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The Animal-Rescue Team

Jim and Kelly Karger

After 25 years as an attorney, having built the biggest labor-law firm in Texas, Jim Karger, 56, found that "my psychic bank account was fully depleted." His finances were in great shape, though, so in 2003 he and his wife, Kelly, 48, sold their house in Dallas and took off for the high desert of central Mexico to contemplate the future.

Karger found that he still wanted to advise corporate clients on certain kinds of labor issues, so he started a consulting firm. At the same time, he recalls, "you couldn't walk down the street here without seeing dozens of hurt, abused, abandoned dogs. It's heartbreaking. My wife said to me, 'We can't just stand by and ignore this.' "

That was the beginning of a nonprofit called Save a Mexican Mutt (saveamexicanmutt.org), or SAMM for short, which takes in strays and spays or neuters them, socializes them, and tries to place them in good homes. Now the Kargers, who have eight dogs themselves, spend much of their time delivering homeless canines to San Antonio, El Paso, Albuquerque, Denver, and Boulder. Through connections with other rescue groups and directly through the SAMM website, they've so far found homes for about 200 dogs.