Animal Rescue and Care

The animal project started because Paulette likes to have a dog around and Guillermina likes to horse ride. So we started with Condor who was living on the trash dump in San Juan and caught Paulettes attention. Resembling a golden retriever, he is a gentle soul, loved by all. Condor has been with us now for over 10 years……Since then the number of dogs we care for has grown…and grown …and grown. We now care for some 40 dogs in our different locations. Others live at home with their owners and we help out with food.

Many of our dogs come to us in a dreadful condition – nearly all have skin problems, some have had accidents and are left lying in the road, some are simply unwanted puppies. All are hungry, some to the extent that their internal organs have started to suffer damage. Most we can, with the help of our vetinerary friends in Managua, restore to health but some we sadly cannot save. Below are a couple of before and after pictures! Pelusa (the black one) and Shakira (below – likes to pose in her special chair!) live in La Mariposa, Canela helps to guard the group study center.

Pinta came to us preganant, hungry and scared, She was very difficult at first – aggressive both with other dogs and people so Paulette took her home to La Finca! She had 4 gorgeous puppies, all found good homes with La Mariposa workers. Pinta, now spayed, has calmed down and is even learning how to play, albeit slowly, with the other dogs.

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Pinta and pups

The first horses to be rescued were beach horses who were no longer wanted and since then numbers have grown to nearly 20! We have two horses who cannot work as they are blind in one eye and several who are too old. Some came to us pregnant so we look after some very young ones too! A few are still able to offer rides to La Mariposa Spanish students once  a week but they mostly spend their life at Cañada Honda in happy retirement. Panuelo still helps out with equino therapy but Pepper (20 years old and still beautiful) is in full retirement now.

Below is Dani, a horse who had been beaten and starved by his owner in Managua. He lived for a while with us in happier circumstances but sadly died from a heart attack. It is heart rending for us to lose an animal. Dora too we were unable to save, we think her liver failed after too long living in the street.


Over the years we have established a number of ways of helping dogs, and other animals, to be healthier whilst remaining with their families. A major project is our spaying and neutering program. Over 500 dogs and cats have been transported by us (free of charge) and given the operations (also free of charge) in vetinerary clinics in Granada. We also have brigades visiting La Concha offering additional services including deparasiting and giving vitamins. These services are so popular that we now have long waiting lists.

Below left, our pick up loaded with dogs and cats for Granada and then a dog returning to her family!

The story of the rescued wild animals is more complicated. Almost ten years ago, the police decomissioned the parrots and white faced capuchin monkeys (now endangered species) who were being illegally transported north for the exotic pet trade. They were all babies and had to be hand fed several times a day. They are now so tame that releasing them back into the wild is too risky. Our policy though is to release whenever possible and many animals have been brought to us who have been liberated either on our own lands or in local nature reserves.

Armando, below, is releasing a green iguana and an aricari – we have also released armadillos, ant eaters, sloths, howler monkeys…….

Sometimes the animals require intensive care before they can be set free…the nest of this baby squirrel was destroyed in high winds but she now lives happily with a group of friends in La Mariposa grounds, you can watch her munching on bananas.