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Dog Walking with Patita Amiga

Dog Walking with Patita Amiga

During the past few weeks, we’ve initiated a new volunteer opportunity that both peeps and doggies enjoy: Dog-walking on the Boardwalk and beach.

On certain Sundays of the month, we are teaming up with Patita Amiga, a student-run organization based in the Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico. We were approached by the group because they wanted to take part in helping other animal welfare organizations in the community, and strive to create conscientiousness on the proper way to care for pets and protect animals.

Now, we coordinate with around 8 to 15 students, who walk the dogs for about an hour and a half. This volunteer activity is great exercise and gets the students away from the their desks and the computer:

And the dogs love it! At first, some are uncomfortable or scared. For many, it is their first time being on a leash and for others, it is their first time walking outside the shelter. After 2 or 3 outings, most of them are walking like they’ve been doing it for years. Those that have grown up in the shelter and are still less than a year old, take more time, but it is such a great sight to see them finally let go of their fear and take a walk. This, in turn, makes the dogs more adoptable, which completes our mission: The more dogs we get adopted, the more we save! Foster, or adopt, our dogs are ready for you!

Here are stories told from the students and the doggies themselves!

Daniel gets confidence

Daniel

Daniel at the shelter, with Pino in the background. Photo credit: (c) Dominik Fleischmann, www.mysilentkingdom.com

Daniel is one of the dogs that has made the most progress. At first, Daniel was scared and to go out. He always loved people and especially the younger crowd, but was not sure about leaving the shelter with people he had just met.

Daniel guards his crate

Daniel guarding his crate at the shelter. The dog’s crates are their “place:” where they sleep, feel safe, travel, and generally are allowed to do whatever they want. Photo Credit: Amy Ellis Instagram: @amykamala

Daniel was also scared of meeting stray dogs during his walks. Towards the end of the walks, there is always a pack of dogs that come to taunt and threaten us a little (they are a neighbor’s and completely harmless, but like to act like they own the street. Daniel would either stop, or walk very cautiously by. Now Daniel walks with his head high and with so much confidence. Plus, he loves to go out!

Daniel walking

Daniel walking with his buddies Amos and Pinto.

David Ayuso, President of Patita Amiga, adores Daniel and gives him a walk whenever he comes to volunteer:

“The first time I tried walking Daniel was difficult because he did not know me and he was very nervous. I particularly remember one time that the day was really hot and Daniel was tired halfway into our walk, but as soon as he recognize that we were going back home he started wanting to jog all the way back and I caved in. Good thing I brought my running shoes that day.” – David Ayuso

Daniel is ready to meet someone to take him home and love him forever!

Daniel walking

Salvador and Pino: Shelter staples get some special “me” time

Salvador and Pino have been at the shelter since they were puppies. They were in such bad shape when rescued, and had to stay in shelter care for so long, they just got used to the life. Now, they keep peace among the new rescues that come into the shelter. There is a lot of turnaround and these dogs basically get along with everyone.

Pino looking after the shelter.
Photo credit: Amy Ellis

Salvador at the shelter

Salvador watching over his shelter terrain.
Photo credit: (c) Dominik Fleischmann

They are also favorites to walk among the UPR students because they are so well-behaved, and calmer than the younger shelter crowd:

“When I first met Salvador, they told me to take it easy on him because he is suffering from cancer and also because the ages have downed in on him. However, as soon as he saw the leashes and stepped foot outside, he was radiating with life. Salva surprised me, because even though his life is not as healthy as other dogs, he is strong, determined and most importantly, happy. Walking him was a really wholesome experience; he loved it and if he’s happy, then I’m happy.” -Angely Cruz

“The first walk I ever did with Amigos de los Animales was with Pino, a beautiful rottweiler. To be honest I was a little nervous because it was my first time taking a dog that big for a walk. At first it was a bit hard to control him because of how strong he is, nonetheless, he is very obedient and by the time we were finishing the walk he was walking by my side without trying to pull me anywhere.” -David Ayuso

Patita Amiga group

The Patita Amiga group with their dogs, including Salva and Pino in the background.

Pinky’s first outing, first walk, and first view of the Ocean

Pinky and Pam are two pups that were found on a rocky ocean shore. Pam had a cut of her left foot which needed cleaning and constant supervision to ensure it did not get infected during the healing process. The siblings were rescued as puppies.

Pam and Pinky

Pam and Pinky at vet’s office immediately after rescue. Pam has the hurt paw.

Now Pam and Pinky are large, energetic black labradors. Their first “Shelter Outing” on a leash was actually their trip to get sterilized during November’s Spayathon in Arecibo. They both had an unforgettable experience: They both had to get up earlier than usual, take the hour and and a half drive to the event; get leashes put around their necks (which was a totally new experience for both of them), and where basically dragged through a 5-hour line, to the vetting area, where they were put to sleep, to wake up being sterilized. It must have been a shock!

Line at spayathon

The Spayathon Line. Pinky and Pam were not happy and were not even photogenic at this point!

About a week after their big outing, Pam and Pinky took their first real walk on the Boardwalk.

Pam was still a little scared. She was walking with her tail between her legs and pushing up on her brother. He (Pinky), on the other hand, was fascinated by the water and wanted to be and see everything at the same time. He did a great job though!

Pam and Pinky

Pam and Pinky walk the Boardwalk

Pinky also loves to continue to go out. Pam is a little more reticent, but we are working with her and will have her strutting her stuff in no time!

We are looking forward to our dogs walking in a Pet Fashion Show that will take place in December at Saint John’s School — a local grade school in the San Juan area. Hopefully some of pups will also get adopted! Visit all our dogs on our website or on Petfinder! If you cannot adopt, you can still help fostering a dog or fill out our volunteer application, and expressing interest in animal care, dog-walking, or socialization.

From Sato to Therapy Dog

From Sato to Therapy Dog

By: Gail Ryan, Chester’s Mom

Chester was a scared, skinny, Sato in 2009. Dressed in a new winter coat and harness, he and I went to the park daily. We met many dogs, but he was more interested in senior citizens. He greeted them gently and warmly.

Chester 2009

Chester in 2009

Chest at the part

Chester at the Park.

As the months passed and Chester gained confidence, it became obvious that he was destined to do more in his life. He was evaluated to become a therapy dog with the program Paws for People. His temperament and intelligence made it easy for him to pass the test to become a Therapy Dog. When I slip on his Therapy Vest, he knows he is going somewhere important.

Chester therapy dog

Chester in his Therapy Dog Vest

As a part of the Paws for People Program, we have visited children who have cerebral palsy or kids who have reading problems. The Reading to Dogs part of the program recognizes that it is less intimidating to read aloud to a dog than to a person. Sometimes the little kids show him their books and ask him to read.

We also visit nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. The patients reminisce about pets they had long ago. Chester is a good companion and an intuitive pup who has brought joy to many people.

Christmas

Chester brings in the holidays!

Chester is the greatest dog. He makes me laugh! He seems to be thinking all the time. He looks deeply into my eyes.  If only he could speak!  He is always up to something and so smart.
Satos rock! Everyone should know satos from Puerto Rico are fabulous!

Our Spayathon4PR adventure

Our Spayathon4PR adventure
Writing and Photography by: Dominik Fleischmann, www.mysilentkingdom.com

From November 3 to 9, a coalition of 26 local, national, and international organizations hosted a colossal Spay-athon in Puerto Rico. At eight different locations, veterinarians accomplished a marathon of surgeries and vaccinations to get Puerto Rico’s cats and dogs spayed and neutered.

Two dogs per person were granted a free treatment so Amigos de los Animales took the chance to get 13 of the shelter’s most recent rescues treated. On Tuesday morning Shelter Director Adri and ADLA CEO Amanda together with long time supporters Lianne, Isabel, Gabriela, and Rose made their way to Arecibo. Also on board:
Franky, Boots, Alfa, Amos, Pam, Pinky, Jagger, Blanquita, Mimi, Stormy, René, Rocco and Tiffany.

spayathon line

All the way from Loiza, we arrived at the Spayathon at 9am, and were definitely one of the later arrivals. We were told people had been lined up from 2 or 3 in the morning. All dogs were on a leash and the cats in crates. All owners got a wristband that was later used to identify them to their pets.

Blanquita and Mimi had a great time walking around and meeting all the new people and their much-loved pets. These girls were the only dogs were brought that had previously been mothers.

 

Most of these Satos were barely used to walking on a leash, let alone standing in queue for more then six hours. However Alfa, Blanquita, Boots and Jagger quickly adapted to the new situation and enjoyed the hustle and bustle in the surroundings of hundreds of other dogs. With countless new smells and so many things to pee on it was no wonder the little ones where overwhelmed with excitement while the crew moved slowly forward in line. And when you have two sweet dogs like Boots and Alfa in your lap no waiting is ever too stressful and time passes by quickly.

Thanks to the amazing volunteers in Arecibo the registration process went smoothly. The vets and volunteers treated well over 1.500 animals over the course of six days in Arecibo alone. In this historic effort to effect systemic change for the animals in Puerto Rico two more Spay-athons are scheduled for 2019.

Timmy

Timmy not only got sterilized with a new set of vaccinations, but he also got a free haircut! He was such a hairy, dirty boy, and during the wait for the main event, for some touchups! We are so thankful to the groomer who volunteered her services.

 

animals waiting

Each day of the Spayathon, 500 to 550 dogs and cats were sterilized. This means a substantial reduction in the number of domestic animals reproducing on the Island, and less animals roaming the streets exhausted and hungry.

 

Gabriela sitting

Gabriela taking a breack with Mimi and Blanquita

 

After the surgeries the Amigos Team gathered in the middle of the basketball stadium where the surgeries took place to wait for the 13 furballs to wake up from anesthesia. Especially for volunteer Gabriela this was a chance for a well deserved break for she was handling Amos and Pinky, two furry rascals who dared each other not to stand still for more than ten seconds over the many hours in queue.

At the end of a very long Tuesday not only the dogs were tired, but everyone from Amigos de los Animales was happy to be a part of this successful venture because it means Amos, Pinky, Boots and Co. are one step closer to finding a forever home.

 

Sato Travel to and from the Spayathon