Friday, September 11, 2015

August 2015 Report

The Doggie Street Festival, a whopping response at the HSTJ Center, a huge increase at our monthly clinic, a new way to distribute food, what’s new on the EduCan Project, update on cockapoo hoarding case, and the heartwarming story of a basset hound that fought a courageous battle until the very end. We invite you to read this month’s report.

The 2015 Doggie Street Festival 
We begin by thanking all of you who came out to show your support at our booth. Here are some fabulous pictures that capture the energy of the moment. It was such a boisterous festival, with lots of people coming and going, and many stopping by to say hello to our furry babies. We are happy to report that HSTJ brought 17 dogs to this event, and there were so many people interested in them that volunteers spent the rest of the month doing follow-up calls and visits, aside from our usual adoption events. We are all looking forward to next year's Festival! :-)

The HSTJ Center
This month there was a tremendous increase in the HSTJ Center program. This month vets performed an outstanding 163 spay/neuter surgeries!!! In addition to this, Dr. Angel Hernandez, head vet at the Center, performed eight different procedures, ranging from biopsies, gastrointestinal disorders, to splenectomies, and even a cesarean! Thanks to support from our donors we can subsidize these services year round, and thanks to the self-sacrificing labor of these vets, low-income families and rescuers have access to these services during regular business hours –and all at low cost, or no-cost to them. In fact, we have done the math, and on average, treatments at our Center cost only 31% of what they would cost elsewhere. Now that is progress! In the future, and if donations increase, we would love to open more of these Centers throughout Tijuana.

Monthly Clinics on the Up & Up
With a Grand Total of 62 surgeries in just one day, vets and volunteers alike worked in unison to accomplish such a great feat. A total of four vets attended this month's clinic, which was held in our very own facilities on August 23rd, 2015. Never a dull moment at these Mobile Clinics! Have you ever considered volunteering? If so, please see below, and if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

***Can you help?***
We welcome volunteers to assist in this, and all of our other activities. There is always plenty to do and all help is greatly appreciated. If you are considering volunteering at a future event, contact us. Transportation into Mexico and back to the U.S. is provided by us.
And if you are a licensed veterinarian and would consider dedicating one full Sunday to perform cat/dog sterilizations in Tijuana, that would be fantastic too! 
Volunteers Coordinator:

Food Distribution program
Humane Society de Tijuana has always tried and tested new and innovative ways to approach the ordinary, and the food distribution program is no exception. In August, Board Members brainstormed new ways of getting dog/cat food donations directly to those who need it the most. They came up with various strategies. One of them was to periodically visit each rescuer and physically observe the amount of rescues that they are able to house and rehabilitate, and based on that update the distribution list systematically. This idea would mean that everyone receives exactly what they need, no more and no less, and it also means that we could potentially expand our food distribution network enormously.
Another idea on the table was to ask if those people who receive the food are available to help in any of our programmed activities, at a time most convenient to them, of course. The Board has agreed to explore these ideas, and other ideas, in order to streamline the process and achieve an improved and more comprehensive distribution. These adjustments are set to begin during the months of September and October, and if successful then they may become permanent.

What’s up, EduCan?
You will be pleased to hear that our EduCan Project continues to be well received within the communities. In collaboration with DIF (Community Development for Families, a government organization), we have booked this program in eight different communities since May of this year. You can find more information on this project and how it enables us to help at-risk communities here.

From 31… only six are left 
Update on the cockapoo hoarding case, and yes, you read right. Only six are left! If you are not familiar with the full story, you can read it here. Slowly but surely these pups have found wonderful homes. Granted, it has taken longer than initially anticipated, but helping them get a second chance at life makes it all worthwhile.
Many of HSTJ’s loyal volunteers such as Xindi, Adria, and Teresa, just to name a few... have invested countless hours and driven immeasurable distances in order to do initial home visits, and follow up visits, on these pups in their new homes. Meet Valerie in this video, just one of the six wonderful cockapoos still waiting for their forever home.

How can we truly measure success? When local adopters are not only willing, but also capable, of properly caring for their new addition. Or as one volunteer puts it, “We developed [the interviews] because want them to ask as many questions as they like, to get all their doubts and hesitations out in the open so we can fill in the gaps and tell them what to expect. Only then can we discover if this will really be a good match.”
As soon as they are all adopted, HSTJ will prepare a slideshow of all of them in their new homes. Few are aware of this, but there really are lots of excellent homes right here in Tijuana. Cases like this one prove it. A big thank you to all who have participated in making this possible.

Fighting a courageous battle until the very end
We finish our report by sharing a story that must be told. Alika the basset hound lived to be nine years old, and her life teaches us a valuable lesson about senior dogs. We invite you to read her story here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Alika the Basset Hound & the Lesson she left us

Alika was rescued at 2 years of age. Sarai Garcia and her husband would always see her walking up and down the street, but they thought, "She must have an owner. A Basset Hound can't be living on the streets, can it?" As time went by, the couple noticed she was getting thinner and thinner, and she looked very dirty, so they decided to rescue her.

The next morning they found her foraging for food along a nearby street. As they tried to put a leash around her, she kept running away from them, so they chased after her. But when they got too close to a main road they desisted, fearing she would run into traffic and be hurt by an oncoming vehicle. They walked home, and as they looked behind them, there she was, wagging her tail at them! They named her Alika.

After she put on some weight they were planning to give her up for adoption, as they always did with their rescues, but Alika was found to have Pyometra and had emergency surgery which went very well. They decided to give her sufficient time to recover, but some time after that, she was discovered to have heart murmurs.

As time sped ahead Alika's rescuer, Sarai, had a baby and the family decided to keep their remaining rescues. That was how Alika and four other pups rescued off the streets became the Garcia family's permanent pets. In what felt like the blink of an eye, that 2 year-old Basset Hound turned 9 years old. She suddenly became ill, and despite many attempts, she did not survive her surgery. What had happened? Can we learn anything from it?

Splenomegaly  refers to the enlargement of the spleen. This medical condition can occur in all breeds and genders. 
Although in many cases it can be asymptomatic, an enlarged spleen may lead to such symptoms as:
Lack of appetite
Abdominal pain
Lethargy and reduced activity
Weakness and even collapse

A variety of things are known to cause an enlarged spleen including an abdominal injury, canine hepatitis, infectious disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, bacterial infection, cell tumors of the spleen, and other immune disorders. In Alika’s case a large cell tumor had damaged the spleen, causing it to become greatly enlarged.
Upon examination, a prominent spleen or a protruding abdomen can sometimes be noticed. An ultrasound was used to view Alika's spleen and surrounding areas. In addition to imaging, blood work tests were administered.
Although each case is different, in severe cases such as this one, the only option was to surgically remove the spleen. (splenectomy)
Living and Management
Usually, when the spleen is removed dogs will require rehabilitation to heal properly; and activity is restricted.
There are currently no known preventative measures for an enlarged spleen.

Alika leaves behind her the legacy of a genuine survivor from the streets of Tijuana. 
Alika lived seven wonderful years under the loving care of the Garcia family. Although it is true that she was growing older, this disease progressed rapidly. Her rescuer and owner, Sarai Garcia relates, “It all happened so fast. She seemed healthy, as did the other dogs, but one Monday she began to vomit, lost her appetite, appeared weak and slept excessively. I thought she might have a stomachache or maybe an infection. The other dogs were fine, so I wondered… On Tuesday these symptoms were worse, so Wednesday morning we took her to the HSTJ Center where she was admitted. I had heard from a friend about this place, but now I was going to see it for myself. I met Dr. Angel Hernandez and really liked the way he cared for Alika. He always showed consideration for her because she was an older dog. He quickly discovered what was wrong, and over the next few days, as the tumor grew larger, he insisted that we try and remove it.”

Several dogs were brought in by fellow rescuers in case Alika needed a transfusion. Sadly, the tumor had spread, the spleen had ruptured, and Alika did not make it through the surgery. The family was devastated. Sarai continues, “I would definitely return to the HSTJ Center. I am not new to this scene, as I was an animal rescuer for many years before my circumstances changed. I know that everything possible was done in order to help Alika, and I am grateful for that. The vet told me that if we had caught this just one month ago, her possibilities of surviving would have been much better. I want to share her life because I learned so much from it and from her.”

Alika was a very strong dog who had been through so much. She started growing old, and when she faced this, she just couldn’t hold on any longer. Her life teaches us an important lesson: older dogs require frequent checkups and regular tests in order to prolong their health, much as older humans do too. If you are the happy owner of an older dog or cat, please be sure to schedule regular checkups for them. In many cases, when something such as this is caught early, there is enough time to help.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Muscular reconstruction, tumor removals, a bustling Spay-Neuter Campaign, exciting Adoption Events, and to top it all off, a hoarding case that deeply touched the hearts of many. These are just some of the highlights from HSTJ's activities and events during July. We invite you to read this month's report.

On July 26th, the monthly Spay/Neuter Campaign was held in colonia Nueva Aurora. Their community benefited from the comprehensive EduCan Project which included workshops with kids and adults, as well as three "Itchy-Scratchy Street-Clinics", prior to the S/N campaign. 



***Can you help?***
We welcome volunteers to assist in this, and all of our other activities. There is always plenty to do and all help is greatly appreciated. If you would like to volunteer at a future event, please do not hesitate to contact us. In most cases, transportation into Mexico and back to the U.S. is provided by us.
And if you are a licensed veterinarian and would consider dedicating one full Sunday to perform cat/dog sterilizations in Tijuana, that would be fantastic too!

Volunteers Coordinator:

The HSTJ Center saw a tremendous increase in traffic!

The HSTJ Center is a low-cost veterinary clinic for rescuers and families with little means. All of the services offered are subsidized by us. Click on the link if you want to learn more about this facility.

HSTJ Center - Stats for July 2015
 TOTAL: 83 cats and dogs sterilized

Other cats and dogs required special procedures or surgeries this month. Some of those were:

This girl was just rescued off the streets
 with a severe case of mange.
With proper care and treatment, she will
soon make a full recovery.
This kitten was found and
brought to the HSTJ Center.
Through social media, we located
another rescuer with a mom cat and
her litter. She has become a fine
 surrogate for this little one.
The attending vet at the HSTJ Center, Dr. Angel Hernandez,  also saw and treated many routine cases such as: flea/tick infestations, stomach illnesses, worms, eye infections, minor scrapes/bruises, skin infections (mange), etc. He also preformed ultrasounds for at-risk pregnant females and administered vaccinations.
...And remember, all of this is offered to rescuers and low-income families at a very low cost, and in many cases, completely free of cost. Month after month, it is evident that the HSTJ Center has certainly proven to be a wonderful resource.
Itchy-Scratchy Clinics

These events are scheduled weekly in different locations. We target the most impoverished areas of Tijuana, where people would otherwise not be able to afford something like this. Volunteers set up a small booth along the street and invite all the neighbors to bring their cats and dogs. The trained volunteers administer flea/tick repellent, a broad-spectrum deworming medication, vitamins, their eyes and ears are cleaned, nails are clipped, in some cases minor lesions are cleaned but in other cases owners are referred to the HSTJ Center for proper examination and treatment. All of this is a free service, but we do ask those with means to consider making a small donation. Many are so grateful for these events that they happily make whatever contribution they can.
NOTE: The services offered at these clinics will vary, depending on the materials we have on hand that week
Ultimately, making direct contact with residents is not only educational, but also the first step towards sparking their interest in sterilization. Also, this may be the first time that their animals have ever been evaluated or treated.

These clinics are rapidly becoming an integral part of our new EduCan Project.

During July the total animals treated at street clinics were 317 cats and dogs.
Nueva Aurora
La Morita
La Gloria
Lazaro Cardenas
Camino Verde
Adoption Events
During July we held 3 adoption events in San Diego and are happy to report that six of our wonderful rescues found their forever homes and were embraced by the warmth of their new family.

Thanks to Petco's continuous support, we happily conduct several adoption events every month. You are more than welcome to come out and meet some of our wonderful rescues that are absolutely ready for adoption. Or you can also visit our Petfinder profile, browse the pictures and learn more about our Adoption Protocol. A calendar of future events is on our Petfinder page.
Last month's dates were:
July 5th - Petco
8501 Fletcher Parkway, 
La Mesa, Ca
July 11th - Petco Unleashed
8011 University Avenue,
 La Mesa, Ca
July 26th - Petco 
10410 Friars Road, 
San Diego, Ca

Neglected and Abused Cockapoos
In mid July many of us were taken aback by a very sad hoarding case discovered in Tijuana. HSTJ was called in to help and immediately assessed the situation firsthand, then held a meeting to organize the best way we could help. The next day we rallied up our volunteers, allocated resources, and devoted much time to getting all 29 dogs in better shape (sadly, out of the original 31, two had to be immediately euthanized due to severe pain, illness and emaciation).
It was a tremendous group effort. On this occasion we had to work in conjunction with a local non-profit group and with Tijuana Animal Control.
One month after the cockapoos were initially rescued, we can report that almost half have been adopted, and the other half remain at the Tijuana Center for Animal Control. We are working very hard to find all of them permanent homes. Follow the link to read the full story.
TRANSLATION: Thanks to your DONATIONS of food
I was able to rescue Fifi and take him to the vet.
After being injured he lost one of his eyes,
but today he tells another story. He is healing
and we are rehabilitating him so that he will
once again trust in humans.
The Food Distribution Program
Thanks to you, Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana, for
your donations to Ms. Saralegui. She can continue with
her work as an independent rescuer. She expresses her
gratitude. Here she is receiving her dog food.
Thanks to the food donations that we receive on a weekly basis, we are able to support a network of rescuers with fresh dog and cat food. Together, they have a collective daily census of over 200 rescued cats and dogs that are being rehabilitated. Here are some rescuers expressing their gratitude on our Facebook page. [CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTOS]

To learn more about how we help Individual Rescuers follow this link.

Thank you for reading our monthly report.

To continuously provide these and many other programs year-round in Tijuana, we rely on people that want to volunteer or help in any other way. We welcome monetary donations that keep operations running, and we also welcome unopened bags of fresh dog/cat food, as well as grooming supplies, flea/tick treatment, and deworming medications.

To volunteer, please email our Volunteers Coordinator, Nicole:
For adoption information, please contact our Adoptions Coordinator, Vicky:
To donate, please visit our website

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sharing the love - MEXICAN RED CROSS

Back in February 2015, the Mexican Red Cross asked Humane Society de Tijuana for help in assuring that they can maintain their K-9 corps of four rescue dogs in good condition. They have a special need for quality dog food. HSTJ has been fortunate to date to have received enough food donations to supply the volunteer rescuers that HSTJ supports on a regular basis and can now assist the Mexican Red Cross [Cruz Roja] K-9 corps of rescue dogs. The Mexican Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization just like HSTJ.

The Cruz Roja K-SAR program is relatively new in Tijuana but the rescue dogs, Jose Felix, Flash, Antonio and Rex have already participated in a national rescue effort-the hurricane in the state of Tabasco and three local tragedies in the neighborhoods of Florido, Esperanza, and Los Pinos. Your continued donations to Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana will assure that we can continue to support Tijuana residents that rescue street animals as well as others needing help with animal care. 

Recently, on July 4th, 2015 the Mexican Red Cross invited HSTJ to the event that celebrated the end of this year's collection drive. The event was held at the Tijuana City Hall, and among other noteworthy guests present, was the Mayor of the City of Tijuana.
We were asked to provide information about a variety of topics such as proper care for pets, the benefits of sterilization, etc. In addition to that, we were asked to hand out one ton of dog food that was donated by Purina Mexico. We promoted the HSTJ Center and handed out 200+ flyers.

COMING SOON: New Municipal Regulations for Animal Welfare in Tijuana

Since its founding back in 2006, it has always been Humane Society de Tijuana's policy to work cooperatively with the City of Tijuana through dialogue.

Having a solid reputation and ample experience in the field, HSTJ and FHSTJ were among a handful of organizations invited by the Town Councillor and other government officials to collaboratively analyze, critique and revise the new Municipal Regulations for the Humane Treatment of Domestic Animals in Tijuana.

Representatives of both our organizations studied the document and were able to pinpoint specific articles that required revision. Meetings were held periodically beginning in April 2015 and concluding in July 2015 when the final draft was approved by the majority.

The new regulations are certainly a step in the right direction for the City of Tijuana because in over 50 years nothing as specific as this document had ever been enacted. We are in expectation for the final document to be made public over the coming months.

A Certificate of Recognition for HSTJ

Recently HSTJ was invited to participate in a family health campaign that would benefit the community and commemorate the "International Day of Health". A dedicated volunteers, Theresa, quickly designed and printed some colorful flyers and was off to represent HSTJ at this event.

Throughout the day she was able to teach people about the importance of animal health and its direct correlation to the family's overall health. Some other topics discussed were: the reality on overpopulation of domestic animals, and a whole session debunking myths and answering questions about spay and neuter.

Click to enlarge
On behalf of HSTJ, Theresa accepted this certificate of recognition from the Regional Delegation for the Mexican Institution of Social Security in Baja California (IMSS) for the support at this event.

Thank YOU for your dedication, Theresa!

Proyecto EduCán

The Project
The city of Tijuana is rapidly expanding east, and so are the animals. Although Spay/Neuter Clinics held at the HSTJ Center have been successful, there are other, more impoverished areas with a great need. Thus, we needed a new way to access appropriate facilities in these areas and set up our mobile clinics.
In May 2015 a new project was set in motion. It incorporated several of our independent programs into one step-by-step project, allowing us to concentrate our resources and efforts into one area of Tijuana at a time. Initially it was a pilot program, but it soon showed promising results.

Problem of Community Unawareness
Most Tijuana residents care deeply for their pets, yet ignore some of the most basic knowledge on animal needs, care and treatments. Although many have access to free or low cost spay/neuter in Tijuana, very few know of the benefits it provides.
Realistically, it could take years before local government establishes programs such as these at a larger scale, however, we can do something about this right now.
In our almost ten years of experience, time and again we have seen that our direct participation in specific colonias has resulted in an overall change of attitude towards animal care by the majority of its residents.
Because of the length of time it takes to hone in on just one area, we made contact with the Department of Social and Familiar Development (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, DIF) and began working with coordinators overseeing six communities in eastern Tijuana. We quickly discovered specific communities that, according to DIF, were in greatest need of this program.

Solution to the Problem
The EduCan Project was designed to achieve these main objectives:
*Engaging and educating through direct contact.
*Treating as many animals as possible at Itchy-Scratchy clinics (parasites, mange, fleas, ticks, etc.).
*Objectively assessing the need for a S/N clinic and comparing that with local interest.
*Finding new and appropriate locations to hold S/N clinics.
*Creating new and exciting opportunities for volunteers to help.

The program includes five different events:

1. Working with local schoolchildren and getting to know the area.
  • Hands-on activities are taken from the WSPA Guidebook.
  • Children take home a calendar of HSTJ activities soon to take place in their area.
  • Initial scouting for an appropriate S/N facility.
2.  Having a series of two educative workshops geared towards adults and teens.

  • First session titled: Fleas and Ticks – what you can do to fight them
  • Second session titled: Caring for your pets – myths vs. realities
  • Both include educational material from the WSPA conference that HSTJ hosted.
  • Both include a slideshow (PowerPoint presentation) that complements the workshop
  • All sessions are highly interactive and include at least one demonstration.
  • A flyer with the dates and locations of local HSTJ activities is given to each person or family that attends.

3. One or more Itchy-Scratchy clinics are held at appropriate locations within that community.
  • This is an educational and hands-on activity for local families, as they will be asked to assist.
  • A brief explanation of animal care/health can be given to any who were not able to attend the workshops; any questions will be answered.
  • Everyone who brings their pets will be asked to fill out a very short survey to help us assess their needs and what resources are already available to them locally.
  • Ideally, these I.S. clinics will all be held at a time most convenient to local residents and volunteers will be encouraged to come down and participate in this one of a kind experience. If necessary, transportation can be arranged.
  • This event will also serve to verify the conditions of the facility provided and ensure that it is actually suitable for a possible S/N clinic.
4. A Spay/Neuter clinic is scheduled and held for people who reside in the surrounding areas.
  • It is possible that not all colonias will qualify for one of these events, and that will depend on the people’s interest and cooperation, available facilities, and the overall need of that area, among other things. All factors will be considered, as this will not be an arbitrary decision.
Since May 2015 six colonias have been targeted, one at a time. According to the DIF institution, they are all categorized as “low-income communities” and are located on the outskirts of Tijuana. 

Click to enlarge
This is the calendar of events.
Please consider volunteering. 
(To do so, contact our Project Coordinator directly).

The cluster of communities that benefit are:
1.     La Morita
2.     El Pipila
3.     Mariano Matamoros Centro
4.     Mariano Matamoros Sur
5.     Altiplano
6.     Maclovio Rojas
[See Map]

Our funds are limited, so as always, and in order to reduce the cost of operation, we have found ways to implement this project while staying inside our yearly budget.

In conclusion, we believe that people will continue to benefit from the knowledge they receive long after we have passed through. There is obviously a limit to what our organization can do for the people and animals of Tijuana and at times it may seem like a daunting enterprise, but it is good to remember that the greater benefits are not always visible to the naked eye.

The first presentation opens with this statement: Ignorance is our worst enemy, but knowledge is our best ally because it enables us to protect our families and our pets. We know there are many out there who try exhaustively to care for their animals as best they can, and we do our utmost to help them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Update on the Cockapoo hoarding case

Many of you are wondering what the status is on the recently rescued cockapoos. But in case you missed it, see the full story here.

What we can tell you right now is that it took many volunteers and vets working together to get all of these sweet little dogs in better shape. 


It was a busy couple of days, but as of now, all of them have received a veterinary evaluation, a much needed haircut, medicated baths, spay/neuter surgeries, needed medications and are ready for adoption. 

Slowly but surely 12 of these dogs have been adopted by Mexican families who reside in Tijuana. Of the original 29, only 17 remain at the Dog Pound facilities. Out of the 12 that have already been adopted, two of them were completely blind, yet two different families fell in love with them and were willing to adopt them, care for them, and be patient so that they could adapt to their new homes. Out of the 17 dogs that have yet to be adopted, four are blind as well.

 Their stay at the pound has been extended, but we are still working very hard to get these adopted. Friends of HSTJ has reached out to many cockapoo rescues in the U.S. and as of now have not been able to find room for any of these dogs. We are bringing them up a few at a time so that people can meet them at our Adoption Events held regularly at Petco UNLEASHED locations in the greater San Diego area (held on Sundays). For a regular calendar of these events, please follow us on Facebook.

An invitation has been broadcast to Tijuana residents looking to adopt, in the hopes that they will consider visiting these facilities and just might fall in love with one of these pooches. The invitation is open to anyone, and the adoption process is quite simple.

 1) Be willing and able to adopt and care for a dog. 2) Have enough patience to allow the dog to adjust. 3) Visit the dog pound facility in Tijuana and fill out an application. 4) A home visit is scheduled in order to verify that the dog will have appropriate living quarters (The home visit is done that same day or the following day, depending on availability). 5) Then the family is ready to pick up their newest member and take him home. **The Tijuana city pound is charging an adoption fee of $278 pesos (approximately 17 U.S. dollars). 

 Here is an example of one of the transformations. This dog was nicknamed "Maggie" and she is approximately three years old. Such a happy and beautiful girl!

If you or someone you know is looking to adopt, we ask that you please consider one of these rescued cockapoos. They deserve a second chance at life, and long for the warmth of a home and the love that only a family can give. 
If you are in the U.S. and are interested in adopting one of these dogs, please contact one of our Adoption Coordinators for more information.

Maggie AFTER
IMPORTANT: For this case in particular, we are NOT soliciting food or monetary donations of any kind, nor have we enlisted anyone to solicit donations on our behalf. What we ask is that you please consider fostering or adopting one of these pups.