Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock
Sparky – at Clinica Veterinaria de Isla Mujeres
Pets occasionally need a visit to the bow-wow doctor, or as Thomas the Cat would say, the cat-doctor. 

Sparky, our almost-famous, island low-rider recently needed a few tests to diagnose his health issues. We took him to Clinica Veterinaria de Isla Mujeres where Delfino Guevara DVM, and soon to be certified DVM, Rossely Gonzalez expertly performed a chest x-ray and blood tests. The last time Sparky needed tests we battled with a car ferry ride to Cancun and back. Staying on the island for his tests, was much less stressful for everyone.

Sparky – about to be x-rayed.  What do I do now?

For analysis of blood samples Clinica Veterinaria currently uses a laboratory in Centro, but a fund-raising campaign for a blood chemistry analyzer will make obtaining results quicker and cheaper for the clinic. Part of the fundraiser includes the memory tile project, displayed on the entrance wall of the hospital. It is one of those things that we have passed time and again, briefly glanced at, but not really noticed.
Friend and artist, Julie Goth mounting Thomas the Cat’s tile
The project was started by well-known islanders, Tony and Mim Gallagher, as a means to raise a little extra money for the animal hospital. 

They kicked off the program by generously purchasing six hand-painted tiles with the names of their grandchildren. According to Mim the kids get a giggle out of stopping at the clinic to check on their tiles every time they visit the island. 

Friends Julie Goth and Déanne Gray
It wasn’t until recently when two of our nearby neighbours and close friends, Julie Goth and Déanne Gray, became involved with the project that we really paid attention. Julie Goth created a beautiful image for our mutual friends, Chuck and Marcy Watt, in celebration of their Isla fur-baby, Sombra. Déanne Gray, on the other hand, actively promotes the fundraiser, organizing the placement of the tiles, and collecting the money. To order a memory tile please private message Déanne Gray (Day) on Facebook.

Bonnie Hamilton, Eileen Regn always helping the animals

If you are on the island you can either pay at the clinic, or arrange to pay Julie Goth, Eileen Regn or Déanne Gray, or pay online through Helping Animals Living Overseas (HALO).  The minimum donation is $750 pesos or $50 USD, and goes to helping island animals.

Please remember to add a note that your donation is for a memory tile, and include photos and personal details of the person or pet you wish to honor.

Book cover illustration by Diego Medina of Isla Mujeres

We recently purchased two: one for our seventeen-year-old Thomas the Cat who succumbed to kidney disease last April and the other for Princess Chica, another true-life character featured in my children’s book, The Adventures of Thomas the Cat. 

Chica passed away in 2014. Her tile will mounted on the wall adjacent to her best friend, Thomas. 

Princess Chica and her best friend Thomas the Cat
And in case you didn’t know, both Day Gray and full-time islander Bonnie Hamilton are the legendary cat-trap-ladies. Every week they voluntarily trap feral cats to be spayed or neutered at the clinic. Day has extended an open invitation for us to sharethe experience. However, she has mentioned on occasion that her clothes are quite odoriferous by the end of the evening’s festivities, giving us a reason to be otherwise occupied.

Delfino and Rossely, blood tests for Sparky
Funded by HALO (Helping Animals Living Overseas) Clinica Veterinaria’s current location is across the street from the original clinic. The new structure was purpose-built about three years ago to house the animal hospital, pet adoption centre, and cat sanctuary. We asked one of the founder members of HALO, Kit Lilly for little background information. Her answer was so detailed and well written, we decided to include it, as is, in this blog post.


The new clinic – before signage, and murals
From Kit Lilly:

“HALO (Helping Animals Living Overseas) was formed in October, 2013 as a US 501c3. HALO’s mission is to support select projects outside of the US that benefit animals.  HALO selected as its first project the construction of the new animal hospital and adoption center in Isla Mujeres.  In addition to the new building, the project added a small adoption area at the front of the building, a cat sanctuary on the land behind the clinic, and equipment such as stainless steel cages for hospitalized animals and an x-ray machine.  The project included providing ongoing operating support to help offset losses generated by the fact that much of the clinic caseload is caring for homeless animals.  In addition, the clinic rates are below market rates for vet services.  The rates are intentionally set this way because many of the island families cannot afford market rate care for their animals and the clinic did not want animals to go without care. 

The clinic entrance, today.

All of the initial founders of HALO had been to Isla Mujeres (several of us are property owners and all are repeat visitors) and admired the work of Clinica Chipie and its staff.  The founders wanted to be able to help improve the clinic facilities, provide a safe space for the “clinic cats”, and have a space to feature adoptable pets.  

Entrance way mural by Barbara Siebenlist

They recognized the clinic as a valuable resource for the island as the clinic, both for the quality of its care and also because it is the only 24/7 emergency care for animals on the island. It was also recognized that because of the free and subsidized care provided by the clinic, ongoing outside operating support would be necessary.  HALO was essentially formed concurrently with selecting this project as its first.   After learning more about the mission of Clinica Chipie and examining its financial statements, it became clear that Clinica Chipie was in all forms except legally, a non-profit.  We suggested that Delfino consider converting his existing business from a traditional Mexican corporation to an Association Civil, a Mexican nonprofit.  He applied to the government to convert it and was successful. 

Illustration by Diego Medina, from Thomas the Cat book

HALO raised funds for the construction of the new clinic building and it was completed in the fall of 2014.  HALO continues to provide operating support and hopes to fund the purchase of a blood chemistry analyzer to facilitate diagnosis later this year.  HALO continues to raise funds for operating support.  The sale of the hand-painted tiles to honor a loved one (human or animal) is one way people can donate and enables them to have a physical connection to the island.”


Sombra sharing a hug with her best friend 

Give it some thought. 

If you have a friend, family member, or a beloved pet you would like to honor, the purchase of a tile is a feel-good project. You will be helping out the island cats and dogs, plus keeping alive the memory of a special person or pet.  

Or in the case of Tony and Mim Gallagher, giving the grandkids a giggle when they visit the clinic and can see their names on the wall.

Hasta Luego

Lynda & Lawrie


Available on Amazon e-books $2.99 USD 

Fun adventure series set on Isla Mujeres

Treasure Isla is a humorous Caribbean adventure set on Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the eastern coast of Mexico. Two twenty-something women find themselves in possession of a seemingly authentic treasure map, which leads them on a chaotic search for buried treasure while navigating the dangers of too much tequila, disreputable men, and a killer. And there is a dog, a lovable rescue-mutt, whose name is Sparky.

Trouble Isla, Book 2 in the Caribbean Adventure series is scheduled to be launched in August 2017.

%d bloggers like this: