Cross-border pet adoption

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When Jessica and Evan moved to Tijuana, they didn’t plan on starting a charitable service. They came for the same reason that many have done lately – rents are high and incomes are low north of the border. They initially thought they’d live here while working in San Diego, but Tijuana had other plans for them.

They started in an apartment and commuted across the border. That got old fast, especially after they added a relinquished puppy to their household of cats … and then another puppy. It became obvious that there was a great need to save pets from abandonment … and that they could do this themselves … and that they’d surely be needing larger quarters.

They found a house with front and back yards close by the border and settled in to create a place “where dogs and cats of two countries unite”. To fit into their neighborhood, both Jessica and Evan started to learn Spanish. A scant year later, they’re proud to trill their RRs.

Looking back, these developments came about naturally. Jessica and Evan  saw a need to be filled. They were in the right place, with the right skills to do so. They both love animals and Jessica had been active with animal rescue organizations in San Diego, where she learned seat-of-the-pants veterinary medicine as well as how the adoption of dogs and cats might be handled in a businesslike manner. Operating costs are lower in Tijuana than they are in San Diego. Most importantly, pet meds and professional veterinary attention are as affordable in Tijuana as are the human equivalents. “Our vets have practiced on both sides of the border but they charge a lot less here” says Jessica.

Lola and Friends Animal Rescue is able to take in relinquished and abandoned pets from both sides of the border and to place them in deserving homes throughout southern California. “We couldn’t have done this in San Diego” said Jessica “because we’re not rich and we don’t have attorneys to take care of all the paperwork. Here you can do something just because it needs to be done. Our donations go three times farther and we still serve the needs of San Diego. Only now we’re also helping animals on both sides of the border.”

The group takes its name from the first puppy that Jessica and Evan rescued, a golden lab mix. Lola works even now as their lieutenant in the dog yard, keeping order among the rest of the dogs. “Go along to get along” she advises the new dogs – and so they they do. The cats, of course, don’t need any advice. In all, it’s a peaceable kingdom of a couple dozen animals.

Lola and Friends receives unwanted pets – “relinquishments” – from both sides of the border and places them in good homes. They also try to save as many animals as they can from the Tijuana pound because ”cats are killed the same day they come in”, according to Evan, “and dogs are killed within two days.” The site also earns income by offering some of the best long-term board-and-care service available on either side of the border. “We refuse to put any animal in a cage, we’re here for them around the clock, and if anything gets serious we have four good veterinarians within walking distance”, says Evan.

Adoptions are simple and can be initiated either from the Lola and Friends website or by phone. The adopted animal can then be picked up either on either side of the border.

Lola and Friends also presents adoption events every other Sunday at Pet Me Please! on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights. “These events are very popular”, says Jessica, “because of the festive atmosphere. People and pets get to interact with the animals up for adoption without any pressure.” These six-hour events are posted on the website’s calendar. They’re held from 10:00am to 4:00pm in a place that allows prospective adopters to bring their their existing pets along in order to see how well everyone interacts with the prospective adoptees.

For readers who would like to help but who don’t have room to take in more pets, donations are always welcome. Lola’s wish-list details all the consumables and equipment that go into keeping unwanted pets happy and healthy. The place could also do with a laptop computer, if you happen to have a spare one lying around.

 Updated August 2018

The landlord kicked Jessica and Evan out for having too many animals. As best we can tell, they went back to live in San Diego. Meanwhile, Tijuana continues to have a somewhat informal network of people connected to the local ASPCA that tries to place dogs with good homes as well as a cat café that will place their surplus felines with excellent homes only. Anyone interested in contacting either is welcome to write to our Reader Service.


Steroids UK said...

I've rescued and housed about 50 dogs, it's costing me a fortune but I think it's woth it. My vet bills alone are about $1k a month as soo many of them are sick when I find them.