“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Last week we interviewed Milagros Romero Peralta, psychologist, animal rights advocate and founder and director of the NGO ‘Cusco Protección de Animales‘, an organization that has been rescuing abandoned street dogs and provided them with treatment and new homes for a number of years now.
Vegetarian Peru Adventures: Hi Milagros, first of all, we would like to thank you for your great work taking care of the abandoned animals in Cusco. Could you tell us a little more about your organization and how you were inspired to create it?
Milagros Romero: Ever since I was a child I felt a great love and respect for animals. I think I inherited my empathy especially with dogs from my father and my grandfather. When studying in the United States I had the opportunity to volunteer at several New York dog shelters. Upon returning to Peru I felt so enriched by this experience and I felt I had the necessary know-how and preparation to save lives here, so I founded the NGO in April 2010. My desire was to eradicate the suffering of animals in my beloved Cusco. My journey was full of tears, disappointments, and obstacles, but I never gave up. On the path I met many amazing and courageous people that helped me to realize my dream, many volunteers and donors (too many to mention and thank them all), among them our principal supporter Maya Harman who donated our veterinary mobile service that now visits not only the outskirts of Cusco, but also parts of the provinces in its ‘solidarity campaign’.
VPA: What are your main aims as an organization?
MR: Our principal aim is to eradicate the suffering of animals through massive sterilization campaigns, solidary veterinary campaigns accompanied by educating the general public about the ethical and responsible treatment of animals. We would like to see our organization as the most important and best-equipped contributor to ending animal suffering.
VPA: Tell us more about your shelter, please.
MR: It’s the biggest treasure for me… my babies that inhabit the shelter… they were often rescued from extremely cruel circumstances. Some had been hit by cars and had mutilated legs and paws, others had been physically or emotionally maltreated by insensitive humans who just used them as guard dogs or gave a puppy as a plaything for their kids. Once the dogs grow older or get sick they are often dumped on the garbage tips. 90% of our shelter dogs are females, they were probably rejected by their owners once they were on heat. Since 2010 we have rescued thousands of dogs of all ages. Many did not survive treatment and rehabilitation as they were already so damaged before we found them. Some had already been very sick with parvovirus, distemper, advanced pneumonia or fractured spines. We have found new caring homes for several hundred dogs. Unfortunately, we have had some bad experiences with adoptions which is the reason why we had to become very strict in our criteria for choosing new homes for our dogs. Right now we have 25 dogs at the shelter, mostly they are animals that were unlucky finding new homes, or in some cases, they are old or have some problems of misconduct. We love them and take care of them just the same… hopefully, we can find homes for them, too, in the future.
VPA: How can people best help your organization?
MR: We always welcome donations, above all we need dog biscuits, veterinary medicines and the helping hands of volunteers with the daily maintenance of the shelter and in our solidarity campaigns. Everyone is welcome here and you will be rewarded with lots of kisses and love from our rescued dogs.
VPA: Thank you so much for your time. We hope that some of our readers might feel inspired to lend you a helping hand in the future!