Street dogs are abundant in Puerto Rico so it is no suprise that less than 24 hours into my journey, while in Guanica, I already had a couple of Sato experiences under my belt. The first is a super happy story about two satos, Tashi and Domino, who were left at the front gate of my friend David's hotel, Mimi's Guesthouse. Even though he already owned a dog (Simon), David took them in as his own and they have been regulars at Mimi's ever since. Isn't that a nice story?
The second story is the reality check. Four puppies had, again, been left at the gate the day before I arrived. Each unbearably cute with little bandanas around their necks. Someone knew perfectly well what they were doing when they dressed these guys up and abandoned them at the end of the road. Two of them followed us on our half mile walk down to the crystal clear swimming hole yipping and howling the whole way, literally under our feet. I had mentally prepared for this, but it was still heartwrenching.
There is no doubt that Puerto Ricans love their pets, but what to do about all of the homeless ones? It would seem that it is part of the culture not to spay and neuter - especially the males. Machismo certainly plays a tough role here. You can feel it in the line up when you are out surfing. This is not a soft and fluffy place even when the waves are small. Also, real men's dogs have balls.
Save a Sato and A.R.F. work diligently to foster and place Satos in loving homes. A.R.F. runs events to help people get proper vaccinations for their pets and to schedule spaying and neutering. They also do a lot of fundraising to help satos as much as they can. I was grateful for the opportunity to help out at an A.R.F. event with fellow Catabrigians and Rincon regulars, Jody and Christine. While vaccinations were happening, there were a select bunch of satos in foster care that were being shown around for potential adoption. I think we all fell a little in love that day.
If you are thinking about adopting a dog, please consider a Sato! More info at:
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