playing and petting one of the doggos at PAR'
Playa Animal Rescue
'Taking one of the dogs for a walk at PAR'

Once you finish walking dogs, you would give them a treat, and then you can spend some time petting them and playing with them! The overall experience was very enriching – seeing how happy they were just with some little care and attention melted my heart!

Playa Animal Rescue
'Volunteer playing with PAR doggies after their morning walk'

Volunteering at Playa Animal Rescue

PAR welcomes volunteers with wide open arms every week. If you live in Playa del Carmen or the surroundings, know that you can come to the shelter and take dogs for a walk, teach them a few tricks, clean them if you like and overall give them some – much needed – LOVE!

'Volunteer taking dogs for a walk at PAR'
'Dog waiting for a treat after the morning walk'

These activities are offered weekly at 9am from Monday to Thursday and Saturdays too. It is important that you get in touch with the shelter, at least 24h before you decide to come, so they can expect you and make they’re ready for you to make the most out of your visit. You can either message the refuge via Facebook, Instagram or by sending an email to

Walking dogs at PAR
'Mauricio (PAR Coordinator) walking several dogs'

There are also several volunteers partnering with PAR, fostering dogs temporarily until they finally find their new home – the main goal is getting them reunited with their forever families.

Adopt a dog from Mexico

Playa del Carmen animal rescue makes sure dogs recover properly and once they are healthy enough, they get them vaccinated and sterilized in order to find them a new home.

Playa Animal Rescue
'Dog at PAR, Playa del Carmen'

This is where the Canadian Non-Profit Organization DIBS Rescue enters the game. They partner with Playa del Carmen animal rescue to help dogs find a home. Once the Mexican dog finds a temporary home in Canada, PAR gets in touch with travelers heading to the country and provides transport in-land, plane tickets, and all the paperwork needed for the dog to be able to fly, escorted by the kind human who decides to volunteer to take the dog to Canada.

Upon arrival, either a member of DIBS, the foster family, or the new family will be waiting outside the airport to welcome the lucky doggy! 

Dogs can be adopted in Mexico too, but the focus of PAR in the past years has been finding them a house in Canada, thanks to the support of DIBS Rescue.

Playa Animal Rescue Donations

As mentioned above this is a non-profit organization that survives through donations. Please click here if you would like to make a donation to Playa del Carmen animal shelter

Every little help would be very much appreciated. The refuge will use the money to provide dogs with food, medicine, and more! – If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to write a comment below or send me an email!

'Saying goodbye at PAR Animal Shelter'

Plan your trip: A quick guide to book your next adventure now

This is a detailed guide that will help you plan your trip from scratch and successfully prepare everything ahead of your departure. I follow these steps to book my trips and now you can do the exact same!

Purchase your flight

I use Skyscanner to book my flights since I can have oversight on the best deals. Alternatively, I use

Book your accommodation

For many years now I’ve used to find the best hotel deals. Hostelworld is my go-to for hostels.

Don’t forget your travel insurance

My favorite companies are SafetyWing (best relation product/value), HeyMondo (another great affordable alternative), and IATI Seguros (for Spanish speakers).

Choose your tours

I love traveling on my own, but for those activities that I need to pre-book I use Get Your Guide, Viator, and Civitatis.

Need Transportation?

Discover Cars, is the company that works best to rent a car. For transportation in Central America, I use GuateGo.

Packing Guide

Check out the list I’ve put together with my favorite travel gear and travel resources to help you pack for your trip.




  • 13 abril 2022

    Hello I came on a trip at Royalton there are 3 dogs I would like to come back and bring to Canada I am part of a Refuge on the Quebec province and Ontario I bring cats and dogs to get sterilized every month at North Bay Humane Society . I’m a big Animal lover saved lots of cats and some dogs . I need help to proceed and make sure that the dogs are catches have seen a vet and ready to fly back with me I’m going home Thursday but will come back if I have to but if arrangements could be all done or help me because I don’t know where to start and don’t speak Spanish .I won’t be able to take those poor dogs off my mind I will adopt one and find good homes I know the 2 animal rescues I work with will help find homes I would need to have a vet check Health card and vaccinations I can get them sterilized in Canada . I will start a go fund me if I have to also .please help me save those dogs. 1-705-477-1399 I can receive text or messenger

  • Theodor

    10 enero 2024

    Hello,we found a straight female dog, near playa del Carmen, with a wound. we took her to the vet and they gave her 10 days treatment which we are currently administrating. Unfortunately we are leaving on the 13th back to UK. Is there any way that you can help us? We tried all the local shelters and groups and no luck


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