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Barra de Navidad & Melaque Journal - January 11, 2020

Pickle Ball Scramble

Donna Noftle Duff organized another successful pickle ball fundraiser, held at the Cabo Blanco courts in Barra de Navidad on January 5, as a benefit for Cisco’s Amigos, a volunteer-run clinic that offers free spay-and-neuter services in La Manzanilla and surrounding communities.

pg28a“Animal welfare and pickle ball are my passions,” says Duff, who is originally from Alberta, Canada. “So it was a good fit and a pleasure to organize the scramble. Pickle ball players have big hearts.”

Each participant paid 150 pesos to play in the tournament, and all the proceeds were earmarked for Cisco’s Amigos. The fund-raiser raised over 5,000 pesos. 

New Orleans native Julie Wagner Schuetz founded Cisco’s Amigos in 2004, with the help of the U.S. Humane Society, Hagenbache of Mexico City, Braveheart Animal Services and Rural Area Vet Services (RAVA). 

“We do our best to help any animal that comes into our clinic,” Wagner explains. “We do not shelter, although we do find homes for kittens and puppies during our clinics.”

So far Cisco’s Amigos has sterilized more than 5,100 dogs and cats.

“Our vets are trained by world renowned vets from the United States and use the best sterile methods possible,” says Wagner. “We are very proud of our clinics.” 

If you would like to volunteer or make a donation, contact Wagner at facebook.com/ciscosamigos.

Pro Animal Melaque 

Pro Animal Melaque is a group of volunteers who rescue animals in and around Melaque, Villa Obregon and Barra de Navidad. The non-profit was registered in 2012 and since then has overseen the spaying and neutering of 5,600 animals.

“Our mission is to care for at-risk animals in our community,” says Association President Christine Hocker.  “We also have rabies vaccination campaigns and school outreach programs, as well as small outreach clinics in Autlán.”

Board members Anne Michelson, Sharon Fritz, Maribel Lopez and Brenda Benwell  foster rescued animals, along with other volunteers.

Pro Animal Melaque holds four fundraisers each year: Bingo, Bike-a-thon, a cribbage tournament and a yard sale.

There are two high volume spay-and-neuter campaigns a year, each lasting for three days. The volunteers work with veterinarians provided by the Jalisco Health Department.

“Our greatest need at this point,” says Hocker, “is to have more responsible foster families, ready and willing to care for the animals we rescue.”

The next Pro Animal clinic in Melaque will be in May, with the exact dates to be announced later.

The Bike-a-thon fundraiser will be held on Sunday, January 26, 9 a.m. in the Melaque Jardín. “It costs 250 pesos to enter, and you even get a free t-shirt,” says Hocker. 

You can donate through PayPal at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also check out Pro Animal’s videos on YouTube. For more information, or to volunteer or foster, contact Pro Animal Melaque on Facebook. 

The Dog Squad

Maurie Deaton, originally from Vernon, British Columbia, moved to Melaque in 2015. “I’ve done animal rescue work for about 25 years,” she says. “The first winter I volunteered for one of the local groups. The second year I volunteered with some other gringas, and we became the Melaque Dog Squad and Cat Sanctuary.”

The Dog Squad works to help local families with medication, treatments and education, as well as identify street animals at risk.

“This often involves taking local pet owners with us to the vet so they will be more likely to seek professional help for their pets in the future,” says Deaton.

Deaton has turned her own home into a sanctuary but is looking for a separate space to house the animals.

The Dog Squad operates through donations, working with local vets and other organizations, utilizing the free sterilization clinics, as well as the Alianza Sterilization Clinic and Animal Care Vet Hospital in Manzanillo. 

The Dog Squad volunteer base is growing but the two most involved individuals are Christine Yoast and Lori Dickie.

Donations to the Dog Squad can be made through e-transfer by Canadian banks to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or PayPal to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

An upcoming Dog Squad bingo event will be held Monday, January 20, 1 p.m. at the Albotros Bar in Melaque. For more information, or if you would like to foster an animal in need, contact Maurie Deaton on Facebook. 

Toy collection

Seven years ago, Barra de Navidad local Froy Velasquez and his wife Pily decided to deliver toys to underprivileged families in small rural communities around Cihuatlán. “We were motivated when we met families who earn very little, with three or more children” says Velasquez. “It was initially my wife’s idea, but soon many American and Canadian friends started to donate and volunteer. Now we give out over 200 toys and are growing each year”.

Toys are collected starting in November and are delivered to families in different villages on Three Kings Day, January 6.

Special Needs School

Centro de Atención Múltiple (CAM) is a special-needs school in Barra de Navidad, the only one located in the Cihuatlán municipality.  Currently, 56 students ranging from 2.5 to 46 years of age attend the school.

CAM’s 12th annual street party fund-raiser will be held Saturday, January 25 at the end of Calle Álvaro Obregón in Melaque. Doors open at 3 p.m.; the party starts at 4 p.m. There will be beer, wine, an auction, sales of desserts and dancing by CAM students. All proceeds help fund the special-needs school.

For more information, contact Dan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Helping Peter

Friends of Peter Ladouceur came together in Barra de Navidad Sunday, January 5 to raise money for his emergency medical bills.

Ladouceur, who is originally from Ottawa, Canada, has been hospitalized on life support following a bicycle accident on Christmas Eve. The benefit fundraiser was a huge success, with local musicians performing. Donations exceeded 63,000 pesos, although this is not nearly enough to cover the hospital bills and therapy required for his recovery.

If you would like to donate to the fund, visit the GoFundMe home page and type in Ottawa Man on Life Support in Mexico.