Willy Domenack believes dogs are truly man's best friend.
"In order for the relationship to work," he said, "it must be reciprocal. Dogs would be so much better off if more of mankind would be loyal to them."
For those like Domenack, who possess an inherent compassion for pets, a positive reaction to animal suffering is instantaneous and without question. An Oklahoma City animal advocate, he has discovered some people live on the opposite side of the coin. They most often require intervention, direction and education concerning their pets.
"It is essential that pet owners learn responsible and humane care for their canines," he said.
Domenack is busy bridging the gap by example. A hardworking ambassador for abused, neglected and homeless dogs, he strives daily to create awareness of the escalating problems involving pets. He sees the needs. He's relentless in providing solutions.
"Protecting canines is a combination of compassion and education," he said.
Mascotas Latinas, a bilingual society for the protection of animals founded by Domenack, is a donation-funded organization focused on ministering to the homeless dogs that are brought to him.
"The best approach to these situations is education," he said, "not chastisement. I want to teach people responsibility, if they will listen, and help them develop compassion for animals."
Domenack considers no sacrifice too great for his dogs. He donates his time and finances in a voluntary effort, never knowing when he will receive a call about a pet in trouble.
"I encounter dogs in all kinds of situations," he said. "One was brought to me because the owner was pregnant and couldn't keep the dog."
A severe case of mange deemed another dog an outcast, but was taken in by Domenack and doctored to recovery.
Born in Peru, where he said animal cruelty is more prevalent than in the U.S., he and his mother worked as pet advocates for a humane society. He developed compassion for pets from his mom and followed her example.
"I could not be a part of any culture which regards animals as worthless," he said.
Teaching pet care is an extended portion of Domenack's work with dogs. He is educating the Latino community in the metro about protecting and caring for their pets.
"Many people have derived wrongful concepts of how Latinos view their animals," he said. "They ponder isolated cases of animal cruelty and doubt Latinos have the capacity to love and care for animals, but animal cruelty knows no race, color or social position."
In a continuing effort to bring Latin and other cultures together, Domenack offers free translation services to Spanish-speaking pet owners, in conjunction with legal services related to their animals, as well as transportation to a veterinarian.
"A reputable animal doctor is invaluable to my work," he said.
His advice to pet owners: Always spay and neuter pets and, when shopping for a pet, visit the shelters first.
Despite the overwhelming statistics involving homeless animals, Domenack's passion is protecting them. Mascotas Latinas rescues dogs with the help of a few faithful volunteers, donations and exposure through word of mouth. Since he is limited in the number of dogs he is able to keep, he strives to place his canine friends in adoptive homes as quickly as possible, freeing him to continue his work with more and more dogs. He plans to implement a fostering program for his animals, placing some of them in responsible home care until they can be permanently adopted.
From 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, Domenack and his volunteers can be found at the Memorial Road PetSmart, 2140 W. Memorial, exhibiting dogs available for adoption into loving homes.
As he creates awareness for animal welfare, he works with the community and educating people on a one-to-one basis, attempting to inspire not only the Latino community, but Oklahoma City, as well. "Donna Murray