A while back I got a woof-mail about a big buncha pooches who were livin’ in Puerto Rico with their humans, when that hurrycane, Maria, came along and pretty much blew everything away, an the humans and pooches lost their homes, and hundreds of pooches lost their families and didn’t have even any food or anything. They were in Dire Straits.
Anyway, with lotsa help from really nice humans, the Puerto Rican pooches got rescued. The humans gathered ’em all up, put ’em onna plane an flew ’em to Fort Pierce! All 62 of ’em! THEN, guess what, they all got delivered to HALO, that shelter up in Sebastian.
I wanted to talk to one of ’em and get the story first-paw, an I thought you pooches would be innersted, too. So I got permission to do an innerview.
All the Puerto Rican pooches were in a special big room, each in their own little cage, cuz they were all still in QWAR-un-teen, which means they have to be sure they’re not sick or have ang-ZI-utty or anything like that. Plus they hadda get over all the scary stuff they’d been through.
First I was introduced to Beba, a little gal, wiggly and slurpy, who appeared well uh-JUS-ted. My assistant got to hold Beba, who gave her lots of frenly slurps.
“Ola, Senorita Beba. Como estas,” I inquired.
“Bien. Muy bien,” she replied, “But, Senor Bonzo, we all speak English. Puerto Rican puppies – humans and dogs – are required to learn English.”
Next a human brought out a chocolate colored puppy, looked like a Lab, only 4 weeks old. “I’m only 4 weeks old but I’m not scarda NUFFIN’! I didn’t even do my duty on the big ol’ plane like some other puppies did, an I only whined once.”
“You’re one brave puppy,” I said, with great admiration.
Finally the nice lady brought out this itsy little chihuahua with Super-sized ears, and gold-colored hair that stuck out in every direction. I had to smile. “I’m Rafael. I’m going on 1. I have been chosen to be Spokespooch.”
“I’m honored to meet all of you, and I can’t wait to hear about your adventure,” I told him, adjusting my notebook, pencil poised. Rafael began.
“We were still scared to pieces from goin’ through the hurrycane, thinkin’ we were gonna get blown or washed away. We didn’t know it then, but the lady who’s the Boss of here, Miss Jacque, heard about us hurrycane orphans and knew she hadda Do Something. When she found out there were already lotsa supply trucks stuck at the airport in Puerto Rico and couldn’t even get to the humans, never mind the animals, she got real determined, like humans do sometimes.
“Us pooches were scattered around a town called Rincon, in several small rescue places, and even more of us, around 700, were livin’ in a big sanctuary, Santurario Canita, and nobody had food or water or medicine. We were all hungry an thirsty, some were sick and lots Didn’t Make It. That was a scary, Dismal Dog Biscuits time for us, buh-lieve me.”
“Woof,” was all I could say.
“Then,” Rafael continued, “Miss Jacque found out from this buncha humans called Guardians of Rescue that they could help HALO charter an ackshull AIRplane for much less money than usual that could bring food and medicine and other stuff all the homeless pooches needed, then load up with as many pooches as possible an fly back to here.
“An here’s the really cool kibbles part.” Rafael got quiet, then said, “Honestly, Senor Bonzo, I was never a big fan of humans, I mostly fended for myself, was never, like, pals with one. But I’m lookin’ at things different since I heard what the HALO humans an frens did.”
“Why? What did they do?”
“They got busy and donated enough money to charter the plane AN fill it with more than 3,000 pounds of food an water an medicine! For US! A bunch of raggedy-muffin Puerto Rican pooches they didn’t even KNOW.”
“Woof!” I repeated, getting a little sniffly-nose. “That’s a lotta pounds of stuff.”
“The rescue trip started on Tuesday, Oct. 24. HALO’s private charter, loaded with food and supplies, took off for our little island. Soon as it landed, a buncha human volunteers started handing out the stuff to the shelters in need. Then – I’ll never forget the date, Thursday, Oct. 26 – 62 of us were chosen for a Freedom Flight on the plane back to the states. I can’t even describe, Senor Bonzo, how it felt when a human picked me up an put me in a little crate for the flight. I was afraid to even believe it was true. We were ackshully going to have a chance for a new life. During the flight, several of us were talkin’ about it and we all felt pretty much the same way. Like it was dream.
“But it was REAL! At about 5 p.m., our plane landed at the Fort Pierce airport. There was a real efficient, pooch-frenly team of HALO volunteers and frens, an a real kind dog doctor and assistant on the ground to welcome us and make sure we were all muy bueno. One by one, our crates, with us in ’em, were unloaded an handed down the line. We all had to go through the airport check-in, then we were loaded into three vans for the drive to HALO. It was the same when we arrived here. We were all sorta nervous, but the humans are real kind an gentle an patient with us. Now we’re all tidied up and eating right again and making sure to hydrate, an getting’ used to bein’ in Florida. Then, when we’re ready, we can start looking for our Forever Families. That’s what I’m most excited about now.”
“Rafael, I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a dramatic story,” I told him. “It been a real pleasure yapping with all you courageous canines, and I wish you muy buena suerte in your new life.”
Heading home I was hoping all those homeless pooches would quickly find loving homes, and I was looking forward to seeing my Grandma and Grandpa, and givin’ ’em extra snuggles to show ’em I know what a lucky dog I am.
Till next time,