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Xolo Sanctuary seeks to decrease the amount of endangered, sick, and malnourished dogs at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala through the use of four different programs: Street Dog Rescue, Mayan Family Outreach, Sterilization Clinics and Vaccination Campaigns.


Street Dog Rescue

Many of the dogs on the streets of Lake Atitlan are homeless and alone. We bring those dogs into our sanctuary or into local foster homes where they are provided with all of their basic needs, such as food, shelter, medical treatment, and sterilization. They are also given training as well as the physical and emotional rehabilitation that they need to recover from the trauma of a hard life on the streets. After they heal up, we find them forever homes.


Unfortunately, our adoption pipeline to the US has been halted due to the US ban on importing all dogs from Guatemala which began on July 14, 2021. This is particularly challenging for us because it is difficult to find suitable homes in Guatemala because many families simply don't have the resources to provide for the dogs, and those that do, already have multiple dogs. So, for the moment, we have shifted the bulk of our focus to our other programs described below.

Mayan Family Outreach

Over the years of our work with street dogs at Lake Atitlan, we have found that a surprisingly large number of them actually have Mayan families. It's just that the families are under-resourced and simply don't have enough money to buy food and medicine for the dogs, let alone their own children. Many times, the families don't even know that vaccines or flea prevention medicine is available and they are unaware that dogs need a more well-rounded diet than just corn tortillas. So, we are working with those families to share information and support them with the food, medical treatment and sterilization that these dogs need while the families continue to love and care for them.

Dog in Cone
Dog in Cone

Sterilization Clinics

We believe that the only way to sustainably and successfully address the root cause of the suffering dog population on the streets of Lake Atitlan is by spaying and neutering as many dogs as we can. So, we plan to offer six sterilization clinics a year and hope to do more as funding becomes available. Each clinic will have an exponential effect because, as PETA says, just one unaltered female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in only six years!

Vaccination Campaigns

Many of the street dogs here have not been vaccinated for preventable and deadly diseases, such as distemper and parvovirus. So, our goal is to go out into the community, into homes and on the streets, to vaccinate dogs for these easily preventable and very contagious diseases that cause these dogs to become paralyzed, suffer in terrible agony and often bleed to death. We will band/collar each dog that has been vaccinated and do periodic revaccination campaigns as needed.

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