Island Dog is changing the way animals are treated in the United States Caribbean Islands. We are working beyond the rescue aspect and moving forward with an island wide spay/neuter program for Puerto Rico. We believe in prevention, and we believe together we can create animal-friendly communities throughout the Caribbean.
Our Mascot & Volunteers
In 2010, Shirley and her 6-week-old puppy were dumped on Los Machos Beach in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Katie Block, director of Island Dog, found them, but the pup had a stomach condition and did not survive. However, Shirley -- almost hairless at the time-- stole Katie's heart and has since adopted Katie as her mom. Shirley enjoys greeting and playing with the Island Dog pups at the Dog Hotel. When she is not working, she can be found swimming, surfing and sunning on the beach. You can LIKE Shirley on her Facebook page by clicking here!
Shirley, Island Dog Mascot
Katie Block, Director & Founder
Katie In 1999, Katie Block moved from her home town of Baltimore, MD to Fajardo, Puerto Rico. There she worked at the El Conquistador Resort & Country Club. She was looking for paradise. Instead, she found thousands of emaciated & homeless dogs wondering the streets and beaches. A huge animal lover, Katie immediately started a crusade to rescue and help the dogs. She managed to convince hotel guests to adopt dogs, and even enlisted her parents to help her send dogs to the States. Reality hit hard when she found herself spending her rent money on vet bills. In 2002, she returned to Baltimore to complete her Bachelors degree. After graduation, she traveled extensively around the world, but always found herself returning to the same place: Puerto Rico. During these trips Katie realized that her passion to help the animals in the U.S. Caribbean was to great to ignore. In the summer of 2006, she created Island Dog Inc.
Today, Katie works as our director from our Island Dog office in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. She continuously works to raise awareness around the world about the plight of these animals. Her ultimate goal is to create a Caribbean-wide spay and neuter program.
Michelle D. Biasucci & son Dominic
Michelle Michelle Biasucci traveled to Puerto Rico on family vacations. While she loved the beaches and Caribbean vibe, it broke her heart to see hundreds of homeless dogs roaming the island. She felt passionate about helping them, and joined Island Dog ready to work. She adopted her first foster, Daisy, who she renamed Febe.
When Michelle is not working her full time job as a bank Vice President, Michelle helps us with office work, fostering dogs, and fundraising. She is by far the most out spoken of our volunteers. Her passion for creating a better world makes her a great asset to our organization. Michelle resides in Joppa, Maryland, with her three dogs (Febe, Jackson & Ted,) and her son Domonic.
Michelle is our Vice President, running our Baltimore office.
Sally Strange became involved in Island Dog in 2010. An avid SCUBA diver and beach lover, she discovered our name and became curious. After researching Island Dog and discovering the horrible homeless dog problem in Puerto Rico, she began to donate medications and volunteering her veterinary services in Puerto Rico. Today Sally works to help us with office administration, marketing and on-hand veterinary medicine. When Sally is not in Puerto Rico helping Island Dog, she is the Chief Operating Officer & Veterinary Technician for a small animal surgical specialty practice in Annapolis, Maryland.
Sally resides in Annapolis, Maryland, with her rescue pit-bull mix Vayda, and her rescue cat Cleo.
Alison Alison Trazzera resides in Absecon, New Jersey. She became involved with Island Dog in 2008, when her heart screamed to help after watching us on the Ellen Degenerous Show. When Alison is not working full-time as the Director of Cashiering at Harrah's Resort and Casino, she is a key fund-rasing coordinator for Island Dog. She chairs an annual fundraiser held in Atlantic City. She also assists with festival appearances, shelter placements, awareness initiatives, and dog transportation. Alison is the proud mom of Tony, Bella, and Betsy -- all Island Dog Rescues!! Together they live with her husband, Mike, and two rescue kitties, Smokey & Peanut.
Maggie Sanchez is our Los Machos beach feeder and caretaker. Maggie began taking care of the dogs in Ceiba in 2002, when she went to the beach for relaxation and found hundreds of starving dogs. She solely takes care of up to 200 dogs a day, feeding and giving medications for flea/tick, heartworm prevention and infections. Come rain or heat, Maggie is there to fed the puppies & care for the sick. She has a heart of gold. Most of the dogs in Ceiba know and love Maggie.
Unlike the United States, where people are praised for their work with animals, Maggie is frowned upon in Ceiba. They blame Maggie for bringing the dogs to the beach. She not only deals with the endless dumping of dogs, but also has the added stress of people calling her names and speaking to her unkindly.
Maggie is a hero to the dogs of Puerto Rico! Please help us show her our appreciation! Write Maggie a letter! You can send your letter to Maggie Sanchez, P.O. Box 1669, Fajardo, Puerto Rico 00738.
Maggie caring for a mom and her puppies
Betty Lynn Waters began volunteering for Island Dog in 2009 when she adopted Julie, a Dead Dog Beach rescue. Betty Lynn was haunted by how the dogs in Puerto Rico were treated. Betty Lynn assists us by operating our mailing list, fostering dogs, and helping raise funds and awareness. She is the proud owner of Julie, Lola, and Sandy -- all Island Dog rescues. Betty Lynn resides in Maryland with her husband Steve, and son Travis.
Betty Lynn Waters
Ashley Costello & Willow...Island Dog Rescue
Ashley Costello & Willow...Island Dog Rescue. Ashley began volunteering for Island Dog in 2011, helping host our annual fundraiser in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ashely assists us with fostering dogs and airport trips! Ashley is the proud owner of two Island Dogs, Willow and Lola! Ashley resides in Absecon, New Jersey.
Eileen Oprins is a nurse in Sycamore, Illinois. She became a volunteer for Island Dog after reading about our work in PEOPLE Magazine in May 2008. Although Eileen has 6 kids, she still makes time to foster and care for our island doggies. Eileen coordinates our foster care in Chicago, helping place hundreds of our island dogs into forever homes. Eileen also travels to Puerto Rico frequently to help us administer medications and perform medical procedures to dogs in need.
Sandy Peterson & Frida--- Sandy Peterson, a Chicago native, moved to Fajardo, Puerto Rico in 2005. Sandy, a huge dog lover, immediately began helping the dogs in Las Croabas. In 2008 she joined Island Dog and assisted us by fostering dogs, organizing and transporting dogs to the airport and providing medications and food to the beach dogs. In 2009, Sandy moved to California. She now helps us coordinate fundraising with local hotels in Puerto Rico, like The El Conquistador Resort and Country Club.
Katy Pape--- Katy Pape visited Puerto Rico in 2008. During her visit she was shocked by the number of homeless dogs. Along with her mother Maria, Katy and Maria rescued several dogs from the Fajardo Ferry Docks during their vacation. They then contacted Island Dog for support and to help our mission. Katy is now a full time volunteer, helping us with transportation, foster care, and volunteering her time for big beach projects. Katy is a lawyer at a Manhattan law firm and the proud owner of Coco & Flaco-Hudani, a Puerto Rican rescue!