Hurricane Delta slammed into the coast of Cancun, Mexico, in early October, leaving Ricardo Pimentel with few alternatives.
Pimentel is the founder of Tierra de Animales, a jungle-surrounded animal refuge on the outskirts of Cancun. He has cared for approximately 500 animals over the course of nine years, including stray cats, dogs, chickens, turkeys, horses, lambs, pigs, cows, and donkeys.
He realized the dog shelters wouldn’t be able to withstand a Category 4 hurricane, so he did what any animal lover would do: he welcomed the puppies to spend the night at his house.
“We have two bedrooms, one kitchen, and one bathroom ready for volunteers who want to come and help us with all of the things we have to do,” Pimentel told The Dodo. “We opted to keep practically all of the dogs inside the home because we don’t trust the shelters we have now because they aren’t hurricane-proof,” says one of the owners.
Bringing 300 dogs inside, however, was no simple task. Before the hurricane made impact, Pimentel and his helpers picked up the dogs and helped them inside for five hours.
“We had to bring them in two by two on leash,” Pimentel explained. “We had to carry some of them to the home because they were terrified or didn’t know how to walk on a leash, but it was worth it in the end since they are all secure.”
Pimentel anticipated that having so many animals in such a confined space would result in a shambles. He was ecstatic, though, when everyone seemed to get along.
He remarked, “They were actually quite well-behaved entire night.”
Fortunately, the hurricane had weakened to a Category 2 storm by the time it reached the sanctuary, however the powerful winds still caused damage.
“When the hurricane passed, we had to perform a lot of repairs and clear all [the animals’] areas from trees and branches the next morning,” says the narrator “According to Pimentel. “So they stayed in the house till 5 or 6 p.m. the next day.”