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Nanaimo couple rescues dogs in Puerto Vallarta
Darrell Bellaart - Daily News
April 12, 2012
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Nanaimo couple rescues dogs in Puerto Vallarta
Nina Zurita cuddles Milo, left, a stray saved from death at the pound and Happy Capi, a pitbull cross found sleeping under a bridge. Zurita and her fiance moved to Puerto Vallarta last month to find homes for stray dogs.

For four years in a row, Nina Zurita and Steven Cumpstone vacationed in Puerto Vallarta and each time they were shocked to see how stray dogs are treated.

This year they decided to do something.

They sold their belongings and moved there to start an animal rescue.

From her volunteer work with the Nanaimo SPCA, Zurita knows the difference in how animals are treated. At a Mexican animal shelter, she saw injured, untrained, sick or dirty animals refused.

The sight of a puppy being abused in the street was a turning point for her.

The engaged couple, who plan to start a business in Mexico, are funding their rescue work with their own money, but will accept donations.

Last year, nearby Sayulita, they witnessed a young boy throwing rocks at a helpless puppy.

"I watched it try and hide under a car and but the boy was determined," Zurita said by e-mail.

"I heard yelping and limping as I ran towards the car calling for the puppy. To my surprise it came running towards me and jumped into my arms."

She fed it and sent it on its way. "That's when it hit me. I wanted to help."

While volunteering at a Mexican animal shelter she realized only trained, clean and healthy dogs are accepted. The others go to the pound, where they are soon destroyed, if not adopted.

Through word of mouth the couple has found abandoned or stray dogs which they nurse back to health and adopt out from their rented jungle cottage outside Puerto Vallarta.

One dog was so sick he couldn't eat and was on the verge of death. Another, with a sprained leg, was about to be destroyed.

An eight-month-old brain damaged, abused Yorkie is awaiting a home.

"All such sad stories," Zurita said.

They have already found homes for half of the eight dogs they've adopted since moving to Mexico on March 3.

The couple did not actively solicit media support for their cause. Their blog,, will accept donations with credit cards.

+ Wexico 250-729-4235

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