Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blondie in foster care and other good news!

While we are still financially struggling, only having received $250 recently (though so much appreciated) in donations toward our vet-bill debt, I remain hopeful that our efforts will eventually make some funding appear. Now would be a good time to have money start growing on trees.

On to the happiest of topics, Adri has been working with me to find a place for Blondie to go, since for whatever reason we have been unable to find an adopter for this blonde piece of perfection. Blondie is finally out of her kennel at Dr. Ramos'. Until we find her a place to go, she will be staying at Adri's house in foster care. She's doing very well there. Adri is about to leave for the U.S. until mid-September, and Blondie may not be going anywhere until then. However, at least she is playing with other dogs now and getting A LOT more excercise!
In other great news, it looks like Liz has lined up a spot for Iris with a woman who fosters dogs for Second Chance Rescue in Illinois. Iris may still need more recovery time in Puerto Rico, as her front leg was never amputed but is still healing. This leg is not going to be functional, but based on his professional opinion, Dr. Ramos decided she could keep her front leg. A foster situation will be great for Iris, as she is still quite nervous around humans and needs socialization before being adopted.

In even more great news (it's been a nifty week, eh?), our newly rescued Marley was recently featured in a Boston paper, North End News! Fellow ADLA rockstar Rosina arranged the whole thing and asked for a bio of any dog we thought might need a boost in his/her adoption possibilities. Here's what we came up with for him:

*Marley* is a one-year-old, border-collie mix Amigos de los Animales recently rescued him from Los Machos Beach in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Los Machos Beach is a regular dumping ground for unwanted dogs and is known for mass poisonings and beatings of the abandoned animals who have no choice but to live there. *Marley* was a long-time resident of Los Machos Beach. (If you would like to read more about the Los Machos Beach Project, please visit www.losmachossatos.blogspot.com. Unfortunately, it was witnessed that during his time on the beach, large rocks were thrown at him, he was hit and kicked by a group of teenage boys and was intentionally hit by a car. Despite his experiences, *Marley* is undeniably trusting and loving. His favorite activities include following people around and being scratched behind his ears. He is approximately 45 lbs. and is currently undergoing heartworm treatment. He has already been neutered and vaccinated . He has not shown any signs of aggression and enjoys the company of other dogs. In sum, Marley is an amazing dog. Marley is desperately seeking a sponsor and/or adopter. Once he is given a clean bill of health, he finally will have the chance for a happy, healthy life filled with love he so greatly deserves.

No bites yet from Marley's media debut, but we'll see what happens. I do think Marley is an excellent candidate for St. Hubert's, so he will be all set either way.

Remember Cha Cha and her little cuties? Well Cha Cha has officially become the pet of one of Dr. Ramos' staff members, Ivania. She just couldn't let her go, and I don't blame her. As for Cha Cha's puppies, at least the three that remained after four were adopted out by Dr. Ramos' staff and two died, check out these pics below:

One of Cha Cha's puppies, now named "Danger," in his new home Asbury Park, New Jersey. Danger was adopted out through Wag On Inn, our trusted foster-care-based rescue group in New Jersey.

Danger now has a partner-in-crime, Dakota.

So, despite our financial stress, things aren't so bad in ADLA rescue world. Please keep the donations coming if possible. We'll continue to do our best to keep these animals healthy and happy.

Muchas gracias,


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Two more rescues, no sponsors, $3000 in debt

What a morose title, eh??? Well, I'd be lying if I told you we have enough money to pay our ever-expanding vet bills for the Los Machos Beach Project and Amigos de los Animales...not even close. We're in the hole big time, by thousands of dollars. All together, Liz, Adri, and I would wipe our slate clean with 6 or 7k.

I know that the majority of the individuals who read this blog have continuously sacrificed chunks of his/her paychecks to support the Los Machos Beach Project. Therefore, I'm not just asking for your donations, as I often do. Can you help me brainstorm? We need a large sum of money to get us back on our feet again, I have to clear my bill at Dr. Ramos' before I leave, and, by the way, we have two new rescues to support. Let's talk about these special boys for a bit...then, we'll get back to raising money.

So Adri came to Los Machos Beach with me on Sunday. I was hoping to find Toby. He's gone, it seems. I did hear a rumor that another group may have rescued a few dogs out at LMB and have emailed them to see if some of the dogs I know to be missing were a part of their rescue list. No response. Anyway, we brought loads of salchichas and fed the masses. Here are some photos from our visit.

Homer, whose skin conditioning is worsening, was hanging out by the Avis parking lot like he used to months ago. He usually stays within the fenced-in yard of an apartment complex across the street from Avis. He needs out help in such a big way...it makes me feel helpless.

Members of the regular crew "of the forest" next to Los Machos Beach. From left: China (pronounced "chee-nah"), Lola, Negrita, and Willie. China and Negrita got some head-petting (still with a bit reservation) along with their salchichas, but Willy and Lola still remained at their comfortable distance from us.

Hammond, aka "Ham", is sort of a new kid on the block though I've seen him during my past few visits to LMB. Looks a lot like a purebred Weimaraner, eh? So sad. The first time I saw this beauty, he wouldn't come within 50 feet of me. On Sunday, he was much more brave.

Marley, my darling boy. He pranced up to us at the fish market, tail wagging as usual. Unfortunately, this time he had a noticeable limp. As I wrote in my second-to-last post, there are still a couple of super adoptable satos that would be "easy" rescues in terms of placing in shelters in the States due to how social they are...Marley is one of them. As for Spot/Pinto (white with reddish-brown spots), Juan, my fish-market friend, told me that Pinto had been missing for 5 days.
Two new puppies, dropped off a couple of weeks ago says Juan, who need a lot of socialization. Though adorable, they were not keen on human affection, from us at least. Can't really blame them considering the life they most likely live on the beach.

So while we are in debt, I tried my best to be strong and have my only mission that day at Los Machos Beach to be to find Toby and introduce Adri to Los Machos Beach. Adri has offered to visit Los Machos Beach, hopefully at least 1-2 times a month, when I leave. Here's an excerpt from her blog about her first visit to Los Machos Beach:

Shanti took me to Los Machos Beach in Ceiba on Sunday morning so I could see where all the beach kids are because she's leaving at the end of September. I will try to go there every couple of weeks so our rescue efforts can continue there too. I could never fill her shoes and I'm more than a little nervous about biting off more than I can chew - but where there's a will, there's a way.

PLEASE GOD!!, Let someone step up to the plate and help out at Los Machos Beach!!!!!

Alas, my efforts to not rescue anyone except Toby did not go as planned. After not finding Toby, hearing about Spot's disappearance, and seeing Marley limp across the sandy road, we decided we couldn't leave without Marley. In a nutshell, I have been emotionally overwhelmed by the disappointment and feeling of loss whenever I return to that beach to see my favorite satos are gone, missing, possibly dead. I could not let Marley disappear as well...And by the way, Homer has got to be next.

In the same day, Adri, Sally from PARE Este, and I also had to go over to the Fajardo Dump, as the landfill is called, to find a Dalmatian Liz requested we pick up.The Fajardo Dump rescue mission was unsuccessful. A man working at the dump said that an animal control vehicle came and picked up some satos from there, including the female Dalmatian we were looking for. I believe Liz is still working on trying to rescue the Dalmatian from the Humacao shelter with the help of Dead Dog Beach's Sandra Cintron. Instead of rescuing the Dalmatian, however, we found a sweet Puerto-Rican-Terrier (not an actual breed, so you know, but what we call the undefinable mix-breed dogs that look terrier-esque) puppy who Adri named Moe at the Fajardo Dump. Check out his darling little face:

Adri picked Moe up, and that was that. He stayed in her arms throughout our car ride back to San Juan, while I stretched my non-driving arm into the back seat to give Marley as many reassuring head-pets as he needed.

So you could say it was a successful rescue day, but the practical side of me is screaming for help. With at least a $3000 bill at Dr. Ramos' from unpaid vet expenses of Los Machos satos such as Cha Cha and her pups, Annie, Nugget, Chip, Lulu, and Bongo not to mention other rescues I've been involved including the Arecibo rescues, what am I thinking to take in two more dogs!?!??!?!

So this is where you guys come in. I am not asking any of you to empty your bank accounts more than you already have, but I am asking for your help. If you haven't spread the word already, please do. If you feel compelled to do a little of your own fundraising for us, have a local animal shelter that might want to share some of its funding, and/or come up with any other ideas, BRING IT ON!!! I will be working on some funding possibilities as well, but will take all the help I can get. In the grand scheme of things, $3000 is not a lot of money...so it's doable. It would require 6 $500 donations or 12 $250 donations. Not too bad, right?

Marley at Adri's house

Marley and Moe have not been sponsored yet as well, and unfortunately Marley ended up being heartworm positive, which in itself will cost $250. When I can no longer rescue dogs in Puerto Rico myself, I will be dedicating my free time to the main topic of this post: funding (as well as a couple other things like outreach and trip planning).

So here is my desperate plea for your help. Do what you can, but know that I appreciate how much support this project has already received.

To end on a less pathetic and positive note, it looks like ADLA's Adri is willing to check up on our Los Machos Satos when she can, which will definitely help me sleep better at night when I leave for California, which by the way is officially happening on September 26. Colin and I have officially moved out of our apartment and into our friend Rachel's house with our animals. All of our stuff (beds, couches, etc.) are on their way to San Diego. It's really happening...crazy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

30 satos cause Arecibo school to shutdown

On Wednesday, 30 stray dogs decided to grace an Arecibo elementary school with their presence, causing the school grounds to be closed. There are rumored reports that one of the so-called "wild" dogs, supposedly a pit bull, lunged at a student only to be stopped by a group of school employees.

People at the school are complaining that it took much too long for the govement to seize the animals, but eventually all dogs were loaded into trusks, some unventilated, and off to, you'll never guess it, the Arecibo Municipal Shelter. And no, it isn't even open yet. So not only does Jose and the rest of the crew at the Arecibo shelter have enough animals to take care of that have been dumped over the past number of weeks, they now also have 30 more goverment-dumped animals to deal with without any finacial support from said government.

This again validates that Law 67 in Puerto Rico is an absolute joke. How can a law be effective if even the government of Puerto Rico has been proven to break this law continuously, like in this case not even providing basic necessities such as FOOD to this shelter?


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

It's time to spill the news

My early morning trip to Los Machos Beach on Monday was sort of a bust. Well, the only reason I sound so defeated is that I did not find Toby. Such a bummer, I know. On top of that, I forgot my camera. I am currently in Washington D.C. until August 11, but will go back out to Los Machos Beach after I return to Puerto Rico. What was great about the experience, however, was that while I saw many of the regulars, so many faces were missing from Los Machos...I know that often is not a good thing, but in this case it truly was.


This morning I had a moment out there and realized that you and I have managed to rescue 30 satos from Los Machos Beach since the end of January 2008. Every now and then, I have to remind myself that is a huge accomplishment instead of, at times, thinking more of these animals should already be in loving forever homes by now.


Now if we add the number of animals rescued from other areas of Puerto Rico, you and I have been key players in the rescue of around 50 satos and gatos on this island since the launching of this blog. And at this point, we all know how much energy, money, and emotions go into each one of these rescues. So let's take a moment...It's time to pat ourselves on the back now, seriously.


This blog has been running for a bit more than six months now, and I never could've imagined the response it has received. I get emails from England, Thailand, Canada, even New Zealand asking questions about the animal welfare issues on the island of Puerto Rico and the famous Los Machos Satos. Most of all, many of you that have found this blog have become more than Los Machos Satos fans...you've become friends, a support group, a family of sorts to me.


Now you're asking yourself, why is Shanti getting so sappy in this post? It's true...I have a reason that I've been waiting to broadcast for a few months now. Awhile back, Colin decided that the Coast Guard was no longer his career of choice. At the end of September, his duties as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard will be fulfilled, and we will no longer have financial means to stay in Puerto Rico.


We will be returning to San Diego, California, where my former full-time position as an environmental biologist for a consulting firm is still waiting for me and where Colin will begin to pursue his graduate degree in something along the lines of sustainable urban planning. Our official exit date from Puerto Rico is still uncertain, but most likely will fall around the end of September.


I've been waiting to post this news for some time in hopes that I would have an idea of what will become of the Los Machos Beach Project and this blog. Alas, it has been much harder than I had hoped to find someone to pick up where I left off in terms of rescuing in Ceiba. What is comforting is that so many more people know of the animals living at Los Machos Beach now, and I can only hope that this beach will receive the same attention as Dead Dog Beach in terms of spay/neuter programs and rescue efforts. Still, I'm heart-broken to leave those dogs there, tearing up right now in fact, and feel extremely guilty when I think about it too much. However, Los Machos Beach will never be sato-free until this island admits to its animal welfare issues, faces them head-on instead of masking them. We could continue to rescue for years, and this viscous cycle of abandoment and abuse would not stop...Not without a complete make-over of this island's priorities, policies, and their enforcement.


But I'm not gone yet! I still want to grab a few more satos from Los Machos Beach before our car is shipped, including Toby who has an adopter waiting patiently for me to find him. I'm sure if we had sponsors for a few other Los Machos Satos (hint, hint) that my fellow Amigos could take care of their placement and shipment if I leave the island before they are ready to go. Please email me if you are interested in sponsoring a Los Machos Sato. I promise to take more pictures next time I visit Cieba so you have a better idea of who needs to be rescued!

Here's who I have in mind right now:

Pinto, aka Spot..Let's get him off the beach, shall we?

So, there it is. The big news. I am 100% still going to be an active member of Amigos de los Animales and writer of this blog. Unfortunately, I will no longer be able to contribute in the ways I enjoy most. Sigh.

One more month of saving satos,


PHOTOS: All photos, minus the last one, are of some of the satos rescued since the lauching of the Los Machos Satos blog. They all are in loving homes because of you. Good job, guys.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Rocco and Jenna

Former Los Machos sato Rocco and Jenna, one of the five fantastic members of his forever family:

I absolutely love these photos...priceless. What a lucky sato!