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Shelter Rebuild: One year after Hurricane Maria

Shelter Rebuild: One year after Hurricane Maria

By Natasha San Miguel, ADLA volunteer

It’s almost the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, and Amigos de los Animales (ADLA) is diligently working to finish rebuilding its dog shelter after the devastating effects of the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, and, according to news reports, resulted in the deaths of over 4,500 Island residents and the disappearance of an unknown amount of stray dogs and cats.

Hurricane Maria threatens the lives of ADLA’s rescue dogs

Located in the beach town of Piñones, Loiza, ADLA’s shelter was hit hard by Maria:

“I stayed at the Shelter during the Hurricane and it was horrible. I thought our roof was going to blow off. The Shelter would have been completely destroyed if not for the boards we put up to protect the windows. The dogs were all freaked out; they didn’t know what was going on,”

says Shelter Director Adrienne Galler Lastra, who has lived at the Shelter for over 10 years and cared for the thousands of dogs rehabilitated be ADLA.

The Shelter houses approximately 60 to 70 stray and abandoned dogs at any given time and the Hurricane left the structure in such a shambles the organization was unsure it would be able to continue rescuing. ADLA either had to come up with a way to rebuild, or the shelter would have to shut down. Some of the destruction consisted of the gates surrounding the Shelter being ripped from their hinges and for months following the hurricane, gates were held up with rope and plastic ties.

shelter rebuild

The hinges could not withstand the force of the Hurricane and gates were being held together by rope. At any time, the rope could have given way and the dogs would have been able to escape the patio of the shelter.

 

gates prior to rebuild

These gates separated the runs from the patio. It was becoming very hard for shelter staff and volunteers to move from the patio to the runs and dogs were at risk of injury from protruding metal screen edges.

 

The coverings of the back and front patio were also ripped off by the wind, as was the tin lining covering the dog runs. The ceiling of the interior of the shelter leaked every time it rained, and the sand brought in from the beach clogged the drainage system in the back.

All over the Shelter the ceiling had begun to deteriorate and after the rains during and following the Hurricane desperately needed a rebar treatment and repatching.

 

back part of shelter drainage

The rebuild begins

In December 2017, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ® (ASPCA) awarded $10,000 to ADLA to put towards rebuilding the Shelter and preventing further damage. Early 2018, PEDIGREE Foundation ® awarded an additional $2,500 for the Rebuild. These funds were instrumental in completing Phase I of the Rebuild: which involved sealing the roof to prevent further damage by rainfall; removing and reinstalling new gating throughout the Shelter; and replacing the covers of the coverings for the front and back patio. The funds also provided for replacing the gates of the runs, along with the tin roofing on the runs which protects the dogs from the sun and rain.

“Thanks to the generous grants we received from ASPCA and Pedigree, we were able to continue to allocate our regular funding towards saving the animals, which was especially important during this time of real need for the community of Loiza and Piñones Beach, and the stray dogs roaming our town.” says Adri.

front porch reconstruction

Front Porch after Rebuild. The carton was replaced as well as some of the wood which had rotted from the moisture.

 

About ADLA and its location

Piñones Beach is a popular beach and weekend hangout for Puerto Ricans. It is also a very low-income neighborhood (with the majority of the population living under the poverty level), and a famous dumping ground for unwanted dogs.

“People think that because they leave the dogs on a beach, and there are kiosks and restaurants all over, and people coming and going, the dogs will get by; some might even hope their dog will get picked them up. But these animals are meant to be cared for as companions, they can’t get by on their own.” Adri continued: “Here, the perception of companion animals is slowly changing. In a way, the media attention Puerto Rico has received since Hurricane Maria has been a blessing for the animals. Not only are more pets being rescued, but people are watching it happen; it’s being broadcast. By witnessing the effort organizations and individuals are willing to put into rescuing, people are realizing these animals are worth it.”

kids on beach with Adri

These are some Piñones residents on the beach with ADLA’s Shelter Director Adri and her service dog Cinderella. Adri regularly visits the beach with Cinderella and usually another well-socialized rescue dogs to teach the young children about proper pet care.

 

Thanks to the grant support, ADLA has been able to continue its mission of rescuing and rehoming stray dogs (some of these extremely abused). Everyday, there are new dogs roaming the streets and the hurricane has exacerbated the situation. Many residents left the Island or lost their house, resulting in the abandonment of their pets. ADLA has rescued close to 200 dogs since the hurricane.

Micah

This is Micah. Micah was rescued on the road that runs along Piñones Beach. He had an old burn wound on his side probably from an acid or grease burn. Micah spent about 2 months at the Shelter before he was transported to New Hampshire by Hearts and Tails Animal Alliance.

 

Manchitas Puppies

These are Manchita’s puppies. Manchita is owned by a homeless woman, and was pregnant but could not give birth. ADLA took Manchita to the vet where a cesarean was performed. Manchita’s 10 babies were bottlefed from birth and at approximately 3 months of age flew to a sister shelter in the United States. In this photo, they are sleeping with their pet gorilla. Their mom Manchita was returned to her owner.

Continuing to Rebuild

The second phase of the Shelter Rebuild is currently underway and involves construction on the ceiling, electrical circuits damaged by the storm, as well as repainting: “We will still lose electricity from time to time, and this damages our circuitry,” Galler-Lastra explained. “We still don’t know the extent of the damage or the full cost of repairs. Yet we are so blessed not have so far been spared of hurricanes or serious storms this year.”

ADLA is looking for volunteers and donations to complete the second phase of the Rebuild. For those interested in contributing funds or services contact info@amigosdelosanimalespr.org. Donations can be given online or sent by mail to HC 2 Box 7622, Loiza, Puerto Rico 00772.

About the PEDIGREE Foundation

Formed in 2008 by the makers of PEDIGREE ® food for dogs, the PEDIGREE ® Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping dogs in need find loving homes by supporting the good work of shelters and dog rescue organizations throughout the country. Through no fault of their own, more than four million dogs end up in shelters and rescue organizations every year, and nearly half of them never find a place to call homes. For more information on how you can support the foundation visit https://www.pedigreefoundation.org/.

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, visit https://www.ASPCA.org, and follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Funding needed! Clear the Shelter!

Funding needed! Clear the Shelter!

ADLA urgently needs your help to maximize their adoptions in the rescue initiative Clear the Shelters!

Clear the Shelters is promoted and aired by television network NBC, and in Puerto Rico by the network Telemundo as “Desocupar los Albergues.” ADLA has participated in this initiative since it began in 2014, adopting out many of its rescues at the reduced fee of $50. This year, we need your support to make it happen!

Funding needed Clear the Shelters

On August 18th, ADLA’s adoption center will be set up in the public plaza of the municipality of Loiza. Loiza is also where the ADLA Shelter is located and is also one of poorest municipalities of Puerto Rico, with a majority of its population living under the poverty level. Every day, we cater to this disadvantaged community by operating our Shelter: rescuing stray dogs that are roaming the streets and beaches.

Since 2005, ADLA has rescued and rehomed over 3,300 dogs. Hurricane María has led to an increase in the number of abandoned dogs, which in turn has increased our intake and expenses.

We have rescued over 118 dogs during this year alone, and we have 80 dogs currently at the Shelter. We need to get as many dogs adopted on August 18th as possible!

funding needed clear the shelter

  1. In anticipation of the Clear the Shelters initiative, all our adoption fees have been lowered to $50. Yet we are still rescuing and rehabilitating at the same rate and cost as before.

Rescuing one dog includes:                                                                                                                A veterinary visit prior to the adoption to ensure the dog is healthy: $15                            Vaccinations (including rabies and cost of deparasiting): $85                                                              4DX which checks for heartworm, ehrlichia, anaplasmosis, and lyme disease: $65                        Heartworm treatment (if necessary): $350                                                                                          Sterilization: $100

That is a total of $615 per pet. 

  1. We want to make an impact in our community by not only rescuing the animals, but promoting responsible pet care: On August 18th, we will promote responsible pet care within the community of Loiza. After the event we must do house-checks for each potential adopter to make sure the dog will be in a safe environment.

Donate now to Help ADLA adopt out as many dogs as possible during  Clear the Shelter day! 

Funding needed Clear t

Meet Micah, Kay and Grace

Meet Micah, Kay and Grace

Meet Micah Kay and Grace

Meet Micah, Kay and Grace: Just a handful of our favorite Shelter pups waiting for their own big day: the day they’ll find their forever homes! Like all satos, each of them have their own special back story and quirks. And (like all satos) they are each lovable and have the same goal: to make us happy!

Since August 18th is Clear the Shelters Day, all sato adoptions now through August 18th are only $50. Let’s meet Kay and Mercy, two doggies waiting for their chance at a family…

Kay: A crazy girl looking for love <3

Kay is hand-down the most attention-grabbing dog at the Shelter! She’s also generated much social media interest and is really a “twitter” all through the Shelter. She loves following whomever happens to be near her, and is just an energetic bundle of love in need of a home all her own.

Here is Kay’s own special Adopt-me video made by one of our volunteers and one of Kay’s favorite peoples!

To see more videos like these, follow us on Facebook!

(If you already are following us and wondering why you didn’t see this video, make you set your setting to see all our posts: Click the Follow button under our cover photo; Check the box marked “See First.” Thanks!)

Back to Kay…

A Twitter follower recently generated this lovely poster (and others!) to help get Kay adopted. We love them and thought we’d share.

 

To see more of Kay and our other adoptable pups, follow us on Twitter!

DONATE NOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A SATO’S LIFE.

Grace: Full of grace, she’s a little lady: independent and sweet

Meet Micah, Kay and Grace

Grace is our quiet little love who we’ve had since mid-April. She’s come out of her shell since then and seems to definitely be a “people” dog: in fact it looks like she might prefer people to her own species. We’ve received a couple adoption interests in Grace, but she’s still waiting for that lucky someone.

Will it be you?

Micah: rescued with an open wound; we are happy to announce he is one step closer to his own Happy Beginning!

Our Shelter Director Adri was on her way back from grocery shopping for the shelter when she saw Micah on Route 187. He was sitting on a mount, perfectly content watching the cars pass by. When Adri approached, he wagged his tail and went up to her. She could see he had a horrible burn on the left underside of his belly, which had left his flesh open to possible infections. She immediately knew we had to take him.

 

 

 

 

 

Micah was brought to the vet who medicated the wound and it is now almost healed over! Here is a picture of Micah two months after his rescue getting looked over by a veterinary assistant student from Edic College. On July 31st, Micah is set to make his forever flight to Hearts and Tails Alliance in New Hampshire. We look forward to sharing the first leg of the voyage with you!

DONATE NOW TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A SATO’S LIFE.

Meet Micah, Kay and Grace

We hope you enjoyed meeting Kay, Grace and Micah!

If you think you’re the forever mom and dad that will change the world for one of our rescued dogs, email ela@amigosdelosanimalespr.org and we’ll take it from there!

We are also looking for volunteers to give us a hand with getting our pets adopted on Clear the Shelters Day. Let us know if you are available!

STRAY DOG BECOMES “KISSER THERAPIST”

STRAY DOG BECOMES “KISSER THERAPIST”

Carmen: Stray Dog Becomes “Kisser Therapist”

By Debra Malinics, adopter of ADLA alum Carmen, the “kisser therapist

I have owned neurotic dogs, psychotic dogs, crazy dogs, but never one as wonderful, sweet, smart, and loving as Carmen, a sato adopted from Amigos de los Animales through Wag on Inn in Oakhurst, NJ.

Carmen the kisser therapist

When my husband and I walked into the pet store to meet her, this little ball of fur ran right into our laps, licked us and next thing I knew, she was coming home with us. We had found our dog! and she was perfect from the start.  We named her Carmen in honor of her Spanish heritage.

At that time, I was on the board of a non profit planning a fashion show fund raiser. I suggested we add a dog or two to the venue, and three weeks later, Carmen stole the show wearing a Burberry coat accessorized with a brown and green braided leash, and behaving absolutely flawlessly.

Carmen on the catwalk with her Burberry coat

Carmen on the catwalk with her Burberry coat

On the way across the stage, I dropped her leash, put her is a sit stay command, and kept moving onto the runway. Carmen sat perfectly still, looking out over the audience, her eyes wide with wonder. She was perfectly poised and calm. While I whirled and twirled, Carmen remain seated, looking chic in her outfit. I picked up Carmen’s leash on leaving the stage and we walked off together to the audience’s delight and applause. Many attendees came to ask me how she was so well behaved and what was my secret…I said simply, Los Amigos de los Animales.

Friends kept telling Carmen should be a therapy dog because she emits such love but I didn’t have the time to take her to classes. “She doesn’t need classes,” friends insisted… she’s perfect already! She’ll pass without trying, repeated a friend and bet me $20 that she would. I couldn’t resist.

Carmen giving Debra's late husband Bernard some kissing therapy

Carmen giving some kissing therapy

I took Carmen to the next available Therapy dog certification class without any usual classes or preliminary training.  Do you have your good citizen papers the woman asked when I registered her.  Clueless, I said, “No, no, I’m a citizen.”. Looking at me oddly, she said, “I mean for your dog.” “Oh, she’s a citizen too,” I replied, “she was born in Puerto Rico.”  The woman just shook her head and asked me to fill out a form to begin. Carmen was perfect. I lost the bet, but Carmen won the class. Out of 14 well trained dogs, three passed the test and Carmen was one of them. I was so proud!

As a therapy dog, Carmen brings joy and love to children, students and adults. Everywhere I go, people fall in love with her and on her therapy visits, they call her the “Serial Kisser” because she spends her time kissing everyone in the room. Some colleges arrange their schedules around Carmen’s schedule. She has magic and when I look into her eyes, it seems they see into the universe.

When people say how lucky Carmen is to have us, I say, “WE are the lucky ones.” There are so many wonderful ways to share your life and your love and sharing it with an animal is one of the best. Animals make the world a better place for all.

When my husband was ill, Carmen was at his side 24/7, and after his death, she gave her love and support to me when I grieved. Carmen is an ambassador for all good things and I wish the world had more Carmens to set an example for us, the people who need it. Thank you Amigos de los Animales for bringing her into our lives. Now if I can figure out how to clone Carmen…If they did it with Dolly, surely they can do it with Carmen, my kisser therapist.

Carmen posing as a jungle princess

 

Surviving Hurricane María!

Surviving Hurricane María!

It’s our first update since the Hurricane and we have so much to say, and so many people to thank; it’s a bit over-whelming! But we are committed to keeping this short and sweet.

As you are all aware by now, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico September 20, 2017, only two weeks after Hurricane Irma passed slightly north of the island. Days following Maria, we did without electricity, phone service, or internet; and access to businesses; drinking water was contaminated; and both the Shelter and the town of Loiza experienced damages and losses.

Pets were also victims of this disaster as many residents lost their homes, moved, or no longer had the financial means to care for their animals; additionally, for a time, there was an airline embargo denying shipping of live animals in cargo.

Early October we funded a flight for 63 of our rescues to various Shelters in the north-eastern United States. Since then, we’ve continued getting our dogs to no-kill shelters where they will have the best chance of finding their forever home and family: these include St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center; Last Chance Animal Rescue; Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation; Shadow Rose Farm; and Max’s Pet Connection.

 

In total, we’ve been able to fly 143 rescues to safety in the continental United States!

We’d like to thank all our supporters who have made these flights possible! We’d also like to thank those that continually care for our animals in between these flights. Thank you, all our volunteers and hard-working vets!

We cannot do it without your support!

 

Please stay tuned for more about the recovery of our structural damages; our rescues; and how you can help! We are committed to get as many pets as possible off the streets and into safe forever homes. Join us in our mission.

Amigos de los Animales relies on the continued support of donors like you!

Donate now and save lives!

We’re taking it to Colorado!!!!!!

We’re taking it to Colorado!!!!!!

I’m reaching out to you, and any of your friends who might be able to help us at Amigos de los Animales (ADLA) in regards to a new initiative I’m working on with dear friend and sister ACO/CI Jennifer Montry. Montry is an expert in sustainable businesses and is helping us find appropriate sheltering solutions for some of Puerto Rico’s Husky and Alaskan Dog strays which do so well in the cold mountain climates.

Since I have been president of Amigos de Los Animales, here in Puerto Rico, we have been rescuing Huskies, Malamutes, Samoyeds and other arctic type long-haired breeds. They are so uncomfortable in this heat.

By now, you all know there is a huge problem on the island with dog over population and now that the PR economy has collapsed, there are many more dog owners who have abandoned their pets to the streets and beaches, and leave them to suffer and die alone. Many of those dogs are arctic breeds which do not belong in tropical environments in the first place and who suffer greatly in 85+ degree year-round weather.

Most of the smaller dogs we take into our shelter in PR get shipped to no-kill shelters along the east coast US where they get adopted. We have a partnership with American Airlines and a unique collaboration with other rescue orgs. such as All Sato Rescue who have helped us transport throughout the years. Once we get them spayed/neutered and they receive full vet checks and socialisation we ship our rescued pets to US mainland shelters where they are adopted.

What’s the plan?
Certified Animal Control Officer / Cruelty Investigator, Jennifer Montry is based just west of Denver. She has lived in Denver for 3 years and among other things, she currently runs the most profitable Airbnb rental property in Colorado. The plan is for Amigos de los Animales to buy a farm property west of Denver with loads of acreage, that will be used as our non-profit Arctic Dog Rescue which will re-home these beautiful cold weather rescues out of Puerto Rico and into great homes in Colorado’s more climate-appropriate environment.

The shelter will be economically sustainable by running off funds generated from renting the main house out on Airbnb to tourists, and will piggy back off the success of Jennifer’s current listing, And it will bring in a monthly rent to the ADLA shelter here in Piñones, Puerto Rico.

Between us Jennifer and I have a few decades of experience in dog rescue and we have enlisted the help of a crowd funding specialist and marketing team to help us raise the funds for the property. As part of our responsibility in beginning a successful crowd funding campaign we must unite a list of 150 individuals who are passionate about protecting animals and willing to help us out in any way possible.

This does not mean we are looking for donations right now, but rather, we are looking for people who are passionate about helping the abandoned and abused animals of PR and would agree to spread the word of what we are trying to achieve. Would you be willing to help Amigos de los Animales grow so we can continue helping the homeless strays of Puerto Rico?

We need your help in any way possible to help spread the word of what we are trying to do to save Huskies, Alaskan Dogs and double coated dogs from Puerto Rico. If this describes you, please send me your name and email address to be part of the 150 people we need in order to begin our campaign.

Thanks for your time, please share this message and feel free to contact either Jennifer at 312-350-4266 or Adri (me) at 787-313-5653 if you have any ideas or you can help in any way. Please share your name and email to be a part of this exciting initiative and if you can send us 4 or 5 names of your animal activist friends and their email addresses, you will really be helping out!

Many Blessings and thanks for reading!!
Adri

Iggy RIP

Iggy RIP

Iggy.jpegI lost my precious boy Iggy Manuel on January 30th, 2016 after having him with me for 14 yrs.

I miss him terribly

Love Adri

 

Construction to do @ our Shelter Facility!

Construction to do @ our Shelter Facility!

Shelter imageDear Friends and Supporters,

We have been operating our little home as a shelter, since July of 2007 when my mom left us for her Journey to The Lord. Sometimes it is as if I still smell her perfume and coffee in the kitchen; like she’s telling me she approves of what we’ve done to her lovely home and with my life. We’ve made so many good friends and good changes throughout the years, thanks to you, friend. Whether you have come up along side us to help with your donation of a bottle of Clorox and some comforters, or bringing to life new kids through our rescue efforts because of your donations these days, weeks, months and years since 2007, thank you.
Now, one of the most important things we must do in order to cut down on falls and sickness due to uneven ground is break up the flooring and pour new concrete flooring all around the entire property. It has a slight incline and is rather large so it has to be done in sections.

The patio is dangerously uneven from previous construction, destruction and wear and tear. What was once concrete flooring has become a mush mash of rocks and holes.

Then we need to put in new wrought iron fencing because the old one is crumbling beneath our fingers!  We have someone working on that now and it will include some recycling of materials and will be very simple so as to keep costs down.

ElaandRobinson

Remember that this was our home before it became our shelter and we need to do updates on our electrical system and plumbing, and it’s time again to ceil roofs and patch falling sections of the ceiling. We also have to convert the small 9 by 11 ‘guest’ room outside the back of the house to a proper run including ceiling the roof, putting in a new window, door and a proper drain leading to the septic tank plus a light switch and lamp because it’s starting to fall down from dis-repair. You see, lots of things to fix.

How You Can Help…….
Conservatively speaking, we will need about to $20,000 to start making the needed improvements on this property to enhance the dog’s lives. We are asking anyone inside Puerto Rico who can volunteer their expertise to please call us so we can talk about getting you involved in the repairs!

Volunteer with dogPlease Help When You Can!

Right now we are back up to 87 dogs  and pups and between our vets we owe over $7000. We CAN NOT continue to take our rescues to our vets till we pay down our balances.
PLEASE help us with your donation of any amount. No donation is too small and we are always grateful for your help!

Pease click on the ‘donate’ button on the right side of the page to make a PayPal donation directly to Amigos de los Animales or you may send a check to Amigos de los Animales, HC 2, Box 7622, Loiza, PR 00772

God Bless and Thanks for reading.
Love, Adri

Letter from Adri

“Dear Friends and Supporters,

We have $6,000 in debts to Drs. Ellin, Diaz Umpierres, Mongil and Cruz because of emergencies, illnesses and broken bones in our rescued babies. I could never ask for money for myself but I am asking for your help now for our 4 legged angels so that we can continue to function and to get them the help they need! Our kids are always in different stages of rehab and we must  continue to treat them without hesitation. Parvovirus is a very lethal and contagious disease for small puppies and we recently had a costly emergency with Parvo. Dulce’s broken femur has been operated and we still owe Dr. Mongil for operating her.  We have 5 new rescues which need to be sterilised and vaccinated and we have 9 dogs which need to be treated for heart worm before we can have them up for adoption.

Adopt image pageWe also need to seal the roof, fix the ceiling, fix the drains and septic tank and we need to replace some electrical and plumbing. We need to purchase a couple traps so we can capture, sterilise and release feral dogs in this area.   We need to purchase more crates and there some major repairs which need to be done to our patio’s concrete flooring all around the shelter.  And it is soon coming time to replace our 12 year old wrought iron fencing completely.

AdriPino

We need help training our 4 legged ‘kids” to  make them more desirable and adoptable so that they will be adopted by good families who will love and care for them. Please, won’t you help us continue to operate through your donations so that our rescued dogs have the training and medical attention they so desperately need?”

If you would like to send a check or money order please send it to:

Amigos de los Animales, HC 2, Box 7622, Loiza, PR  00772

God Bless you and Thanks for reading.

Love, Adri

If you would like to make a donation, please click here.

Low Cost Sterilisations and Vaccinations in Piñones!

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Amigos de los Animales will host a LOW COST “SPAY / NEUTRE” event with the Humane Society International for Loiza residents. Dr. Cruz will bring his mobile van and sterilise 25 – 30 dogs for $35 per dog and Rabies vacs + DHPPL combo vaccinations will be available for $25!  The clinic will be for Loiza residents only, so if you live in the Loiza area, please call and make an appointment for your pet for the April 14th “Spay Day”.

Natasha3

Honey L and Natasha R / Photo by Dominik Fleishmann.