Since moving to Brazil, I have spent a lot of time driving between Pato Branco and Curitiba, along with various other car journeys. On these journeys, it is not uncommon to see stray dogs by the side of the road, sometimes sleeping, sometimes wondering lost. Apparently, there are people that get tired of having a dog (or other reasons – I honestly can’t work out what goes on in these people’s minds) that just release (that should be, kick out…) a dog at the side of the road. Even worse is seeing a dog stranded in the central reservation, with no way of getting food without braving the fast moving, continuous stream of traffic. I have seen a lot of these strays and it’s a sight I hate seeing – I can’t understand why anyone would treat an animal like that. My wife and I have often said that if we had a farm (or if we had money) we would love to be able to take in these stray dogs so that they would have a chance in life.
Recently, we found out that someone has done just this. Seu Lima has a sanctuary just outside Pato Branco where he takes in stray dogs, cats and even monkeys. Amazingly, he does this without any assistance from the city, even though he is performing a valuable service by giving a home to stray dogs and cats in the city. When we visited him, we were greeted by a cacophony of dogs barking and seu Lima came out to meet us. We were immediately taken by his friendly nature and the love for his animals which was clear from the way he spoke.
|Zico holding my hand|
He introduced us to Zico, a monkey that, between mouthfuls of watermelon, likes to hold hands with people! When I reached out a second hand, he took it in his and started excitedly jumping up and down! He then spotted a tempting rubber attachment hanging off my camera, snatched it away and proceeded to (try) to chew it! Eventually he gave up on it and abandoned the rubber in favour of a more tempting courgette. I guess he felt bad about it because he gave me a piece of courgette when I returned!
Seu Lima then took us on a tour of the sanctuary. He petted each of the dogs as we passed, with a story about most of them. They were generally kept one or two dogs to a pen and we were impressed with how clean each pen was, despite the huge number of animals. Most of the dogs (at least those that have spent some time there) appear well fed and in good spirits, although many show signs of the abuse or neglect the suffered prior to their rescue – one fled to the roof of her kennel as I passed and, clearly shaking, urinated in fear. We also saw animals that with amputated limbs, missing eyes and other injuries and health problems. Seu Lima told us about the first dog he rescued, who was abandoned at the side of the road and someone had thrown either hot water or hot oil at him. In some ways, it was horrible to see the state of some of the animals, but at the same time, I was glad that they were being fed, sheltered and very well cared for.
For more information, to find out about adopting a dog or to donate, more information is available (in Portuguese) at the website for the Associação Lima de Proteção aos Animaisde Pato Branco or at https://www.facebook.com/alpapb/
|Seu Lima with the second dog he rescued and one of the assistants|