Welcome to Our Website!

In this website you will find all the information that you need regarding our organization, from our mission to the adorable pets that are up for adoption. Not sure if you want a life-time commitment? Then you can help us by being a foster parent. And of course, you can always help us with donations.  Thanks for visiting us!

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A Celebration of Life: Leslie Laronga

On Sunday, January 22nd, 2017, guests who had the honor of meeting Leslie Laronga gathered to celebrate her life. I have to be honest, I had only met her once. Leslie had prepared the flowers for one of ARF’s events last year. When the event started and people stood and began telling stories about Leslie, I could not fight back the tears. I had missed the opportunity of getting to know a great lady, an animal lover, and an angel on Earth.

Leslie Larong

Leslie Laronga

After all the beautiful stories were shared (good thing there were many funny ones – I am pretty sure everyone will remember the one about Leslie wanting to rescue a mongoose), the music started. At one point, Leslie’s brother played her drum set; I could just imagine Leslie smiling from the skies. It was pretty amazing that everyone was able to celebrate Leslie’s life with music, and of course dogs were allowed!

Robert Laronga, Leslie's brother.

Robert Laronga, Leslie’s brother.

This magnificent event could not have been possible without the initiative and strength of three amazing ladies: Enna Latten, Pat Annin, and Peggy Zurla. We also want to express our gratitude to Dr. Edison Osorio, owner of Yukayeke Playa Resort, for letting us use the facilities of his beautiful hotel, and to James DeJarnatt, manager of Yukayeke, for helping us with everything from day one. To all the musicians who came and shared your talent, we are thankful. And to everybody else who was present: thank you for joining us in a celebration of life full of love, good vibes, and peace.

Great music and dancing in Yucayeke Playa Resort. (In the picture: Kathryn Robinson and Wolfgang Ragowsky.)

Great music and dancing in Yucayeke Playa Resort. (In the picture: Kathryn Robinson and Wolfgang Ragowsky.)

I heard someone say, “Only a person like Leslie could have been able to make so many people come together.” There is no doubt about that.

Leslie Laronga (1955-2016)

Leslie Laronga (1955-2016)

Rest in Peace, Leslie.

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2016 Recap: Another great year

We want to thank all of our supporters. Because of you we had a great year in 2016. We are very happy with the success of the mass sterilizations and we hope we can continue this program for many years. Enjoy the video and let 2017 be even better!

Sincerely,

ARF of Rincon

 

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Happy Holidays and Many Blessings in 2017!

Very soon we will post our numbers for 2016, in the meantime we want to say Thank You to all of our supporters. Your donations helped us in caring for the dogs and cats of Rincon, Puerto Rico. We had a wonderful year and we hope that 2017 is even better. May all of you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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CJ Trebol Agro-Center: More Products for your Pet’s Needs

In Vista Mar Shopping Center, here in Rincon, there is an agro-business run by a local family where board members of ARF  do their shopping: Casa Agricola y Pesca CJ Trebol. For years we have been happy with the variety of its products plus the prices. Now we are glad to announce that the business has expanded and there is even more products for our 4-legged friends: leashes, collars, dog and cat food, treats, carriers, shampoo, harnesses, brushes, and more. We are delighted that we can count with a place like this in our small little town. Thanks, CJ Trebol!

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Adopting an Adult Dog – All You Need is Love

One of the problems we face in ARF of Rincon is the number of adult dogs that are abandoned, just because they are not puppies anymore. It truly breaks my heart when you see the eyes of this dog that once had a family, people who cared for him and played with him, and now it seems like he cannot understand this new world. I often tell them “I’m sorry for what happened to you;  I promise I will find you the great home you deserve” in the hopes that they will understand me. And just the other day, as I was rescuing this little dog that looked so old and felt that wave of sadness, I realized: dogs are not here for us – we are here for them!

Keisha has been in our program since January 2016.

Keisha has been in our program since January 2016.

This all came to me because a friend in Pennsylvania was asking me about adopting an older dog. She said she and her daughter went to the shelter but the youngest dog there was already three years old – and someone already was filling out the adoption papers. You see, they wanted a puppy (just like almost everyone else), but all the puppies were adopted; the only ones left were the aldult ones. I asked “Why not adopting one of the adult ones?” She said “Is so sad when a dog dies that we want a puppy so it will last longer.” Then sadness came again as I reminded her the story about Lola, my beautiful terrier mix who died when she was less than two years old.

Penelope arrived with Keisha on January 2016.

Penelope arrived with Keisha on January 2016.

There are no certainties in life. Loving a dog – no matter how old he is – is one of the best feelings in life, because they always love you back. I realized that what makes a dog so special is not the way they love you, but the way you love them – no matter for how long you were able to love them. And yes, is sad when they die, but eventually all of us will. What is important was the amount of love we were able to give.

Estrellita was rescued on February 2016e.

Estrellita was rescued on February 2016.

All those dogs in the shelters deserve that kind of love – the loyal one, the forever one. In ARF of Rincon we have three dogs that have been with us for over seven months. As time passes their chances of getting adopted decrease. Let’s find them forever homes. Let’s give them a second chance. Let’s remind to ourselves that dogs are here so we can love them!


*Please send an email to arfrincon@gmail.com if you would like to meet one of our adult dogs that are available for adoption. Please share this post with your family and friends and spread the love!

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Yes, you can take your dog with you!

In the past few months we have seen an increase in the number of dogs and cats abandoned, specifically because their owners moved to the mainland. I cannot imagine how they do it; I have promised myself that if I ever have to leave I would do anything in my power to take my furry children with me. So when someone contact us telling us that they are leaving and they need to find a place for their pet, we get frustrated – very frustrated. How can you leave your child? Then when we talk to them and many times we see that they are not well informed about flying with their pets. So yes, you can take your beloved pet with you!

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We recently had the experience of helping a low income family flying their two dogs with them. We were both glad and honored to help them. Seeing this family, already struggling, doing the responsible thing – which meant more struggles – filled us with joy and admiration. At first the dogs were not able to make the same flight as the family. Then the dogs’ flight was cancelled two more times. And every time we happily drove with the dogs to the airport.

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If this family was able to do it, anyone can do it – you can do it. It takes sacrifice, but remember that your pet is your responsibility forever. And we will be pleased to help you.

*Contact ARF of Rincon (arfrincon@gmail.com) so we can give you information about how you can take your pet with you. Remember: ARF of Rincon is not a shelter and we are usually at an over-capacity status, so contacts us at least three weeks before your departure date to ensure a smooth and stress-free process.  

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New Program: Sponsor a Dog’s or Cat’s Sterilization

Back in December 2015, ARF of Rincón hired the services of Dr. José A. Cruz, who has a mobile vet clinic, for mass sterilizations (30 dogs and cats can be sterilized in one day). The event was such a success that we hired him several times; next June Dr. Cruz will be coming back for the fifth time and hopefully every month after that. The mass sterilizations are aimed for stray dogs and cats as well as pets from low income families. For one of the sterilizations, my friend Amanda Roth decided to cover the costs of Max, one of her neighor’s dog. We did not know this was the beginning of a sponsoring program.

Amanda and Rick Roth sponsored the sterilization of Max, their neighbor's Great Dane.

Amanda and Rick sponsored the sterilization of Max, their neighbor’s Great Dane.

Amanda and her husband Rick come to Puerto Rico every year for the season. They are both animal lovers and always support ARF of Rincón. But this time they went the extra mile and helped a particular dog: Max. Max’s owner was not able to pay for his sterilization so Amanda decided to sponsor the dog’s neutering procedure. Thanks to this selfless act of compassion, a program was born. And the next time a person was not able to pay for his dog’s sterilization, I reached out to someone else… Next time was Alesandra Morales’ turn.

Alesandra sponsored the upcomingn sterilization of Baby Negri, one of Don Frankie's dogs.

Alesandra sponsored the upcoming sterilization of Baby Negri, one of Don Frankie’s dogs.

Alesandra was always telling me how she wanted to help ARF of Rincón. When I met Don Frankie I knew instantly how Alesandra could help. Don Frankie’s brother, who recenlty passed away, made him promised to take care of his dog, Baby Negri. When we approached Don Frankie and his wife they told us that they would like for Baby Negri to be spayed but they could not afford it. I reached out to Alesandra who immediately said she would help Don Frankie. Thanks to Alesandra, Baby Negri will be spayed next June. Now we are focusing on Dora, a white pit-bull mix who is only 6 months old.

Doro will be vaccinated and spayed on June 26.

Dora will be vaccinated and spayed on June 26.

The cost for vaccines and spaying Dora is $90, and her owners were humble enough to pay what they could afford: $40. If you would like to contribute to Dora’s vet care (or sponsor any other dog’s or a cat’s sterilization), please let us know by sending an e-mail to arfrincon@gmail.com. Together, we can reduce the overpopulation of strays in Puerto Rico. It will take time, but maybe one day there will be no dogs to rescue. As our President Miriam Juan said in a recent event: “My dream is for one day to close the office of ARF of Rincón, because it would no longer be necessary to have an office at all.”

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Sterilization is the Answer: Towards a Puerto Rico without Stray Dogs and Cats

Our fourth mass sterilization was on May 21, 2016.

Our fourth mass sterilization was on May 21, 2016.

It has been said that one female dog and her offspring can result in 67,000 dogs in six years. Yes, that is the number: 67,000 in just 6 years. How do they get that number? Well, let’s just do an easy exercise to show you how is calculated. Let’s say one female dog has a litter of eight puppies.  Just to make things easier let’s say that half of those puppies are females and the other ones are males… and let’s forget about the males for a while (don’t worry; we will be back to them shortly). So, Year Number 1 we have five female dogs (the mom and her 4 daughters). Year Number 2 the same thing happens to all the females; they each give birth to four more females. So now we have 25 dogs (the first five and their 5 X 4 = 20 daughters). On Year Number 3 the number would be 25 + (25*4) = 125. The same calculation is done for the remaining years: Year 4 is 625 (125 + 125 X 4 = 625); Year 5 is 3,125 (625 + 625 X 4); and by Year 6 the number is 15,625. Pretty amazing, right? I know is not 67,000 but remember we did not consider the male dogs, plus some dogs can have more than 10 puppies in one birth. And usually a female dog can get pregnant twice a year and not once like we did in the exercise. The numbers are even higher for cats. Are you scared now?

Image Courtesy of Sheba's Fix (http://www.shebasfix.ca/)

Image Courtesy of Sheba’s Fix (http://www.shebasfix.ca/)

***To know how to get the 67,000 number click here

This is the reason why there are so many stray dogs and cats in Puerto Rico: the lack of spayed and neutered pets in the island. It was well explained in the production “100,000”, a documentary written and directed by Juan Agustin Marquez (available in youtube here) whose title refers to the 100,000 stray dogs estimated to be in Puerto Rico back in 2010. Now think, is 2016 so 6 years have passed away. And there were already 100,000 stray dogs. Can you imagine what is the number now?

Puppies are often abandoned.

Puppies are often abandoned.

But education is the key for improving any situation and today, more and more animal rescue organizations are focusing their efforts in educating people about sterilizing their pets. For a while, ARF of Rincon was focused in rescuing stray dogs and finding them homes, but we realized that we needed to do something else to really solve the problem of the overpopulation of stray dogs and cats. I like to compare it to a dog that is not housetrained: if you do not train the dog, it will keep doing its business inside the house and you keep cleaning the mess. But if you train the dog, then there will be no more mess to clean. That’s why we started doing mass sterilizations and why we hire the services of Dr. Jose A. Cruz, who comes to Rincón to sterilize approximate 30 dogs and cats in one day. Dr. Cruz, who was awarded the ASPCA Presidential Service Award (check out the emotional video here), offers low-cost sterilization procedures all around the island thanks to its mobile veterinary clinic. On June 26, Dr. Cruz will visit us for the fifth time, so do not miss this opportunity and let’s all fix the overpopulation problem of strays in our Puerto Rico.

Call or e-mail for your reservation.

Dr. Cruz’s mobile veterinary clinic.

* E-mail arfrincon@gmail.com with your information (name, address, and phone number) and your pet’s information (name, cat or dog, age, and history of vaccines) to reserve your space. 

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How Do We Do It? A Message from ARF’s President

Rincón is a small town and I am lucky enough to know a lot of people. Some rescue organization members from other organizations have asked “How does ARF do it? How ARF has become successful?” Well the answer is easy: COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT.

When I became president, I sat down with past ARF Board members and I asked what have worked in the past and what had not. I also asked the Community of Rincón what were their expectations from a non-profit animal rescue organization. I took my time to sit down and chat with members of Rincon’s municipal agencies, including the mayor, as well as business owners around the town. After all their input, ARF Board Members had a meeting and made a plan. We came to the conclusion that the root of the problem regarding the overpopulation of stray dogs and cats was that their owners did not spay or neuter their dogs, mostly because it costs too much for them. We then decided to start our LOW COST ESTERILIZATION PROGRAM with Dr. Cruz. In addition we started to educate pet owners about the importance of sterilization and we did so by giving lectures at Rincon Schools. A new student community hour program in which students learned the responsibility of being a pet owner and its commitment was created. We worked closely with the social workers of the “Housing Projects” and their residents. Due to tough economic times, many residents have moved to the USA and some even abandoned their pets. We then started the program “TAKE ME WITH YOU” to help people to move with their pets at a low cost.

We did all this thanks to an amazing team. ARF of Rincón consists of 7 board members, 13 active volunteers, barrio leaders and a lot of members of the community. Some help daily, some help when they are called or simply they help when they can. We work together with other rescue organizations around Puerto Rico, sharing their post, helping them to find homes to their pets as well as sharing donated food.

Our Donations
We do not receive money from the government or from grants. At the present moment, we do not have major donors. We receive money from individuals like you and me that see and believe in what we do. Our largest individual donation last year was 750.00. We have people who donate $20.00, 50.00 or 100.00 every month. A new program to ask companies and organization to help us was created: ADOPT ARF FOR ONE DAY. We also sell merchandises (stickers, cozies, key chains, and t shirts) and, during the year, we have fundraising events that help us pay our monthly bills. What this means is that our budget is small, but we have managed to make Rincon residents assume their responsibility as pet owners. We understand we have a long way to go.

Where do your donations go?
ARF of Rincon does not have employees; we are 100% Volunteers, which means that none of us are paid for our volunteering work. Rincon’s Mayor, Hon. Carlos Lopez, gave us an office, in which we can have direct contact with the community and it’s completely free. Our Vet Bills can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per month, depending on rescues situations. Our monthly expenses (dog and cat food for fosters, transportation to vets, crates, animal shampoos, leashes, collars, carry- on bags, etc ) range from $300 to $500. Regarding office expenses (paper, ink, internet, cleaning supplies, etc) can range between $200 and $300. Our traveling expenses (sending dogs to the United States) every month range from $800 to $1500.

We have a long way to go and we, in ARF of Rincon, are not giving up. If you want to help feel free to call our office at 939 697-8161 (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10am to 1pm). If you want to donate you can do so by using PayPal: arfrincon@gmail.com. If you prefer to send a check you can mail it to ARF of Rincon, PO BOX 592, Rincon PR 00677.

Thanks
Miriam Juan
ARF Board President

Stevie is a blind dog who was rescued from a kill-shelter.

Stevie is a blind dog who was rescued from a kill-shelter.

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ARF of Rincón – Understanding Our Mission

Animal Rescue Foundation of Rincón (ARF of Rincón) was founded in 1997. It started simple: by feeding the strays and offering pet owners help in sterilizing their furry friends. Today, over 18 years later, we continue to educate pet owners of the importance of sterilization and we rescue stray dogs and cats so we can find them homes. As in any other situation, rules are necessary in order to be successful. We believe is important to explain these rules and the reasoning behind them so everybody understands why we do things the way we do it.

  1. We have to focus on Rincón. ARF is supported 100% by donations. These donations come from people who live in Rincón or come here to visit. We do not think is fair to use these donations to help animals from other towns. In addition, other towns have their own rescue organizations, so overlapping is not desirable. We are more than happy to assist other rescue organizations, but we cannot put our own rescued animals aside so we can assist others. You start by cleaning your own house first.
  2. We know we cannot rescue them all. The overpopulation of strays in Rincón (and all Puerto Rico) is overwhelming. The rescuers from ARF of Rincón know that the key is sterilization – we know it – and we want to educate everybody about it. However, we know that we are being reactive instead of proactive and we absolutely hate it. No matter how much we try to focus our efforts in spaying and neutering, there is always a stray dog or cat that needs our immediate attention, so we (sadly) deviate from one of our main goals. That’s why sometimes we have to say “no” when somebody calls about a stray animal. This leaves us to our next rule.
  3. Is okay to say “no”. If you ask any animal rescuer what they would wish for, they would say to have a house with a big yard so they can rescue all the stray dogs and cats. We truly wish for that. So until one of us wins the lottery, we sometimes will have to say “no” when you call us about a dog or cat. Believe us, we want to say yes, but our space is limited. Remember, we are not a shelter; we rely on the help of good people who offer their own houses to foster a dog or a cat. When you call us about a dog, we probably already know about it, but we have to wait until one of our spaces is available before we can pick up the animal.

Being an animal rescuer is an intense job; we see a lot of sad scenarios and it gets to us. We get frustrated, sometimes we even get angry, but we continue to do it because nothing beats the face of a dog when it has found his forever loving home. We hope that understanding our work will help you understand our decisions. And please consider helping us in return; we need a lot more people with big hearts so we can continue our mission.

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