Thursday, October 16, 2014

My passion: The satos (street dogs) of Puerto Rico

A passion of mine is working to help street dogs ("satos") in Puerto Rico. I understand that there are problems with large populations of street dogs in many parts of the world but I have a personal connection to Puerto Rico: my twelve year-old cocker spaniel was thrown out into the streets when she was less than nine months old . This is very common in Puerto Rico. I love the people and the culture of Puerto Rico but I don't like the way pets seem to be viewed there as disposable. Another part of the problem is that the majority of pet owners don't spay or neuter them. There are many low cost spay/neuter programs offered but there exists an attitude among many people that it is terrible to take away a male dog's "maleness". I never have been able to wrap my head around this because the alternative is what they have now: a huge population of homeless dogs who suffer and die in the streets. There is even a beach commonly referred to as Dead Dog Beach (Google it if you want to learn more but make sure you have a box of tissues at hand). There are also Puerto Ricans who love animals and are disgusted and angered by the everyday suffering they witness. Some have started shelters and dedicate their lives to rescuing and re-homing dogs and cats. A big problem they face is that most shelter pets on the island will never be adopted. Fortunately some shelters in the states will take dogs from them when they have room and they typically get adopted quickly. Those of us who work with satos think they are just about the best dogs in the world. It is incredible how after the neglect and abuse they have suffered they can be so forgiving and loving. They seem to know they have been rescued and as a result are very loyal. I have so much more to add to this topic but my post is getting very long so I'll save it for another time. I will share more later but if you are curious and would like to check the rescue I work with, go to #satos #puertorico #animalrescue

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