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How Tourists Can Help Puerto Rico's Stray Dogs

There are more than 150,000 stray dogs in Puerto Rico. Dogs there are abused, abandoned and even thrown in the trash. Before our most recent trip we contacted a dog rescue group, All Sato Rescue, about how we could help. All Sato Rescue (Sato is Puerto Rican slang for a mutt) rescues dogs, nurses them to health, and sends them on American Airlines (AA) flights to destinations in the Northeast where they partner with many local shelters. These shelters, which do not have enough dogs surrendered locally to meet the high demand for adoptable companions, take in the Satos and find them great homes. But, the rescue groups are prohibited from sending dogs on commercial flights without having a passenger "escort." We ended up being dog escorts on our flight home to Boston. We didn't have to do anything besides meeting the rescue folks at the airport before our flight, and waiting with them for a few minutes while they took care of the dogs' paperwork with the airlines. Someone picked the dogs up from the airport in Boston and they were taken to a local shelter where they were adopted.

You can also adopt your own dog from the island, but if you're unable to do that, it's definitely very easy, and worth it to escort dogs back to the lower 48. It cost us nothing and it was great to be able to help six dogs get to the northeast so they could find a forever home. This is the link I used to find out about being a dog escort.

All Sato Rescue, Save a Sato, and Island Dog are just a few of the dog rescue groups looking for help escorting dogs off the island.

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