Here is a story that needs to be told. Some of the names are changed to protect the vulnerable ones among us.
Ivan shared this in the old board group. These pictures were taken back in 2013. In December, the last month. This is Mateo. As you can see, he is crying in the picture above. Do you recognize any of the dogs? They’re Ivan’s. Mateo was leaving. He was going back home. Not only to his family but WITH his family. What happened before these pictures were taken?
Ivan came across a homeless guy some day, months earlier. They somehow connected and Ivan decided to give this guy a place to sleep. He took him home. His name is Mateo. Ivan then saw Mateo had a strong connection to the animals, they all loved him. There was something very odd about Mateo, but his connection to animals was profound. And so Ivan found himself the ideal petsitter while he was out on rescue missions or at the veterinary clinics, at the boarding facility or on the road. Ivan was gradually teaching Mateo something, and vice versa. They hung out together, they dined together, Ivan took him to the hairdresser and the homeless guy had found some purpose in life.
Then one day, everything was off. Ivan had to take Mateo to the hospital. Mateo was in a psychosis. He hears voices in his head, and for a long time he had managed to control those voices. But not this time. Ivan spent hours in hospital waiting with Mateo. Who was totally zoned out. Ivan showed us in the old board group, and we all freaked out. They all knew, they all worried, they all advised Ivan to do the right thing by himself and his animals. If Mateo was in a psychosis hearing voices, what if those voices told him to hurt the animals? Mateo did say he was fighting those voices who wanted him to do bad stuff. Raciel freaked out, everybody freaked out, everybody was concerned for Ivan and his animals. But Ivan didn’t know what would be the best thing to do, he couldn’t and wouldn’t just dump Mateo, or leave him on the streets again, and he realized it would be an impossible responsibility to be taking care of a guy with a condition like Mateo apparently suffers.
Mateo was fine again when the hospital gave him medication. But it would still be a risk, or too heavy a responsibility for Ivan. Ivan also realized this, and then he decided to try and locate Mateo’s family. He managed to track them down, we helped looking for names and possible addresses, and Ivan at some point found what he believed was Mateo’s family and he called them.
THEY WERE OVER THE MOON. His mother, his brother.
Mateo went missing a couple of months ago, and they looked for him without any luck. The whole family came to Valencia to pick him up. Mateo was also glad to be reunited with his family, and it was a very emotional reunion. But it was also a very emotional goodbye. Mateo loved Ivan’s furry family very much, and they loved him dearly as well, as you can see in these pictures when he is saying goodbye to his friends. It took a little time for Ivan to realize this was the best thing to do, have Mateo reunited with his family, even if it meant taking Mateo away from the furry family he had grown so close to in the months they lived together. Ivan has nothing to feel bad about and can even be proud, he really made a difference in Mateo’s life. For the better. He did not abandon his friend.
Ivan did not want for any of us to talk about this, but it’s a story that needs to be told. I have never been so angry and sad about what has happened with Let’s Adopt! Global as I am these days. Ivan is not a saint, and he’s the first one to admit to his flaws, faults and mistakes… but he is not the embodiment of evil.
So here it is, this is part of Mateo’s story. I hope that the old board members who took over the community Viktor founded and who now run LAG, remember what it was like, how for once the whole board stood together to help both Ivan and Mateo. I hope they will do the right thing, by the animals they once took under their wing together, as Let’s Adopt! Global. (Update. Alas they didn’t. They did not honor their commitment and abandoned the LAG animals. They refused to pay their bills. Very sad.)