Satos: Special Dogs.

Satos: Special dogs.
Sato is the term used for Puerto Rican street dogs. Satos are usually of mixed breed, often quite smart and usually easily domesticated. Over the past few weeks I have concluded that Satos are also extra special little creatures that have all the potential for being wonderful companion pets.

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?

Tashi and Domino

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.

newly adopted little guy is going to live in New England!
While in Rincon, I saw loads of adorable puppies up for adoption as well as many big hearted people who were either fostering or had recently adopted. Mango surfshop has an entire very small operation devoted to helping out as many as they can at a time. I met an awesome surfer couple, Christie and Hector, who had just rescued a tiny puppy named Marea from the gutter. There are countless others.

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.

Adopta Me!
Organizations like 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.

ru roh. more puppies for adoption.
One day, when I am at a place in life where I can get a dog, I know where I will find my four legged companion.

If you are thinking about adopting a dog, please consider a Sato! More info at:
A.R.F. »
Save a Sato »
413Geek »

Sandy Paws


Anonymous said...

Written with heart and insight.

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