I first met Consuela – Consi – at a job site in San Juan. She was a sato – a street dog – who was hanging out on the loading docks. For many weeks as I worked, every time I showed up, Consi was there. It didn’t matter if she was roaming the junkyard across the street, or somewhere inside the loading dock. She knew her amigo had arrived and would come running for some love and a little bit of what I learned is her favorite game – tug-o-war
One night I worked late and went to my car at about 7:30. Consi followed me all the way to my car and gave me the most endearing and sad look as I got in and drove away. I was heartbroken. I knew at that point she needed a home, wanted a home, and I decided I would try my hardest to give her that home. But I was doubtful. Dogs have quarantine, right?
Actually, no. After a bit of research, I learned a couple of things: There are no restrictions at all about transporting dogs from Puerto Rico to the mainland US, and there are several organizations on the island dedicated to doing just that. One of those organizations, Amigos de los Animales, contacted me to offer help in bringing Consi home. They came to my job site, spoke with the people there to ensure that Consi was not “spoken for” and also to assure that we were not taking her to be destroyed. Consi came willingly – I swear she knew she was being rescued. We took Consi to a local veterinarian, who checked her out and treated her for fleas. I then flew with Consi to her new home in Colorado.
I can honestly say that I never expected to bring home a dog from Puerto Rico. But I can also say that Consi has enriched my life in more ways than I can count. And I know beyond any doubt that had I not acted, she would be gone by now, a victim of fleas, disease, or the bounty hunters who are paid to round up dogs. Instead, she is loving and loved, a joyful addition to my house.
If you have seen a dog on the island and you have made a friend, please don’t wait. Please don’t leave it to someone else to rescue him or her. Please - take your friend home. Dogs on the island have a short, hard life, filled with fleas, mange, disease, abuse, and bounty hunters. The dog you have met needs one friend right now, today. That friend is you! Please…follow your heart and take him, or her, home with you. Believe me, you will not regret it for one minute.
~ John Bates and Consuela Colorado USA
©Amigos de los Animales