Williamsville native moves to Colombia and starts rescue to help save street dogs

‍When Maureen Cattieu moved to Cartagena, Colombia she had no idea the impact it would have on her life. What started out as a teaching position turned into a dog rescue that would change her for the better – Cartagena Paws.

“I came down here to teach at an international school and then after a few years saw the huge need for helping street dogs. I started helping one dog at a time and then it just grew and now we try and help as many as we can. We even have a few rescues in Buffalo that work with us,” she said.

Street dogs like her most recent rescue, Bella and her brother, who Cattieu found in Playa Blanca so dehydrated that they could barely stand on their own. Sadly Bella’s brother didn’t make it, but Bella is still fighting for her life.

“The one male puppy died in my arms before we could make to the vet. We were able to save Bella. She is very weak and still in a critical state.”

Bella is currently on an IV and receiving parasite treatment and luckily Cattieu already found her a forever home.

“It breaks my heart to go to the islands and see the animals in these conditions. It is a sad situation, but so many times people just ignore these sweet, suffering animals who have no food or water.”

Cattieu says more than 30 dogs she has rescued are in Buffalo and she’s always looking for families to adopt. If you’re interested in adopting a Cartagena Paws pup visit www.cartagenapaws.com or if you would like to make a donation, you may do so via PayPal at Maureen.cattieu@gmail.com.

Take a look at the inspiring Sweet Buffalo video we put together for Cartagena Paws:



2 thoughts on “Williamsville native moves to Colombia and starts rescue to help save street dogs

  • April 1, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    how bad is the street dog problem in cartagena today? I cannot visit if it is very bad as it will break my heart

  • April 9, 2018 at 11:53 am

    I am planning on doing a South-America tour for several months next year. I would rather walk through a dangerous favela in Rio and get robbed than seeing the horrors of these street dogs. Those sights are the memories which will remain the strongest after my trip. 🙁

    I’ve been doing some research to know in what cities this problem is the worst. I could live with seeing stray dogs if they are in an ok condition. But I can’t watch a hurt or sick dog which is left to rot in the streets. I am already collecting adresses of shelters in the cities I want to visit so I can try and help the hurt dogs I see over there (and of course make a donation to whatever shelter is willing to help the dog). I will mostly stay in Medellin in Colombia since I read the dog problem there is not as bad as in Bogota or the more rural areas.

    I also want to visit the Colombian coast before heading to Panama and wanted to go to Cartagena to shoot some photos there. The street dogs problem was putting me off (since I think there will be a lot in those small villages and cities). But I probably go now because I know about Cartagena Paws. So at least I can help a dog in need when I see one. This makes a huge difference.

    I live in Amsterdam and we don’t really have any stray dogs over here (I’m 42 and never saw a stray dog in the Netherlands). The animal ambulance here even comes for the sick/hurt doves I sometimes find in the streets and take home. I can also can bring them to the police station where the animal ambulance picks it up.

    It is sad to see that the street dog problem is actually growing in South America but luckily so is the awareness. And there are more and more organisations which help these poor souls just like Cartagena Paws. Hope authorities and people there realise that the way they treat their animals can have an effect on income from tourism. There are certain places I am avoiding for example because I read about the dog problem there. And I am not the only one as the previous poster already proved.


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