South of the Border

Tica: Lost and Found Again

Story by Kerry Oldridge

As anyone who as been doing animal rescue for any length of time can tell you, everywhere you look an animal is in need of rescue. Certain areas, just south of the Mexican border, have so many homeless dogs, that people stop paying attention. When there are so many, only the most desperate stand out, and, fortunately for one little Chihuahua, someone finally paid attention to her suffering.

A woman living in an apartment building in Ensenada called 4 PAWS, an area animal rescue, to report an abandoned dog. She told 4 Paws that the people who had owned the dog (and who used to live in the building) moved away and left this dog behind, and the dog had been outside wandering around the area fending for herself for a very long time.

Little Tica had barely survived this long by eating any bit of food scrap that fell from trashcans around the apartment building, or what she found on the street. However, the woman caller told 4 PAWS that she did not think the little dog would last much longer. 4 Paws immediately drove to the address, found the dog outside the building, wrapped her in a blanket, and took her to a foster home for treatment.

Tica had a broken leg, a very painful eye infection, and mange so extensive that in some areas her skin was gone and her flesh exposed. Although she was only 2 years old when she was rescued, it was clear that she had already had many puppies, and, had recently given birth. Although the rescue volunteers searched for the puppies, sadly they were never found. It took months of treatment and care before little Tica would even lift her head.

She was not only near death due to the neglect and injures, but she was depressed and withdrawn. Tica eventually responded to her care, was ready to be spayed, and was taken to the spay and neuter clinic preformed by 4 PAWS, sponsored by UHA and a few other individual donors. She was then taken to Julie Meager in San Diego to complete her fostering, and post her for adoption.

Julie Meagher who has, over the years, fostered many rescued pups for both UHA and AAUS, decided that little Tica had in fact found her forever home. After many months of caring for her, Julie and her family decided that they wanted to adopt Tica. Julie said, “we want to make it up to her, to erase all the suffering she had to endure by giving her love and comfort each and every day.

“She may look like just another ordinary, little brown Chihuahua, but she is special,” Meagher said. “Tica is so very grateful; she is one of the most loving dogs we have met. All she want is to give and receive love, she fills our home with joy, and we feel lucky to have her.”

Although Tica’s condition was extreme, in Mexico, this is the typical condition of the homeless dogs, and sadly there are many thousands of dogs like her struggling to survive.

Every month, United Hope for Animals, (UHA), teams up with Animal Advocates of the United States, (AAUS), 4 Paws, and other individual sponsors, to hold a spay and neuter clinic in Tijuana, Ensenada and other areas in Baja, California. As well as offering this much needed service to pets owners that would otherwise not be able to afford it, the long standing relationship between UHA, AAUS and 4 PAWS also enables us to help owners find lost or stolen dogs, rescue abandon dogs, and ensure that they are spayed, neutered, and find safe, loving, permanent homes.

These clinics provide this very important service to the public, who would not otherwise be able to afford it, and as well, to local rescue groups working to help the abandon street dogs. Please help us get the abandon dogs and cats off the street, and into loving homes, and help us ensure that each pet is safely spayed and neutered. Together, with your help, we can end this tragic cycle of suffering.

Tica was one of the many fortunate recipients of the critical link between UHA, AAUS and 4 PAWS. 

End Suffering by Preventing Suffering: Spay/Neuter!

 

Volunteer at the S/N ClinicMany Americans would be shocked to know that just a few short hours south of Los Angeles, land of movie stars and sunshine, dogs live on the streets, scavenging due to starvation, dying of preventable diseases, and reproducing at a rapid rate due to a lack of spay/neuter resources.  The local Mexican pounds, or Perreras, fill up endlessly as a result.

“The percentage of animals [in the Perreras] that are either adopted or claimed by their owners is negligible,” Marlene Revelen, President of Animal Advocates of the United States (AAUS) says.  This means that most pets who enter the Perrera don’t make it out alive. Between January and June of 2012, 22,399 dogs were euthanized in seven Baja Perreras (Tijuana, Mexicali, Ensenada, San Quintin, Nogales, Saltillo, and San Luis Colorado).

While over 22,000 dogs euthanized in a seven-month period points to a staggering problem — there is hope. One of the most effective means of ending suffering in the Perreras is preventing pets from ending up there in the first place.

Every month, United Hope for Animals teams up with AAUS, 4 Paws, and other individual sponsors to support a spay and neuter clinic in Baja, California. The clinic travels to areas where people do not have the financial means to alter their pets, and in doing so provides this needed service as well as pet-care education.

Dogs after surgeryThe clinic team is made up of about 30 volunteers and three veterinarians, who devote a Saturday or Sunday from 9 am to about 6 pm, performing as many spay/neuters as possible.

Laura Sandoval of AAUS reports that there hasn’t been much need of advertising the clinic, as people share information with their friends and family. Dog and cat owners who could not otherwise afford to pay for the surgery line up each month, and often only have rope, wire, or shoe laces to leash their dogs, Sandoval said.

In March, the clinic team surpassed its goal of 80 procedures when a record number of 111 pets were altered: 77 dogs and 34 cats!

United Hope for Animals was able to sponsor 40 of these surgeries, thanks to generous donations to our Spay and Neuter Program.

We hope to continue our regular support and even expand it, increasing the number of animals we can help each month. For just a $20 donation, which goes toward anesthesia, sutures, and other medical supplies, you can sponsor the spay or neuter of one pet and prevent the suffering of thousands more.

With your help, there is hope. Please consider donating here!

 

Volunteer with puppyFamily after clinic

Sweaters for Tijuana – Lisa Lends a Hand

Back in February we wrote about how readers could help dogs in Mexico by knitting sweaters, which United Hope for Animals takes down to Tijuana on its regular trips there.

A woman in Santa Paula, California, who was touched by our need for sweaters, volunteered to knit some for UHA, and in the last few months she has knitted more than 100 sweaters on her own!

Her name is Lisa Burdg, and after a summer hiatus, unbelievably, she is willing to take up the knitting needles again… who is this amazing spirit? Here is what she had to say:

UHA: Hi Lisa. We hear you’ve been knitting loads of dog sweaters for United Hope For Animals. How many have you knitted now?

Lisa: I’ve knitted 100. I’ll start up again when the weather gets cooler.

UHA: What made you get involved?

Lisa: My son, Peter, volunteered me and I said yes! Because I’m on a fixed income, I can’t donate money, so I donate my time instead.

UHA: Where did you get the yarn?

Lisa: I asked my neighbors to give me any spare yarn, and they did – they were wonderful. And Peter and Amanda (Wray) at UHA brought me more yarn that had been donated. It’s great what they – and you – are all doing.

UHA: And you! You’re really helping.

Lisa: Well, I’m also a dog lover. I had an all-black Pomeranian named Gypsy. She was so beautiful. She got sick overnight and I lost her – there was nothing they could do. She was only seven years old. She had a very rare blood disease, a blood cancer.

UHA: Do you think you’ll get another dog?

Lisa: Yes, I do. I really miss her. She was my baby. But it’s only been a year since she died, so I’m still grieving. Every sweater I made I think of her and I say ‘Here’s another one, Gypsy.’

UHA: How long does it take to make each sweater?

Lisa: I treat it like a daily job – I begin at seven in the morning and I finish at seven in the evening. If it’s a small sweater I can knit two in a day. When I start something I want to see it through to the finish – I’ve always been that way.

UHA: Have you knitted throughout your life?

Lisa: Yes. I’m Austrian, and when you’re from Europe you learn it as a young child in school. Sewing, crocheting and knitting were more important than anything else. And then after the war you couldn’t buy any underwear and I had two small boys so I knitted their underwear. So, yes, I’ve done it all my life.

UHA: Will you knit more sweaters for UHA?

Lisa: Of course. If people donate more yarn I’ll knit more. In the meantime, I’m working on a sweater for myself. I can’t just sit here and do nothing – I always have to have my hands doing something. I have to keep busy. At my age [Lisa will be 82 this week] it’s important.

Mexico’s “Itchy-Scratchy Clinics”

Reprinted from “Best Friends” and written by Sharon St. Joan

This past Sunday, on May 6, in Tijuana, Mexico, forty-five dogs were spayed or neutered and fourteen more dogs were treated for fleas, ticks, or mange.

The Humane Society of Tijuana, who announce on their website that they are “a Mexican humane organization, organized by Mexicans to help solve the problems in Mexico”, are making a big difference in the lives of animals in Tijuana. Street clinics and spay/neuter clinics are being set up for street animals and the animals of families who cannot afford vet care or to get their dogs spayed/neutered.

Just south of San Diego, what used to be a small border town exploded from a population of 245 in 1900 to nearly two million today. Just as people suffer from trafficking along the border and the high crime rate, animals in Tijuana also suffer greatly.

The Humane Society of Tijuana is responding to the needs of these animals.

Two more projects are planned for the near future: On May 25, a street clinic will be held for de-worming and for treating animals for fleas, ticks, and mange. The street clinic is called Clinica de Desparicitacion, and its nickname is the “Itchy-Scratchy Clinic”! The clinic will be held starting at 9 AM at the DIF Center in Salvatierra, a suburb of Tijuana. This will be run entirely by the Humane Society of Tijuana.

The second project, to be held on June 3, will be a spay/neuter clinic, starting at 9 AM, also to take place at the DIF Center in Salvatierra. This is to be sponsored jointly by United Hope for Animals and the Humane Society of Tijuana.

United Hope for Animals, in Pasadena, California, helps the animals in the low-income areas of Tijuana and Southern California. By forming a positive relationship with the management of the Tijuana dog pound (perrera), they have been able to bring about significant changes there.

In past years, the animals there were “euthanized” by electrocution. Now United Hope for Animals is able to send volunteers into the Tijuana dog pound to euthanize the dogs in a humane way. Becoming no-kill is still a long way away, and, until that becomes possible, this approach provides a much kinder ending for the animals.

Tijuana is a city in which the animals are very much in need of help, and the Humane Society of Tijuana is taking on a huge task.

How you can help

If you live nearby and you’d like to volunteer, or if you’d like to make a donation, these are the websites:

United Hope for Animals: http://www.hope4animals.org/contact.html

The Humane Society of Tijuana: http://www.hstj.org/

Photo: Humane Society of Tijuana / Leticia Coto, President