Helping Velvet and Piccola Get Home Over Land and Sea

Joaquin and Velvet on the ferry. Joaquin jumped into the back of the truck with Velvet in his arms.  It should’ve been a quick ride to ferry, but the traffic was terrible.  Velvet, a little black spaniel mix, didn’t seem to mind one bit. It’s as though he knew where he was heading. With a big puppy grin on his face and a few enthusiastic wags of his tail, Velvet watched the ocean pass as we headed toward the ferry that would carry him home. 

Unfortunately for Piccola, a little tabby cat who was also making the journey, the ride wasn’t *quite* as fun. She hunkered down in her carrier and rode quietly in the front of the cab…. Velvet was rescued from the pound by a volunteer of the IFAW-supported Humane Society of Cozumel (HSC). Despite the image most people hold of these places in Mexico, the Cozumel pound is standing apart and does all that it can to educate the community.

Unfortunately, however, it does not have an adoption program and animals in need of a second chance must go elsewhere. When the volunteer saw sweet Velvet, she instantly knew he was going to be a wonderful addition to a family, so she took him for his shots and medical treatment at HSC and then back to her house with her 4 dachshunds. It wasn’t too long before a lady from Merida, Mexico discovered Velvet as she searched for a canine brother for her other dog. 

When she saw adorable Velvet she was certain he was the one. But since his new home was waiting in Merida - a 40 minute ferry ride and four and half hour drive from Cozumel – getting him there was no easy task. Piccola the cat. Piccola, on the other hand, was rescued from a closed project in Playa del Carmen. When volunteers at HSC first found her she was very very sick, so they took her back to the clinic for immediate care. 

Another group in Playa del Carmen, Coco’s Cat Rescue, had also taken in the rest of cats from the same group and all of them were incredibly ill (the details are a bit yucky, so let’s just say they had some “serious” tummy troubles!). 

Since then, all but one of the cat’s at Coco’s Cat Rescue were adopted, so just Piccola and one other kitty were left, but they were an ocean apart! We were certain they should be reunited as friends and companions. …..Everyone at the ferry was enthusiastic about their furry passengers, but while Velvet was initially excited with this new experience, he hadn’t quite grown into his “sea legs” and succumbed to a bit of sea-sickness. 

He spent the whole time laying down and looking to the ocean. When we exited the ferry, Claudia, Velvet’s new owner, was waiting anxiously for him at the arrival peer and was very excited when she saw him walking towards her.  It seemed as though they had both been waiting for this moment! As you can imagine, Piccola’s new feline friend wasn't waiting dockside, so her trip continued with a car-ride to Coco’s Cat Rescue.  When Piccola arrived, she and her old buddy met again and greeted each other like no time had passed.  

Coco’s plans on finding a home for the pair together. So both dog and cat crossed the ocean together. Of course, the cat was not very pleased but it was worth it. Joaquin and I were very happy to give Velvet and Piccola a little help on their journeys home and wish them all the best on the new adventures ahead! --EF

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Gail A'Brunzo, Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Manager, Wildlife Rescue
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters