Abandoned Stray Dogs at the Basilica of Guadalupe

January 31, 2019

Every December 12th, worshipers make a pilgrimage on foot to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico. Some bring their dogs with them, and others join them on route, as well. Because of this, there is now an accumulation of abandoned stray dogs at the site.

Why are there abandoned stray dogs at the Basilica?

A dog abandoned at the Basilica of Guadalupe.
Source: www.excelsior.com.mx

To commemorate the supposed appearances of the Virgin Mary to a local man Juan Diego, in 1531, a large number of people come on foot from different parts of the country to the slopes of the hill of Tepeyac, in the north of the Mexican capital.

Unfortunately, the worshipers bring their own dogs and other dogs join them for this pilgrimage. Most of the time these dogs don’t return to their homes when the pilgrims return, usually on buses.

It is here that pet defense organizations must take action. Fortunately, there are some who are doing exactly that. The Mexican Association for Animal Rights (Amedea) rescues many of these dogs, and then temporarily transfers them to a shelter near the basilica.

In the shelter, the carers look after the dogs and neuter them. They stay there, waiting for adoption and to have a second chance in life.

A permanent home for the “pilgrims’” dogs

This year, activists requested the Basilica’s authorities to intervene. They asked them to urge the “pilgrims” not to contribute to the problem of the abandoned stray dogs. They also asked them to stop the dogs from following them.

What happens is that, in many cases, the dogs join the pilgrimage because the participants give them food.

On the other hand, the volunteers of Amedea hope to be able to have a refuge in the Ajusco area, in the extreme southwest of Mexico City, as soon as possible.

The idea is to have a permanent shelter for the dogs that people abandon during this massive religious event. In addition to that, they will also accept other animals that are victims of different kinds of abuse there.

Diego, the first dog rescued from around the sanctuary

In the last pilgrimage, the first rescued dog received the name of Diego, in honor of Saint Juan Diego.

According to Mexican oral tradition, and according to information from the Vatican, they claim that the Virgin Mary “appeared” on four occasions to Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac. And that, on a fifth occasion, she supposedly appeared to his uncle, Juan Bernardino.

The events occurred in 1531, ten years after the fall of Tenochtitlan into the hands of the Spanish conquerors.

The search for the true Christian spirit

An abandoned dog at the Basilica.
Source: www.excelsior.com.mx

The National Basilica of Santa María de Guadalupe was built between 1974 and 1976, after the original construction, carried out in the 16th century, became unstable after its foundations collapsed.

The architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez designed the circular design of the temple. Consequently, you can see the original image of the Virgin of Guadalupe from anywhere in the church. Inside, it is able to hold ten thousand people.

The basilica is the second most visited site dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the world. Only the Basilica of San Pedro exceeds it. Approximately twenty million pilgrims come to the sanctuary each year. Almost half of them attend on the day of the celebration of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, or near to that day.

It would be fantastic if the parishioners would also show Christian spirit towards these abandoned stray dogs. Many seem to forget that animals are also creatures of God.

Source of photos: www.excelsior.com.mx