Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Dave Harper

If you lose or find an animal in Placitas area, call the Animal Hotline at 867-6135. The Hotline is a nonprofit service run by Dave and January Harper to help reunite lost and found pets. Placing a Lost or Found in the Animal Hotline is a free service courtesy of the Signpost—we can sometimes even include a photo. Call Dave and January at 867-6135 or 263-2266 and leave a detailed message, or email the Animal Hotline at: (but call, too).

Three stray dogs seen in Placitas


DOG: Female small, white Poodle.  "Bindi" has a bear or lamb haircut and has collar and tags.  She was lost November 15 near The Merc or Tierra Madre Road area in Placitas.  #4022


DOG: Lab-size dog with black pointy ears and red collar. Seen near Rainbow Valley in Placitas near Highway 165.  #4023

DOG: Golden Retriever pup with collar. Appears to have injury on right front paw. Was near the west end of the Village of Placitas near the Presbyterian Church on November 16.  #4024

3 DOGS: 2 black dogs and 1 brown dog seen in Cedar Creek (about 2.5 miles north of the Village of Placitas) off Camino de las Huertas, on November 22. One is a black lab, female, medium-size with a black tongue (a little overweight). The second is a black, neutered male who is smaller than the first. The third is a reddish brown, puppyish, dog who is a bigger dog and is not neutered. #4026, 4027 & 4028. (See photos to right)

If you have lost, found, or seen a lost pet,
call Dave or January Harper at 867-6135.


Animal News

Lalo’s pet prints:

Lalo loves to receive your pet and animal photos to print in the Signpost.
Email them to “Lalo” at:
Or mail prints to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889 Placitas, NM 87043

This hapless hopper was sitting in a frozen water dish we put out to bribe the critters not to eat the plants. Either the lagomorph was waiting for the ice to thaw, or more unlikely was using its body heat to melt a small pool from which to drink. —Gary Priester, Placitas

Lalo, Here’s a bundle of bushtits for you! —Michael Sare, Placitas

Former street urchin Dexter gets all the attention from Jennifer and Angie Cherry of Helping Paws Across Borders.
Photo credit: —Bill Diven

Placitas paws stretch across borders

—Bill Diven

One of the happiest dogs in town may be Sir Poindexter of Placitas, Dexter for short, whose home in the recent past was the streets of El Paso, Texas. The former street urchin now lives with the founder of Helping Paws Across Borders (HPAB), an international veterinary and animal-rescue program based in Placitas.

Veterinary and surgery technician Angie Cherry came up with the idea for HPAB after she and husband Bob vacationed on Mexico’s eastern coast about ten years ago. During a walk through the community outside the resort area she encountered the daily life of dogs and cats in a place with few if any vets and clinics.

“We got home, and I couldn’t let it go,” Cherry said. She enlisted her daughter Jennifer, and the two brainstormed what to do. They came up with the name Helping Paws Across Borders.

By the time HPAB was organized and ready for its first mission back to Mexico, Angie and Bob had moved to Placitas leaving Jennifer in Indiana. Jennifer, a former animal-control officer, now works at a shelter there.

Both found veterinarians supportive of their projects providing supplies, time off from clinics where Angie worked and in volunteering on the missions themselves. Friends and co-workers joined in as well.

Over the course of the next five years, HPAB worked with Animal Humane Grand Bahamas in the Caribbean handling innumerable medical treatments and vaccinations, establishing a spay and neuter program, dispensing collars and leashes, and doing what it could to instill concepts of responsible pet ownership. It also built a proper shelter where procedures like amputations could be done safely and outfitted a lab with donated equipment.

About 15 animals have been brought to Albuquerque for amputations by volunteer veterinarians, then to be put up for adoption. The team has done only one amputation in the field when it was deemed absolutely necessary, Angie said.

“The vets here are incredible,” she added.

Over the last several years HPAB has worked regularly in Belize with sponsorship from local vets. The second visit of this year in September drew a team of 12 volunteers who paid their own way and spent five days operating a clinic in the coastal village of Placencia.

The clinic examined and treated 261 animals and conducted 119 surgeries. Again, services and supplies mixed with education and being kind to animals.

“We’re getting a huge following of vets,” Angie said. “We all kind of know each other somehow.”

Dr. Adena Robertson of 4 Paws Pet Hospital in Albuquerque is one of those vets enlisting in the program soon after she hired Angie as a vet tech. It wasn’t a hard sell for the doctor with a track record of joining Animal Humane in crisis situations like hurricane Katrina.

“There are not a whole lot of vets who will do this on top of their regular jobs,” she said. “It’s nice opportunity to get to be a part of this.”

Robertson has worked with HPAB since its second or third year and performed amputations and other surgeries in her clinic. She is already planning for the 2015 trips.

Collars and leashes are in great demand and instantly change a child’s demeanor as he or she walks away with a dog, Jennifer said during a November visit to Placitas.

“Once you give them to the kids, you can’t believe how proud they are,” she continued. It’s often the kids and not the parents who bring their animals to the clinics, she added.

Those animals included seas turtles, iguanas, and a tapir, Jennifer noted during a November visit to Placitas. Jennifer serves as HPAB’s vice president and director of animal welfare, while Angie holds the title of president and founder. The group has gone to schools to teach dog-bite prevention and often brings along schools supplies and shoes.

Still, the program is not without its bumps as it must deal with border crossings, skeptical customs officers, and government permits. It also steers clear of the upper-class area’s modern clinics although some of those residents occasionally find HPAB and its free vaccinations.

HPAB, a nonprofit corporation with a 12-member board, is expecting its 501c3 tax status this month. It already has two trips planned for next year—Honduras in February and Peru in July—both at the invitation of local animal-rescue groups.

“People ask why we don’t do this here,” Angie said. “There are lots of resources here. They want us to come, and they need the help.”

Beyond donations of money, airline miles, collars and leashes, dog and cat treats and toys, and medical supplies, HPAB joins in area events where it collects donations. The next one is the 12 Strays of Christmas adoption event from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on December 6 at Cabezón Park in Rio Rancho.

The event, sponsored by the city of Rio Rancho, includes a low-cost shot clinic and an invitation to donate pet food and new or lightly used collars, leashes, toys, and crates. The donations will be divided among the dozen or so participating rescue groups.

Additional information, photos and shout outs to local veterinary clinics supporting the work can be found on HPAB’s website:

Pet proofing for the holidays

—Michael & Francis Griego, DoodyCalls

To help you keep your pets safe this holiday season, we offer pet owners the following tips:

  • Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.
  • Use tinsel and ribbons sparingly or not at all. If ingested, tinsel and ribbons can cause severe intestinal blockages.
  • Macadamia nuts affect the digestive, nervous, and muscle systems of dogs. Grapes and raisins are very high in iron and may overload your dog’s kidneys. Damage caused from eating raisins is permanent and may even be fatal.
  • Holly leaves and berries may cause stomach problems and possibly death. Mistletoe may cause a heart attack. Hibiscus may cause diarrhea and poinsettias may cause your pet’s mouth and stomach to blister.
  • Holiday tree water may be toxic. Water mixed with pinesap is toxic for your pet to drink. Tree water may also contain additives, preservatives and fertilizers that are hazardous to your pet’s health.
  • Animals that drink alcohol can become very weak and die.

If you suspect that your pet has eaten something toxic, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s emergency hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP.

DoodyCalls is a company of pet waste removal specialists,, 1-800-DoodyCalls.

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