Happy Beginnings

Happy Beginnings

It’s adoption time! It is very hard to say goodbye to each and every dog we rescue. But by knowing that they will receive all the love and attention they deserve, we are happy to let them go. We would rather call our adoptions ‘Happy beginnings’ instead of a ‘Happy endings’, because it is the beginning of each rescues’ chance to start a new, happy life!

Below a brief selection of our many rescues and their Forever Families!

Ginger: One of our Hurricane Maria survivors

Ginger at the Shelter

Ginger was one of 63 rescues that were evacuated from the Island following the disastrous effects of Hurricane Maria in September 2017. At the time of the flight, the Shelter lacked electricity; clean running water; and much needed operating supplies. During her flight, Ginger found a special place in the heart of the volunteers who moved her up to the front of the plane and given the special attention every doggy loves. Only one month after her flight, Ginger had already found herself the best home any doggy could ask for!

Ginger now lives in New Jersey with Ken Colen, his wife Abby and their three children- and they all love Ginger so much! Ginger also has her own sister: a 12 year old rescue named Maddie and she and Ginger are becoming best buds! Ginger, who was always a little shy, looks to Maddie for protection 🙂

Ginger gets a visit from brother Champ!

Ela: The little dog INSISTING she was big

There is a long story behind this spunky little dog. She is quite a character!

Ela was rescued from the Housing Project Luis Llorens Torres in Ocean Park, PR, was pregnant, and was not an easy catch! Once caught and brought to the Shelter, Ela was rather timid and untrusting. She had a broken tail and her face was a little crooked as if she had been kicked hard. This would probably explain her aversion to people. However, she did make friends with ALL the dogs, and had 5 pups of her own! Her favorite pals were the larger dogs, easily ten times bigger than her. Adri would say: “Ela insists she is a large dog.” After several months at the Shelter she has transformed into a sweet dog, who liked to be touched, picked, respond to her name and loved to kiss.

Ela was adopted by Martha Bozeman in Orlando, Florida at 3 and a half years of age. At her new home, she now SLEEPS ON THE BED (how adorable), and has three doggy sisters– all smaller than she. Ela is finally the big dog she always thought she was!

Dusty: A True Survivor with a Total Recovery

Dusty was found by an Amigos volunteer with the help of two ACO/CI’s who graduated from one of our courses. When found he was skinny, starving, dehydrated, had heartworm, ehrilichia, anaplasma, and such a bad case of mange that his skin was bleeding. Soon after Dusty arrived parvovirus ripped through the rescue, and many puppies lost their lives.

Dusty was one of the few survivors. He was immediately sent to a rescue in New Orleans, Lousiana for care.

From there, Dusty’s real life began: Mimi Olsen Cook was on the Board of the rescue and, at first, was trying to make every excuse in the world to not adopt him.

After 2 failed overnights, she finally came to her senses and knew he was meant to be part of the family.

He now lives heartworm free, and in absolute adoration of Mimi’s 10-year-old daughter. He also has two other Shelter rescue dogs to keep him company in his doggy mischief: one is a 5-year old Weimaraner and the other a 1 year old cocker spaniel mix.

Jess: recovered from “Dead Dog Beach” with hot oil wound.

Jess before

Jess before

Dead Dog Beach is the unfortunate nickname of a beach on our island where dogs are left to die, a lot of times after being tortured, poisoned or purposely run over by a car. Jess was one of those dogs found on that beach,

Read more about Jess
A resident dog caretaker at the beach aided Jess as best he could by stitching his open wound with a needle and thread – a wound where the oil had penetrated so deeply that bone material was visible. Somehow Jess managed to thrive at the beach despite his

Jess Now

Jess Now

circumstance and wound. In early 2006, Jess was rescued from the beach, and the difficulty of placing Jess began.

Jess did not particularly show well in the kennel, because he much preferred playing in open space. Jess also had a lot of energy (because he wanted to be with people – always) which made Amigos cautious as to just what stateside shelter we’d send him to. Jess is an extremely loyal dog, and we wanted to find him someone that would be just as loyal to him.

After four months with Jess we got our break through: the shelter Animals In Need in Washington took Jess in and found him his own forever-family. He didn’t even have to go into boarding, his new family picked him up at the airport.

Jess is now famous in his community. He attends baseball games, sleeps on the couch, has a cat for a buddy, and recently had his first-ever camping trip. Jess’s new guardian Kym says that adopting Jess was the best last minute decision she’s ever made. Amigos is grateful to Kym and her family, and proud of her young children and their embrace of Jess’s “star” (scar).

Shell: rescued from the cement ledge of the highway

Shell reunited with her family

Shell reunited with her family

Shell’s story is really something. Shell was spotted on the expressway, sitting on a cement ledge, with nowhere to run but on the shoulder of the expressway or right into traffic. Rescuers Chris and Liz circled back around to her spot after seeing her and found her running on the expressway shoulder, having obviously been hit by a car at some point during her ordeal. It took some doing, but eventually Shell was caught and taken to the vet.


Read more about Shell
The vet suggested Shell be put to sleep because she would require extensive surgery and because of her age (7+). Chris and Liz put off making any decision and showed her x-rays to another vet who said he wanted to see her. Shell was brought to the other vet who performed the surgery right away.

Shortly after Shell’s surgery Chris received a notice from someone who had lost their Yellow Lab. It was Shell. Shell’s guardians showed up to the vet’s bright and early the next morning to see her. She was still in recovery at the time, but it wasn’t long before they were reunited for good and dropped by to have their picture taken by Liz. Shell was really only 3 years old according to her guardians.

Nina and Nicole before their rescue

Nina and Nicole before their rescue

Nina and Nicole: rehabilitating from mange, fungus, parasites, starvation

Nina and Nicole were the unlikely pair of a purebred Rottweiler and a purebred German Shepherd living together in the jungle overgrowth at “Dead Dog Beach.” When Nina and Nicole were discovered, they could barely stand. Resident “Dead Dog Beach” dog caretakers Steve McGarva and Sandra Cintron kept them alive through routine feeding and medication, and kept them away from the other dogs because both needed all their strength for survival.

Ursula: dropped off at the beach

Ursula Now

Photo by Jack Keenan

Ursula was rescued from “Dead Dog Beach” and fostered with Steve McGarva. Then she made her way to Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League in New Jersey, through whom she found her new guardians. Steve recognized that a breed like Ursula’s would not survive the harsh conditions of the beach, and took her in the first day she was dropped off at the beach.

When Ursula was taken to our Dr. Ramos, he discovered she had a pincho stick (equivalent to a shish kabob skewer) lying horizontally across her throat. Ursula had to be given anaestesia to remove the skewer. Ursula is now happily living in her new home with her new guardians and another Great Dane, and she’s come a long way to shake off the shyness that plagued her throughout her foster care.

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Joe: The Cocker

Joe-The-Cocker: happy tail!

Joe-The-Cocker: happy tail!

Joe was adopted by Mary O’Connor and her girls from St. Hubert’s North Branch shelter. Joe is now named Cooper so there aren’t two Joes in the family. Mary says Cooper’s tail never stops wagging, he gets to sleep on the bed and that he has added a lot to all of their lives. Cooper lives with Mary, her daughter, two cats and two rabbits.



Mags and her BFF

Mags and her BFF

Mags: New BFF

Maggie was adopted at the St. Hubert’s Barkfest in May of 2007. Maggie was a shy girl, and didn’t do much in her kennel at Barkfest but remain absolutely motionless. This young girl sat by Maggie’s side for over an hour and later pleaded with her parents to let Maggie come home with them. When the adoption was final, Maggie trotted off alongside her new companion like they’d been together for years.


If you adopted an Amigos Alumni and an adoption (or Happy Beginning) story to tell, we want to hear it! Please send an email to amanda@amigosdelosanimalespr.org. Remember to include pictures and videos!