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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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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Lucky: A True Warrior

Once in a while it happens that we find a dog so neglected, it simply breaks your heart. But at the same time you find out that the dog is so amazing, that your broken heart fills with love and joy. Her rescuer named her Lucky, but if it were for me I would have named her Xena: the Warrior Princess.

Lucky, her hair in knots and burrs all over the day she was rescued.

Lucky, her hair in knots and burrs all over the day she was rescued.

Xena…. ooops! I mean, Lucky, was found at the public beach of Rincon. Her hair was completely matted and she could barely open her eyes because of “cadillos” (burrs or stickers) all over her face. Ibett quickly pick her up and took her home. With the help of her children, she cut her hair, gave her a bath. Ibett later told me that it took hours the entire process and, the whole time, Lucky was silently hurting, holding it in, and never cried, barked, or complained. “She took it like a champion” were her exact words. I later discovered what she meant.

Getting a bath after cutting her hair.

Getting a bath after cutting her hair.

It was me who took Lucky to get her vaccines and get spayed. This little girl, who did not know me, sat still on the passenger seat of the car. Once in a while she would look at me, proably asking where we were going, but you could see some relief in her eyes. It took me 10 minutes of watching her and then… I fell in love. When I picked her up later in the afternoon, Lucky again was hurting. Still, after she cried for a little while, she let me held her and again we rode silently in the car. Lucky showed me how strong she was. Actually she showed me how strong we all should be! Life does get better and everything is possible with love.

Lucky, the warrior, on the passenger seat on her way to get spayed.

Lucky, the warrior, on the passenger seat on her way to get spayed.

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St Patrick’s Day Fundraiser: Great Evening with Great People!

people

We had to change the date this year, so our traditional Saint Patrick’s Day Fundraiser took place on Monday, March 21st, 2016. And what a great night it was! I don’t remember when was the last time I danced so much. Today, as I a writing this, my feet still hurt and apparently sleeping for eight hours was not enough.  Still, I am so happy; I was able to enjoy last night with many wonderful people. Everywhere I looked there were smiles and I heard so many encouraging words. But the dancing… oh yeah, the dancing was the best part!

dancing

We were able to enjoy a great dinner and wonderful music, both Irish and “Boricua.”  We had over 80 items for the silent auction, the “t-shirt raffle” and the “50-50” raffle.  I am sorry that I missed the moment when Loretta won the 50-50; that expression on her face (in the picture below) makes me think about the energy of the evening: positive vibes all around us.

Loretta the moment she wins the 50-50

Loretta (right) the moment she wins the 50-50

I don’t think there are enough words to express my gratitude towards all the people who made this possible. DJ Mouse: you even arrived before me so you could set up everything in time; the music was terrific and you looked like James Bond in that suit! Leslie, Sue and Wolfgang: the flower arrangements were spectacular; some people tried to steal them (and one got away with it). Jossie and Mike (or should I say Don Miguel?): I think you are awesome salespeople! You always do a wonderful job selling those tickets. To the two bands who added the Boricuan flavor: Bajo la Luna and  the all-women bomba y plena group (sorry I don’t know the name of your team). To our loyal volunteers: thank you for always been there. But most important: thanks to all of you who joined us that evening, who enjoyed the night, who danced, who bid on the silent auction, who bought raffle tickets, who shared their time with us, who gave us those encouraging words: because of you we can keep on going.

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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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New Partner: Happy Paws at the Beach

We were lucky enough to find a wonderful place where the dogs can stay before leaving to the States. Less than 10 minutes away from the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, there is a beautiful house in Piñones. You wish you could stay there, but actually is your dog who can enjoy the marvelous view.

happy paws at the beach

So if you are planning a vacation, now you can leave your best friend next to the airport where Licelia will take care of your companion. The same with taking your dog with you if you are moving to the States: for an additional price Lecilia will take care of shipping your dog. Check Happy Paws at the Beach Facebook page to check it out or simply call (787)633-3444 for more information.

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The Joy of Adopting an Adult Dog

The other day, feeling blue in front of the computer, reading the sad news of one of my friends who passed away, my foster dog approach me. Tita, who I have been taking care for over four months now, probably felt my sadness. And when I looked at her I saw this huge kindness in her eyes. It reminded me of “puppy eyes.” But Tita is not a puppy; she is an adult dog looking for a family who will adopt her. I remember thinking “who will not like to adopt you? You are adorable!” And then I thought about another one of our adult dogs who needs a home: Briggs.

Tita

Tita

The story of Briggs is long and complicated. About four years ago, when I was only a volunteer at ARF, I remember taking him to PetSmart in Hatillo, see if anyone would adopt him. Briggs was so big and looked so intimidating, that people failed to see how harmless he was.  This is a dog that would never hurt a fly. Somehow he got adopted by his foster parents and for all these years we thought that Brigss was safe.

Briggs

Briggs

However, the people who were taking care of Brigss decided to move back to the mainland. At that time they said they were going to take Brigss with them, and then, the day before leaving, they called and said they were going to leave him behind. My heart dropped to the floor. “How could anyone do this?” I was angry, but afterwards a wave of sadness invaded my whole body. “Who will love Brigss now?”

Charlie

Charlie

Briggs and Tita are just two of the many dogs whose chances of getting adopted are slim just because they are adults. We also have Charlie, a well-trained dog who would be perfect in any scenario! But again, Charlie is not a puppy. Puppies are cute, I know it, and everyone wants them. But sometimes we miss the joy of adopting a dog who already knows the pain of being abandoned, and are able to give you their most loyal love once you rescue them. These kinds of dogs really appreciate your love and they can show it simply by looking at you. You can see the affection and the gratitude in their eyes. And when you realize that’s what it is behind those puppy eyes, you melt. It is pure unconditional love like no other.

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Bye bye, 2015…. Hello 2016!

Another great year. So many animals (mostly dogs) that were rescued… So many beautiful people who adopted them. We started doing trap-neuter-return (TNR) practices with dogs. We also hired the services of Dr. Cruz and his team to do the first mass sterilizaton of dogs in Rincon. We are gratetful for everything, but mostly grateful for our supporters. We could not have done this with your donations. From the bottom of our hearts, Thank You!

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Closing the Year with a Big Bang

Mass sterilization on December 13, 2015

Mass sterilization on December 13, 2015

It was the perfect day. For months we were trying to organize a mass sterilization and finally we were able to do it. On December 13, 2015, 24 dogs (12 males, 12 females) were spayed and neutered. Some of them were fosters, some of them were somebody’s pet, and many of the were TNR (trap-neuter-release). This was the biggest step of our organization towards the effort of reducing dog overpopulation.

Dogs in their kennels waiting to be sterilized.

Dogs in their kennels waiting to be sterilized.

We started early, around 7:30 am, and the day went smoothly. One by one all dogs were taken care of, until 4:00 pm. At the end of the day we were tired, but extremely happy. This would not have been possible without the mobile veterinary services of Dr. José A Cruz and his amazing team. There are not enough words to describe how glad and honored we are of teaming up with them. From everybody at ARF of Rincón, we say THANKS!

The amazing team! Left to right: Rosita Sanabria, Dr. Jose A. Cruz, Armando Cruz, Samir Ruiz, Paloma García, and Legnie Santos.

The amazing team! Left to right: Rosita Sanabria, Dr. Jose A. Cruz, Armando Cruz, Samir Ruiz, Paloma García, and Legnie Santos.

Contact Information for Dr. Cruz: cruzveterinaryservices@gmail.com

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When a Rescued Dog Inspires an Award Winning Poem

The story of Boogie was sad from the beginning. We were told that a Shih tzu was thrown out of a moving car on February 27th, 2015. It took us over 24 hours to find him, covered in fleas and ticks; his hair was only knots. Similar, it took us several hours to give him a haircut, and he did not like us touching him. We rushed him to the veterinary and we learned that he had anaplasmosis, a tickborne disease, and he needed treatment (that lasts for 30 days) right away. We named him Boogie.

Boogie getting a haircut the day he was rescued (Feb 28, 2015).

Boogie getting a haircut the day he was rescued (Feb 28, 2015).

After finishing his treatment, we placed Boogie for adoption. We learned that he was an amazing (and funny) dog. He liked to play with other dogs but he absolutely loved to play with cats. And he has regained his trust in humans. Elizabeth Haukaas, a poet living in New York, saw Boogie’s picture in our Facebook page and fell in love with him. She traveled to Puerto Rico only to meet him, which gave us a huge relief as it was a sign that she could really give Boogie all the love that he needed; he has suffered enough in his short life. I cried when they traveled back to New York, as I too, have fallen in love with him.

Elizabeth meets Boogie (April 14, 2015).

Elizabeth meets Boogie (April 14, 2015).

The love that any of us feels for a dog is an amazing feeling. Here is a little (or big) creature that looks at you as you are the whole world; and you can’t help it…. you whole heart melts. And it fills you with the urge to do something creative. It motivated Elizabeth to write a poem about him, titled “Rescuing Boogie”, which won a poetry contest.

Part of the announcement of the winners of the contest.

Part of the announcement of the winners of the contest.

Amazing love inspires us to do amazing things. And sometimes a rescued dog is able to rescue us.

************************************************************************************Note: We cannot publish the poem due to copyright protection.  For more information about the contest, go to http://www.newletters.org/writers-wanted/writing-contests. 

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ARF’s Spay & Release Program Kicks Off with Mama Hines

In an effort to reduce the overpopulation of stray dogs and cats, ARF of Rincon officially initiated its Spay & Release Program in August 26, 2015.  The first beneficiary of the program was Mama Hines, a female Labrador mix who recently gave birth to puppies near the Hines House in Los Almendros Beach.

Mama Hines and her puppies.

Mama Hines and her puppies.

Mama Hines’ puppies have already been picked up and taken to the vet. These puppies were sent to the states by a rescue organization from another town which already new about the puppies. It was Mama Hines turn. However, due to lack of space, we couldn’t pick up this sweet dog and foster her. So we decided to do the next best thing: spay and release Mama Hines. We talked to the neighbors who were feeding her, instructed them not to give any water or food the night before (as all dogs have to be on an empty stomach for the sterilization procedure) and the next morning Mama Hines was taken to the vet to be spayed. After a couple of days and making sure that she was strong again, Mama Hines was released in the area where she was found. She is wearing a tag that indicates that she has been spayed and she is up for adoption.

Tags for the Spay & Release Program.

Tags for the Spay & Release Program.

Mama Hines showing off her tag!

Mama Hines showing off her tag!

Is not the ideal situation, but we have to do everything possible to reduce the number of puppies that are born in the streets every year.  We have talked about a Spay & Release Program for months before this and until now, we never felt that it was necessary. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Although it is sad that we still have not found a place for Mama Hines, we are hopeful that this program will bring benefits to the town of Rincón. We are also working with other organizations to come up with a plan to collaborate together and we have also been reaching out to the College of Veterinarians of Puerto Rico for their support.  If you want to adopt a dog from the ARF’s Spay & Release Program, just call the number on the tag; we will meet with you to give you the dog’s records, sign the adoption papers, and for you to return the tag. No fee is necessary, although a donation is always welcomed. Remember that your donations help us keep doing our work for these wonderful creatures. If you are willing to foster a rescued dog, please let us know. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Mama Hines at Los Almendros Beach.

Mama Hines at Los Almendros Beach.

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