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Best Lake Chapala Options for Your Pet

Group of pets
Credit: Eric Isselee | Shutterstock

For many who have chosen Lake Chapala for retirement residence, our four-legged companions have become family members. Medical research has confirmed that a dog or cat is not simply a companion, but a source of tranquility that improves one’s health and tends to reduce anxiety and stress in the normal day-to-day challenges and routines. For those of you who have a dog or a cat, here are some of the best Lake Chapala options for your pet.

We all come searching for that “good life” in our retirement. Some bring an existing long-term dog or cat with them, while others find a heart-touching companion roaming the streets or housed in a shelter that requires a forever home. My wife and I thought our pet parenting days were behind us, but twice over our 14 years at Lake Chapala street cats decided to adopt us as their forever home. I’ve tended to favor a dog over a cat, so it took some adjusting, self-education and patience for a cat’s personality and traits when Erin walked through our garden and front door last December. More than a companion, she has become a cherished member of our family and part of our good life at Lake Chapala.

Part of that adjustment and self-education has been to enhance my awareness of animal care, needs and welfare services available at Lake Chapala. Some of what I’ve learned might be of benefit and interest to you to assure that your good life also is shared with your four-legged family companions.

For those seeking to adopt, there are three top sources at Lakeside for a furry companion: Lakeside Friends of the Animals, The Ranch and Lucky Dog.

Lakeside Friends of the Animals is a shelter for kittens and cats. In addition to their website, you can call them at 376-765-5544. The Ranch is a rescue shelter for dogs in need of an adopted home. The Ranch staff also welcomes volunteers interested in walking, playing with and shelter care needs for these dogs. They can be contacted at 376-766-1141. Lucky Dog is a rescue and adoption center that also seeks volunteers who are exploring the idea of offering an adopted home for a dog in need or have a loving heart to share with a dog at the shelter. In addition to their website, you can contact them at 331-300-7144 or email them at LuckyDogChapala@yahoo.com.

To prevent the birth of unwanted dogs and cats that often end up abused, neglected or abandoned on the streets, a group of Mexicans and expats came together to form Operación Amor to sterilize dogs and cats of low-income Lake Chapala residents. Information on this community program is available on Facebook or you can email them at zoonna1951@gmail.com. Spay and Neuter services are also offered through The Ranch at 376-766-1141 and by Lakeside Friends of the Animals for low income residents at 376-765-5544.

Residents looking for a place to board or have pet sitting for their four-legged companions at Lakeside can contact PetitsPetsAjijic@gmail.com where you have 24/7 vet supervision offering 100% love and care. Other options are Dee’s Pet Hotel at 331-765-7074 and Maskota’s Lake Veterinaria at 376-766-0287.

Each of the major supermarkets at Lake Chapala, including El Torito and WalMart SuperCenter in Ajijic, Super Lake in San Antonio Tlayacapan and Soriana in Chapala, offer a pet food and pet supply section. If a pet requires a specialty diet due to health concerns or age, your likely best source is in Riberas del Pilar at the Pet Care Store on the lake side of the carretera. It is affiliated with Lakeside Friends of the Animals.

As for veterinary services, there is no shortage of veterinary clinics located along the north shore corridor of Lake Chapala. As with selection of a personal physician or clinic for yourself or a family member, it usually comes down to a recommendation by a trusted friend or personal experience and confidence. I have heard positive comments on several.

The two most prominent clinics are Ladron de Guevara Animal Hospital and Maskota’s Lake Veterinaria. Ladron is on the carretera at Av. Hidalgo #210 in Riberas del Pilar (376-765-5940). It has a bilingual staff and 24-hour emergency on-call service. Maskota’s Lake Veterinaria, operated by Dr. Luis Maciel, is on the Carretera Oriente in Ajijic (376-766-0287).

Others in Ajijic are Dr. Medeles at Axixic Salud Care, Memo’s Veterinarian Office (Centro) and Veterinaria Zavala. In San Antonio Tlayacapan, Dr. Delfino Hernandez operates Veterinaria San Antonio at Carretera #135. In Riberas del Pilar, Dr. Jose “Pepe” Magana provides veterinary services.

My personal experience has been with Dr. Ladron and his staff. They cared for our first cat, Goldie, and ultimately, with professional gentleness, eased her suffering from this world. They now take care of our current cat, Erin.

There is a good life to be had for all at Lake Chapala, and that includes our four-legged family companions.