Why help the dogs in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is essentially a Colony of the United States. Once labeled a Commonwealth and/or Territory, the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that we are neither, leaving us with much confusion as exactly who we are and where we stand. However, all Puerto Rican Citizens are born with U.S. Passports, and are U.S. Citizens. Therefore, the dogs of Puerto Rico have U.S. Passports and are well deserving of our help!
We choose to help dogs in Puerto Rico because of the island's overwhelming need for shelters and compassion. In the mainland States, we have many shelters, humane societies, and rescue groups. In Puerto Rico (which is about the size of Connecticut,) we have 5 shelters operating on shoe-string budgets. Unsterilized dogs roam the streets, reproducing at alarming rates. Thousands of dogs die inhumanely, suffering from illnesses and starvation. They are NOT given the right to die humanely, pain free, or peacefully. Most die in extreme discomfort, never knowing love or affection. For these reasons, we fight to raise awareness to the sufferings occurring in our own American Caribbean. We strive for a better future for all creatures.
What is Island Dog?
Island Dog is an animal welfare organization focused on helping the East Coast of Puerto Rico. We are a registered 501 ( c ) (3) organization since 2007, recognized by the Internal Revenue Service, Federal ID Number: 20-5107492. We ARE NOT a shelter. We are a spay and neuter organization that offers discount or free medical services, most specifically spay and neuter, and vaccinations. We also assist tourists and locals in adopting island dogs.
How is Island Dog Funded?
Island Dog is funded by people like yourself. We do not receive government assistance or help from the Humane Society. Our scope of work depends upon our funding from people like yourself.
How can I help?
There are many ways you can help Island Dog! The two biggest obstacles are funding and awareness. We need money to make our programs successful and we need you to share our story with the world. Island Dog believes in the power of a team. We believe together we can make successful change.
Do you have volunteer opportunities in Puerto Rico?
Because we work with licensed veterinarians on island, they have their own staff and veterinary students assisting them during surgery. We do occasionally need local volunteers for vaccination clinics. Those opportunities are posted on our Facebook page. Volunteers must be 18 years and older. If you would like to get your hands dirty, and work with the amazing dogs of Puerto Rico first hand, we recommend you check out the following organizations to see what org would best suit your goals; Barks of Hope in Rincon (West Coast,) All Sato Rescue (San Juan,) PR Animals (San Juan,) and Santuario Canita in Guayama.
Do you have employment opportunities at this time?
Currently, we are an all volunteer organization.
I want to adopt! WE are a sterilization organization. However, we do rescue when circumstances allow. If you would like to adopt an Island Dog, please visit our Facebook page to see if we have any dogs available. If we do not, please take a few minutes to check your local Petfinder pages, as there are thousands of dogs and cats near you looking for loving homes.
What does it take to rescue an island dog?
Rescuing an island dog is NOT an easy process. Many have health issues when taking them from the street or beaches. Mange and heartworm are two of our most expensive treatments. When we first decide to rescue a puppy or dog we first take it to a vet clinic. We have a limited number of vets who give discounts. After the initial vet visit dogs are either designated to board at the vet or with foster care. Either way we pay a daily boarding fee. If a dog is diagnosed with heartworm we must then treat him/her for a months time. During this time the dog must remain completely calm and rest. Once the heartworm treatment is completed the dog is assured a healthy and happy life! Mange treatment can range from one week to a month depending on severity. We can not send a dog to the states without a completely healthy check-up, and with two sets of shots (vaccinations). Flights are limited because of temperatures. A pet in NOT allowed to fly if a temperature is above 85 or below 45. United Airlines is the only airline that provides climate controlled cargo. This means we can fly a pet on United in any weather! However, United does not fly to all locations, so this can get tricky!
Why do I see so many homeless dogs?
While Island Dog works everyday to help the thousands of homeless dogs in Puerto Rico, there is still an epidemic of owned dogs not sterilized, producing more dogs. Because the island does not provide adequate shelters for all these dogs being born, they are dumped onto the beaches and streets. For every 10 dogs Island Dog rescues, another 10 will be dumped. We understand you may feel overwhelmed by the situation. Please write to the Tourism Company and express your feelings. And please trust that Island Dog and many other wonderful groups are working tirelessly to help the thousands of dogs on the streets. In fact, since 2007, we have sterilized over 5,000 dogs and cats, preventing over 80,000 unwanted animals from being dumped onto the streets. Plus another 3,000 have been given new forever homes. We believe by working proactively in the local communities and continually building our spay and neuter programs, we can create successful change. Please join us and help us make the Caribbean and Puerto Rico a better place for animals.