Adopting Maya Alux

Never Say Never 

Originally published in in January 2008.

This is a mistake that we seem to make over and over again. Not that the outcome is bad, but who are we trying to fool by saying we will never do certain things, such as, never get another puppy—or never bring another dog back from Mexico. We should know better because, when a dog is meant to be yours, you have no control over the timing or the place it will happen.

I should begin by saying that we lost two of our dogs this past year: Lola, our Akumal beach dog, and Alex, our 14-year old pit/lab mix. So we, along with our remaining dog, Nick, had a big void and were prime for being suckered into taking another dog.

I had been in Akumal a little over a week volunteering with CEA to help with their third Annual Festival and Gala. I had been warding off suggestions from locals as to which dog I should take home with me but, in reality, the connection just wasn't happening; the timing just wasn't right.

All was going well until the second day of the festival, right when we were getting ready for the Gala, and two days after my husband, Mike, arrived on the scene. That is when an acquaintance walked up to us and said, "Jen said you had had a really bad year." In her arms was the most adorable little "perita de calle" you ever want to see. And in those eyes staring back at us was the look of both Lola and Alex. As one friend said, "Lola and Alex must have dreamed this one up in heaven." And she was small, like two of our favorite dogs down there, Esperanza and Daisy. She has many of Lola's traits, with a bit of Alex's terrier. According to Jen at Turtle Bay Café and Bakery, "They had her special-ordered just for us."

One look is all it took. Mike was smitten and cursing out Jen, all in the same breath. I had my hands full for the remainder of the day with the Gala, and Mike had his full with an adorable little girl on a leash. We had no problem finding kids to babysit her that night while we attended the Gala. We named her Maya Alux. And when you get to know her, you learn that the Alux in her name fits. 

We were still somewhat hesitant to say we would bring her home. Lola had many health issues and we did not want to experience that cost and heartache again. We took her to Juan's clinic in Tulúm the day after the festival. He gave her a complete examination and ran all types of tests. The verdict was that she was completely healthy and was between one and one-and-a-half years old—the perfect age, since this meant she would not get much bigger. Our first hurdle was overcome. We left her overnight with Juan and he spayed her.

The next hurdle was the airline. If you decide to adopt an animal from Mexico, be sure to check with your airline. Most airlines don't allow you to fly with animals in the cargo area during really hot months, due to the possibility of an airplane being stuck on the tarmac too long and endangering the animal. Other airlines will allow you to transport the pet if it is small enough to fit under the seat, but even then they limit the amount of animals allowed on each flight, so be sure to call ahead.

In our case Maya Alux had to fit under the seat in front of us. Now keep in mind they say the animal can weigh up to 40 pounds. I can't image in my wildest dreams what a 40-pound animal that fits under an airplane seat would look like. In our case we had to transport a 20-pound dog, in a soft sided carrier that she barely fit in. The good news, we upgraded so that we didn't subject a stranger who would be sitting next to us to our dilemma. The other good news was she is an alux—which means at times she can become invisible. That is exactly what she did for the entire flight. She curled up on Mike's feet and was as quiet as quiet could be.

She even remained quiet through the entire immigration line. In all my traveling this was one of the longest immigration lines I have ever had to wait in; four international flights arrived at the same time. She impressed many with just how calm she was. I guess she knew it was the price she had to pay. Following immigration was the wait to clear customs; her papers were checked, no problem, and off we went. I dropped the bags off for our connecting flight as Mike took her for a very brief walk, on a very cold and hectic airport sidewalk. Our two-hour layover was now down to less than half an hour. Back in the carrier she went, back through security, and off on the last leg of our flight. Which of course was delayed.

Maya Alux spent over 12 hours traveling that day and never bothered a soul.

When she got to her new home, she realized just how worth it the trip was. She has a fenced-in yard, beds and couches to sleep on and, best of all, the next morning she met her big brother Nick. Nick returned home from the kennel and took one look at Maya in Mike's arms, got up on his hind legs, sniffed her, wagged his tail, and off they went to romp and play in the back yard. One might say it was love at first bite.

I have been involved with several groups that help the animals along the Mayan Riviera since 2001. There was YARF, then VIDAS and, most recently, a group that works mostly with local veterinarians doing free spay and neuter clinics, SPAY, Sociedad Protectora de Animales de Yucatán. If you would like to learn more about these groups you can visit their Web sites or stop by TURTLE BAY CAFÉ AND BAKERY the next time you are in Akumal. Jennifer is very active and does all she can to help the animals in need. You can make a donation there—or if a puppy catches your eye, Jen can help you out.

SPAY is scheduled to do a clinic in Akumal this spring, and they have participated in, collaborated with, and organized clinics from Xcalak to Playa del Carmen, and Cobá to Cozumel.

Lydia Pontius