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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Saint Patrick’s Day Annual Fundraiser!

On Monday, March 13th, 2017, ARF of Rincon celebrated its Annual St. Patrick’s Fundraiser. What a night! We were completely packed at Villa Cofresi where we ate their famous corned beef (everybody is always pleased with the food at Villa Cofresi). We had a lot of items for our silent auction and DJ Mouse rocked the house like he always does! Jose Luis Ortiz won the raffle for the t-shirt and Tom Marden won the 50-50 raffle. People danced, people drank, people ate, people were happy. But once again it was that feeling of community that made the night to be a special one.

Jose Luis Ortiz, winner of the t-shirt with the scratchy lottery tickets.

It fills your heart with joy when so many people come together to support our cause. Almost every business owner in Rincon donated a gift certificate for our silent auction and for that, we thank you. We also had wonderful items donated, like the 6-piece set of Grey Goose glasses donated by Chris G. and my mom’s Popeye Cookie Jar – a collector’s item. From out of Rincon, Captain Daniel Sockwell donated a sunset cruise in his sailing boat.

Tom Marden, winner of the 50-50 raffle.

Personally, I (as well as the rest of ARF of Rincon board members) want to thank a lot (and I mean a lot) of people. Enna Latten and Peggy Zurla took care of all the flower arrangements. Josie and Mike Freundel, besides helping with the 50-50 raffle, they sold the vast majority of the tickets. Joanmarie Pondolfino and Dawn Gibson were tied in second place for selling most of our tickets (even if Dawn was getting concerned that she was not selling any).  Joseph Montaperto, a.k.a. DJ Mouse, brought great music to the evening. Nancy Lorenzo, Sue Westry, Sandra Santos, Soemi Garcia, and Rochelle Desiree, thank you for helping us out throughout the night with different tasks. Thanks to Villa Cofresi and all its staff. And last but not least, thanks to all of you who came and shared this time with us. We hope you had a great time and see you next year!

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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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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.

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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Mama Beach and her Puppies; dumped in front of ARF’s office

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, was a rainy day. One of those days that you want to stay in bed and, if you are lucky, cuddle with your dogs and cats. But there was work to do, so staying in bed was not an option. When we got to ARF’s office there she was, a skinny female dog with her 6 puppies. It is a sad sight; a sweet mama dog dumped with her babies on a weather like that. We named her Mama Beach.

Mama Beach dumped with her puppies in front of ARF's office.

Mama Beach dumped with her puppies in front of ARF’s office.

Mama Beach was dumped along with her puppies. Her puppies were placed in a box with two clean towels. They did not have ticks of fleas. Somebody was obviously taking good care of this family. We ask ourselves “why anyone would do something like this?” as we think on how we assist all our foster parents.

Mama Beach nursing her puppies.

Mama Beach nursing her puppies.

We will not lie; it is frustrating. ARF of Rincon is not a shelter and we have no space for this kind of situation. We depend on nice people who open their homes and their hearts and agree to foster our animals. And right now we need more people like that. Also, we are only opened three days of the week, so Mama Beach was lucky that we were able to see her the same day she was dumped. Furthermore, if a person feels like he or she is in a tight situation, we will help them; there is no need to dump the dog or cat. ARF of Rincon will work with anybody that agrees to foster a dog or cat until the animal gets adopted.

We were able to place Mama Beach and her puppies in a foster home. She is a very good mom – she likes to clean them when they are dirty, nurses them when they are hungry, and protects them from other dogs. Mama Beach trusts us humans with her puppies, which is good because that way we get to cuddle with them. One curious fact: Mama Beach has a short tail; we thought it was because of an accident but three of her babies have short tails too!

If you can help by fostering or adopting, please call us at 787-823-7167 or send us an e-mail (arfrincon@gmail.com). You can also help us by donating via Paypal. Any help (small or big) will be greatly appreciated.

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