Karina Canales, a native Peruvian living in the US, had a dream of drastically reducing the overpopulation of stray dogs and cats by supporting a spay and neuter campaign in her home country. It has been estimated that there are over 12 million dogs and cats in the streets of Peru, often in horrible condition. According to the ASPCA, in just seven years, one unspayed female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 kittens, and one unspayed dog and her offspring can produce 97,000 puppies. This means rehoming these animals won’t get at the root of the issue–spaying and neutering, along with education, is the real long-term solution.
This began as a scrappy effort: outreach to animal rescuers and vets, logistics, planning and finally launch in January, 2019. Initially, 26 dogs and cats were spayed/neutered, funded entirely by Karina. Expanding to include the generous donations from GoFundMe contributors, we spayed/neutered a total of 837 cats and dogs during one campaign. In 2020, we became an official non-profit, partnering more deeply with local rescuers and vets, as well as one of the largest animal welfare nonprofits in Peru, WUF.
Particularly in poorer areas, even if families understand the benefits of spaying/neutering, they often cannot afford it. We have the goal of spaying/neutering 4000 more animals in 2021. This will prevent thousands of animals in the future being vulnerable in the streets. Even one surgery ($20 donation) will have a huge impact for these animals and the health and safety of people.
Meet the Team
Karina Canales, Co-founder and CEO
Karina’s love for animals started with Chiquivaca who was her best friend when she was 8 years old. Chiquivaca was a stray dog who was always with Karina in the small town in Peru where she grew up. Chiquivaca in spanish means “little cow,” since she was all white with black spots. Karina’s mom didn’t allow her to have a dog at home but she always took care of Chiquivaca, feeding and playing with her. Chiquivaca used to sleep on her door and every morning they both started the new day together. They walked to the school and Chiquivaca would wait for Karina until the school day was over….. Until one morning when Karina couldn’t find her and after some time she found out that Chiquivaca was poisoned and killed by government workers because that was “their way” of controlling the overpopulation of stray animals. Karina was devastated. Since then she decided to be an advocate for those furry angels who don’t have a voice and can’t defend themselves.
Today Karina is a happy dog mom and the global lead of a Youtube Creator Marketing team at Google. Before joining Google, she worked for several years in Marketing and Business Intelligence at a Peruvian Bank. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, as well as a Master’s degree in Marketing from Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas. She received a degree in Systems Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (Peru).
Jessie Hochhalter, Co-founder and Board Secretary
Jessie traces her passion for animals back to her childhood, where she was the proud caretaker of 2 rats, a bunny, a bird, 3 cats and a dog. A lifelong vegetarian, she has always had a soft spot for these creatures without a voice. At age 10, she began volunteering with birds of prey at the Ojai Raptor Center, later at the Humane Society of Ventura County and the Canine Adoption and Rescue League. Pit bull education and advocacy, anti-BSL and the importance of spaying and neutering soon became her biggest passions in this space.
Jessie works as Culture & Events Program Lead at Google Cloud following a long stint in the digital advertising space at various newspapers. She has a BS in Business and a BA in Philosophy from UC Berkeley, as well as an MBA, with an emphasis in Small Business Entrepreneurship, from Cal Lutheran University. In her free time, she paints, plays guitar and soaks up the beautiful California outdoors.
Amanda McNary, CTO
Amanda is a proud dog mom, foster parent, and animal advocate. She’s a huge advocate of spay and neuter programs to help reduce animal homelessness and overpopulation in the United States and abroad. In her day job, she’s a frontend software engineer for X working on developing moonshot technologies to make the world a radically better place. She received a BS in Computer Science as well as a BS and MS in Atmosphere/Energy Engineering from Stanford University.
Tanai Torres, CFO
Tanai has devoted the past 16 years of her life to helping stray animals in her home country of Peru. It all started when she met and decided to care for Negrita, a stray female dog with a strong distrust of humans.
While there are millions of loving Peruvians dedicated to supporting and caring for stray animals, the reality is that much of the country is dangerous and inhospitable to homeless animals. One such reality was an informal circus industry that routinely snatched dogs off the street to feed to the lions in their act, paying unofficial neighborhood caretakers $1 for every 20 lbs of dogs they could use as live feed for their circus lions. Before the circus could take Negrita, Tanai adopted her and gave her a permanent, loving home. Since Negrita passed away 6 years ago, Tanai has rescued nearly 20 dogs in Peru and has become an ardent supporter of neuter and spay programs.
Presently, Tanai lives in the United States and works in Amcor’s healthcare division as an Associate Marketing Manager. Prior to joining Amcor, she worked for several of the largest CPG companies in Peru such as Red Bull, Alicorp, and Aje Group. She holds an MBA and Master of Science in Business Analytics from Hult International Business School.
Esmeralda Tena, Communications Manager & Writer
Esmeralda shares her love for animals with her family, who has 5 pets at home: 2 roosters, 2 cats, and a dog. She started taking care of her own pets at a very early age, and in that time, she has always chosen adoption. Every pet arrived to her life in a surprising but lovely way. All of her pets have been neutered and spayed to help reduce the stray animal population in Lima, where she lives.
Esmerelda enjoys painting and singing in her free time, as well as having fun with her pets. Coming from a family who loves animals, she aims to inspire others to adopt and practice responsible pet ownership.
Esmeralda has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She currently leads projects and operational changes in a telecommunication company and loves working with people with different skills.
Fabiola Gorbina, Communications Manager & Writer
Fabiola has always had a great admiration and love for animals. From a young ago, she has had many animals. Currently, her family includes two parrots, a dog, and a new kitten that she adopted a few months ago during the quarantine. She firmly believes that all lives are worth the same, which is why she chose to be part of this team: to help animals, especially the most vulnerable, those who live on the streets. Also, she believes in the importance of neutering & spaying and education as necessary solutions to reduce in the long term the number of stray animals in her country of Peru living in precarious conditions.
Fabiola recently obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Marketing at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas. She currently works in the Marketing area in a logistics company and hopes to continue growing both personally and professionally.