The City Magazine March 2023

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108 march 2023 PRICE $3.95 Top Dog at El Paso Animal Services The New Meet El Paso’s LEADING LAWYERS Can Physical Fitness Help Fight Infection?
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March 2023

FASHION · HEALTH · lifestyle


Shelley Mozelle |


Managing Editor

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Mari Van Pelt |

Account Executives

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Megan Langford |

Omar Samaniego |

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Editor-In-Chief Assistant

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Letters addressed to The City El Paso Magazine become the property of the magazine, and it owns all rights to their use. Letters may be edited for space. All rights to the contents of this magazine are owned in full by the magazine and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the Editor in Chief. Views expressed herein are those of the authors and advertisers and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the ownership or management of the magazine.

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CRUCES magazine

From the A letter from a dog:

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. Despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, you called me your best friend. Whenever I was “bad,” you’d shake your finger at me and with a harsh voice you’d scold me — but then you’d relent and roll me over for a belly rub.

We went for long walks, car rides, stops for coffee where I got my pupa chino. You took pictures of me and posted on your Instagram, you laughed at how many new followers and likes you received when I was in the picture. I took long naps in the sun waiting eagerly for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love, I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came, and I shared your excitement, we had a family.

Oh, how I loved them. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on their wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them—and I would’ve defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries, chase the boogie man away, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

When I was new and one of your friends asked if you had a dog, you shared photos of me from your phone, and told stories about my latest shenanigans. When the newness wore off you simply answered “yes” and changed the subject. Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets, but I knew that didn’t include me because I was family.

I was excited about the car ride; it had been a while since we took a ride together… until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and looked at the lady and said, “I know you will find a good home for her. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog. You had to pry your son’s fingers loose from my collar, as he screamed, “No, Daddy! Please don’t let them take my dog!” And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, about commitment.

You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoiding my eyes. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads in disappointment. At least they didn’t just turn this dog out on the streets to fend for herself as often happens.

They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago.

At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind — that this was all a bad dream… or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking cute puppies for attention, oblivious to the possibility of their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and sadly waited.

Then one day a family stopped at my cage. There were two of them, a little boy, and a small girl on her mom’s hip. The boy stared at me, stuck his little fingers through the cage and I licked them. My body felt warm all over, a feeling I’d forgotten, he giggled, then I licked his hand until it was sloppy wet. My tail found its wiggle again, and his smile and giggle found my heart. “This is her,” the little boy said, “this is my dog, and her name is going to be Sassy. They picked me, middle-age me. I ran with my boy to the car but before I jumped in, I looked back at all my furry friends still waiting to find a home. I barked loudly telling them their turn would come. Their boy will show up, there are second chances. The ride home was full of kisses, petting and me telling my boy, “I’m potty trained, I sleep on the floor next to you and I’ll play ball until you’re tired of throwing.”

Just promise me one thing, promise me you’ll never get tired of loving me because I’ll never get tired of loving you.

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From the

It’s no secret that this issue -- like all of them, of course -- is special to me but I REALLY have an appetite for biology and a soft spot for fourlegged and winged friends of all species. Welcome to the wild world of fitness and animals!

In this issue, we speak with local experts from personal trainers, to infectious disease experts, to Sports Medicine physicians and surgeons to learn not only about our city’s fitness landscape, but also how we can integrate sustainable habits for improvement.

I moved back to El Paso from Washington, D.C. almost 10 years ago and can attest to the community’s development when it comes to improving the lives of human residents and beyond.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve fallen in love at animal shelters. When I was 10, my mom took my sister and I to El Paso Animal Services to adopt two sister puppies, one of my earliest memories of loveat-first-sight. Since then, I’ve had a knack for finding dogs who need love, help, and a home -- ask my fur babies, Hamburger, Miss Biscuits, and Snowcone. You can ask Shelley how many dogs I’ve picked up on the way to (or at) photoshoots, or how I facilitated the adoption of her newest grandpup, Gretchen Wieners Wilson.

I’m not alone in my affinity for animals.

Dr. Anthony Chacon, the new top dog at El Paso Animal Services, shares a love of helping dogs and cats in need. He returned from more than a decade in England, where he attended veterinary school and later went into private practice, to help address the nation’s critical shortage of veterinarians, right here at home. Dr. Chacon works with local rescues and other organizations to care for as many animals as possible and he’s not alone in his efforts.

The local animal community is blessed to have advocates at El Paso TNR, Sun City Kitty, Law n Paws, the El Paso Zoological Society, Happy Tails and so many more who are tackling issues like overpopulation, abuse, and endangerment that are changing and saving lives throughout the animal kingdom.

The editorials in this issue taught me about the big hearts and great minds that dedicate their time to animal welfare -- often as volunteers -- and that each person can make a difference.

Whether it’s donating time, supplies, or funds to local shelters and rescues, or making small changes in consumer habits that will indirectly support animal conservation efforts, there’s always something that

we can do.

• •

• There is always something to be happy about, even if it’s a snack (Snowcone, Pitbull / Great Dane)

• Don’t rush, you’ll get there although it may take longer than those around you (Hank, Sulcata Tortoise)

• Regular bubble baths, pedicures, and documentary viewing are necessary self care (Savannah, Asian Elephant)

• The only opinions that matter are of those you love (Klondike, Tuxedo Cat)

• Wrinkles can be wonderful (Hamburger and Miss Biscuits, English Bulldogs)

• Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and fly high (Harriet, Heron)

• Some creatures are naturally more creative and alive at night (Trixie, Desert Fox)

it. Scan the QR code to send audio advice to the editors."
“Your voice matters. Let’s hear
May your lives be wild and your hearts full. • • • • •
I’ve learned some memorable life lessons from animals that include:
Call 915-479-PUCK (7825) or visit and for more information. UPCOMING HOME GAMES EL PASO EL PASO RHINOS EL PASO RHINOS NAHL vs Oklahoma Warriors | Mar. 24-25 NAHL vs New Mexico Ice Wolves | Mar. 31-Apr. 1 NAHL vs Shreveport Mudbugs | Apr. 14-15 NAHL vs Amarillo Wranglers | Mar. 3-4 NAHL vs Odessa Jackalopes | Mar. 10-11 NAHL vs New Mexico Ice Wolves | Mar. 12
18 March 2023
Erin COULEHAN Managing Editor Gibel AMADOR Andi TISCARENO Dr. Ogechika ALOZIE Margo LEPE Megan MEHL John HORTA Orlando SAPIEN Gretchen WIENERS WILSON Sergio OLIVAS Ethan ALCANTAR Mia BADILLO Chaz WILSON Contributors Amber LANAHAN Jamiah DANCIL 19 MARCH 2023 VOLUME 108 contents Features Here and Now 26 On Fitness and Fighting InfectioN By: DR. OGECHIKA ALOZIE 86 Sun City Kitty Celebrates 1 Year By: AMBER LANAHAN 76 Of Roots & Wings By: ERIN COULEHAN 38 The Lust Frontier By: MEGAN MEHL 116 The Scene By: TCM STAFF 20 Health is Wealth By: MARGO LEPE 26 86 76

The Greatest Wealth is HEALTH

20 March 2023

Health is wealth, but you do not need to be wealthy to be healthy. Fitness should not be considered an expense, but rather as an investment in health. The mind eats what the body is fed, which is a contributor to how we look, think, and feel.

With the click of a button, we can buy groceries and have them delivered to our door. While a lot of us have probably tried a diet or two in our lifetime, the commitment to being and staying fit takes motivation and consistency. Habits, as a whole, are key.

Whether you are Type A and easily organized and efficient or are Type B and tend to procrastinate and be easily distracted, squeezing in a regular workout can be work in itself. Prior to the pandemic, the New York Post reported age was one of many excuses among Americans, with a whopping 42 percent reporting the primary reason they don’t get any exercise is due to “not having time.” That

number may have shifted over the last few years, yet the correlation between physical movement and our mental state remains strong.

In many respects, everything fitness is also fully mental because the body can not go where the mind does not push it. With 70 percent of serotonin created in our gut, what happens there affects us considerably. Dr. Frank Lipman says gut health affects mood, potentially leading to anxiety, depression, and can affect our focus.

One quote says “motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

Implementing better habits, whether it be waking up just 15 minutes earlier in the day to breathe, stretch and reset, allows for a more successful ability to function throughout the day. For some of us, breathing may be all we need to burn off the lunch we ate, but for the majority of people, it takes more than that.
March 2023

Exercise presents a spectrum of options and benefits. For example, taking a brisk walk with your dog not only will make Fido happy, but can improve circulation, boost serotonin levels and help stimulate our metabolic system while building healthier habits. Endorphins are also released when we exercise. Both of these chemicals can lead to enhancing our mood and mind. Furthermore, stepping out for exercise allows us to get out into the world, diminishes feeling lonely or isolated, and can create a healthy connection with others.

Forming healthy habits and implementing them slowly has the power to unlock so much. As humans, how we respond to our experiences and focus on self-care allows us the incredible ability to, in fact, slowly rewire our whole being. We have the power to transform our own neural pathways.

Whether it be meditation, running, weighttraining, swimming, biking, dancing, or even doing yard work, exercise improves our physical health.

A single exercise or activity does not cut it, either.

The National Institute on Aging reports research demonstrating the importance of implementing endurance, strength, balance and flexibility, stating each has different benefits. By doing so, the risk of injury and boredom decrease.

So, by making it a habit to move regularly, your body tends to send signals to your brain, in turn activating the three main types of neurons. These include the motor neurons that control muscles; sensory neurons, which stimulate our senses; and interneurons that simultaneously link neurons. The more you March 2023
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move and implement exercise, the easier it becomes as your body processes and stores this information. Perhaps, the term “muscle memory” came into play with the adaptation of movement between mind and body.

Regardless of age, strive to find something you can do instead of focusing and being discouraged by what you can not do. It counts to show up for yourself. Exercise may feel like a chore at first, but the goal is to work at creating a healthier you. If this task seems daunting, consider moving daily as something nourishing to your well-being.

When nourished, prosperity is rewarded.

In addition to a “fitter” you this year, eating well, hydrating often, getting good sleep, and loving your body will always be work. Try not to strive for perfection, but mastering at being a fraction greater than you were

you a lot more later on. A toned booty may look good, but being physically and mentally fit are the real assets!

March 2023
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On Fitness and Fighting Infection

26 March 2023
| By: DR. OGECHIKA ALOZIE photography by: JORDAN LICON |

What does fitness mean to you?

We all have the image of the models that we see whether it’s online or elsewhere. Chiseled, perfect, and that’s great. Kudos to those people, but not everybody -- and actually, most people -- can’t be like that. But, I think for every individual, you just have to ask:

“What are my goals?”

“What am I trying to accomplish? And how do I get there?”

Fitness, to me, is trying your best.

It means going for a walk every day, whether it’s five miles, whether it’s running, whether it’s training for a 5k. You may have some disabilities that limit you from participating in things, but you’re still trying your best. And I think it’s important for people to just be themselves. Remember, the important thing is to


continue to try, even when you start to see that mortality creeps up on you; things get harder and you feel a little bit more tired.

I’ve made it a specific goal to try to start going to the gym. I never liked weights but am now trying to lift weights two or three times a week. And I think that’s important -and the key to fitness.

For me specifically, it’s trying to figure out how to eat right. I mean, I’ve always been a proverbial kid who loves cake. I’ve been big, small, and yo-yoed: my lightest was 190 pounds and my heaviest was 300 pounds. I’ve had 12 different surgeries on various joints;I just got a bad card that was played to me genetically, but I’m still trying. Whether it’s riding a bike or buying a rower, or going to a gym and sometimes getting a gym membership and not using it for eight months, and then ultimately going.

But again, I think it’s the little things that add up.

They say a journey of 10,000 miles begins with one step. I think we all have to try to figure out how to take that first step, and sometimes it’s one step forward, and three steps back. I think part of life, and part of incorporating improvement into your lifestyle, is taking that next step again, even when you get knocked down -- like when fighting an infection.

But fitness can help: the healthier you are, the better it is for you.

Your body is attuned to fight anything based on your health.

For example, if you’re diabetic, then your immunity is less; if you’re overweight, then your immunity is less. When you’re in better shape, your heart works better -- your lungs work better. March 2023
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People who smoke, or have asthma, or what’s called “COPD” (chronic obstructive airway disease), seem to be more prone to developing viral infection.

We learned this with COVID-19, right?

You can use fitness to help fight infection through prevention by doing anything you can do to get that heart rate up, to get you healthier, to get you closer to that ideal weight. All those things are going to help you feel physically better, while also helping your body produce the hormones and other things it needs to fight infection.

But should you workout if you’re feeling sick?

Short answer: If you have a contagious virus, please stay home.

One of the things that I hope that everybody learned from COVID is that if you’re sick,

the best thing you can do is keep away from people so that you don’t spread it.

We’re all trying to achieve various goals whether it’s going to school, whether it’s getting a job, whether it’s finding a partner, whether it’s working like crazy at your job. And part of that goal, part of that journey, is trying to keep yourself as healthy as possible. I completely understand, personally, that it’s never easy.

I’ve had my struggles for more than 40 years of my life.

But I think fitness is an important goal because it makes you feel better. We know that people who exercise regularly, are healthier, live longer, have less mental health struggles, and generally are happier people.

feel it

At the end of the day, we want to be happier people because it helps us interact with the world.

March 2023
On Fitness and Fighting Infection
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Sidelines & Surgery

Inside Sports Medicine

provided by: TTUHSC-EP |

The country watched with bated breath when Damar Hamlin, safety for the Buffalo Bills, collapsed on the field from cardiac arrest as a team of sports medicine physicians, trainers, and emergency medical technicians rushed from the sidelines to save the 24-year old NFL player’s life. Hamlin was rushed to the hospital where he was later declared neurologically intact, thanks to the swift and skilled response of the sideline medical team.

Hamlin’s cardiac arrest brought attention to sports medicine teams at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels who race time to save athletes. The NFL, for example, requires at least 27 medical personnel to be present for each team on game days that are led by sports medicine physicians.

In El Paso, doctors from Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Sports Medicine Department similarly assemble and respond to the needs of local

athletes. The physicians cover athletics that include six high schools (Parkland, Irvin, Jefferson, Bowie, Andress, and Chapin); NCAA Division 1 athletes at UTEP; the El Paso Locomotive; and mass events like Eagle in the Sun Triathlon, Mission Valley Duathlon, and Sun City Splash and Dash.

“Sports Medicine deals with all types of sports injuries, including professional athletes, college athletes, high school athletes, as well as people who like to stay active,” says Dr. Colby Genrich, Program Director for TTUHSC-EP’s Sports Medicine Fellowship Program, Director of Family Medicine Clerkship, and Assistant Professor.

He’s also in charge of the first line of defense on the sidelines of local sport events, ready to respond to a variety of needs, if (and when) an athlete is injured.

“Ninety-percent of sports injuries are nonsurgical, so we see fractures, chronic illnesses, chronic issues with knees, hips, and back,” says Genrich. “We also see a lot of concussions of professional athletes, like the Locomotive players, as well as UTEP athletes. Then, we also see weekend warriors, or people just doing their daily activities who hit their head and need to be managed for a concussion.”

The Sports Medicine teams who care for local athletes are on-the-ground and attend to players in underserved neighborhoods, many of whom have limited access to proper medical care.

Genrich says that many local student athletes face disparate insurance coverage, and that the TTUHSC-EP Sports Medicine fellows work to fill-in gaps in care.


“Our fellows cover Bowie High School and Jefferson HighSchool, which is a great way to reachout to the community and provide coverage. This comes with its own challenges of understanding what their health requirements are, what their insurance benefits are, and how to navigate those areas with athletes and trainers in those communities,” says Genrich.

The work involves scientific attention to detail, adrenaline rushing sideline coverage, as well as administrative responsibilities that are positively influencing the patient-athletes and communities served.

“I feel like this community is incredibly grateful for medical care. And it’s awesome just to partner with them and understand sort of what


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Inside Sports Medicine March 2023

their needs are,” says Genrich. “It’s been a great journey. I love El Paso: it’s our home and we’re establishing deep roots here.”

The field of Sports Medicine is diverse, which requires an array of providers.

“Sports Medicine is actually a pretty broad category,” says Dr. Evan Corning, Orthopaedic Surgeon trained in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Assistant Professor at TTUHSC-EP.

“You can easily break it down into the operative and non operative management of injuries, about the joints of your body. So ligament injuries, tendon injuries, just just general soft tissue injuries. There are certainly some broken bones that can fall into that category but more often than not, it’s injuries to the cartilage or ligaments or tendons around the body,” he explains.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a professional (or serious) athlete to be cared for by TTUHSC-EP’s Sports Medicine team.

“I see people from all ages,” says Corning. “My oldest patient is 102-years old, I have two 102-year olds that I take care of, so

people of all ages certainly fall under the purview of what I do.”

For both Corning and Genrich, the most rewarding aspect of their work is watching their patients get better.

“I think what’s most memorable, to me, is getting to follow the patients after surgery and seeing how they do and seeing how happy they are and watching them get back to doing the sports or activities or the things that they really like,” says Corning. “So they go from having been able to play something, get injured, then they have to sit out, have surgery and then rehab. Watching their progress and seeing how they get better is definitely rewarding.”

Corning says that staying active is the healthiest thing a person can do for their fitness, and encourages people to find fitness regimens that work for them.

“You don’t have to go out and run 10 miles a day,” he explains. “Being active and keeping your body moving is extremely beneficial long term, even if it’s just going on a walk in the evening. It can have pretty profound health effects not only for your musculoskeletal health, but also for your general overall health.” 35
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If you find yourself single as the temperatures rise, it’s time to flex your dating muscles. Read on to discover the MOST important action you can take to find your person.

Get clear Next, determine your red flags and deal eakers.

It might sound silly, but being very clear on what you’re searching for is a critical part of finding it. So many people wander through life with no vision of what they want, and will just settle for the next person who crosses their path. At the risk of losing you right off the bat with my New Age enthusiasm, I suggest being a little more intentional about your dating life.

Take a few minutes to list the things that are most important to you in a partner. I’m serious -- take out a sheet of paper. (Do people still keep paper anymore?)

Divide the sheet into four quadrants labeled “wants,” “needs,” “red flags,” and “deal breakers.”

Think about the qualities you want, and then the non-negotiables you absolutely need. Maybe you ideally want someone who is politically aligned, but you NEED someone who wants kids. Or you want someone who loves sports but you NEED someone who is great at communication and conflict resolution. Which of your wish list items could you be flexible on (for the right person), and which ones would make you rule out someone painfully good looking if they were lacking them?

Don’t settle, make o er people settle Be realistic

I have found that many people aren’t even sure what they want in a partner. Open-mindedness is 100 percent crucial for success in dating, but if you’re so open-minded that you don’t have any wants or needs (ahem…standards), this is a clue that you may not be ready to date.

I tend to see this more with men than women. I want to empower you to go deep and think about the values, lifestyle, and personality traits that would make someone a really good fit for you, especially if you’re not someone who typically puts yourself first. If you’re the type who tends to self-abandon, hold your deal breakers close to your heart and don’t ever settle for anything less than you deserve!

If, on the other hand, you listed “attractive” and then drew a blank, you may want to think about why you’re dating. If you’re only looking for great sex and don’t care at all about the other qualities of the person, then GODSPEED. No judgment here, as long as you are straightforward with the people you date about your intentions.

It’s not cool to trap someone looking for a long-term partner in a situationship by being shady and ambiguous.

This is important -- especially for those of us who often choose the wrong people. Maybe you are cautious of people who have previously been married, but someone who has been unfaithful to past partners is a deal breaker. Again, really give some thought to what things you could be open-minded about if the right person came into your life. Examine where you may be holding unfair judgments based on past experiences. Not everyone is like your loser ex!

Now take your list and number the top three in each category.

Prioritizing these items is a really helpful tool to help you understand the values that are most important to you in a relationship. There are no right or wrong answers here – only you know what qualities will make someone a fantastic match for you. Next, you may not like this, but think about which of those remaining list items you can eliminate.

If you have a list of 37 “needs,” I hate to tell you sweetheart, but you’re living in a fantasy. Take this opportunity to be honest with yourself about whether your expectations are reasonable.

Cuffing season has come and gone, and a new season is upon us: spring fever, anyone?
March 2023 39

Over the coming weeks, start to pay attention to new people you meet, or even the partners of friends or family members. How many of them have all the qualities you’re looking for? This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have expectations, but rather to make sure you haven’t built an impenetrable wall of expectations.

Something I’ve learned about love is that it never looks the way you expect.

You have your crumpled list of those 37 things you’re carrying around, and then BOOM! Out of nowhere, you fall hard for someone who

isn’t anything like what you thought you wanted. I have a feeling that the more open-minded you can be outside of the top three in each category, the more success you’ll have.

What do you ing to e table?

The last step is to take a look at your completed list and — PLOT TWIST — use it as a checklist against which to compare yourself. Yikes! Do you have all of the qualities you’re looking for? Are you emotionally intelligent, successful, kind, attractive, fit, or whatever you’re demanding of your significant other? Maybe there are a few things on that list that you can work on.

Take a moment to examine what you bring to the table in return for what you’re asking of someone else. Do you exhibit any of the red flags or deal breakers that you wouldn’t tolerate in others? For example, are you searching for someone who is fit and healthy when you haven’t seen the inside of a gym since two years BC (before Covid)?

March 2023
The Lust Frontier: The Ultimate Flex

To get a little personal with you, one big deal breaker on my list is someone who puts me down.

I realized that to bring in the right person and be the best version of myself, I need to stop with my own negative self-talk! How can I expect someone to treat me right if I don’t even treat myself with respect? Believe it or not, that insecure energy is something that can be picked up on by others. If you want someone who is respectful of boundaries, see where you can be better with both enforcing and honoring boundaries with other people in your life, and so on.

In other words, BE the vision.

TLDR: The most imp tant part

When it comes down to it, the number one thing you can do in your quest to find a partner is to look within. To me, the single most important green flag is someone who is introspective and focused on continued personal development.

Self-awareness is sexy!

Reflect on which part of this exercise was the hardest for you. Did you struggle to come up with the things that are most important to you in a partner? Or do you have a long list that may be unattainable? Do you embody most of the things you’re seeking in a partner, or are you at least working on it?

Lastly, see where you can shift your mindset around dating overall. Try to enjoy the ride, loosen up your expectations and judgments of others, and be patient with yourself. The list you made isn’t written in stone, so continue to adapt it as needed over time.

Imagine for a moment that the closer you can get to being the type of person you’re seeking, the more likely it is that your dream partner will come along. Call that in. Take your completed list and put it somewhere visible, if that’s your thing. Take notice of the things that make you awesome and your growth over time, and others will too.

My hope is that you find everything you’re seeking and more. <3 March 2023
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Attorneys Profiles

The El Paso community is fortunate to have a robust legal landscape to serve the Borderland with an array of services that range from criminal, to family, to employment law -- and so much more. In the pages to follow, get to know El Paso’s leading lawyers who are as dedicated to ensuring justice is served as they are focused on each individual client.

Photographed by: JAMIAH DANCIL 44 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING Mendez Issac Joudi 320 Texas, Suite 300 El Paso, TX 79911 (915) 444-1000

What type of law do you specialize in?

We handle serious personal injury or death and employment related claims in Texas and New Mexico. Please visit our website to learn more about the type of cases we handle.

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

El Paso is Home. Each of the founding members of Mendez Isaac Joudi were born and raised in El Paso, and what better place to practice law and raise our children. The borderland is a unique region with wonderful people. Somos familia.

What distinguishes you as a lawyer/law firm?

At MIJ, we have over 40 years of collective experience successfully trying cases in both state and federal court, as well appeals before the Texas Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Trial and appellate experience is invaluable when it comes to providing the most comprehensive representation possible.

Why should readers turn to you/your practice for legal services?

Our law firm does not believe in quick settlements. We have the resources to handle any case regardless of complexity or size of companies we are up against. We are known for our trial experience.

46 Office:
Toll Free: (855) 99KASTL ORLANDO SAPIEN | or: (855) 995-2785 @kastllawpc KASTL LAW, P.C. kastllawpc
(915) 765-6600

Kastl Law, P.C.

What type of law do you specialize in?

We are skilled Trial Lawyers representing injured people involved in 18-Wheeler Crashes, premises liability incidents, car crashes and explosions.

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

I love practicing in El Paso because I love the people. Some of my family and closest friends still live here. I grew up in Canutillo, Texas, attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School, Canutillo Junior High and High School, and graduated with an English Literature and Political Science Honors Degree from UTEP. El Paso is my hometown.

What distinguishes you as a lawyer / law firm?

We are a firm of women attorneys dedicated to fearlessly fighting for and empowering our clients to thrive and survive unfortunate circumstances. I started Kastl Law, P.C. because I wanted to not only practice law, but to be involved in and give back to our community.

Why should readers turn to you / your practice for legal services?

We believe in you, and we won’t back down. My firm and I have an outstanding record of holding insurance companies accountable by taking cases to trial. I have tried more than 80 cases to jury verdict.


What type of law do you specialize in?

Our firm has represented plaintiffs across all types of serious personal injury and wrongful death claims. We prepare every case for trial and don’t ease up until we get the result each client deserves.

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

I enjoy helping people and their families here in El Paso. That is what our firm is all about. El Paso is also extremely unique with a major transportation route that borders another state and country.

What distinguishes you as a lawyer / law firm?

Our mission as a law firm is to provide the best customer service and to guide clients throughout the entirety of the case. We take pride in having a 5-star customer service reputation AND delivering the best results. Our attorneys are avalible 24/7 nights and weekends to answer any questions you might have.

Why should readers turn to you / your practice for legal services?

Results, Resources and At Glasheen, Valles & Inderman Injury Lawyers we take care of clients, that’s how we win, and we win BIG!

1101 Montana Ave. El Paso, TX 79902

Matt Lopez, Partner Attorney Glasheen, Valles, and Inderman Injury Lawyers
by: JAMIAH DANCIL 1731 Montana Ave. El Paso, TX 79902 915-255-2222

What type of law do you specialize in?

Personal Injury

Why do you love practicing in El Paso? I was born and raised in El Paso. It is a blessing to serve my community, especially those who are in desperate need of legal representation. Our biggest satisfaction is to see how we can improve the quality of life of El Pasoans.

What distinguishes you as a lawyer/law firm?

Tristan Law is committed to providing top notch legal services. This includes our restless search to improve the quality of our work as well as customer service. We pride ourselves with being a law firm whose growth can be attributed to customer satisfaction.

Why should readers turn to you/ your practice for legal services?

Our law firm is dedicated to representing individuals who have been in accidents. Our firm prides itself at being able to guide clients from El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, and Las Cruces through the tedious personal injury world. Mr. Carlos Tristan looks forward to not only providing excellent legal representation, but also in investing in the future of our community.

Photographed by: JAMIAH DANCIL
Carlos A. Tristan Tristan Law Office

What type of law do you specialize in?

We provide a wide range of legal services because everyone’s facts and circumstances are unique. Our combined experience has merged into three primary areas of practice: probate, estate planning and personal injury law. Securing your estate for your next generation(s) is a necessity. Without a plan, the consequences can be costly. Don’t wait, plan your estate.

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

Gaining a deeper understanding of the unique legal issues that affect our area and building strong relationships (in a city that has a strong sense of community) is such a rewarding experience. It is a pleasure to serve our hometown, especially since it has done so much for us.

What distinguishes you as a law firm/lawyer?

We embrace modern technology and innovative tools to streamline our research, case management and work product. This allows us to prioritize the needs and goals of each individual client to provide a more personalized and tailored approach. Our outcomes can stand out from other firms that rely on outdated traditional methods.

Why should readers turn to you/ your practice for legal services?

We understand navigating legal issues can be stressful and overwhelming. We are here to bring peace of mind and support our clients every step of the way. With our modern approach, we deliver high-quality, efficient, and effective legal services.

Jake and Ashley Spencer Spencer Trial Attorneys, P.C. 1009 Montana Ave, El Paso, TX 79902 915-532-5562 Photographed by: SERGIO OLIVAS SPECIAL ADVERTISING | 53
James Kennedy El Paso Injury Lawyer
Photographed by: SERGIO OLIVAS
Photographed by: ORLANDO SAPIEN SPECIAL ADVERTISING | 55 James Kennedy El Paso Injury Lawyer 6216 Gtwy Blvd E, El Paso, TX 79905 (915) 544-5200
Photographed by: ORLANDO SAPIEN 56 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING Law Office of Troy C. Brown 7362 Remcon Cir. El Paso, TX 79912 (915) 543-9669
SPECIAL ADVERTISING | 57 Theresa Caballero Attorney at Law (915) 565-3550 310 N. Mesa Ste. 502 CRIMINAL LAW • CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES • MILITARY LAW
58 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING Photographed by: ???? Photographed by: JOHN HORTA Steve Raney, Attorney at Law 1360 Lee Trevino Dr, Ste. #107 (915) 838-6855
SPECIAL ADVERTISING | 59 Photographed by : JAMIAH DANCIL John A. Wenke EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY TEXAS AND NEW MEXICO Worker Side Representation, Including Management Discrimination ♦ Sexual Harassment ♦ Severance Negotiations
Champions for the People of El Paso and Las Cruces 60 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING Your Life. Your Rights. Our Priority. Texas: 915-233-4297 • 1231 E. Missouri Ave El Paso, TX 79902 Las Cruces: 505-393-4790 • 841 S. Main Street,Las Cruces, NM 88005
SPECIAL ADVERTISING | 61 Photographed by: JAMIAH DANCIL ANTCLIFF MEDIATION P.L.L.C. Alternative Dispute Resolution Services Wells Fargo Tower, 221 N. Kansas, Ste. 609 El Paso, TX 79901 • 915-533-1221 • Christopher A. Antcliff Attorney/Mediator/Arbitrator Former State District Court Judge Former Justice, 8th Court of Appeals Lucy Crabtree Executive Assistant
1141 E. Rio Grande Ave. El Paso, TX 79902 (915) 308-8850 Ruben ortiz MORE EXPERIENCE. BETTER OUTCOMES. 62 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING

We are dedicated to providing the finest and most compassionate legal support for probate, guardianship, and estate planning matters

1531 E Missouri Ave. El Paso, Texas 79902 • 915-444-5003 •

718 Myrtle Avenue, El Paso, Texas 79901 915-444-5351

Law Office of Gabriel S. Perez, PLLC

What type of law do you specialize in?

I am a trial lawyer with extensive experience in both civil and criminal matters. I have handled jury trials from the Justice of the Peace up to the federal courts.

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

The citizens of this great city -- and helping them -- gets me out of bed each morning. My parents taught me the value of hard work and that true success is helping those who are less fortunate. I have tried to help those who need it the most.

What distinguishes you as a lawyer / law firm?

I have successfully handled cases from the trial level all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. I have submitted briefs on three separate matters before the United States Supreme Court and appeared twice. Not many attorneys in Texas can claim this same accomplishment.

Why should readers turn to you / your practice for legal services?

I am licensed in Texas and New Mexico, so I am able to handle matters that may span across the various counties here in the Southwest. I pride myself in always being available for my clients. I speak to all of my clients and will do all I can to answer any questions that they have during the litigation process.


Law Offices of Sergio A. Saldivar

What type of law do you specialize in?

We offer representation in both state and federal criminal defense, immigration removal defense, federal employment law, and selected 1983 civil rights cases. I have appeared in 26 counties throughout Texas and 7 different U.S. District Courts.

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

El Paso is home. I was born here and raised here. I am familiar with the local courts, the judges and the prosecutors. The local bar is cordial with each other, which promotes the resolution of most cases.

What distinguishes you as a lawyer / law firm?

I focus on results! Quality over quantity. I provide aggressive representation, putting the client’s needs first. People accused of serious crimes often end up underrepresented, when in fact these people deserve their day in court. I give them that day while treating them with dignity and respect.

Why should readers turn to your practice for legal services?

We understand that looming legal issues can be stressful and overwhelming. We give our clients our full attention and with over 20 years of experience, we can put them in a much better position than when we first met them. 2301 Montana Ave. El Paso, Texas 79903


Telephone: (915) 541-6006

Photographed by: ETHAN ALCAANTAR

What type of law do you focus on?

Criminal defense (state, federal & juvenile) as well as school disciplinary hearings, personal injury and parole.

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

We are personally invested in the community in which we were raised. We are honored to be a part of the El Paso legal community and take pride in helping El Pasoans get the justice they deserve.

What distinguishes you as a law firm?

Our team approach allows us to showcase our diverse strengths. Whether through trial or negotiation, we are prepared to achieve the best resolution.

Why should readers turn to you for legal services?

Our clients come to us in the most dire of circumstances. Through our communication and collaboration, we walk them through the intimidating justice system, and we do what it takes to get the best outcome.

Photographed by: SERGIO OLIVIAS
CLM Law Firm 221 N. Kansas Street, Suite 1200 El Paso, TX 79901 (915) 225-1555 CLMFirm 66 | SPECIAL ADVERTISING

What kind of law do you specialize in?

We handle Criminal defense, Family law, and Injury law. We also have a traffic ticket department.

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

The food, the weather, and above all else the people. El Paso is the biggest familia you could belong to. This is home. Always will be.

What distinguishes you as a lawyer / law firm?

We push the limits. We are way outside the box. We break down problems from a legal standpoint but also from a real world perspective. We also treat our clients with grace and humility. Because we have all been in a place where we needed help.

Why should readers turn to you / your practice for legal services?

Because we kick ass at our jobs. We aren’t scared of the opposition. We don’t shy away from the government or insurance companies or anyone else who’s on the other side.

Wyatt Undewood Trial Lawyers 705 Texas Ave # 100, El Paso, TX 79901 (915) 485-9100

What type of law do you specialize in?

Personal Injury (Motor Vehicle Crash, Trucking Crashes, Slip and Fall, etc.) and Employment Discrimination (Sexual Harassment, Pregnancy, Disability, Age etc).

Why do you love practicing in El Paso?

I started as a litigator in the courtroom in El Paso in 2005. It was a case involving the wrongful death of a mom and children because of the negligence of a train operator. Since then, I fell in love with the community, the courts, the judges, and being a personal injury lawyer in El Paso. I have represented thousands of people in El Paso for over 17 years. The El Paso legal community is a close niche. We are advocates but we respect and work well with each other. Also, El Paso is my home. My husband is a doctor and ER (emergency) director at Las Palmas and my son goes to school at El Paso Country Day. This is our community; this is our home that we love and care for. We are blessed and thankful to be able to serve our community with our work and do what we love.

Law Firm of Daniela Labinoti 707

What distinguishes you as a lawyer/law firm?

Our firm is dedicated to the cause of serving clients. We truly put our heart and soul and try very hard for our clients. We have 19-20 staff in our team, lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants that fight hard to get good results. We focus on litigation. We have proven experience and are known to be a top litigation firm. We specialize in litigation; we have the team and resources to take any case to trial.

Why should readers turn to you/your practice for legal services?

We bring passion, experience, and proven results in El Paso. I am passionate for justice and for clients to receive the highest level of legal care. Our success rate is high because we care, and we will not limit resources to assure the clients get the best outcome for their legal case.

Myrtle El Paso, TX 79901 (915) 265-5694
70 March 2023

Inside the Wild World of Wildlife Conservation

An interest in animals has been noted in societies for centuries that has cultivated curiosity in scientists, advocates, and the general public. According to Charles Darwin, “the love for all living creatures is the most notable attribute of mankind.” Additionally Darwin’s observations of animal life led him to assert that, “There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.”

For Darwin and other conservationists, harmony between animals and mankind are paramount, with Darwin writing, “In the

long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

World Wildlife Day is celebrated each year on March 3rd to bring awareness to global, national, and local conservation efforts that educate communities on the ways they can help preserve wildlife. The El Paso Zoological Society works hand-in-hand with the El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens to expand and enhance public awareness of wildlife conservation in the hope that people will take action and change behaviors to bolster animal welfare.

“We’re really proud to be here,” says Olivia Siquieros, Events and Social Media Manager for the El Paso Zoological Society. “We’re really committed to our mission of advocating for the zoo, advocating for wildlife, and giving people opportunities to rediscover their connection to nature.”

A visit to the El Paso Zoo is not only a recreational walk in the park, but also an exercise in supporting its numerous conservation efforts. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and part of a program called Save Animals from Extinction -- or SAFE -- that the El Paso Zoological Society works to fund and support.

“We do support conservation efforts locally, nationally, and globally,” says Renee Neuert, Executive Director of the El Paso Zoological Society.

March 2023 71
72 March 2023 Inside the Wild World of Wildlife Conservation

One such conservation effort is with the Lion Guardians in the Kenyan Maasailand, in which the El Paso Zoological Society sponsors a ranger’s annual salary.

“Those funds will help provide the lion guardian a cell phone and a radio for when they patrol a certain area where the lions live,” explains Neuert. “Because anytime there is animal and human contact, the animal is going to lose. The lion guardian can help protect against poachers. They can also educate the community around the lions by letting community members know the lions are sharing the area of land with them. They educate them how important they are, because it takes a community to protect these animals.”

Another global conservation effort is with the Asian Elephant Squad in Sumatra, where special trainers called mahouts work with domesticated elephants to patrol and redirect wild elephants from encroaching on villages and farmlands.

Neuert explains that the matriarch uses intergenerational knowledge to lead her herd to water sources, the routes of which have often been disrupted by modern development and urbanization.

“She is working, in her mind, on a route throughout Africa or Asia, that she knows from generations to find water sources to take her herd through,” she says.

The mahouts serve as guides and chaperones who journey with the herd to safely lead them to water.

“They take the matriarch and herd on routes that do not destroy farms where people are trying to make a livelihood. There are also issues with the availability of land. So, as these farms and villages grow, the elephants are pushed off into an area that can’t sustain them,” says Neuert.

In addition to global collaborations, the El Paso Zoological Society supports conservation at national and local levels through safe and ethical breeding of endangered species guided by science as part of the Species Survival Program.

“We target certain animals that we can breed for later release in the wild when it’s safe to release them in their natural habitat,” Neuert explains. “The El Paso Zoo is part of the Species Survival Program for the Mexican Wolf.”

As part of this program that works in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the wolves are bred and born at the El Paso Zoo and two pups are selected for the program, who will have no human contact.

“Once the pups are weaned from mom, zookeepers wearing protective gear go in to crate them and take them to Arizona,” explains Neuert.

March 2023
Inside the Wild World of Wildlife Conservation 73

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Arizona places the pups, who caretakers ensure have no human scent, near an active Mexican Wolf den, where a lactating mother will hear and smell them, then take them in.

“She’ll carry them back to her den, and she’ll foster them,” says Neuert. “She’ll feed them. She’ll raise them like her own, and the rest of the pack will treat them like they’re wild. That’s how we are now repopulating areas of the country where wolves are in danger.”

The El Paso Zoological Society wants the public to know that each member of the community can make a positive impact on wildlife conservation, such as being mindful of harmful ingredients -- like palm oil, the

harvesting of which destroys wildlife habitats -- found in everyday products.

“You can make a difference each day,” explains Neuert. “It’s going to take some change in the products you buy and the things that you support, but you can make a difference and take action.”

Other ways include integrating native plants into their home landscape design to attract pollinators, like hummingbirds -- or even bats!

Bats in the Southwest region of the U.S. (as well as other warm ecosystems) assist in growing plant life by pollinating flowers. When nectar-drinking bats insert their noses into flowers, they become covered in pollen that

they transfer to other flowers, helping plants reproduce. Through pollination, bats help grow fruits such as bananas, avocados and agave.

Siqueiros encourages El Pasoans to introduce pollinator-friendly flora like agave and creosote to their yards and gardens.

“It helps promote sustainability and environmental awareness. And those are the kind of messages we try to promote,” she says.

Staff members and zookeepers at both the El Paso Zoo and the El Paso Zoological Society say they learn lessons in patience and acceptance from the animal residents each day.

74 March 2023
Inside the Wild World of Wildlife Conservation

“We’re very judgmental and non-accepting as a species,” says Neuert. “But the animals are like, ‘let me smell you.’ They’re accepting. They’re intelligent and they have feelings; you can see it in their eyes and their behavior, as well as the way they move.”

The Asian elephants at the El Paso Zoo have always had special relationships with the community and their zookeepers.

Juno, who passed in 2021, was beloved by her human caretakers, who remained by her side at all times during her transition across the rainbow bridge. The El Paso Zoological Society supported Juno’s breast cancer treatment and medications with a $50,000 donation over 5 years.

“We brought in Veterinary Oncologists to work with our own chief veterinarian and zoo keepers on her treatment and quality of life during her cancer journey. These veterinary specialists and the cancer treatment medications were costly but allowed Juno to live a good five years before the cancer took over her body,” says Neuert. The El Paso Zoological society also provided meals to Juno’s humans, and was touched by the emotional connection shared with Juno.

“We were bringing them lunch and dinner that was donated by Corner Bakery, and really tried to support them in their work. We knew they were suffering, as well,” says Neuert.

Savannah, the remaining Asian elephant at the El Paso Zoo, is now 70-years old and the oldest of her species in human care.

She’s also a fan favorite.

A donation recently led to the acquisition of a 75-inch flatscreen TV for Savannah, who has her own profiles on Disney+ and Netflix as part of her enrichment.

“She upgraded from an old TV with wires hanging out and now has a new one to watch her movies. She loves ‘Moana,’” says Neuert.

Savannah also enjoys ocean documentaries, and splashes her trunk into her water tub during her favorite scenes.

Witnessing the magnificence of creatures like Savannah at the El Paso Zoo remind the public of the necessities to appreciate and preserve wildlife.

“From the smallest and biggest animals, to rodents, reptiles and snakes,” says Neuert. “They’re intelligent and they have feelings. Even though we really can’t understand them, there is an intelligence there for us to respect.”

Circa 1963 is located in the heart of downtown El Paso on the 5th floor of Hotel Indigo. Our rooftop bar with award-winning mixologists has a cozy terrace and outdoor patio with stunning panoramic views of El Paso and our breathtaking Franklin Mountains. Circa 1963 offers a beautiful ambiance to unwind.

March 2023
325 N Kansas St, El Paso, TX 79901 (915) 532-5200
WE HAVE A SEAT WAITING FOR YOU Circa 1963 @circa1963

Of Roots & MeetWings: the New Vet at Animal Services

The lobby inside of El Paso Animal Services is abuzz with movement, a cacophony of staff members diligently attending to guests, playful barks and pants from dogs excited to be walked by volunteers, and the chatter of animal lovers as they wait their turn. Outside, a gaggle of excited soonto-be dog owners gather to greet each other and give pets to each person’s puppy. There are seven little-legged dachshunds total, littermates who were being fostered through Luna’s Fosters over the last few months, and it’s their “Gotcha Day.”

The pups and their foster parents are at Animal Services for the last round of puppy vaccinations, a check of their incisions after being spayed or neutered, and the proper signatures to complete the adoption process.

They’re led to an O.R. to see Dr. Anthony Chacon, the new veterinarian at Animal Services, who is multitasking by giving the weenie dogs his approval to be adopted as he tends to one-twothree-four-five-six cats under anesthesia and prepped to be spayed or neutered.

Another busy morning in the life of the veterinarian who saves dozens of lives

each day and simultaneously addresses the needs of the community’s adoptable and unhomed animals.

“I always wanted to find a way to help animals, regardless of how I did it,” he says. “So that was always the drive for me. And I just had to figure out a way to do that.”

Dr. Chacon is an El Paso native who grew up in Anthony, New Mexico and attended New Mexico State University before leaving the Borderland (and continent) to attend the Royal Veterinary College in London.

March 2023 76

He credits his mom for his love of animals, explaining that she grew-up on a small farm with different animal species and later imparted a fondness for stray cats and dogs on him as a child.

With solid roots developed, he yearned to spread his wings.

“Anthony is a small town, but I wanted to change my life. I wanted to experience a different culture and London accepted me,” he says. “And I was like, ‘Yes, it’ll be expensive. Yes, I’ll be away from my family,’

but I feel like every person should travel and experience a different culture.”

He lived, studied, and practiced throughout the U.K. for 13 years before making the decision to move home, where he later applied at Animal Services.

“I felt like I could make a greater impact,” he says with a lingering British lilt. “Doing this, especially in such a critical role, allows me to make a greater impact on the community and the public, compared to the private practice that I had been doing. I felt this was the shift I needed in my career to go forward.”

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“At the end of the day, even if it was a very hard day, I know that I did my best. There have been times when it was very hard, but things do get easier. And you get better.”
Photo provided by Chaz Wilson and Gretchen Wieners Wilson
“It’s a very stressful career to have, but I found a way to rearrange my life, where I have proper work and personal life balance.”

Dr. Chacon’s arrival in El Paso is helping to address the critical need for more veterinarians in the region, which corresponds to an ongoing national shortage.

A study by Mars Veterinary Health reports that by 2030, the U.S. will need more than 41,000 additional veterinarians and 133,000 licensed vet techs to meet the needs of the nation. Even with the expected volume of new veterinary graduates expected over the next decade, a shortage of nearly 15,000 veterinarians will likely still exist by 2030.

Dr. Chacon and his 12 member team at Animal Services structure his day to attend to as many patients as possible.

“My medical team are my eyes and ears,” Dr. Chacon explains. “They tell me who needs to be looked at and what needs to be tended to quickly.” Although they make meaningful strides throughout the day, the shelter remains in need of three more veterinarians.

On a normal day, Dr. Chacon spends his mornings performing routine surgeries like spay and neuters (about 35 to 40), followed by non-routine surgeries.

He’s honed his skill such that he can perform spays and neuters in minutes.

“When I started, I was pretty slow. But now I can do a cat spay in about five and a half minutes. A dog spay in about eight to ten minutes,” he says.

After surgeries, he performs rounds on dogs and cats who need medical attention and later tackles administrative duties at the end of the day.

There are hundreds of animals to care for with only one person ultimately responsible for each case.

“I’ll be the one to make those difficult decisions,” explains Dr. Chacon. “It’s a tough job because even though we do a lot to help them, there are still situations that can be very difficult. For me, the years I’ve spent working as a vet have taught me to see the positive in things and to be able to manage my emotions properly. As a big medical team, we’re here to support each other.”

The emotional toll coupled with burnout are factors that have also contributed to the shortage of veterinarians across the country.

A 2019 study by the Society of Hospital Medicine reported that the turnover rate for veterinarians is 16 percent, which is much greater than physicians for human health at 7.4 percent.

“There’s a lot of compassion fatigue,” says Dr. Chacon. “After a while, it’s hard to

express those emotions in a healthy way. So, you end up shutting down and then that ends up coming off as not caring; when in reality, you do care.”

Dr. Chacon has been challenged by burnout, which he addressed by prioritizing his mental health.

“It’s a very stressful career to have, but I found a way to rearrange my life, where I have proper work and personal life balance.”

For now, Dr. Chacon is proud of the work that he and his team are able to achieve.

“I’m proud because I’ve always maintained my standards,” he says. “At the end of the day, even if it was a very hard day, I know that I did my best. There have been times when it was very hard, but things do get easier. And you get better.”

March 2023
Meet the New Vet at Animal Services 81
82 March 2023
Up the Right Tree Animal Rescue | Words and photos by: ANDI R. TISCARENO | LAW N PAWS

For any animal lover, it can be heartbreaking to see animals wandering loose in the streets or being clearly neglected or abused. Many of these animals, who are victims of animal cruelty, never get the second chance at life that they deserve, nor the chance to be able to find a home they can call their own and receive the love and care they desperately need. One animal cruelty detective in El Paso decided that she needed to act in order to save the animals that she saw all too often on the job.

Vanessa Acosta, an El Paso City Police Detective on the Animal Cruelty Unit, is the founder of the nonprofit animal rescue called Law N’ Paws. Having served on the force for 23 years, Det. Acosta has seen firsthand the abuse and neglect that many dogs and cats endure, not to mention the many times she’d seen how many can fall through the cracks of rehoming and sheltering them.

Seeing how many animals desperately needed care, she knew she needed to do something.

It wasn’t until Det. Acosta met a dog named Raven that the gears started grinding.

“I didn’t want her to fall through the cracks,” she states. “I couldn’t let her just go to the shelter and get lost because there wasn’t anybody to take her in.”

So, using her own funds and resources, she fostered Raven until she could rehabilitate her and find her a forever home with a new, loving owner.

After fostering Raven, Det. Acosta started to notice more and more animals in need of help.

While taking in more dogs to foster and care for, she started to get offers from businesses willing to help with donations. However, they could only do so if she was registered as a non-profit organization. As of February 2017, Det. Acosta officially started up Law N’ Paws as a non-profit organization.

Shortly after its creation, Det. Acosta received support from the late Chief Greg Allen who, as a big animal lover, was essential to the organization’s support.

“Chief saw there was a need to form the Animal Cruelty Unit in October of 2017, making history in the city,” says Det. Acosta, “With the creation of this unit, I was able to help the dogs and cats that are often rescued from cases in our investigations.”

Of course, every organization has its rough upbringings.

Det. Acosta says that some of the struggles of running the rescue are getting folks to foster the animals, while also ensuring the necessary shelter and finances to care for them. Nothing hurts more than when some of their pups pass while waiting for their forever homes.

“When we lose our rescues or our seniors, it’s always such a heartbreak.” Det. Acosta somberly states, “But what makes it easier is knowing that they were fed, loved, and safe.”

As a rescue, Law N’ Paws provides kennel space as well as food, medical care, and rehabilitation for animals who are victims of animal cruelty. The rescue also provides the animals that come through with all 83 March 2023

their vaccinations, as well as spay and neuter services.

Det. Acosta remains passionate in her mission to give these animals a second chance, “We fully vet them, whatever it costs, so our vet bills are usually extremely high.”

Thanks to the wonderful outpouring of support from the El Paso community through the rescue’s Instagram and Facebook accounts, the rescue can continue to feed,

vet, and shelter these animals, giving them that second chance.

The shelter itself is a rented space that Det. Acosta and her volunteers operate out of.

“We have our own raw land,” says Det. Acosta “but we need the building capital to hopefully create a sanctuary for these animals.” So, until the funding can be provided, this project will have to wait for now.

Because of the work of Det. Acosta and her volunteers, many success stories have come from the animals that many other shelters would deem unadoptable, or broken.

One of these success stories is a dog named Buddy, who was rescued from a neglectful owner that kept him tied up to a wrought iron window pane to keep him from getting out of the yard. You could say he’s had a “glow-up” from a scared, skinny pup to a healthy and loving dog who was adopted by the District


Attorney’s office, and even put through training and sworn in as a member of the DA’s office serving as an emotional support dog for kids who must testify in court.

He even has his own badge!

Many of the dogs at the shelter have been through a lot, with many of them the survivors of different traumas that make them fearful of other people, other dogs, while others have a complete turn around and become loving and affectionate in the right environment. The rescue is made up of a few small buildings containing kennels for the dogs to be kept in, while also utilizing large fenced in play areas that all the dogs get time to play, exercise, and stretch every day. Volunteers help to clean out the kennels, feed and water each dog, and give them the love and attention they deserve.

“Showing them love and affection while helping to give these babies a second chance is what makes it all worth the work,” says one volunteer who has been working with the rescue for three months.

Det. Acosta works diligently on her off time to ensure that her animals get the care that they need. Even though she can technically retire now, she pushes forward for the animals she has taken into her heart.

“The animals need me. I keep working for them.” Det. Acosta says proudly.

While not every animal can be saved, the ones who do find their way into the caring arms of rescues like Law N’ Paws are able to get the second chance at life and love that they deserve. With every wet nose and wagging tail, every animal in the care of Law N’ Paws is available to adopt or foster.

They’re just waiting for their second chance. March 2023
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March 2023 86
Sun City Kitty Celebrates Lives and

l Paso’s only cat cafe, whose efforts include homeless cat treatment, fostering, socialization, and homing, all while preparing visitors with a delicious beverage, is turning one! Within its first year of business, Sun City Kitty has succeeded in finding new homes for 75 of El Paso’s homeless/stray cat population, averaging 7 to 8 adoptions per month.

This remarkable feat has been executed through the efforts of the Sun City Kitty founders and the team they have working at their side. From cafe baristas creating that perfect cup of coffee while also looking over the wellbeing of their feline charges, to the fosters and vets working behind the cafe scene to ensure the cats are well cared for, Sun City Kitty strives to become a haven for all lost kitties within the city.

Kristen Ingram, Megan Oslund, and Sarah Walker are the cafe’s founders, each fulfilling specific roles ensuring the business runs smoothly. Amid its overwhelming success, Sun City Kitty faced its share of growing pains. One such hiccup was balancing the cafe’s inventory, specifically the public’s immense love of oat milk. During the months of the cafe’s opening, Oslund was tasked with traversing El Paso’s westside in search of the creamy beverage. In their efforts to meet demand, the cafe would end up tripling the amount of oat milk ordered by Sprouts from their supplier.

In addition to product orders, the Sun City Kitty team needed to learn the finer intricacies of cat care. The care and treatment of feline illnesses proved vital as they soon discovered their first set of adoptees began to suffer from sneezing and other upper respiratory complications. With around 90 percent of shelter cats suffering from upper respiratory infections, it quickly became known to the Sun City Kitty team just what afflicted their newest residents. Through multiple consultations with trusted vets and treatments, the kitties of Sun City Kitty would begin to breathe easy.

87 88 March 2023 Sun City Kitty Celebrates 1 Year

Being host to cats of various ages and personalities, the team of Sun City Kitty strives to create a space in which the cats would feel safe and in control of their surroundings. Unbeknownst to even the founders, the newest member of the Sun City Kitty team arriving in their first batch of adoptees would assist in cementing the atmosphere the team had been working to achieve.

Tilburg, a black male shorthair, entered the cat room with some reservations towards humans but did not display those same reservations towards the cats and kittens around him. Acting as a guide to many of the young bloods within the cat space, Tilburg works to acclimate the kittens to the mysteries of the litter box while serving fair and unbiased parenting to those whose spice 89 March 2023
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level begins to affect the comfort of others within the space.

Tilburg’s achievements within the cat room have always been noticed by the Sun City Kitty team and their visitors, as many have attempted to welcome the friendly lad into their home.

Unfortunately, despite the efforts of well-intentioned adopters, Tilburg has made it clear that his work with Sun City Kitty is not yet finished, as every adoption pick-up day is met with a disappearing act. After accepting the bitterness of their adoption defeats, Sun City Kitty has done what one might say Tilburg had wished for the entire time, as they have deemed him a permanent Sun City Kitty resident.

As El Paso’s only cat cafe is slated to celebrate its first anniversary, what do these innovative founders have planned for the coming year?

Fear not, Sun City Kitty enthusiasts, as the team is looking to expand its adoption influence into the sister city of Las Cruces with Chile City Kitty. Sharing a lone

90 March 2023
1 Year
Sun City Kitty Celebrates

teaser of the project on the cafe’s social media back in November of 2022, the team has worked tirelessly to fulfill permit orders and requests desired by the state of New Mexico. While efforts for the project have proven to take more time than initially anticipated, the proverbial ground is soon to be broken.

Located within the Mesilla Valley Mall, this new location will obtain inspiration from striking scenery and colors that define the city of Las Cruces. Seeking to work with local artists and vendors, Chile City Kitty hopes to introduce a display case that intends to exhibit various pastries and sandwiches prepared by local merchants. As for future adoptees, the soon-to-be Chile City Kitty founders have been in talks with Las Cruces Animal Services, Private TNR rescues, and El Paso Animal Services on future adoption and transportation processes.

As for the matter of cat room stabilization, the team at Sun City Kitty is currently evaluating their list of permanent resident kitties, Tilburg and Soot Sprite, to see who might make the journey to the Chile City location. An anonymous source on the inside has disclosed that the leading candidate is the kitten godfather Tilburg, much to his unknowing dismay.

In celebration of a year filled with adoptions and endless cups of coffee, Sun City Kitty looks to once again partner up with the Sunland Park Mall to throw a Kitty Convention. With their first Kitty Con being a success at their grand opening, it makes sense to celebrate their first year in a similar fashion. Through the participation of El Paso vendors, many of whom will cultivate their wares to suit the event’s theme, the year with Sun City Kitty celebration is sure to draw in a massive audience.

Who knows? You might spot part-time employee and adoption success story Big Boy strutting through the mall with his human companion at his side. 91 March 2023 93 March 2023 PR OTE CT Y OU R CU ST OMER S PROTE CT Y OU R DATA PROTE CT Y OU R REVE NUE The threats to your clients, your reputation and your business are unprecedented. We can protect you with our comprehensive Cyber Security Solutions. Y OUR BU S IN ES S HAS BEE N HACKED ✓ Cyber Security Assessments ✓ 24/7/365 Security Operations Center ✓ Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery ✓ Compliance Auditing (HIPAA, PCI) ✓ Managed Detection and Response ✓ Security Consulting and Vulnerability Management CONTACT US TODAY FOR A CYBER SECURITY ASSESSMENT (915) 703-1778 |

Roam The Right to oam March 2023

The (nine) lives of community cats across El Paso are being cared for by a dedicated organization led by women who are working to dispel the stigma surrounding community cats.

“Our mission is to humanely reduce the overpopulation of cats,” says Terry Poulos, President of El Paso TNR. “In El Paso, we have an incredible amount of cats living on the street.

TNR, an acronym for “Trap-Neuter-Return” is a humane way to trap community cats, get them spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies, and then returning them to their community. At El Paso TNR, the volunteer-led organization works to stabilize community cat populations.

Poulos explains that over the course of about five years, one unaltered female cat can produce more than 20,000 kittens as part of the feline rate of reproduction. The average mature female cat can have three litters of 12 kittens per year, who later go on to produce litters of their own at a rapid rate. A female kitten, for example, can go into heat and have kittens as young as four months old.

“So fixing that one female is so important,” she says. “We partner with the Humane Society of El Paso and we have two partner vets on the west side at Southwest Animal Care Complex and El Abrigado Animal Clinic, who are part of the program. We cover the cost of the spay, the neuter, and the ear tip, which is the universal sign that the cat has been fixed. We also cover the rabies vaccine and then they return to their colonies.” 95
March 2023
96 March 2023 The Right to Roam Our Mi ion
is to humanely reduce the overpopulation of cats. In El Paso, we have an incredible amount
cats living
the street.

Overpopulation is the leading cause of death in stray outdoor community cats, and El Paso TNR is working to not only save lives by facilitating spay and neuter, but also educating the public on animal behavior and how to help them. For example, El Paso TNR emphasizes the importance of not trapping a cat without a surgery appointment.

Additionally, a common misconception is using the terms “feral” and “stray” interchangeably.

“Feral is completely not social and will not let us touch them,” Poulos explains. “A stray is a cat that’s been socialized -- possibly abandoned -- and that’s outside. Stray and feral cats are protected by Title Seven in our city, and are free to roam.”

According to the law, animal cruelty is defined as abandonment, cruel confinement, dumping, harming, or killing, and is a felony.

El Paso TNR firmly advocates for this law to be enforced, and works closely with the

Animal Cruelty Task Force and El Paso Police Department to investigate and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.

El Paso TNR leaders explain that the crux of the overpopulation isn’t cats being on the street, but rather the feline reproduction rate that causes a never-ending volume of kittens. Stray cats gravitate to unoccupied spaces that feel safe, and removing cats from their communities only makes room for others to occupy the space.

“Cats are communal, they will create a colony and once that colony is altered or spayed and neutered, they keep the unaltered cats out,” says Rachel Haddad, El Paso TNR Vice President, Treasurer, and Volunteer Coordinator. “One of the biggest public misconceptions is that you can just remove the cats.”

March 2023
The Right to Roam 97

Removing the cats can create an undesirable vacuum effect, she adds.

“If you remove the cats, more cats are just going to move in. But if you alter the colony, they’re going to create a barrier where no cats, who are unaltered, are going to join that colony. And so, it becomes a ripple effect; it’s of no fault of their own that cats are living outdoors” Haddad explains.

El Paso Animal Services ceased responding, capturing, and housing stray cats in 2015, which has led to a reduction in needless euthanasia and works with El Paso TNR and its efforts.

Additionally, the organization partners with the Humane Society of El Paso to bolster its volunteer program.

El Paso TNR hosts “Cat Chat” events at the Humane Society as orientations for new volunteers every quarter.

March 2023

“We go through the basics of what it is that you’re going to do when you’re involved with this organization,” says Haddad. “Every position that we have available. I break it down by category: trapper, transporter, caregiver, ambassador, donor maintenance. We have lots of different positions that you can volunteer for.”

The volunteers ensure that each cat has the best experience possible.

“We cover the cats in the humane traps in a towel, which makes them feel protected because they don’t know where they’re going,” says Xochitl Burciaga, El Paso TNR Content Creator. “We don’t want to shake the trap and stress them out, which is also part of the education component -- giving the cat a calming experience. They have feelings.”

Burciaga says the most rewarding aspect of caring for community cats is returning them to their homes once they’ve been spayed or neutered.

“It’s amazing when you’re driving up to a colony and seeing that they’re all ear tipped and knowing that they’re not procreating. There are no babies born to suffer and die on the street, and you know that they’re medically taken care of. Also, you’ve empowered somebody to be a part of something that you’re passionate about,” she says.

“Seeing their little tails as they run away,” she adds. “The return is so beautiful.”

Anita Gacharna is an El Paso TNR board member who also serves as Scretary, and independently fosters kittens. A retired

teacher, she understands the critical need for education and empathy.

“Once you know better, you do better,” she says. “How do we -- as humans -- turn our backs when we realize we’re the only things they have to give them a chance?”

Ultimately, El Paso TNR is here to ensure that each community cat has the right to roam and invites the public to join their mission to be responsible, as well as show care and compassion.

“We’re always so grateful when we have people step up,” says Poulos. “I always say ‘thank you for being a part of the solution, not the problem.’”

March 2023 The Right to Roam

Inside Efforts to

Improve Stray Dog


Volunteer Point-of-View

Since the beginning of 2023, the community has experienced an increase in the overpopulation of stray animals, resulting in overcrowding at animal shelters and recent dog attacks that animal advocates, shelters, and volunteers are working to improve.

According to El Paso Animal Services (EPAS), in December 2022, the shelter housed 765 canines and 158 felines. These totals do not include the 1,248 canines and 1,250 felines in foster homes throughout the month.

In reality, the shelter can only accommodate 300-400 animals comfortably.

While local animal shelters are working diligently to achieve 100 percent no-kill status, influxes of stray animals are only exacerbating the existing overpopulation problem. As a city, we need to provide adequate resources for stray animals, as well as protection for humans at risk of animal attacks.

And there are ways each one of us can help.

Current pet owners must never neglect their pets, and prospective pet owners must be aware of the responsibilities of caring for a pet.

If we want to relieve El Paso’s animal shelters of overcrowding while protecting residents of our city, we must take action promptly and efficiently.

As a volunteer with the Animal Rescue League of El Paso (ARLEP), I notice the tendencies that are contributing to the growing overpopulation of local animal shelters.

Who is responsible?

Some individuals view pets as objects or even as massive burdens in their lives. I have had multiple encounters with pet owners whose pets went missing, and they simply cannot be bothered to track the animal down.

Their reasoning is usually along the lines of “It will come back if it wants to” or “It’s not my fault it jumped the fence.” However, I believe that choosing to neglect your pets by disregarding their health and safety is a form of animal cruelty.

If a current or prospective pet owner knows that they do not have the resources or are unwilling to care for a pet, there is no reason to adopt or buy one and set it up for failure.

Therefore, I believe that pets should be regarded as family members and provided with the proper shelter, food, and water they require.

Whether you are a pet owner or not, it is every person’s responsibility to advocate for animals because they cannot speak for themselves.

Determining root causes

1. Pet breeding

One of the biggest red flags for adoption counselors is when a person’s current pets are not spayed or neutered. This issue is especially relevant when the owner has had the pet for a significant amount of time.

Loretta Hyde, founder of ARLEP, said, “People have to realize that love is not enough; you have to get dogs spayed or neutered.”

At shelters such as ARLEP, it is unlikely that an existing pet owner with animals who are not fixed would be able to adopt a new rescue animal.

Although the spay or neuter procedure is included in the price of the ARLEP’s adoption fee, some appointments are scheduled at a 101

later date because of backup at veterinary offices. All of ARLEP’s animals will eventually be fixed, but until they are, the shelter is holding itself accountable by preventing accidental or intentional pet breeding.

If owners are planning on breeding their pets, pet breeding and the mistreatment of animals at “puppy mills” further worsen the current situation.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, in January 2023, there were an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in America, both licensed and unlicensed.

Additionally, there are an estimated 3.3 million puppies sold annually that originate from puppy mills; 25 percent of these purebred dogs end up at animal shelters and are sometimes killed depending on the shelter’s no-kill status.

Additionally, many breeding dogs are severely neglected, causing even more concern for the development of diseases that are then passed on to their offspring. While I acknowledge that purebred pets are in high demand, pet breeding may put the lives of animals at risk while also placing extra strain on animal shelters.

2. Identifying lost pets

In the case that a pet goes missing, a microchip or collar can play a crucial role in returning the pet to safety. Collars with identification tags that include a pet’s name, microchip information, and the owner’s contact information can be a great resource for finding a lost pet.

The primary issue with pet collars is that they can be easily removed, torn, or chewed off.

However, microchips are the solution to this issue because they act as a permanent identification source. Local shelters such as ARLEP, EPAS, and the Humane Society of El Paso include a microchip in the adoption fee.

Additionally, EPAS frequently holds free microchipping events multiple times a month at various locations throughout El Paso.Even if your pet was not adopted from an animal shelter, it can still be eligible for free microchipping.

While many strays remain un-microchipped, it is encouraging to know that these shelters are taking preventative measures to protect their pets.

3.Social media

In many instances, social media posts can raise awareness by spreading the news of lost and found pets in the city. March 2023
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A Facebook group that I follow is “Lost & Found Pets of El Paso.” With over 59,000 members, the group informs the public about missing pets and recent stray animal sightings.

On Jan. 29, 2023, El Paso shared posts on social media attempting to locate Bailey, a missing dog recently adopted from ARLEP.

Many people jumped into action and reported sightings of Bailey on the west side of El Paso.

However, on Jan. 31, Bailey appeared on ARLEP’s Ring doorbell camera in the early hours of the morning. Bailey traveled a distance of about 10 miles from the Sunland Park area back to ARLEP’s shelter in Canutillo.

According to ARLEP, Bailey has since been reunited with her owner. Although Bailey made it back to ARLEP’s shelter on her own, it is evident to me that social media plays a significant role in reuniting lost pets with their owners.

4. Proper treatment

Owning a pet is a huge responsibility, and human owners must have access to the resources necessary for a pet’s well-being.

Financial factors play a big role in determining whether someone is ready to adopt a pet. Depending on the size and breed of the animal, owners may need to spend extra money on specific medications, food, or other necessities.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average cost of annual pet expenses may range from $700 to $1,100.

It is important to note that pet owners should not skip an animal’s regular check-ups, teeth cleanings, or preventative treatments to save money.

If this is the case, I would recommend not adopting an animal unless the owner is assured that they are financially capable of providing for their pet.

5. Secure Living Environment

Another important factor in caring for pets involves maintaining a clean and protected living space.

The height and stability of fences and gates should prevent a pet from escaping a residence.

Hyde said, “You must have fencing that is safe because when dogs are in season, they jump in other people’s yards and impregnate other dogs. It has to do with enforcement, the responsibility of education, and acknowledging that dogs and cats will get pregnant when they’re not fixed.”

Furthermore, potentially hazardous items should be kept away from and out of reach of animals.

Household items such as insecticides, paints, and plants are just a few examples of items that may be dangerous for a pet.

I am assured that by taking these precautionary measures, both humans and animals will be further protected from harm. In reality, pets are like children in the sense that they should be taken care of and never neglected or abandoned.

These animals are not capable of caring for themselves; therefore, we humans must act as voices for the voiceless.

6. Helping furry friends

As a community, El Pasoans must collectively unite to protect our city’s stray animal population.

Likewise, we should take steps to reduce animal overpopulation by displayin responsibility and accountability. Pet owners and non-pet owners alike can contribute to the overall health and safety of El Paso’s animal population.

Hyde said, “It’s going to take everybody. Awareness that overpopulation is a problem needs to be addressed city-wide and countywide, or it’s not going to get any better.”

There are plenty of steps that El Pasoans can take to alleviate the stress of overcrowding at animal shelters. By adhering to the responsibilities of caring for a pet, individuals can look into adopting or fostering a pet from local shelters.

Additionally, animal shelters are constantly in need of supplies and volunteers.

If you are unable to donate money or supplies, donating your time by volunteering is a great way to advocate for rescue animals.

Now that I’ve been volunteering at ARLEP for almost four years, I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for local shelters that are making a difference in the community.

The connections I have made with hundreds of rescue animals and volunteers have opened my eyes to the importance of philanthropy.

I can guarantee that animals and humans are equally capable of transmitting happiness and positivity into each other’s lives. The bottom line is that animals have just as much of a place in our El Paso community as humans do. As we continue to support El Paso’s animal shelters, we must establish a safe environment for all animals and humans.

After all, if we all join hands and paws, together we can make a huge difference. 103 March 2023
104 An Icon of Downtown El Paso 408 E San Antonio Ave, El Paso, TX (915) 532-1848 COCKTAILS FOOD MUSIC


Graduated from UTEP in 2021 with a bachelors of science in nursing in 2016.

Worked in Trauma/ ER /med surgery floor hospital for 6 years, as well as travel contracts in New Mexico.

Currently working for internal medicine with Dr. Friday for primary care.

Certified for aesthetic medicine for botox and fillers.

Always willing to provide care for patients in the community as well as aesthetic procedures.


Animal Influence

| Words and photos by: ERIN COULEHAN |

If you take a drive to the Lower Valley of east El Paso, you’ll find a bucolic neighborhood of farms that are home to a variety of species and teeming with life. For Meghan Arriola, family includes her husband, a pack of well-dressed corgis, a sulcata tortoise named Hank, two species of deer, a few horses, a llama, a herd of fluffy-furred alpacas, and many more.

Arriola, an animal educator and online creator who grew up on one such farm, began caring for alpacas years ago and later began breeding the fourlegged camelids. Today, Arriola and her show-quality alpacas are well-known and fan favorites on her YouTube channel, Happy Tails, which has more than 240,000 followers and 32 million views.

“I think people enjoy seeing the animals and learning more about them,” she says. “I talk about animal behavior, human-animal relationships and

March 2023

veterinary medicine. Animal science is a great way to teach people of all ages that education is fun.”

While science serves as a learning tool, the bonds and personalities of each animal act as catalysts for entertainment -- not to mention cuteness overload.

On the day of my visit, I learned firsthand that the connection between the Arriolas and their animals is what makes Happy Tails a success, and inspires people to learn more.

Animal Influence

It’s a warm Sunday afternoon in February and I’m introduced to two shaggy-haired male alpacas sharing space on the vast property with a goat and two species of deer fawn. I feel like a Disney princess with a camera and a million questions to ask.

Like, what distinguishes a llama from an alpaca?

Standing side-by-side, it’s easy to tell the llama -- who is much taller, broader, and generally tougher-looking with coarse-ish fur -- from her alpaca counterparts, who are more petite, shy, and tend to travel as a unit instead of individually, with each appearing to be clad in a cloud of thick fur.

“They’re much more delicate,” laughs Arriola while softly stroking the neck of a female alpaca.

The herd spends its days grazing on the farm under the protection of the llama, who breaks-up squabbles between the females and also protects against an occasional pack of stray dogs. 109
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Animal Influence

“She can hear stray dogs from up to two miles away, then she and the horses will corral the girls into one of the horse stalls,” says Arriola.

Their closeness is endearing, and mindfully cultivated in an effort to ensure the animals are not only properly cared for, but also nurtured through love.

Arriola provides enough room for each creature to thrive, and enough companionship for each to feel secure.

“They stay together and really enjoy each other’s company,” she says.

As an animal educator, she leads by example through her sciencebased approach at caregiving for pets that include treat reviews, how-to tutorials, and “aw”-inducing introductions to her menagerie.

Take Hank, for example.

The sulcata tortoise, otherwise known as an African spurred tortoise, will likely live to be more than 70-years old and looks like a dinosaur. Hank is about 100 pounds and stubborn as an English

bulldog, his great shell scratched and slightly dented from efforts to fit in places too small for a very big tortoise, like scuffing your car while trying to squeeze into a parking space that’s too tight.

“He definitely has an attitude but does his own thing,” says Arriola.

He eats a hearty diet of hay, which also serves as insulation during hibernation-like periods where Hank tunnels deep into the farm’s soil that the Arriolas fill with hay that Hank later eats his way out of.

“Most people don’t realize how deep and how far they can dig their tunnels,” says Arriola. “They can burrow 20 feet deep and 140 feet long.”

Hanks spends most of his days roaming the farm but also gets pushed in a cart to speed

up his travels every now and then, passing by an array of birds that include chickens, roosters, guinea fowl, and peacocks.

Again, one of the aspects that stands out the most is the sense of harmony that exists on the farm.

“That’s Andre and his ‘girlfriend,’” Arriola points out as we round-up Hank as best a human can. Hank is a giant rooster with impressive plumage, whose companion is a dainty spotted guinea hen. Despite being different species, the fowl are friends who stroll their habitat like lovers in a Victorian novel.

Caring for and working with animals has cultivated a deep sense of empathy that Ariola says is one of the most remarkable advantages of animal interaction, and she’s happy to share her alpacas with the public.

“We do Valentine’s Day photo shoots with them, and they’ve also done some gender reveal parties,” she says. “People love being around them because they make them happy.”

March 2023
Animal Influence

Exotic Ocean the Desert Tropical to Brings thE

| By: CLAUDIA FLORES photos courtesy of: EXOTIC OCEAN |

Located over 600 miles away from the nearest ocean, El Paso, is known for its desertic environment at the southern tip of the Rockies, but right on 1530 Yandell Dr, Exotic Ocean brings part of the tropical waters to the Sun City.

With more than 5,000 gallons of marine fish, coral and inverts, Exotic Ocean offers its customers and the community the opportunity to learn about the many different species at the hands of U.S. Army veteran and owner Mark Mickshaw.

Mickshaw, who said he always had a deep interest in marine life, opened the store in 2018 to provide those also interested in marine life quality products and the best experience.

“Marine life always fascinated me, it’s something I enjoyed doing. Caring for the animals and watching them grow from a small fish, to watch them flourish by providing all the right parameters. From light temperature, to flow and everything they require to produce a thriving reef tank,” Mickshaw said.

Freshwater tanks differ in composition and maintenance from saltwater tanks. Freshwater aquariums are less expensive environments that you can source your fish at your local pet shop and the tanks can be glass or acrylic from any size.

According to Mickshaw, some of the pet shops that offer saltwater fish have their hands tied when it comes to quality control, since saltwater fish require extra efforts to thrive in a healthy tank.

“(Pet stores) are not allowed to use some of the things in the water that I am allowed to use. It is said that they can’t treat their water with copper, so they end up with parasite outbreaks, like velvet disease,” Mickshaw said.

“I am allowed to use copper and prevent that from happening in customers’ tanks, so it’s a huge advantage that is also preventive maintenance.”

Even when saltwater tanks lean on the expensive side, starting small is the safest and least expensive way to get into the hobby of cultivating reef tanks.

March 2023

According to the website Bulk Reef, most people will spend between $500 to $1000 for a brand-new tank and all necessary supplies during the first year, however this, again, depends much on the size of the reef tank owned.

Using a chemical or mechanical filtration system can be a way to make things easier for first-time owners. Mickshaw said that going for small corals is a great way to start small at an affordable cost.

“Go with an easy tank with lower maintenance, you can start off with corals that thrive in higher nutrients, geared toward the easier and low light, some don’t rely so much on Alka calcium and magnesium so it will be the easy way to get your foot in the door type of tank,” Mickshaw said.

March 2023
Exotic Ocean Brings the Tropical to the Desert

At Exotic Ocean, El Pasoans will find a variety of vibrant color corals and fish that range from little starfish to the highly popular clownfish.

Mickshaw explained that some of the fish and corals are imported, while some are tank bred in a facility he owns out of Tennessee that helps ethically breed fish in captivity.

According to the veteran, although the prices might vary, tank bred animals do contribute to the sustainability of the oceans.

“Some can be bred in captivity, while some haven’t reached that point yet and that does increase the price a lot, because you’re paying for a facility, shipping and all their employees,” Mickshaw said. “So, it affects the price of the animals a lot when they are tank bred, but it is more sustainable, and it is good to work towards that easily sustainable route.”

Mickshaw shared that if customers are struggling with adapting their fish and corals to their new homes, he is willing to help out.

“There’s a big community in El Paso that are knowledgeable in reef tanks and that are willing to help. If you are having trouble, these people are willing to help you. Just start easy and work your way up,” he said.

March 2023
(915) 598-7948 3512 N Yarbrough El Paso, TX GOLD WINNER BEST ITALIAN FOOD


Best of the City 2022

The community honored El Paso’s leading figures across a multitude of industries and disciplines at The Best of the City 2022 as sponsors, winners, and guests enjoyed a black and white affair, tacos, and an intimate performance by Krystall Poppin.

| Photos by: JOHN HORTA and GIBEL AMADOR |
124 March 2023 March Advertiser INDEX A-1 Kitchens by Sierra ......................................................Pg. 12 Alfredo H. Arrellano ........................................................Pg. 109 Ana Square Microblading and Permanent Makeup ..........Pg. 10 Antcliff Mediation ............................................................Pg. 61 Big O Photography ...........................................................Pg. 85 Borderland Bail Bonds ......................................................Pg. 15 Casa Buena Vista Homes ..............................................Pgs. 4-5 Cazzino .............................................................................Pg. 92 CLM Law Firm ..................................................................Pg. 66 El Paso Children’s Hospital .............................Inside back cover El Paso Nutrition Consultants ...........................................Pg. 31 El Paso Rhinos Hockey .....................................................Pg. 17 El Paso Personal Injury Lawyer, James Kennedy .....Pgs. 54-55 Epic Events & Entertainment ...........................................Pg. 35 Ethos Financial..................................................................Pg. 28 Farah Law .........................................................................Pg. 60 Glasheen, Valles, and Inderman Injury Lawyers ........Pgs. 48-49 Great American Steakhouse ...............................................Pg. 1 Hammer & Nails ...............................................................Pg. 41 Hotel Indigo ......................................................................Pg. 75 Hotel Paso Del Norte ........................................................Pg. 23 Hyundai of El Paso....................................Pgs. 111; Back cover Intraceuticals ...................................................................Pg. 69 John A. Wenke Law Office ..............................................Pg. 59 Karen Colon Law ..............................................................Pg. 63 Kastl Law ...................................................................Pgs. 46-47 Law Firm of Daniela Labinoti ............................................Pg. 68 Law Office of Gabriel S. Perez .........................................Pg. 64 Law Offices of Ruben Ortiz ..............................................Pg. 62 Law Offices of Sergio A. Saldivar .....................................Pg. 65 Law Offices of Theresa Caballero ....................................Pg. 57 Mendez Isaac Joudi ...................................................Pgs. 44-45 Morra Mia .........................................................................Pg. 24 Nicholas Reyes Hair Salon ................................................Pg. 30 Paola Luna .....................................................................Pg. 105 Persian Rug Gallery ..........................................................Pg. 25 Poe Toyota ........................................................................Pg. 13 Rejuvene M.D...................................................................Pg. 34 Saratoga Homes ...............................................................Pg. 11 Southwest Plastic Surgery ............................................Pgs. 8-9 Sparkle Effects .................................................................Pg. 91 Spencer Trial Attorneys .............................................Pgs. 52-53 Spotted Car Show ............................................................Pg. 40 Steve Raney Law Offices .................................................Pg. 58 Stryker by Spectrum .........................................................Pg. 93 Sugar Skull Boutique ........................................................Pg. 37 Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino .................................Pg. 42 The City Calendar .............................................................Pg. 22 The Manor at Ten Eleven ...............................................Pgs. 2-3 The Melting Pot ................................................................Pg. 29 The Mix Salon and Spa .....................................................Pg. 36 The State Line ................................................................Pg. 115 The Tap ...........................................................................Pg. 104 Tint World .......................................................................Pg. 115 Trattoria Bella Sera ..........................................................Pg. 116 Tristan Law ................................................................Pgs. 50-51 Troy Brown .......................................................................Pg. 56 Vida CBD ..........................................................................Pg. 89 VIP Design ........................................................................Pg. 91 Walgreens .......................................................................Pg. 6-7 West Texas Pain Institute ...............................Inside front cover Wyatt Underwood Trial Lawyers ......................................Pg. 67


Nothing stops Alvaro from pursuing his dreams of one day becoming an engineer, not even a life-threatening illness. He is the first patient in the world to receive an innovative treatment through a new technology that helps map the brain for a faster recovery. This medical advancement is made possible because of our very own world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. David Jimenez. Minutes after the surgery Alvaro was awake, healthy and fully cognitive. He continues to be a star athlete on his baseball team, all while working full-time and pursuing his electrical engineering degree at UTEP.

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