Friday, November 27, 2015

Moving the HSTJ Center

It has been said that the best things happen unexpectedly, and during these past three months it has proven to be oh-so-true.

The building that we rented for the HSTJ Center was originally a small house in the Buenos Aires colonia. This location was chosen because, among other things, it was close to some of the most impoverished parts of Tijuana. Namely, the "eastern part of Tijuana". 

With a lot of effort it was adapted into what most of you have come to know as the HSTJ Center, a facility that offers free/low-cost veterinary services for rescuers and families with little means. Thanks to your support, that small idea evolved into a hugely successful project, made evident by the increasing number of people being helped each and every month.

Since it opened its doors and treated its first animal in February 2014, this clinic became well known in the Tijuana community. Things were moving along as usual, and then, an unexpected change!

The building changed hands when our landlady passed away.  She was a young woman with a heart of gold and we will forever be grateful for her support in establishing the HSTJ Center. Some time after that, the new owner informed us at the end of September that our lease would not be renewed, meaning that we had 30 days to evacuate the building. We had to find a new location for our beloved Center... AND WE HAD TO MOVE FAST BECAUSE THE CLOCK WAS TICKING!!

Every one of our dear volunteers mobilized immediately, searching for a place that had a sound structure, was in an appropriate location, was near public transportation, was ideal for a veterinary clinic, and was in the same price range (rent), etc. It wasn't easy. Many drove around for hours and made dozens of phone calls looking for the right place. By mid-October time had passed very quickly and we still hadn't found a proper place to move into. Some began to worry.

Then, just in the nick of time, one of our volunteers stumbled onto what appeared to be the perfect place. It met all of the requirements that Board Members had agreed upon. Success! Moreover, our new landlady and her family were all animal lovers and rescuers themselves! They absolutely went above and beyond to accommodate us and help us get set up. A special thank you to Mrs. Rossy and her family! 

The space needed to be adapted as a veterinary clinic in order to function at the capacity we had in the original location and your donations helped us achieve this. This implied installing additional plumbing and electric fixtures, some divider walls, etc. Our Program Coordinator oversaw this project in order to make the most efficient use of funds possible. 

When we posted the news about the big move, Tijuana residents immediately helped us spread the word on social media. And people kept bringing their animals for treatments at Buenos Aires until the very last day --even on moving day the Center remained open until 4:00PM. 

Volunteers showed up to help us move on the evening of October 31st, 2015. Yes, on Halloween night. We are extremely grateful to have such a strong corps of dedicated volunteers and we value each and every one of them and appreciate whatever help each person is able to offer. We can't repeat that enough. 

The move didn't go as smoothly as planned, but with everyone's help, the job got done. Although we hired movers, our HSTJ truck stalled on the highway during the first trip and had to be towed away. Mrs. Leticia Coto, President of the Mexican organization, HSTJ, spearheaded the move and quickly spoke with volunteers who were more than willing to lend their personal vehicles to help move our equipment. A very special shout-out to Adria and Xindy for their pick-up trucks and to everyone else that helped us move! At the end of that night, all were exhausted but happy.

After some settling in, we officially opened our doors at the new location on November 4th, 2015 and we couldn't be happier. Of course, it goes without saying that we incurred in additional expenses, but we are confident that it is completely worth it when you think about how many animals will continue to benefit from the HSTJ Center on a daily basis.

The services offered at this facility are subsidized by Friends of Humane Society de Tijuana and we purchase surgical materials and medications on a weekly and monthly basis. Doctors offer their services and volunteers are always ready to help, but we need more donations in order to purchase materials and help even more animals. Please read some of the stories of animals that have received treatment at this Center, and if you decide that you would like to donate, please do not hesitate to do so. We depend on your generosity to keep the doors of this veterinary clinic open to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.