A Local San Diego Animal Rescue Organization – Lomabeat.com


Kittens abandoned in the trash, a litter of puppies at risk of being euthanized, and countless stray dogs roaming the streets.

This is where Hannah Penick’s story begins. During a trip to Mexico two and a half years ago, Penick found kittens in the trash and immediately looked for ways to bring them back across the border. She found out they needed to be vaccinated, so she took them to a local vet in Ensenada. At this vet she encountered a crate full of loose puppies, the vet said they would be euthanized the next day if not caught.

Penick brought three puppies with her that day and returned for the rest the next day. She has been returning to Ensenada and saving more puppies ever since.

Among that first litter of puppies Penick rescued was Jenalisa Armstrong’s future pup, Aero.

“I have known Hannah for several years; we went to high school together,” Armstrong said. “One day I got a FaceTime call from Hannah, [she was] at a veterinarian in Mexico with seven puppies. She placed the camera on a very small, sad puppy with different colored eyes. I knew that dog was mine.

Penick attributes the name “Baja Paws” to Armstrong after a conversation about expanding the organization’s platform and creating an Instagram page.

Their Instagram page (@bajapaws) now has around 1,800 followers and 173 posts, all about animals in need of homes.

Penick has rescued over three hundred street dogs in Ensenada. In the month of February alone, she brought thirty puppies across the border.

These puppies in Mexico live in terrible conditions and rescues can be difficult. Armstrong accompanied Penick in a few rescues in Ensenada. These animals are covered in fleas, ticks, mites and suffer from multiple illnesses, Armstrong said.

Baja Paws is a 501(c)(3) non-profit rescue. All adoption fees and donations go directly to providing proper food, shelter and veterinary care for these animals, Penick said.

Kiana Khaki rescued her pup, Nova, from Baja Paws in April 2021. “These puppies are healthy from the start. You don’t have to have them parvo tested or worm tested. Initially, when I got Nova, Hannah gave us medicine that the puppies had taken for the worms,” Khaki said.

According to Penick, when reviewing applications from potential adopters, she looks for the right match with the puppy’s personality and individual needs. “My biggest fear is getting these puppies out of a bad situation into another bad situation. We’re not giving these puppies to just anyone,” Penick said.

“People who adopt should think about the fact that they are getting a living being, not just a present or a cute thing in the moment,” Armstrong said. “You’d be surprised how many people give them back to Hannah or donate them.”

Baja Paws needs donations and support. Anyone interested in becoming a host family can apply through the Baja Paws Instagram page or website. Many puppies arrive each month from Ensenada and need people to take care of them. Especially in the cold months, their supply of bedding, playpens, food and crates is low, Penick said.

Penick seeks community support through donations through Venmo and Cash App, both of which are listed on their Instagram.

“Even if you can’t favor or donate, just sharing our posts or telling people about our rescue really helps, word of mouth is huge,” Penick said.

After two and a half years, Penick’s rescue has grown enormously. She is a big advocate for rescue and is spreading her efforts in Mexico and specifically in Ensenada where there are large numbers of street dogs and few resources to support them.

“Adopt, don’t shop,” Penick said.

Written by: Amanda Fishback

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