Today another plane came in from Puerto Rico.
This one carried 140 dogs. Most of them were Satos – street dogs. Puerto Rico has a massive stray dog population. Many are abandoned on a part of the island called Dead Dog Beach. And with the abandonment cruelty also is present.
Some dogs starve. Some succumb to disease. Puppies are born, but so many do not survive. Many dogs are the victims of opportunists — two-legged oppressors who torture them for sport. Or who train them to fight.
With all of the devastation from Hurricane Maria, countless dogs have died. But, ironically, for many others the hurricane may have been a blessing. It’s about those dogs that I’d like to comment.
St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey regularly brings in animals from hoarders, puppy mills, laboratories, wildfires, and now, hurricanes.
The Satos came in from shelters in Puerto Rico, so that they could be emptied and provide a place for displaced pets to have a haven and be reunited with their families. Plus, from All Sato Rescue, which has sent us all of these street dogs.
This latest plane load arrived at Morristown Airport in New Jersey at 2 AM. St. Hubert’s staff members unloaded the plane and brought them to the shelter. Volunteers arrived, not only from New Jersey, but from other states as well. I personally worked with a dedicated group from Maine. Veterinarians were on hand to give each dog a checkup. There was a bit of whimpering as they received their shots, maybe the first ever. Then they were assigned kennels.
Four o’clock was feeding time. We measured out a combination of wet dog food mixed with kibble. They were so hungry. Those who had literally been street dogs probably never had regular meals.
We cleaned their kennels, providing each one with fresh water, a blanket, and a pee pee pad.
As I handled the little Satos, I couldn’t get over how sweet they were –so soft, mellow, and full of doggie kisses. It was heartbreaking to think how these little innocents had been abandoned, then terrified by nature’s fury. But they trusted us and seemed to know that they were safe.
St. Hubert’s and its sister shelters are all no-kill shelters. As shown by disasters and rescue efforts in the past, they do find homes for dogs and cats which, in turn, find something that has been lacking in their lives – LOVE.
As these animals are cared for, processed with health records and sent on new adventures, the crates they came in are washed and filled with goods returning to Puerto Rico.
Tomorrow another plane will arrive, maybe from Puerto Rico or maybe from California’s wildfires. And tomorrow the whole process will begin again.
For more information on All Sato Rescue, see http://allsatorescue.org/
And for information on St. Hubert’s, visit https://www.sthuberts.org/