Mayan Families’ Hope for the Animals Program works to reduce the overpopulation and relieve the suffering of animals in the Lake Atitlán region.

Since 2005, Hope for the Animals program has (1) reduced overpopulation, (2) relieved the suffering of animals, (3) rescued and rehomed injured and abandoned animals, and (4) raised awareness.

  1. The program implements targeted, affordable sterilization and vaccination clinics to humanely and sustainably control overpopulation. We partner with one of the only licensed veterinarians in the area to host these low-cost clinics. The program successfully runs clinics in 4 rural communities.
  2. For rescued, injured, or abandoned animals, we provide shelter and food, veterinary treatment, rehabilitation, sterilization, and vaccinations. Our small shelter houses 90 dogs and 40 cats, ranging from newborn orphans to adults.
  3. For animals in our shelter, we also facilitate local and international adoptions. Local interest in adoption is minimal, so many of our rescued dogs and cats have found loving homes in the USA and Canada. We closely collaborate with Kitsap Humane Society in Washington State to increase adoption opportunities.
  4. Here, it is common for a dog to be owned but allowed to roam free when they please. The inevitable, (often) abandoned offspring and diseases that result from free-roaming pets only adds to the problem. That is why we focus on partnering with and educating the communities on the importance of sterilization, vaccination, and humane handling. We are changing attitudes towards sterilization and increasing awareness. Now, people voluntarily bring their pets and even street dogs to be spayed or neutered.

Our small shelter has the capacity for only 90 dogs and 50 cats. Without international adoptions, rescued animals would be destined to spend their lives in the shelter, which is less than ideal for them and severely limits our ability to continue helping other rescues or injured animals. The primary inhibiting factor to international adoptions and continuing our partnership with Kitsap is costs of transport. It cost roughly $1000 depending on weight to send a dog to the US for adoption this includes the carrier, export paperwork transport to airport and the flight.

The transport and eventual adoption of these dogs does not only benefit them, but allows Mayan Families to prioritize our funding to rehabilitate other injured animals, host sterilization clinics, and work with the community to raise awareness about overpopulation and humane treatment. Therefore, your help will impact all facets of the Hope for the Animals program and have a lasting impact on hundreds of animals.

How You Can Help


The costs for transport include:

Export paperwork$174


Flight$522 if less than 30lbs / $822 if more than 30lbs

Transport to airport$125

Become a flight volunteer

volunteerIf you are travelling from Guatemala to the US with United Airlines you could help give a rescue dog or cat a new start in life and find their forever home. Cats and smaller dogs can be taken in the cabin, larger dogs will need to go in cargo area, if they are travelling as ‘accompanied baggage’ the price is a lot cheaper and it is less stressful for the animal. We can arrange all the paperwork and cover expenses. We will meet you at the airport with animal and walk you through check-in, at the destination the person adopting the animal will meet you to collect them.

Please contact us for more information.