Small white poodle mix rescue dog sits in the courtyard of Hacienda San Angel, with a large potted green plant behind him.

Anyone who’s been to Hacienda San Angel knows that owner Janice Chatterton has a soft spot for gracious design, fine Mexican antiques, and gourmet dining. What’s less known is Chatterton’s love of animals, one which led her to create the Puerto Vallarta SPCA (which translates as the Protective and Compassionate Society for Animals). Best known as the Sanctuary, the one-acre property, adjacent to a river where pooches can learn to swim, has a spotless facility (suites and a pool!), which houses up to 130 cats and dogs at a time and places some 200 of them in forever homes each year. Chatterton started the society, a 501c3 nonprofit (meaning, subliminal hint here Americans can deduct any donations), in 2007 and opened the doors to the Sanctuary five years later. The stories of the rescued animals, abandoned and worse, are often heartbreaking, but their recuperation at the hands of volunteer cuddlers and expert veterinarians is nothing short of astounding. Thanks to SPCA de PV arms in the U.S. and Canada, many of the perritos and gatitos find new homes north of the border. The Sanctuary’s a fantastic place to visit, especially anyone missing your quadrupeds back home, and guests are welcome (encouraged!) to come for a few hours to interact with the grateful creatures—from seniors to puppies and kittens—whose health and dignity are being restored at the hands of the Sanctuary’s compassionate caregivers. Here’s some info on how to sign up for a visit and how to donate. (Oops, are we repeating ourselves?) You just might find yourself heading to the airport with an extra passenger in tow, a kindness twofer—each adoption opens a spot at the Sanctuary for another animal in need. There’s a lifetime of reward in that.

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