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Petco adoption organizer sees positive cultural changes

When the first branch of a well known U.S. pet store threw open its doors in southwest Guadalajara in October, Maricarmen Portilla saw it marking a major shift in Mexicans’ attitudes toward animals.

“Petco is a very large, nice store bringing the concept that they only offer dogs and cats for adoption, unlike another major store here that sells, for example, Shih Tzus for 20,000 pesos,” she said.

Portilla, a young mother and former lawyer for a U.S. corporation, had devoted herself to rescuing dogs and cats for the past ten years, the last five of them full-time after being laid off during the financial crisis. She and her fellow volunteers in Adoptando un Amigo had become so outstanding among local rescue groups that Petco contacted her to head the adoption effort for its first store in Mexico.

“In the U.S. it’s a rule that each Petco store has an adoption program. They wouldn’t have opened here without one,” Portilla noted in excellent English.

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