Meet our team
Meet our team:
Baja Dogs La Paz, Inc. operates as Voluntarios por los perros de La Paz, A.C. in Mexico and is an all volunteer organization. We have a Board of Directors for the two entities and the key volunteers in La Paz and targeted cities in the US and Canada. We have no salaried staff which allows us to direct more funds toward direct care of the rescued dogs.
In 2002 when I first visited La Paz in Baja, Mexico I was enchanted by the warm, friendly people and the unsurpassed beauty of the setting on the Bay of La Paz. But one thing I couldn’t ignore was the unbelievable number of street dogs. Most female street dogs were pregnant, some dogs were starving, and many were infested with ticks and mange. In some sad cases, dogs with owners who barely had enough to feed their own families had very little funds left over to care for the family pet.
When my husband and I bought our La Paz home in 2003 we did what we could for many of the street dogs. We always carried a huge bag of food in our back seat to share with any dog that looked hungry. We kept a tub of water outside our front gate. Many times we took dogs that were beyond help to the local veterinarian – most times to be put down. We donated money to our vet to use to spay stray female dogs – which were again returned to the streets where it was survival of the fittest. We started Baja Dogs La Paz, Inc. and became a registered 501(c)(3) in 2008 to help more of these dogs.
When vacationing in La Paz, I started volunteering at a local refuge by walking dogs and doing anything else I could to help out. One thing led to another and I could not resist the opportunity to do something really significant to help the overpopulation of dogs in the area. It seemed the more I got involved, the more I wanted to help.
In addition to helping fund raise in the US, I help transport dogs which involves providing overnight foster care when a dog is being flown through LAX and has a connecting flight for the next day. My team of volunteers and I go to airport to help walk the dogs, give them food and water, and prepare them for the next leg of their journey. We have helped hundreds of dogs get transported through LAX. In fact, during one year, we were at LAX so many times we convinced the airport to up-grade and provide a small, secured and fenced relief station for animals traveling through one of the terminals.
I have often taken dogs home with me from La Paz where I foster them until they are adopted. Of course, I always make sure that the prospective home is the right one for the dog. I am also in contact with no-kill shelters and organizations in the US that take dogs from Mexico and help find them good homes. We advocate working within the local La Paz community to find suitable homes for the dogs, educating new dog owners along the way. But there are so many strays in the area, there are just not enough homes for them all. So working with other organizations means we can rescue more. In fact, our family has adopted 3 rescued dogs from La Paz and they, are of course, loved members of our family now.
Looking for a second home in the area, my family and I discovered La Paz. I read about a local dog refuge in one of the English language newspapers and started volunteering. Like many others who love animals, I become heavily involved in helping with transportation whenever dogs need to come to or through the Seattle area on their way to a new adoptive family.
I am in my 25th year of employment with Microsoft and made sure Baja Dogs La Paz has been appropriately registered as a charity my company supports. This means any of the employees at Microsoft who volunteer or donate receive a corporate match and, as an animal lover, that makes my work with both organizations all the more worthwhile.
I work to champion this great cause so that visitors and part- and full-time residents of La Paz bring plenty of crates, blankets, leashes, and other supplies with them on their trips south of the border to help many of the rescatistas (Spanish word for rescuers) out.
I am also involved in fundraisers and events to promote our work and to raise awareness. I am also the primary interface with our team of volunteers in La Paz who rely on Baja Dogs to continue their projects.
After 25 years as a serial entrepreneur, Charlene came to La Paz with her husband to retire. Always a dog lover and having a background in health care I/T, she attempts to automate as much of the administration work as possible such as intake forms, adoption application processes, vaccination and treatment records, supply chain management for dog food and medical supplies, etc. Charlene also handles transportation logistics.
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Linda and her husband moved to La Paz in 2014 and she immediately began her involvement with dog rescues. She volunteered at a local shelter (since closed) where she created a successful dog walking campaign in which visitors walked each and every dog on leash, twice a week. She also worked diligently with dogs that had extreme fear issues, helping them to trust again and become adoptable, family dogs – each one ultimately found a loving home. Since then, Linda has devoted her time with Baja Dogs by initially photographing and assessing dogs as they come into the program. Linda acts as a liaison between the fosters and the adoptions team to help make sure that each dog is properly described on the website and to help facilitate the adoption of each dog into the right home. Before moving to La Paz, Linda spent over 20 years in the hospitality field.
Rebeca is a certified veterinarian from the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City with over 20 years of experience. Since she was very young she has always loved dogs. In veterinary school she discovered the field for veterinary medicine is very broad and so she started her career in wildlife management. She later specialized in conservation of the environment where she worked with large animals in the wild. The Sea of Cortes on which La Paz is located (referred to by Jacques Cousteau as the “Aquarium of the World”) is rich with large marine life.
Never losing her love for the dogs, however, Rebeca always kept her knowledge and skills up-to-date volunteering wherever she could to help local shelters and rescue groups. When Rebeca and Baja Dogs discovered each other it was a perfect match!
Rebeca has been instrumental in developing our Wellness Program which we were able to launch in April 2018. Volunteering in this way, Rebeca is able to continue her work with dogs, which she loves. The best part is that when addressing the overpopulation of dogs in the city, she is also able to help improve the conservation of this unique environment that she loves so well.
Irene and her husband spend winters in beautiful La Paz and are only too willing to get involved in many efforts to make life better for the residents here. Irene volunteers with Amigos de Navidad which involves a Christmas dinner and gifts for local children and families. For Baja Dogs La Paz, Irene’s communication skills are key in helping us craft newsletters, website verbiage, press releases, and many other publications.
Irene is in charge of special fundraising projects and is also in charge of our local La Paz store, a critical element to raising funds to keep our clinic and food program operational.
And like all volunteers, Irene rescues dogs in her neighborhood and cares for them until loving homes can be found.
I always wanted to work with animals and becoming an Animal Health Technician allowed me to work as a Zookeeper at one of the largest zoos in Canada, the Toronto Zoo. In becoming a zookeeper you become very involved in wildlife studies which fascinated me and were a big part of my life. The career was a chance to educate people about a part of the world that they were losing touch with. It’s a chance to take a stand for conservation and do my part to save endangered species and their habitats.
When John and I got married we moved across Canada and changed our occupations. Even though I couldn’t do the work I dreamed about I mentored girls and young women in Girl Guides about the wonderful wildlife in our province and our family did a lot of adventures to learn about history, people and nature around us. Cats and dogs were always a big part of our family, a family pet care business and volunteering to help less fortunate animals grew out of our love. With a career change, I worked in the Pharmacy business, Health and Safety, Union chief shop steward and was a member of a union, negotiating contracts I often said I enjoyed and understood animals far better than humans but now I know all my interests and careers prepared me for the best job of all with Baja Dogs La Paz. Now I am part of a solution helping street dogs in La Paz by assisting in behavior modification, training techniques and finding the best home for a dog and the best dog for an adoption family.