A tropical getaway turned into a lifelong (and life-changing) mission for one Colorado woman.
About 25 years ago, Alison Sawyer Current visited Isla Mujeres for a month-long trip and was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stray dogs she encountered.
"Puppies were everywhere, coming out of the bushes and along the sides of the road," Current told PEOPLE.
"They were mangy and covered with fleas and ticks and scars,” she noted, adding, “I just couldn't stand to watch it.”
Seeing all the animals in “need” was heartbreaking, so she decided to build a shelter on the small island in 2000. Her non-for-profit animal rescue, Isla Animals, is responsible for changing the lives of thousands of animals.
In addition to spaying and neutering over 20,000 of the homeless dogs and cats, she provides free veterinary care.
And though Current initially covered operating costs from her stock portfolio and donations, she’s since taken on volunteers, according to the outlet.
With the extra hands, Current and her team have secured homes for over 2,000 homeless animals often flying them to families in the U.S. and Canada.
"I admire her so much," veterinarian Arturo Dzul Leon of Cancun told the outlet, noting that Current has ensured that there are no longer wild dogs roaming the island.
"When she started it was a mess, you could find cats, dogs in front of every business,” he said, adding, “but now it's so different. She is really doing a great job."
The COVID-19 pandemic has made things slightly difficult for Current, who hasn’t been spending as much time on the island as she usually does. Instead, she's been running things remotely from her home in Boulder.
"There's nothing in the world like finding a starving dog, getting it to good health, and finding it a loving home,” she told the outlet.