Dog News

Woman Welcomes Homeless Pets Making her Home a Sanctuary

by Katherine

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Here in the United States is very difficult for anyone to house more than 2 dogs and 3 cats in a home, but if you ask any animal lover, they all wish they could take in every single homeless pet they cross paths with.

In third world countries, where housing regulations are not fully enforced unless someone complains or something bad happens, animal lovers have a lot more freedom to live with as many pets as they please.

Maria del Carmen Quiceno poses with one of her 63 rescue dogs. Photo Credit: Javier Nieto/El Tiempo
Maria del Carmen Quiceno poses with one of her 63 rescue dogs. Photo Credit: Javier Nieto/El Tiempo


In Risaralda, Colombia, 62-year-old María del Carmen Quiceno has turned her humble home into an animal sanctuary. She lives with 63 dogs and 36 cats, all of them were injured, sick, and homeless some point in their lives.

Quiceno has been helping homeless animals for 35 years and even though she has very limited funds, she does the best she can to supply her pets with a better life.

“I rescued my first mixed dog when I was 27 years old,” Quiceno told El Tiempo. “He had been abandoned on the streets and people abused him. I couldn’t stand for that so I decided to help him.”

Photo Credit: Javier Nieto/El Tiempo
Photo Credit: Javier Nieto/El Tiempo


Local veterinarians donate their time and skills to spay and neuter all her pets at no cost at all. They also help her treat any sick or injured animal.

Other animal lovers, like business owner and teacher Freddy Marulanda, send Quinceno weekly donations. Marulanda buys 132 lbs. of dry dog kibble and 17 lbs. of cat food that he personally delivers to this private home turned sanctuary.

Anyone interested in helping Quinceno just needs to ask her how they can help. The rescuer’s own children and grandchildren help her with the daily tasks of caring for the pets, while neighborhood kids help her bathe all animals once a month.

The bathing process takes about a week to get done, but all pets enjoy a monthly 10 min bath.

“Most of the animals like the baths, but there are a few that are terrified of the water,” said Quinceno. “If it was up to them, they would never take a bath.”

Bath time. Photo Credit: Javier Nieto/El Tiempo
Bath time. Photo Credit: Javier Nieto/El Tiempo


For the most part, all four-legged housemates get along well. They are free to roam around the house and their favorite spot to spend time in is the kitchen.

Quinceno dreamed of becoming a veterinarian in her youth, but her limited economic resources did not allow her to achieve her educational goal. For now she hopes that in the near future she is able to build appropriate kennels in her yard and keep all her pets secured. This will minimizing the doggy traffic jams her home currently experiences.

This humble woman says she is not done helping pets. “My love for them has no limits, and as long as I’m alive I’ll keep rescuing pets in need.”

Quinceno wishes people would take better care of their pets. She would like to see more individuals adopting mixed breeds awaiting forever homes in shelters, or saving strays instead of going into pet shops and buying pure breeds that sooner or later end up homeless on Colombia’s streets.

Thanks to this humble woman 98 pets have had a second chance in life, and we can only hope that more people take after Quinceno and save other innocent pets’ lives.

See more pictures of Quinceno and her animals at El Tiempo.