WHO’S STEERING THE ARK?

Our Mission: To rescue, rehabilitate and give shelter to the abused, hurt, hungry, and diseased animals of the streets of Playa del Carmen. Our care extends to their whole lives or until a loving home is found.

Ultimately we strive to resolve this crisis situation by decreasing the growth of overpopulation by providing free massive spay and neuter campaigns each month to the communities of extreme poverty.

SOS El Arca Logo

WHO WE ARE

SOS El Arca is a humane, no-kill dog rescue based in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. We work tirelessly to rescue abandoned, injured, and mistreated dogs from the streets, giving them the chance of a life they deserve. 

We care for hundreds of dogs and cats in need. The vast majority are adopted to loving, forever homes. Those who cannot be adopted live with us at the shelter, safe, loved, and cared for until they pass away.

We also provide low-cost veterinary care and spay/neuter through our clinic, “Corazon Sin Dueño” and 100% of the profits from the clinic go back into supporting the work of the shelter.

We have no government funding and rely solely on donations to fund our life-saving mission.

Since 2011, we have rescued, rehabilitated, spayed/neutered, and rehomed more than 3800 dogs and cats.

This is all due to your gracious donations.

2011

In 2011, our president, Sylvie Goetz, decided to take the responsibility of adopting a dog and went to visit the local dog pound on the outskirts of Playa Del Carmen

2016

In 2016, thanks to a generous benefactor, work began on a brand new purpose-built shelter in a quiet neighborhood, just a little outside of the city center

R
2018

Union with All Pawns Matter Dog Rescue.
Ontario, Canada

2019

Our clinic, lovingly called Corazon Sin Dueño, for all the poor souls we save who have no owner, was opened in 2019

2019

In 2019, our sister charity VZW SOS El Arca Belgium was born. More than 400 puppies, dogs, cats and kittens have now made the cross-continent journey to wonderful forever homes in Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Holland

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2021

In Autumn 2021, we formed a new board of trustees to help SOS El Arca build a sustainable future where we can continue to help dogs in need and support the local community

2022

Initiation of free mass spay and neuter campaigns each month to the poverty-stricken areas of Playa del Carmen

SOS El Arca is a family and an ever-expanding international community. The dogs are the center of everything we do. 

Will you be a part of our mission, helping dogs and saving lives?

BOARD

We are a small charity and our board members take a hands-on approach. They do not directly manage the day-to-day work but offer leadership and support to our staff and volunteers to ensure the smooth delivery of the organization’s objectives and strategies.

Sylvie Goetz

Founder and President

Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico

Meet Sylvie

What life/professional/personal experience do you bring to SOS?
Many years owner of successful French restaurant since the early 1970’s helps with organization and management and operations of the shelter and adoption programs.
Rescuing dogs off the streets is in my blood since many years. I am driven to stop the suffering and abuse of street animals in Playa, in the same way I was driven to have successful restaurants.

What motivated you to join the board?
I started Sos el Arca because I already had 60 dogs in my house and I saw the need to save more dogs from a terrible destiny on the street. There was no more space in my house. There was also a great need for others to assist in this mission because I could not continue alone.
Sos el Arca Animal Rescue was formalized into an association in March 2011.

What changes would you most like to see in the next 3 years?
Mass free spay and neuter campaigns of animals in the terribly impoverished non-tourist areas of Playa. This will lead to fewer homeless, hurting, starved, abandoned street dogs. More humanity, more education to the public and schools to increase awareness of care for and respect for rights of animals.

Why should people support SOS?
Your support is vital for us to continue with our works which are done in love and take time and money to keep us going. We save, rehabilitate, give shelter to hurt and diseased street animals and mostly homes for them. For the ones who do not get adopted they live with us forever. For this ongoing effort we ask for your financial and personal involvement.
Our results are strong and positive as a result of people who support us.

If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why? :))
I would like to be a Playa del Carmen street dog rescued by Sos el Arca. I know my life would be changed forever for the better.

Christian Onniboni

Founder and Treasurer

Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico

Meet Christian

What life/professional/personal experience do you bring to SOS?
Many years owner of successful French restaurant since 2001 with Sylvie. I support Sylvie and all the efforts from the restaurant now focused on the operations of Sos el Arca shelter.

What motivated you to join the board?
Sylvie

What changes would you most like to see in the next 3 years?
More financial stability for us to continue forward in our works.

Why should people support SOS?
Because we do what we say we do. We save, heal and give shelter to many animals at a time (sometimes over 200 at a time) and we have strong adoptions with other countries.

If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why? :))
I would like to be a Playa del Carmen street dog rescued Sylvie. My life would be changed forever for the better.

Judi Shaw

Vice President

Playa del Carmen, QR, Mexico

Meet Judi

Where you are from/live?

Playa del Carmen since 2003, originally from Canada

What life/professional/personal experience do you bring to SOS?

Dogs have been my life since forever. Business ownership and management is a skill I have learned along the way of life, and having lived in Playa since 2003 all together brings a cohesive set of skills to the board. Since 2012 in the original days at the previous shelter of Sos el Arca, I’ve volunteered in all capacities such as walking; feeding; adoption; promotions; searching for lost or escaped dogs even evacuating dogs when the original shelter was flooding during storms. The early volunteer program and fundraising committee began in those early years. We carried out online auctions, Casino nights, pool parties with bands, sponsored dog walking events, bazaars, website activities, Facebook advertising.

In 2013, I initiated the 5th ave Sos el Arca dog walk with a few dogs and one other person. It grew in frequency and value to the shelter, until Covid.

What motivated you to join the board?

Prior to the existence of Sos el Arca and knowing Sylvie Goetz, I had personally rescued and rehabilitated and found homes for many street dogs. There was and still is much suffering and starvation. The need is great and the workers are few. It is satisfying for me to give back to the community where I live since 2003, by improving the welfare of the silent members of our community in Playa.

What changes would you most like to see in the next 3 years?

More sterilization campaigns which will lead to fewer homeless, hurting, starved, abandoned street dogs. More humanity, more education to the public to increase awareness of care for and respect for rights of animals. Programs to enforce against cruelty to animals

Why should people support SOS?

These silent members of our community need our help. They are hurt, hungry, scared and homeless. There is no education directed towards being good stewards of animals and their lives. There is no government support for Sos el Arca Animal Rescue, for the starving and hurt animals. It costs money to care for them. All funds are made by private fundraiser events or gifted by donors.
Sos el Arca needs you.

If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why? :))

A German Shepard, cross with a Golden Retriever.
A Shepard is smart and strong and protective; a retriever is beautiful, admired and loved by everyone.

Ynez Tulsen

Acting Chair

Burton-On-Trent, England

Meet Ynez

What life/professional/personal experience do you bring to SOS?
I’ve been a radio journalist, a teacher, and a professional singer, so I’m not particularly shy and I like to tell stories! I’m also fairly organized (just don’t look in my sock drawer!) but mostly I like bringing people together to make things happen.

What motivated you to join the board?
An enormous love of animals and the rescue cause. Also, a deep respect for Sylvie and everything SOS El Arca has achieved. In December 2018, I found a Mama Dog and her nine 3-week old puppies living under a wood pile on a building site in the centre of Playa. SOS El Arca was completely full – but Sylvie wouldn’t let them stay in the cold and somehow made a space for them. I was so touched that I started going to help at the shelter and after moving back to the UK two years later, I started to help with some online fundraising and got more involved from there.

What changes would you most like to see in the next 3 years?
Covid really hit hard and donations dropped enormously, which put enormous pressure on Sylvie, Chris and all the staff. The new board was formed to bring in people with ideas, expertise and skills to support the already stellar work of the shelter. I’d like us to help build on this so that SOS is a sustainable and healthy charity, helping animals in need and serving the community for many years to come.

Why should people support SOS?
Seeing the dogs and cats come back to life, watching the light come back in their eyes, after suffering horrific abuse or neglect is an absolute miracle – and SOS are making miracles happen constantly, through tireless dedication and LOVE!

It doesn’t just stop at the shelter gates though. SOS EL Arca is also having a huge impact on the local community in Playa through the low-cost veterinary clinic providing vaccines, spay & neuter and education. In February 2022, it’s the launch of the monthly sterilisation campaigns in the city’s most deprived areas, which will massively impact the numbers of unwanted pregnancies SOS El Arca is really working with a long-term vision to tackle the root cause so that street dogs and cats need not suffer horrific lives under terrible conditions.

And because it’s also really a big Mexican family. If you have adopted an SOS dog or cat, you are forever in the tribe!

If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why? :))))
I like to think I’d be a sleek, glamorous Saluki but more likely a labrador retriever – lots of energy, happy, eats everything, and likes to go out and get it!

 

 

 

Miranda E. Heibel

Board Director

Marina del Rey, California, USA

Meet Miranda

What life/professional/personal experience do you bring to SOS?

I am an animal lover and have a passion for service and mission work. I began my career in Social Work and Community Advocacy, supporting the mission of non-profits and communities. I bring experience leading diverse teams across various sectors and partnership collaboration. I also bring expertise in the program, organizational sustainability, and finance arenas. In unity with the Board of Directors, I am optimistic a sustainable road map for SOS is possible.

What motivated you to join the board?

I genuinely appreciate the mission and work of SOS el Arca. I have seen the impressive work Sylvie, the founder of SOS, and the SOS el Arca team, manage to do day in and day out. I very much admire the work and dedication of the SOS el Arca team and am passionate about helping to continue the incredible work.

What changes would you most like to see in the next 3 years?

The change I would like to see most over the next three years are sustainability to ensure the rescue’s mission continues to remain alive and the wish list Sylvie has for advocacy to support the health and welfare of all pups grow to help the community.

Why should people support SOS?

SOS el Arca is a beautiful organization, and the work it achieves is life-changing for the pups, people, and community. The demand is great, and the result is inspirational and transformational for animals in dire need.

If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why? :))

I have often said I am coming back as a dog in my next life, mainly because my pups are such joyful, loving creatures! Any breed suits me!

Carolynne Mahood

Secretary

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Meet Carolynne

What life/professional/personal experience do you bring to SOS?

  • Semi-retired from career in Human Resources
  • Current Instructor and Course Developer, Community College
  • Former Board Chair and board member, with various organizations committed to drug prevention and recovery, and women’s health
  • A dog owner for the past 43 years – 4 different dogs

What motivated you to join the board?


Contributing to animal welfare

The poor treatment of animals in Mexico helped me make the decision to rescue at least one dog. I met my dog Sadie at SOS El Arca. The care given the animals by the shelter employees and the happy “smiling” dogs convinced me to become a monthly donor; because of that relationship, I was invited to join the new board, an exciting opportunity with so many possibilities to help dogs in Playa del Carmen.

What changes would you most like to see in the next 3 years?

A significant reduction in animal homelessness, abuse, and overpopulation in Mexico through sterilization. A strong SOS El Arca board will contribute to education and ongoing sterilization programs, by working hard to develop creative, sustainable methods of generating money to support the programs.

 

Why should people support SOS?

It embodies the statement Animal Lives Matter. SOS stands for this by protecting, saving, and respecting animals and offering them the lives they deserve.

If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why? :))

A mutt because they have such interesting combinations and behaviours. Each is unique.

Alessandra Alexsson

Secretary

Boca Ratón, FL, USA

Meet Alessandra

Where you are from/live?

ORIGINALLY FROM TORONTO, CANADA – CURRENTLY LIVE IN BOCA RATON
FLORIDA – LIVED MANY YEARS IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO

 

What life/professional/personal experience do you bring to SOS?

I HAVE BEEN AN ENTREPRENEUR IN DIFFERENT BUSINESSES FOR 20 YEARS –
RUNNING ALL AREAS; OPERATIONS, BUSINESS STRUCTURE, LEGAL, HUMAN
RESOURCES, ACCOUNTING, PRODUCTION, FOOD & BEVERAGE

 

What motivated you to join the board?

I HAVE 3 RESCUE DOGS, 2 FROM SOS, AND 1 I BROUGHT TO SOS – I JUST LOVE
SYLVIE AND WANT TO SUPPORT HER HOWEVER I CAN

What changes would you most like to see in the next 3 years?

I WOULD LOVE TO SEE PEOPLE STOP ADOPTING DOGS THAT DON’T HAVE TIME
FOR THEM

Why should people support SOS?

WHY NOT?? BECAUSE SOS IS THE BEST RESCUE IN THE MAYAN

 

If you were a dog, what breed would you be and why? :))))

I WOULD BE A DOG – ANY BREED – RESCUE BREED THAT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE

Aleksandra Setcka

Active Member

New York, NY, United States

COULD YOU BE PART OF OUR FUTURE?

SOS El Arca is always happy to hear from others who wish to help create a better world for street dogs.

Animal rescue is not for the faint-hearted: it requires dedicated people with the skills, energy and time to commit, who share our vision and want to help change the world for street dogs. 

If you would like to find out more about board membership or volunteering for SOS EL Arca, please contact us.