In Puerto Rico they are called satos – hundreds of unwanted mixed-breed dogs that roam the beaches of Playa Lucia. So notorious is the area for being a satos dumping ground, that locals have dubbed it “Dead Dog Beach."
Ongoing rescue efforts were underway to provide the satos a chance for a brighter future when the terrible hurricane slammed Puerto Rico and surrounding islands with a vengeance. Beyond the massive humanitarian crisis, it completely buried animal welfare facilities under several feet of raw sewage. Hundreds of animals did not survive, while others remained in dire need of food, shelter, and medical care. Among them was Tony, a six-year old German Shepherd.
Baywater was contacted by Island Dog Rescue to help with this rescue effort. The rescue coordinator shared with us the list of dogs in need and we were able to offer shelter to 42 dogs and puppies in need. She then asked if we could take Tony, who had been tethered to a tree for most of his life and later abandoned by his family before the hurricane hit. We knew we had to help Tony find a forever home, and we added him to our list as, “Just one More” dog in need.
Tony arrived in the states emaciated, malnourished, and anxious. He was afraid to be touched and would not make eye contact with anyone. Vivid open wounds circled his neck from where a metal chain link collar once dug into his skin. No question about it… he needed help, and we managed to make room in our already crowded shelter at Baywater for “just one more.”
Tony’s first two foster homes were short-lived.. Would potential adopters unfairly assume Tony was unlovable or too much trouble? We refused to give up and knew in our hearts that this once-upon-a time satos deserved a loving, forever home. Then along came Sherrie who offered to lend a helping hand and foster Tony while she worked from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At first, Tony was afraid of everything and everyone, including Sherrie’s home, pool, and her other rescue dog, Noelle. But thanks to patience and nurturing, Tony ultimately settled in.
When Baywater reopened after the quarantine, Sherrie and her family decided that fostering was not an option; they couldn’t bear the thought of giving him up, so they adopted him! Tony finally had a forever home. He was given a new identity to mark his new life and renamed “Croix,” for the island where he was born.
Croix has become a trusted, cherished family member. He spends his days with new best dog friend, Noelle, sitting on the dock watching boats go by, riding in the car, and lounging by the pool. Every night, he completes a full perimeter security check before settling into his comfy bed, undoubtedly dreaming happy thoughts of his newfound life and adventures ahead.
Won’t you please help Baywater continue to provide new beginnings, not only for the “Tonys” of the world, but for all the forgotten and unwanted animals of the mid shore area?
The Eastern Shore's Leading No-Kill Animal Shelter