Tagged: “puerto rico”

Paws For The Cause

Paws For The Cause

By volunteer: Carlie Jenney, interviewing Shelter Director Adrienne Galler Lastra

Backstory:

In many countries throughout the world, the mistreatment and overpopulation of animals has been a problem. Puerto Rico is no exception; the issue has been relevant for a very long time and the problem has only intensified. Not many people realize the severity of the issue.

The exact number of stray animals is a mystery, but the number is significantly large. The problem of overpopulation could be fixed over time if people began to spay and neuter their pets. This way the dogs wouldn’t be able to continuously reproduce on the streets. However, cultural beliefs (that spaying and neutering is not right or unnatural); low economic resources; and a lack of education as to the purpose of spaying and neutering, hold some people back from making that commitment to their pets.

The stray dogs of Puerto Rico are referred to as “satos” which is Puerto Rican slang for street dogs. Not only are these animals roaming the streets searching for food, reproducing and becoming sick, they are being abused and often times mistreated: abuse sometimes is as extreme as being put in plastic bags, shot or taunted.

There aren’t many organizations able to help or government assistance, so small rescues based out of people’s homes are struggling to raise awareness and educate as many people as possible, on top of helping the animals themselves.

Jenney’s Interview of Adri Galler, “Guardian de los Satos,” (Protector of the Satos), in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, September 20, 2017

Amigos de los Animales (ADLA) is a dog rescue based out of a woman’s home in Puerto Rico. Now that Hurricane Maria has hit the island, things have gotten harder and harder for ADLA. The woman who somehow balances getting back on her feet from this horrible natural disaster AND taking care of the dogs being tied to her porch is more than a hero in the eyes of many people.

Many know her as the Guardian of the Satos. Satos is the Puerto Rican slang for ” street dog”. In other words, she is the guardian of the street digs. There are nearly 300,000 stray dogs roaming the streets. To put that into perspective, for every 11 people there’s one stray dog.

Adri feeding one of 10 new-born puppies who’s mom had to go through a cesarean and would not give her puppies milk. All 10 puppies survived and were sent to Shadow Rose Farm in Kentucky.

How did you get involved in this field?

Guardian of the Satos Adri Galler Lastra has lived in Puerto Rico since she was 19. During this time she studied Music Education; cared for her mother in her mom’s house in the beach town of Piñones, Loiza; and noticed the ill-treatment of the animals around her: “It has always been a horrible issue with the animals in Puerto Rico,” she recalls. When Adri’s mother passed away she explains that her heart told her to do something, something good. She was left with a house and her passion for animals and the problem they faced in Puerto Rico.

So, she took advantage of the opportunity and started rescuing dogs one by one. “And it happened that I became a shelter, I couldn’t leave these dogs to fend for themselves. People think they can fend for themselves, they’re domesticated and there’re pets.”  At one point, there were over 115 dogs she took care of by herself. She does everything in her ability to accommodate as many dogs as she can. Adri puts emphasis on the fact that she was chosen to do this and that she is not a hero. Of course she is a hero, who is doing an amazing thing for a very good cause.

ADLA residents on their crates during Saturday Cleaning Day. ADLA will have between 55 to 70 dogs at the Shelter at one time.

Who are you protecting?

Adri’s hero name is a perfect way to explain who she is protecting. Guardian of the Satos, protector of the street dogs, she is their saving grace. Since most dogs are domesticated they aren’t built to be out in the elements, and it shortens their lifespan, they have to deal with a lot of horrible stuff. She is protecting the dogs, because they can’t protect themselves.

As time goes on, and more people become educated as to properly caring for their pets, with the help of the Guardian of the Satos, the situation will improve. Already, more people are beginning to feed and rescue the strays.


ADLA does not have an on-site veterinarian. Veterinary Assistant students from EDIC College in Carolina, Puerto Rico regularly come to give check-ups to the dogs.

Why is this such a big problem and how can it be fixed?

It’s a problem because not enough people care (or know) about the overpopulation issue. The dogs continue to multiply because many of them were never fixed by their owners. The only way this problem will ever come to an end is through education and awareness: “The effort to save animals, goes towards educating people.” People need to be more responsible, sterilize their animals, and not dump them when they are no longer wanted.

Adri explains how she raises awareness to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome as many dogs as possible. She dedicates her life to capturing these injured and sick dogs, fix them up, and in most cases, sends them to the United States for adoption at partner no-kill shelters. It’s also important to raise awareness for sterilization. If people know they’re planning on getting a dog, they should be responsible pet owners and get them fixed.

In Puerto Rico a majority of the stray animals receive an injury of some sort. Whether it is broken bones, lost limbs, disease, virus of some sort, its always something. Adri has personal experience with rescuing dogs in this state. Some of them don’t always make it, because they are too sick or too broken. Adri’s mission is to help as many as she can.

Micah was rescued early 2018. He had an old wound on his underbelly which had partially healed over. He was recently flown to a no-kill shelter in New Hampshire for a faster adoption.

How did Hurricane Maria impact your rescue?

The hurricane was horrifying for anybody who decided to stay and wait out the storm, which turned out to be a category 5 hurricane with nearly 180 mph winds. There were many fatalities, and carcasses scattered the grounds. After the storm happened and a few days had gone by, ” people started leaving their dogs on my doorstep. People should not have been allowed to treat animals this way; the natural disaster turned into a human disaster,” Adri declared.

The storm has made it very hard to Puerto Rico to progress. There are so many dogs each day that Adri sees and can just not take in for lack of space, energy and resources. She is doing everything she can to take in as many as possible, but there is only so much she can do.

Luckily, the ADLA shelter weathered the storm, and the organization is still rescuing and rehoming, as well as raising consciousness within the community. You can help by follow ADLA on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and sharing photos of their pets to increase adoption and visibility! To contact Adri directly, email adri@amigosdelosanimalespr.org.

To donate to Amigos de los Animales and Adri’s rescue mission, click here or send a check to:

Amigos de los Animales, Inc.
PO Box 79477
Carolina, Puerto Rico 00984

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

 

Puppy Storms!

Puppy Storms!
Hello Everyone! Happy April Showers; almost May Flowers

Lately, we’ve been caught in the middle of Puppy Storms!!! Just last week, we rescued Manchita, who was heavily pregnant. We finally had to bring her to a vet who performed a caesarean on Friday. We are now bottle-feeding her 10 puppies every two to three hours! Been doing this since the birth, so we are exhausted, but more on Manchita and her pups in the next post. Elder puppies come first:

12 Puppies got their Wings!!

This weekend, we just sent a rowdy bunch of 12!!! to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey. These little guys loved to play around when they were let out of their run! They also loved to get bathed by volunteers. Click on their bathing for a YouTube video!

 

Pam: a Paw Recovery Story!

We just received Pinky and Pam April 13th (lucky day for us!); and are busy healing Pam’s bad paw. They are the cutest pair of furry black babes!

 

 

 

Blanca’s Babies

And we’ve got Blanca’s Puppies, who around 21-days old and the absolute cutest things! We can’t get enough photos of them! LOOOVVE!

 

And finally!!!! Being surrounded by puppies reminded us of the sand storm we experienced last month on the Shelter. On March 5th, strong currents, high wind and 30-feet high waves affected our little beach town. Homes flooded; businesses were partially destroyed, and cars were ruined. The next day, the police had to close the road leading into the Shelter in order to remove all the sand that had accumulated. The waves had decreased but the ocean remained unsafe with the waves reaching 15 to 20 feet.

Check out a video taken the day after the event!

In fact, we named one of Blanca’s puppies Sandy, after the storm! Help Sandy and her sisters and brothers stay healthy! Every penny we receive goes towards ADLA’s mission: to help end animal abuse and abandonment in Puerto Rico!

DONATE TODAY. Then check to see if your employer will match what you give!

Thanks for reading and all your support!
Happy Yapping/Sqealing!!
~ Adri and Amanda 🙂
   Team Amigos de los Animales