Thursday, April 28, 2011

HSTJ is Assisting Other Tijuana Rescue Groups

Provida Animal is a small rescue group in Tijuana who came to HSTJ for help. HSTJ began providing this group with dog food and sterilization services. In March of this year,  Provida Animal adopted out 22 animals and 7 more in April!

It is so wonderful to see like minded individuals working in the threnches of Tijuana helping the animals in need!

It is due to our supporters that we are able to aid these great rescue individuals in their efforts to save lives and help easy the suffering of the TJ street animals.

If you are interested in adopting an animal from Tijuana, check out these great dogs and cats up for adoption right now!
And please consider joining the Rescue 400 Club by pledging just $5 a month to help HSTJ continue its programs in Tijuana, helping animals and other rescue groups.

HSTJ's April Street Clinics

For the month of April, six street clinics were conducted by HSTJ volunteers! Here are the stats:

4/1/11 - Colonia San Bernardo 2 cats and 56 dogs
4/2/11 - Colonia Paseo Reforma 9 cats and 71 dogs
4/3/11 - Colonia Tecolote 23 dogs
4/9/11 - Colonia Bulevar Aguascalientes 28 dogs
4/16/11 - Colonia Cardenas 3 cats and 128 dogs
4/19/11 - Covent in Las Huertas 7 cats and 10 dogs

That is a total of 21 cats and 316 dogs treated for mange and fleas and ticks at our street clinics for the month of April!

Our Itchy Scratchy Street clinics are so important as people who would otherwise not be able to afford to take their animals to a vet and even properly feed them are provided basic care for mange, fleas, ticks, wounds and infections. Most importantly, HSTJ volunteers educate these people about proper care, nutrition, the importance of humane treatment and of course sterilization. The people are encouraged to bring their un-altered animals to our next spay and neuter campaign. In addition, all animals who attend our street clinics are sent home with a 6lb bag of food. If an animal is brought with a chain around its neck, we remove the chain and educate the owner about the dangers these types of restraints result in and provide a proper collar an leash when our resources allow. HSTJ relies solely on donations to conduct these street clinics. Please support the continuance of the Itchy Scratchy clinics by joining the Rescue 400 Club and pledging just $5 a month. That's all it takes to allow HSTJ to continue to provide care to the needy animals of Tijuana. Please join today!

HSTJ Volunteer shares her experiences at the April 16th IS clinic:

This week’s I.S. clinic was held on April 16, 2011 at Colonia Cardenas. This is a colonia on the western part of TJ, near the coast. We’ve been in this area before, and people in this neighborhood express their appreciation for HSTJ’s clinics. At this location we treated 128 dogs and 3 cats. Volunteers attending were 3. We had everything set up and ready by 7:30 am and wrapped things up around 1pm. It was a sunny day and as expected during the springtime, we saw/treated many puppies.

One heartwarming case was that of a very shy, 12 year old Esteban and his cat “Chispita”. He walked about 1 kilometer carrying his beloved cat in a hamper. He stood quietly observing as we treated his cat for worms, fleas, ticks and ear-mites; cleaned her teeth and gave her some vitamins. When we were done, he took Chispita and hugged her tightly, gave her a big kiss on the forehead and carefully placed her back inside the hamper. He gave much thanks for the cat food and said, “Lets go home Chispita”.

Another young boy named Sebastian brought his dog, a light brown, 2 year old pit bull mix who was NOTHING BUT SKIN AND BONES! The poor dog was so hungry, he was scarfing down the food so fast he would choke on it. The sad boy tried to explain that even though he and his mom both work, they were having a hard time providing for his siblings and the family dog. After giving his dog the I.S. treatment, we gave this boy PLENTY of dog food and vitamins. We assured him that he could count on HSTJ to assist with dog food, and the boy was ecstatic.

A woman named Luz brought by 5 dogs, among which 2 Chihuahuas had SEVERE tooth decay. It was so bad that the dogs were clearly in a lot of pain. She was immediately referred to a nearby low-cost Veterinary Clinic for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Also, an older man and his grandson brought a 3 month old puppy who was suffering from a bad case of mange. This was made even worse on account of a home remedy involving lard and ant powder. The lard on the skin on a sunny day can cause a terrible sunburn. Aside from the regular I.S. treatment, this puppy was treated for mange and was also scheduled for a follow-up treatment.

A new feature at this clinic was that each person will now be handed a flyer that contains info about the treatment their animal just received, a suggestion to visit the vet, and the phone numbers/web sites where they can get the latest dates and locations for our upcoming Sterilization Clinics and future I.S. Clinics all around TJ. With this we hope that even more pet owners (and pets) can benefit from HSTJ's clinics.

To see all of the pictures from our Itchy Scratchy Street Clinics, please visit

To support to continuation of HSTJ's street clinics, please become a member of the Rescue 400 Club!

HSTJ's April 10, 2011 Spay and Neuter Clinic in Colonia Florido

On Sunday, April 10th HSTJ volunteers conducted a spay and neuter clinic in an area of Tijuana called Florido.

A total of 52 animals were spayed and neutered!

20 female dogs
18 male dogs
7 female cats
7 male cats

One special case was a tiny male pit pull mix puppy was brought in, he was no longer able to urinate on his own due to a rodent bite to his little weenis! Our fabulous Dr. Gayle performed surgery on the little guy creating a new opening for his weenis so he can go pee pee again. Thanks Dr. Gayle!

Thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers and of course our supporters who make these clinics possible.

To see all of the pictures from the April 10th clinic click here:

To help support HSTJ Monthly spay & neuter clinics, please become a member of the Rescue 400 club!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where Are They Now? A Hoarding Case Re-Visited, Part Three. The Story of "Coco Loco"

Exactly two years ago, HSTJ responded to a hoarding case, a man was found to be hoarding 157 dogs in two locations of Tijuana. (a link to the article is below). As a result of mass publicity and the help of rescue groups, 80% of these animals were adopted out. However, the conditions of the animals that remained were horrible. HSTJ arrived to conduct a street clinic on these remaining animals, but as volunteers started processing the animals and treating them, we slowly realized that we could not just leave them there, we had to do something. Within an hour, we had found a property where we could temporarily house the remaining dogs, a huge undertaking for an organization of such meager resources, but the volunteers were strong, resourceful and determined. I don't think we realized how much work would have to be put into this project but in the end it was well worth the blood, sweat and tears.

Read the full story here

I have decided to re-visit this story and follow up with as many of the owners of the rescued hoarding dogs, so that their amazing stories can be shared and live on forever.

What Coco has Taught me About Life, Love, Trust and Second Chances

Coco came into our lives in April, 2009 and we and she have not been the same since. She was involved in an animal hoarding case in Tijuana, Mexico. Well, she was more than involved, she was a victim. A True, blue, victim as you can see from the picture above. I have not seen this picture in a year and a half since we've had her and it brings tears to my eyes. Looking at it more often throughout her rehabilitation would have helped my frustrations. Alas, it is an ongoing process and one I am honored to share with Coco.

A wonderful, angelic, grass roots organization called Friends of Humane Society Tijuana, heard about this Mexican director who had property and was snatching dogs from the cold, rough streets of Mexico along with dogs that might have actually been considered someones “pet”. He was indiscriminate in the dogs he took and brought to his hellish property where they were left to defend for themselves with the occasional deposit of food they were forced to fight over. I heard there were a couple properties of large numbers of dogs, one with 100+ and all the horrors one would expect from such a desperate and deplorable situation.
I was newly married for the first time at the age of 37 with my own black Labrador I have had since a puppy. My new husband, Michael, and I rented a 4 bedroom house in Carlsbad, CA with a large fenced in back yard. I was instantly the full time step-Mother of two teenage boys and things were quite chaotic. That's about the time Coco entered our lives.

We were just going to foster her and take her to adoption events to find her a furever home. The first night we had her, she ran out the front door and hid under a neighbor's car. She trusted no one. She would not let me or anyone else pick her up. She would growl and snarl and try to get out of your arms and 35 lbs of feisty dog is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, I was able to get her into my bathtub and give her what closely resembled a bath, at least to get the worst grime and dirt off of her. My youngest stepson, Brandon, was able to convince her to come out from under the neighbor's car and she followed him inside our house and really took to him.

I decided she would sleep in his room while she adjusted to life in a home. She jumped up on our dining room table on day 2 while exploring her new digs! She was wild for sure and had no idea what it was like to have grass and consistent food and shelter. She would go into a frenzied state when I brought out the food bowls. She competed with Bali for attention and even snapped and tried to bite her once or twice. I put her outside and made it clear Bali had seniority and she was not in charge. It seems as if she was so used to competing with other dogs for everything she had she didn't understand that food and love were not really limited resources here in this new world she had found herself in suddenly. She was used to living in fear and pain and didn't quite understand that she didn't have to have that here in this life. We took her to get her groomed, but the groomer called us after 10 minutes to come back and get her. I asked if she could just muzzle her and the groomer was insistent that even with a muzzle, she was unable to groom her. Coco just didn't trust anyone at all.
 The one thing Coco fell in love and bonded with made us realize she must have known how to be a pet at some time in the past. We got her tennis balls which she chased and retrieved, but the day we brought home the tennis Kong squeaker ball was the day her life changed for the better. She fell in love with that ball and would roll her entire body over and over it to get her scent on it. She would then get up in the morning and sniff all the tennis balls in the yard, ultimately finding her beloved squeaker ball by sniffing it out. She slept with the ball, carried it in her mouth and chased it until exhaustion. As long as Coco has her squeaker ball she is happy and content.

Brandon and I took her to a couple of adoption events. She got a little attention but no takers. She was becoming increasingly attached to us and was getting more and more comfortable with her surroundings. She was pretty much house trained from the beginning although there were a few accidents. She will still go on the back patio sometimes instead of the grass. She just wasn't used to grass. Coco eventually decided she had a job to do in our house and took it very seriously. She was going to be the front door watchdog. She started sleeping in front of the front door at night instead of with Brandon. I put her bed in her spot in front of the door and that has been her favorite spot since.

Coco is a tough girl. After deciding that she was our “watchdog” she started chasing after everything and anything that sounded like an immediate threat. This is especially pervasive when she and I are at home alone together without the boys. UPS truck, FEDEX, gardeners etc. she had no tolerance for anything that she perceived as dangerous to her pack or palace. I ended up getting a shock collar that had 10 levels and a buzzer. I would press the shock button on level 4 when she would give chase and would release as soon as she turned and responded to my call to come back to me. She then no longer needed the shock and would respond to the sound of the buzzer on the collar knowing she was on notice. I haven’t used it in quite a while but need to put it on her intermittently when she starts to chase people and dogs walking down the street.

Coco loved her little bolster doggie bed. She first had a zebra striped one for her spot in front of the front door and then I got her giraffe print one for outside our bedroom where she liked to lay. She luxuriated in the zebra striped one for many months. Then she would try and get on the couch and I would push her off.
Finally I stopped making her get off of the couch and got a doggie cover for it. Once she became a couch princess a strange and inexplicable new pattern emerged. She refused to sleep in her beloved zebra striped bed. She slept beside it, she slept on the cold tile next to it but she would not even get in it for me to pet her like she used to love. She avoided it like some substandard health care clinic in Tijuana after being treated at Cedars Sinai. I finally put it in the garage and brought down the giraffe print one to see if that was of a higher quality in Coco land. It wasn’t. She was on the couch now, bitches, and she wasn’t going back to anything that even resembled her prior lower socioeconomic status, no matter how comfortable it was. I admire that. A lot of humans go back and forth for a while, not real certain if they deserve it. Coco the dog knew she deserved it and fought and scrapped and endured for it and she wasn’t going to give it up for anything.
Coco let the mobile groomer shave and bathe her as long as I was there to treat her and help hold her. There was only one mobile groomer she liked and she ended up leaving the company so I now shave her down with my own high end clippers. She tolerates baths and loves to swim in the doggie lagoon and retrieve balls.
One day, I was in our neighbor’s driveway chatting and Bali, Coco and Ellwood were hanging out with us. Suddenly, a dog burst out of the front door of the house across the stress from where we were standing and ran straight towards us. The dog didn’t even pause before it jumped on Coco and clamped onto the side of her face. I sprang into action and grabbed the offending dog by its collar and held it almost in the air. It would not let go of Coco until it pulled out a big tuft of fur. The owner came running and got her dog back into her house. Coco was bloody so I scooped her up and my neighbor took us to the Vet. She was so traumatized and the Vet had to anesthetize her to find the wound and clean it. When I came back to get her later that day the Vet said he found two puncture wounds on the side of her face and she didn’t require stitches or drains thank goodness. He said she hated everyone there and was going to have me get her out of her kennel. I found her in her kennel with the cone of shame around her neck looking absolutely miserable. I went into her kennel and she was still groggy from the anesthesia. She growled slightly when I reached out to her. I said “Coco, it’s Mommy” and the instant she recognized me she flew into my arms, so grateful I came back for her. It might just be my perception but I really think she trusts me more and listens and behaves better since that incident. I guess getting your ass kicked and getting rescued by Mom can humble and increase trust at the same time.

Coco taught me, actually reminded me, to believe in myself and to know that I deserve the best and to hold out and fight for it no matter how long it takes or how hard the journey. There is a couch in a palace in Carlsbad with a family who loves and nurtures and supports my growth if I believe that is what I need. Just have to fight for what you know is right, choose your battles carefully, and never, ever give up. When you do find someone who believes in you, just for you, give them time to prove their loyalty. After your instincts tell you they have proven themselves enough for you to give them the generous gift of your trust, be loyal to the end. Protect them and advocate for them. Give them your undying love and devotion because they gave that to you believing in you before you could be the kind of dog that they knew you would be. That is what made you into the beautiful life you live today. Someone saw the light in you and invested and sacrificed to bring out the potential that they see in you. Perhaps they see themselves or the potential for themselves in your disadvantaged life and hope to make themselves or their situation better through you. Or perhaps they just know that your souls were meant to nurture each other and have intersected for the beautiful relationship that has ensued. Your paw to my hand and your soul to mine. We are bonded for life and I am honored to share our lives in this world together my Coco Loco.

Making a Difference One Cat at a Time!

Every month, teams of HSTJ volunteers perform street clinics in various poor neighborhoods throughout Tijuana educating the people on humane treatment, proper nutrition and the importance of sterilization. At these clinics, flea and mange medicines are administered and volunteers check wounds, eyes and ear infections and also provide basic grooming services when necessary, such as clipping away matted fur or clipping long nails.

During an Itchy Scratchy Street Clinic this month, HSTJ volunteer Lisette and team were presented with by far the most extreme case of overgrown nails they had ever seen. Here is Lisette's story:

The most extreme case we saw today, was without a doubt a female cat brought by the Rodriguez family. The first thing Christela (the mom) asked was if we could clip the cat’s nails. I began to ask if there was a reason in particular, and was SHOCKED to see this cat’s nails. For some reason they could not retract and had grown so long that they curled over and around the pads on the bottom of her foot, cutting into the poor kitty's pads and in some places the pads were badly infected. The pads appeared to be very pink and swollen. There was also a foul odor that emanated from the infected nails.

I very slowly and carefully clipped the nails. Several pieces that came off left a gaping wound on the pad and the odor got worse. As I applied disinfectant spray, I was about to ask why on earth they hadn’t taken this animal to the Vet, and realized that they seemed to have very meager resources. The father explained that they’ve had her since she was a kitten and she WAS normal, but then they noticed that she started to stay off her feet and would bleed every time she walked around. When I asked if they could take her to a Vet, they looked at each other and replied no, that they wanted to, but could not afford it.
I took their name, address, and phone number and assured them I would find an HSTJ Vet able to provide no-cost treatment for this poor agonizing cat.

This family was overly grateful, including the two little girls who were in tears when they saw their cat suffering. We were so happy to have brought this cat some relief and to have educated the owners that it is important to keep their kitty's nails short to prevent this from happening in the future.

It is because of our wonderful supporters that we are able to aid in life saving treatments of animals throughout TJ, and this is just one case of many that we see each and everyday.

As you know, we rely solely on donations to continue to serve these animals and we urgently need your help to sustain our current monthly programs.
Our goal is simple, We need 400 people to pledge just $5 a month!
Currently, with the equivalent of 150 $5 sponsors, we are 35% of the way towards this goal!

If you are not already a part of our Rescue 400 club and would like to join us in supporting our life saving efforts, please join today:
Join the Rescue 400 Club

For 16 cents a day or for the cost of a coffee and pastry in the U.S., your small monthly pledge goes a much longer way in Mexico helping the animals in need.
$5 a month can:
  • pay for the anesthesia injection for one animal at our sterilization clinic
  • feed a large dog for one week
  • pay for two vaccinations
  • pay for the post-op medication people are given after their animal is sterilized consisiting of oral antibiotics and multi-vitamins
  • pay for one injectable mange treatment- a dog infected with mange usually requires 2-3 treatments
Collectively, becoming one of the 400 allows us to continue with our comprehensive programs. Be one of the 400 and help save an animal from a life of pain, fear, and disease.

Please Join the Rescue 400 Club today - the animals of Tijuana are counting on you.

HSTJ is a purely Volunteer Organization and 100% of your donation goes to the animals. Our volunteers pound the pavement looking for donated postage, paper for flyers, and advertising space to ensure that all administrative costs are donated.

For more information, e-mail Michelle

On behalf of the animals, thank you so much, for your continued support - we truly could not do it without you.