Paws in Paradise

In Cancún, Los Cabos, Play, Play, Play, Play, Playa del Carmen & Tulum, Puerto Vallarta by Suzanne Koch

If you’ve ever been seconds away from bringing home a four-legged souvenir when visiting Mexico then you’re probably curious how the process works. We had the chance to speak with Janice Chatterton, founder of the Protective and Compassionate Society for the Animals of Puerto Vallarta (SPCA PV), and Barbara Smith, founder of the Los Cabos Humane Society (LCHS) to find out what goes into adopting pets abroad, running a shelter for animals in need and how you can help, both from near and far.

In the Baja, the Los Cabos Humane Society has been operating on only donations since 1992 when it was founded by Barbara Smith and a group of caring individuals. As animals slowly arrived during the early years, so did the funds, many of which were graciously donated to those dedicating them to the memory of past pets. Today, the no-kill shelter is a full service animal facility with a vet clinic that operates six days a week. To property care for the rescued animals, LCHS quarantines them for 25 days upon arrival. After they are sterilized and vaccinated, they are released to the adoption area to find a forever home with a lucky human. LCHS goes the extra step in ensuring safe adoptions by visiting adopter’s homes for inspection, where they must meet a series of requirements before getting to take Fido home with them.

Founded in 2007 by hotelier Janice Chatterton, SPCA PV averages between 250 and 300 adoptions each year and since being open, has helped more than 1,600 pets find a home. The shelter recently introduced a mobile spay/neuter clinic in February which focuses its efforts on Puerto Vallarta’s outlying neighborhoods and will be offered on a weekly basis. Whether you’re looking to adopt or just spend the day with a lovable pup, visitors can stop by SPCA PV for one of its twice weekly tours of the shelter and spend time playing with the pooches. Visitors can also volunteer to foster dogs, assist with home visits or meet dogs at the airport upon arrival, among other things.

How to Adopt

If you’re looking to meet you next furry best friend, here’s Janice’s tips for a smooth adoption process. And for those adopting from SPCA PV, the shelter doest all the below for you, so you can focus on loving your new companion as much as they love you.

Doggie on Board: Snag an airline reservation for your new pup so you can fly back with them

Foreign Furballs: Obtain a health certificate from a local vet knowledgeable in United States’ customs rules in regards to bringing in dogs from other countries

Canine Check-Up: Be up-to-date on local diseases that may not exist in the U.S. Make sure to have your new furball tested before taking them out of Mexico and back home

Puppy Love

Donate your time, money, love, or all of the above.

Los Cabos Humane Society:
Acre Dogs:
Coco’s Animal Welfare:

For even more adoptable puppers (and a great cocktail or two!), visit Acre Baja in Cabo, where they foster rescued dogs on their 25-acre organic farmland. Make sure to follow @acredogs for an overload of cute faces looking for a fur-ever home.

Photos: Gina & Ryan Photography

This article originally appeared in the 2019 Spring/Summer season issue of InMexico Magazine.

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