Meet-and-Greet.  November 28 2018.  Highlights….

We want to achieve our vision by promoting responsible pet ownership in the East Cape region through supporting spay and neuter activities, educational and community-focused programs and the treatment and re-homing of dogs where and when required.  This is important.  We are never going to make a change if we just focus on rehoming.  We need to change behaviours – we need to upweight spay and neuter education, we need to show people that there are laws about cruelty to animals and we need to help people care for their pets in a more humane way.

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It’s worth saying here that without the amazing efforts of Amigos de Animales and SNAP we would have a much bigger problem.  A huge thank you goes to Kathy from SNAP, Gayle, Tracey and others from Amigos – you are doing the most vital work in the region.  That is why Cortez Rescue will do as much as we can to help with finances when needed to ensure we have enough clinics.

What are we doing?

We are comprised of two organisations – our Mexican non-profit and our US non-profit.  This allows citizens of both countries to make tax efficient donations.  We are just waiting on our US 501 c3 status to be confirmed, and I believe our Mexican non-profit is just about ready.

We have two very lean boards.  John, Ron and Christine on our US board, and John, Ron and Sergio on our Mexican board.

This is a good opportunity to mention our founders and board members.  We would not be here today if it wasn’t for Ron (Quadman), Christine Deardon (El Rincon) and John Ireland (Rancho Leonero).  Together they have backed the set up of Cortez Rescue as it gets on its feet.  Thanks also to Sergio who helps us on a day-to-day basis get stuff done!

More than that, Christine has built us a dedicated Rescue Center on the land behind Dr Gretel’s clinic in Las Cuevas. 

We are starting to move dogs over to the Rescue Center – we are just waiting on electricity and some construction work to finish. We have a casita there that will be our HQ and we are hoping to appoint two Rescue Center Managers from the local community very soon.    This will enable Dr Gretel to get her clinic back for boarding dogs again!

We are rehoming dogs – we have saturated the local area so we are working with quality, reputable groups in Canada and now the US.  Calgary, Vancouver, Portland and soon to be Tahoe.  This is significant.  This time last year we had NO partners taking our dogs.  We now have six that we work with.

Since we took the reins, we have rehomed 75 dogs – we currently have 20 as work in progress.  We will have 30 puppies from January.

For local adoptions, we will be holding Open Days starting in two weeks on a Saturday afternoon at the Rescue Center when people will be able to come and meet our dogs in a relaxed environment. As well as coming by appointment on different days. We won’t be at the Saturday market for a number of reasons including stress to the dogs and the threat of catching something from the dogs that wander around the area – especially parvo and distemper for puppies.  There has been an aggressive outbreak over the past 18 months.

In the main, our dogs are wonderful. They’re sweet natured and make excellent loyal and loving companions.  But many of them need work.  They need rehabilitation after being cruelly treated or abandoned.  We have a dedicated team of Dog Walkers and socializers who go down to the Rescue Center two or three times a week to spend time.  The transformation has been remarkable.  Thanks to Irene, Terri, Lily and others.

In the community, we have an awesome team called The A Team.  They are local Mexicans who are on the front line talking to the community on behalf of Cortez and doing great work educating and helping.  These are Paulina, Nellie, Pully, Shakyra, Sergio, Juliana, Teresa.

We are creating a number of brochures or folios that we are distributing around town.  The first one is unbranded but talks about SNAP and Amigos de Animales.   We are creating more around responsible pet ownership, cruelty etc thanks to Cindy our policy writer.

We have a school’s project – Sabrina and Juliana are managing this.  When Juliana has some more time, she will be organizing to go back into schools.  It’s a game based on game science that involves the children looking at images of cruelty and responsible pet ownership and deciding what is right and what is wrong.

This all sounds great but we need help.  That’s what today is about. This is a mosaic that only works if every piece is in place.

  • We need drivers to take our dogs to the airport to meet escorts
  • We need escorts
  • We need fosters
  • We need help with occasional fundraising events such as the rummage sale and 4C Bash
  • We need Dog Walkers
  • We need Open Day helpers
  • We need help with marketing
  • We need ‘town managers’ who can go and get something printed or collect donations from the cafes etc in town.

And we need money!  We have various ways planned of bringing in the money but it’s hard when everyone is constantly bombarded with requests to give.  Our core moto is ‘Work smarter not harder’ in order to achieve our mission.  How can we raise as much money using our resources appropriately?  We have:

  • The Rummage Sale spearheaded by Rosemary
  • Individual Facebook campaigns – very successful but only short-term
  • We are launching a Mega 50/50 draw – just talking to the lawyers about a permit
  • We have our 4C Bash (cocktails, canapes, clothes and Cortez) a gently-worn designer clothes sale in February.
  • Potentially a cheese and wine event in Rancho Leonero
  • 50/50 raffles at the fishing tournaments in the summer thanks to Rosemary, Tish, Carolyn and Cindy.

We need on-going regular monthly donations – much more preferable to one-off donations as we can better manage our budgets with regular donations.  Once our 501 c3 is official, we will be targeting HNWs to ask them to donate to us – even if they’re in the US.

Finally, this leads me on to our team. The day-to-day team has no seat on the board.  We are led by Jenn Petitclerc, our Cortez Rescue & Outreach Director who manages the day-to-day. In only a few weeks she has made a HUGE difference -she’s a rehoming machine!

This is a BIG job.  We are not like other non-profits in town – this is a 24/7 days a week job.

I know.  I have been doing it! If we were a real organization with paid employees, we would need at least three full-time staff.  Instead, we make it work by sharing tasks that to date have included myself as Fundraising Manager, Bee as Rehoming Manager for the US, Deb Wilson – Database Manager, Terri and Irene as our Dog Profilers and Rehabilitators, Cindy as our Official Photographer, Devi as our Bookkeeper, Gretel, Kenya and Sabrina as the managers of the boarding facilities, Paul and Tish on the ground, Nellie, Teresa….

This comes on to you – our volunteers.  You can see our values on our website.  One of them is “try to be the best at everything we do and set new standards for a non-profit in the region.”

By all working together, we can become the best, most professional rescue group in Baja.   This isn’t some megalomaniac desire.  If we are the best then people will approach us to adopt our dogs.    We already have people finding us through Facebook and the website and they are flying down to meet their forever fur babies. We will attract more money which means we can do more in the community.  My dream would be that Cortez Rescue has no place in the community in 15 years because responsible pet ownership is a natural part of our community.

None of this happens by magic.  It takes hard work.  Lots of it.  And it takes a team.  A BIG TEAM. That’s why we are here today.  So I would ask you all to please, please look at the tasks that we need help with and put your name and contact details down against those areas.  We will then follow up with you.

We cannot do without our volunteers and before we all head over to the table to look at the roles, I want to acknowledge the volunteers that have made all the difference – plus recognition for historical work and those unsung heroes who have been doing this for many years under the radar…. AWARD CEROMONY TOOK PLACE.

And if you do nothing else after today, please:

  • Spread the word about what we’re doing
  • Ask people to donate – either at our donation boxes around town or via our website on Paypal or credit card through Donorbox
  • Share Facebook posts
  • Tell your friends in the US and Canada that they should adopt a rescue dog


Finally, another value is to remind one another that team work is how we will best serve our community and organization.  So let’s have fun making this happen together.  Let’s share ideas (smarter not harder).  Share the workload and share the passion.  At the end of the day, as John Ireland, our board director says: It’s all about the animals.


Emma Nicholson, Donor Fundraising Manager (exiting Director of Cortez Rescue & Outreach)