Surfers for Strays is an all volunteer non-profit organization that reduces the number of stray animals in Mexico through spay and neuter programs and inspires compassion and awareness for the humane treatment of neglected animals through education, rehabilitation and adoption programs. Surfers for Strays was started in January of 2017 by Isabel Velasco and Natalie Ritenour when they rescued 7 puppies and their mother, who had been abandoned at a local hot springs in Lagunillas, Guerrero, Mexico. The puppies were being eaten alive by parasites and their mother was severely malnourished.
Working together the women devised a plan to house and care for the animals and raise funds and more importantly, raise awareness to sterilize pets. They gained enough support in the local community to start helping “callajeros”, street animals in the villages of Troncones, Los Llanos, La Saladita and surrounding regions.
With the help of local veterinarians and citizens, they started organizing spay and neuter clinics and a children’s education program on how to treat and care for animals. Visiting surfers and travelers began volunteering and growing the network to foster and adopt animals in the US and Canada. With that momentum and the love and support of key volunteers, Surfers for Strays Inc. was founded in August of 2019 to cover more ground and help more animals escape the cycle of neglect, abuse and abandonment. In 2020, Surfers for Strays adopted out 126 dogs and cats to homes in North America and paid for 1,220 dogs and cats to be spayed and neutered in local communities in Mexico through partnerships with other nonprofits and local as well as international vets.