In 2014 my family went on vacation to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. While the island was beautiful, I was not prepared for the number of homeless Dogs on the streets, beaches and parking lots. Everywhere I looked there were Dogs ("Satos" in spanish, meaning "Street Dog"). Some emaciated and sick, some looking just like they were taken out of our living room and plopped in the middle of nowhere to fend for themselves. It haunted me...
I began researching rescue groups in Puerto Rico and when I returned in 2015 for another family vacation, I found Flora...the first Dog brought back to the United States, through a joint effort with Save a Sato Fundacion' in San Juan. Over the next three years I formed many friendships in Puerto Rico and by working with Save a Sato Fundacion', we have flown over 2000 (two thousand!) "Satos" to our facility to find their forever home.
With Hurricane Maria, we were facing new challenges. A Disaster of this magnitude shut down airports, electrical grids and communications. Many of the established 501(c)(3) Rescue Organizations were able to get aid from the ASPCA and other National Organizations, but because we were not an approved non-profit..we were not eligible for help. We had over 45 Dogs in foster in San Juan, with no way to get them on the many emergency flights out, or to get much needed supplies in. In December of 2017, "Make a Difference Rescue of WNY" was born and on March 18, 2018 we received our official 501(c)(3) approval.
"MAD Rescue" is 100% volunteer, and we are passionate about helping the homeless, abused and abandoned Dogs of Puerto Rico. We survive on donations, adoption fees, raffles and selling baked goods like our MAD Chocolate Chip Cookies. We rely on the kindness and generosity of other animal loving individuals. We now have our own shelter in Bayamon, PR as well as one in Albion, NY. It is a story that never ends, but we keep on telling it. These Dogs need us...and they need You. Please consider helping us through volunteer work or donation or simply spreading the word about who we are and what we do.
I remember very vividly driving with my family through the winding roads of El Yunque Rainforest. As we went around a very sharp curve there lay a dog in the middle of the narrow road, emaciated to the point of being able to see every bone in her body. She had patches of hair missing and was very weak. I pulled up alongside her and she struggled to the car wagging her tail. Because I had a minivan full of children I was scared to pick her up and with the sickest knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes...we drove away.
That night my son Robbie and I could not get her out of our mind. We made a vow to go back the next morning and see if she was still there. I wasn’t sure the directions of where we had gone or if we were even on the right road and after driving around for about an hour we were about to give up. We turned the car around and headed back down the road and there she was...laying on the side in the grass.
We got her into the car and drove directly to Veterinario Vistamar in Carolina. “Flora” a pitbull, had crudely cut ears tied off with fishing line, erhlichiosis, severe demodectic mange, was pregnant and starved. El Yunque Rainforest is an area where dogs are often “discarded” like garbage, and it was obvious that Flora had been left there to die.
It was determined that it would be in her best interest to end the pregnancy and spay her so that she could recuperate on her own from everything she was suffering from. Flora spent almost 6 weeks in the vet hospital in Puerto Rico. She finally flew to us in February 2015 to begin her new life. And that was the beginning of Our Journey rescuing these Animals in need of shelter and love.