It’s not uncommon to retreat to the solitude of the desert to rest and reflect, especially in times of uncertainty and sorrow. Nature can be restorative and healing as Barb Mumaugh found out. After losing her daughter in 2001, Mumaugh left Arizona behind and made her way to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point) for the sanctuary of the Sonoran Desert.
The desert provided respite as she processed her immense grief and deliberated life’s intentions. By coincidence, a new reason for being in Puerto Peñasco showed up outside Mumaugh’s door. Stray dogs scavenging for food began to approach her desert hideout. She graciously shared her refuge with the dogs and embraced her new purpose in life.
“The first year in Mexico I took in 10 dogs,” Mumaugh said. “That was really when Barb’s Dog Rescue (BDR) began.” Fast-forward almost two decades and BDR’s 10-dog rescue haven has become an impressive full-scale shelter operation. The rescue is still in its original location, but now Mumaugh shares her home with up to 350 dogs at a time – thanks to expanded accommodations.
“The shelter has grown quickly, especially over the last few years,” Mumaugh said. “We built an intake center for dogs who are recovering from illness and momma
dogs with their young pups to stay.”
In addition to the intake facility, there are also large playgrounds and communal areas for socialization. Experienced BDR staff and volunteers place dogs in groups suited to their temperaments. They love the companionship. The dogs at BDR are happy and well-adjusted, not stuck in miserable, isolated cages. BDR’s model of rescue is an example other shelters look to replicate.