Albergue San Cristóbal is an animal shelter that cares for hundreds of dogs in Jilotepec. Mr. Cristóbal is the founder of this shelter. He always loved animals but never imagined starting a rescue shelter until the day his family dog, Puchi, disappeared. As he combed the streets looking for Puchi over the following six months, he became aware of the overwhelming abuse and difficulties that street dogs go through.
Mr. Cristóbal’s rescue efforts began with finding a box of six abandoned puppies. During this time, though, he didn’t consider himself a dog rescuer. Instead, he took the puppies home and said to himself that the puppies were now his responsibility to care for. And that’s how it started. Every time Mr. Cristóbal encountered dogs in need, he would bring them to his home and care for and love each one as his own.
In the year 2000, Mr. Cristóbal formally founded Albergue San Cristóbal, renting land to support the dozens of dogs that he was rescuing off the street. At one point, his shelter housed as many as 950 dogs. But keeping so many stomachs fed is no easy financial task, so now he cares for around 750 dogs.
Mr. Cristóbal encourages everyone to visit his shelter, even those who don’t like animals. In his words, you can’t love what you don’t know. And he’s sure once you visit the shelter, you’ll fall in love with the dogs and become inspired to defend street dogs and support animal rights efforts.
Address: 54270 Jilotepec de Molina Enríquez, Mexico
Hours of operation: The visiting hours are flexible, and you should coordinate with Albergue San Cristóbal in advance so they know to expect you and help with directions. If you want to support with cleaning, they start at 8:00 am. If you wish to spend time with the dogs, you can do so starting at 11:00 am.
WhatsApp number: +52 55-6153-8264 (sending a message is best)
English Spoken? If you coordinate your visit in advance, they may be able to arrange an English-speaking person to translate for you. You can also download the free Google Translate app on your phone.
Below are the areas that Albergue San Cristóbal needs help with:
Since Albergue San Cristóbal sits outside of Mexico City, if you’d like to spend time volunteering for consecutive days, there’s a hotel about 500 meters away that you can stay at.
Albergue San Cristóbal is always in need of the following donations:
One of Albergue San Cristóbal’s biggest needs is dog food since they spend nearly 30,000 pesos per week to feed their 750 dogs.
For several years Albergue San Cristóbal has also been collecting secondhand items in good condition as donations. They then bring the items to a bazaar and use the money they earn from it for their shelter.
If you aren’t in a position to adopt a dog but would like to support financially, you can sign up to become a virtual adopter. By virtually adopting a dog (usually an older or sick dog that doesn’t have a high chance of getting adopted), you’ll support with monthly payments to cover the dog’s food and medical expenses. In exchange, Albergue San Cristóbal will send you regular photos of your dog and you can spend time with them at the shelter if you’re in the area.
Getting their dogs adopted is a huge part of Albergue San Cristóbal’s mission. All of the dogs up for adoption already have their vaccinations, are dewormed, and spayed or neutered.
To adopt a dog, you’ll need to fill out a form that will ask for your personal details and other items such as agreeing to email Albergue San Cristóbal photos of your adopted dog every once in a while. They’ll also request photos of where your dog will be living to ensure the dog will have adequate space and shelter.
Albergue San Cristóbal urges potential adoptive families to consider their long-term plans before committing to adopting. You should be willing and able to care for your rescue dog for the duration of its life, for Albergue San Cristóbal has seen many dogs end up on the street or at their shelter because of owners no longer wanting to keep the animal.
At the beginning of the pandemic, 130 dogs were adopted from Albergue San Cristóbal with the help of an agency that ran a campaign saying that if a person didn’t have someone to spend the pandemic with, they could adopt a pet. Sadly, the adoption rates have since decreased, in part because so many people are out of work and can’t afford to care for a pet.
If you want to adopt a dog from Albergue San Cristóbal but know that you’ll be leaving Mexico someday, traveling by plane with your dog is possible. Learn about what to expect with our guide on How to Fly Your Pet Out of Mexico.
Albergue San Cristóbal is always around its maximum capacity for being able to take in new street dogs. Therefore, they focus their efforts on using any space they have to rescue injured or sick animals, older dogs, and puppies. Of course, they wish they didn’t have to turn any animal away, but having the space and financial resources to care for the dogs they currently have is their priority.
If you encounter a dog that someone no longer wants to take care of, you can send a photo of the animal to Albergue San Cristóbal and they’ll share it with their community to see if they can help the dog find a new home.
Otherwise, you can call Albergue San Cristóbal and they can help guide you with advice on what you can do to help the street dog you find. Sadly, the police and governmental animal protection agencies aren’t very helpful with these situations.
Stay up-to-date on current events at Albergue San Cristóbal by following their website and social media pages.
Leaving Pawprints connects travelers with animal shelters across the globe for free. We lay the foundation by communicating with the shelters to find out what support they need. If you want to volunteer abroad with animals in Mexico, check out the animal shelters we’ve partnered with to find out how you can help.
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