Sato Adds

Monday, September 28, 2009

Maruja's Adoption

We had a very special adoption in Puerto Rico a few weeks ago. Mari and Juan came to the shelter to work on a movie about the satos and fell in love along the way.

We do not have many people on the island interested in adopting, so it is a big celebration when we find the perfect home for one of our satos.

Thank you to Juan and Mari for providing a wonderful home for Maruja, and to her canine brother Homer for sharing his treats, toys and all the joys of having a family with her!

Click here to see the video of Maruja's adoption!

Maruja with her new Mom!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Help Wanted!

As with any non profit, we are constantly struggling to make ends meet. We rely on donations to run the entire organization and in this economy things are extremely difficult. We recognize that not everyone can give a financial donation, and we can always use help with volunteer hours to help us care for the dogs.

Did you know that Save a Sato has not one paid volunteer? Shelter Manager Gloria has worked for more than 13 years - 365 days a year, 10 hours a day at the shelter without being paid. She tends to every need of the dogs in her care, and can always use help. What i not known to many is that the majority of the daily tasks at the shelter are being done by the board members, and as such it leaves them little time to work on other projects for the organization.

If you are in Puerto Rico, would you consider donating an hour or two of your time? With the help of many, we could get so much done!

Some of the tasks that need volunteers at the shelter are as follows -
  • Baths - we have many dogs being treated for mange, and the treatment includes a medicated bath once a week, without this bath the condition will not go away. 
  • Cage cleaning - this happens every single day, for every single cage. Takes a lot of time and more hands are needed.
  • Dog walking/Socializing - Some dogs need a little extra love and exposure to positive experiences, this is a very rewarding opportunity to help prepare a dog for their new home.
If you cannot make it to the shelter we still have things that you can help with from your home including data entry and working on upgrading the website.

      If you are traveling from San Juan to Hartford, CT, Newark, NJ, Tampa, FL, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Boston, MA or New York, NY we are always in need of escorts, which costs nothing to our volunteers! To learn more about the escort program and download the flyer please click here.

      If have even one hour to spare each week or month, please consider volunteering your time to help Save a Sato, you can feel great about helping the animals and you will be greatly rewarded with a thank you kiss from one of the very grateful satos!

Octavio is waiting to thank you!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Waiting for a Forever Home - Galilea

Six weeks ago, a tiny puppy was found under a car by new SAS volunteer Marybel. She was about 8 weeks old, terribly underweight and covered in mange.
Arriving at the shelter

She was named Galilea, and was in need of immediate help. She was given fluids, good food, water and a warm cozy kennel to rest in. Weekly baths to cure her mange began.

Galilea barely had the strength to stand on the day of her rescue

Our wonderful volunteer Cybelle reports that a short 6 weeks later, you would not recognize sweet Galilea as the dog pictured above. She has all the energy a puppy of her age should, and is very active! She has gained weight and her mange is almost completely healed thanks to the weekly baths given by our volunteers.

Here she is after being cared for by Gloria and the SAS volunteers -

Beautiful Gali, healed and ready to find a home!

Happy and active Galilea 6 weeks after she came to the shelter.

Busy girl playing at the shelter

Galilea is now ready to begin her journey to her forever home. We hope a partner shelter will choose her for an upcoming trip so that she may find the family she deserves.

Special thanks to Marybel for rescuing Gali and to Cybelle for providing these photos and information.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another Happy Ending - Estela

>There are so many special satos that come through our program - each and every animal touches us in their own way, but every once in a while there is a dog that for one reason or another finds a place in my heart and I cannot help but get attached. I tend to gravitate toward the special needs dogs, as I have two of my own and I guess I like the challenge of finding the perfect place for an animal that may need special care. I know first hand the rewards and lifetime of love that these animals provide when given a chance for a normal life.

I was introduced to Estela in July by chance on the phone one day with Leilani. She mentioned her as she displayed a similar issue that my own dog is having - she would "knuckle" her rear foot. It was subtle and didn't occur often, but it was there, and her foot was raw because of it. I immediately worried it was neurological.

Leilani sent video and photos, and we worked to try to find a partner shelter that would give Estela a chance at a new life.

Estela at the Save a Sato shelter in San Juan in July

Her oppurtunity came when she was chosen to fly to Northeast Animal Shelter in August, just before their sato reunion. I was so excited that I would actually get to meet her at the event!!

Estela at Northeast Shelter waiting for her forever family in August

I got to meet Estela briefly and wished her well, knowing that someone would give her the chance to find happiness. She was hardly displaying the knuckling at this time, the vets didn't find anything conclusive and her foot was healing.

On September 13th we were lucky enough to meet several sato owners at Pet Rock Fest. We were just finished setting up the table when two ladies came up to introduce their satos to us. There was Ben, a sato that is working toward becoming a therapy dog for his mom and to my surprise there was Estela!!!! The ladies adopted her from Northeast! I began to cry at the sight of her, the little dog that had dragged her paw had filled out so nicely and had visibly gained confidence in just a few short weeks! As I knelt before her to give her a pet, she looked up at me and gave me a big lick, as if in thanks. Her new family reports that she no longer knuckles and her paw is completely healed.

 Estela with her sato brother Ben and her Poodle brother in September!

It is stories like this that keep us going, knowing there are people out there that will adopt a "less than perfect" animal and give it the love and affection that it deserves. Thank you Estela's family, and to all those that adopt a special needs pet.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Satos at Play

Everyone deserves to have a nice relaxing Saturday, to run around wild and crazy if the mood strikes and to have nothing but a good time, not a care in the world...and so I bring you the satos at play!

Yera and Raul

Janet and Pepa





All of these satos are in our shelter just waiting for their new homes! We are off for a fun day with the animals at Pet Rock Fest in Worcester, MA tomorrow, hope you can join us!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Douglas Hodgkins Photography

In March of this year, I received an E-mail from a student studying digital photography, who wanted to do his final project on Save a Sato. Sounded like a simple thing - take some photos of the satos at partner shelters and in their homes and put it together in a slide show or Quicktime movie....what it blossomed into was a remarkable multimedia project detailing the journey of the satos and a lasting friendship.

Over the next few months, Doug Hodgkins took more than two thousand photos and spent many weekends photographing for the project. He and I first met at Logan airport in March, where he documented the arrival of a transport of dogs from San Juan to Boston. I could immediately see his dedication as he worked.

Doug photographing the satos arrival at Logan airport (photo by Tracey Goodwin)

Doug then visited two of our partner shelters and captured the satos as they waited for their new families to find them. He quickly realized that this documentary could not be complete unless he made the trip to Puerto Rico to capture the beginning of the journey. Being a sato owner himself, he knows the situation on the island, and felt he had to share it in order to tell the whole story. Doug would soon be covering many miles on behalf of the satos!

He arrived on an evening flight in San Juan, and was up early to begin his day with Leilani. She had Doug out first thing to try to locate and rescue a "little white dog" someone wrote to us about. They found the dog, fed her some food and were ready to take her to the shelter but noticed that with her was another little dog, that would not get to close out of fear. They could see the bond that these two dogs had for each other, and the tough decision was made not to take one without the other, Leilani knew she was not going to be able to get the second dog, so sadly they left them there. This is life for our rescuers, sometimes they have to leave a dog or two behind, and it is heartbreaking.

The female eagerly accepts food from Leilani, while the male will not come close, not even with the tempting food (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography)

So off to the shelter with a heavy heart, to photograph the dogs currently in our care. Doug spent the day taking more than a thousand photos of the shelter, the volunteers and the wonderful dogs - I am quite sure Gloria put him to work doing other things while he was there! Everyone had such a great time during his visit, the satos had their own professional photographer for the day!

Doug at work at the shelter in San Juan, while a sato checks to be sure he is working hard (Photo by Cybelle Cartagena)

After a long day at the shelter, Leilani and Doug could not get the two little dogs from the morning off their minds. They convinced Gloria they had to go back to get them. So as the sun was setting, the three went back out to rescue the two beautiful dogs.

Gloria patiently trying to gain trust with the male (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography)

The female was easy, she let Gloria pick her right up (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography

Getting closer, he wanted to be with his sister so badly (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography

And the photos stop here....why? Because Doug put down his camera in order to help Gloria and Leilani rescue the dogs! In the end the male was finally rescued, and he and his sister were appropriately named Doug and Dottie, after our photographer and his wife. Both have since been adopted together by a loving family in Boston!
Back in Boston, Doug and I met at the home of one of our adopters to take photos of some special satos in their forever homes. We had a wonderful day talking about the dogs and taking photos! Special thanks to Joanne and Halley for hosting our photo shoot!

Halley and sato Ruby (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography

After many weeks of photographing, Doug had the material he needed for his project. He began with a slide show presentation, and worked his way toward completion of the multimedia project which was completed in June. He spent months working on this project, and the end result is an amazing video depicting the journey of the satos from the streets of Puerto Rico to their forever homes on the mainland.

I could not in my wildest dreams have imagined such a beautiful and moving tribute to the satos and the volunteers that rescue them. The project can be seen in the YouTube video Finding Forever: The Story of the Satos of Puerto Rico and the People Who Save Them (located in the side bar on this blog) or by going to -

I still have not been able to find the words to thank Doug for his dedication to this project. We will be able to show this video for years to come, and it will benefit the satos in ways that we can't even imagine. His dedication and commitment to telling the story in a new and exciting way, will help thousands of satos and teach the world about their situation.

Tonight is the Gallery Opening at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts Boston University, Waltham Campus, where one of Doug's photos from the project will be featured. Visit for details on visiting the gallery.

We want to congratulate Doug on his graduation from CDIA, and thank him so much for this tremendous gift to the dogs and to Save a Sato. And I cannot forget to thank Pirate, the sato Doug rescued in Culebra, PR a few years ago, for being the inspiration for this project.

Pirate (photo copyright Douglas Hodgkins Photography

Yes you have Pirate...yes you have.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting ready for Pet Rock

For the first time, Save a Sato will have a booth at Pet Rock Fest - this Sunday, September 13th at Quinsigamond College in Worcester, MA. from 12pm to 5pm (see sidebar for map and directions). We have had mini sato reunions at this event in the past, but we are going all out this year, and are so grateful to the sponsors of this event.

We expect to see many satos and their families at this dog friendly and family friendly day which includes an adoptable dog parade, contests, rabies clinic and low-cost microchipping, live music, a doggie water park, a cat photo contest, speakers, vendors, shows and food. There is a $12.00 admission fee for adults and $5.00 for children (see below for a coupon), with proceeds benefiting New England area animal welfare organizations.

We hope everyone will stop by our booth, where you can purchase raffle tickets for our Pet Portrait raffle for $2.00 each and we will have another great raffle as well - $1.00 a ticket (must be present to win) - 1st prize is a Morgan's Dog bed filled with toys and treats for both dogs and humans (Retail Value $100), 2nd prize is an Autographed copy of Tails of Devotion by Emily Scott Pottruck and a Save a Sato Sweatshirt (Retail value $60.00) and 3rd prize is a Casual Canine Doggy Pouch dog carrier (Retail value $45.00).

We will have lots of information, T-shirts and stickers for sale, coloring pages and puzzles for the kids and plenty of dog biscuits for every pup! You can even visit with Baxter, my sato!

We look forward to meeting a lot of new friends at Pet Rock Fest!

Our dear friend, sato rescuer and SAS angel Leilani above with Baxter at Pet Rock Fest 2006

Slide show from Pet Rock Fest 2006 - featuring satos Buddy and Baxter -
Coupon for $2.00 off admission -

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Our Volunteers - Ursula

Over time I will introduce you to the people behind Save a Sato, without whom we could not save as many dogs as we do. Everyone knows Gloria, our shelter manager, president and guardian angel to the satos, but many of the other volunteers are lesser known.

First up is Ursula, or Lita as we sometimes call her. Lita brings a vibrant flare to the group, always smiling and making others laugh, even during difficult times. Being on the mainland, I and other volunteers rely on the volunteers in PR to help us get information, photos, etc. to help us in our work for SAS and Lita always comes through!

Ursula is our Secretary, and is responsible for most of the correspondence for the organization, but she also does a variety of other things -
  • "  SAS Photographer"  - Most of the photos you see on this blog were taken by her.
  • "  Education Director"  - She and her dogs visit schools and educate the children of PR about humane treatment of animals.
  • "  Shelter Worker"  - She goes weekly to the shelter to clean kennels, give baths and help socialize the dogs.
  • "  Informant"  - We call on Ursula to get us all sorts of information, and she created and maintains a gigantic database of the dogs.
  • "  Adoption Coordinator"  - She works with people on the island who want to adopt a sato.
  • "  Event Planner"  - Attends animal related events in PR promoting SAS.
  • "  Errand Runner " - Lita runs around the island picking up everything from newspapers to lunch!
  • "  Advocate for the Animals"  - Lita is above all a wonderful spokesperson for SAS and the animals on the island, we haven't found one thing that she is not willing to help with.
Here are a few photos of Lita in action!

Ursula with her dog Flecha at a recent event

Ursula and her dog Lola help teaching children in PR to respect animals

Ursula after a hard day of work at the shelter

A big "Gracias!" to Lita for all of her hard work, and for keeping us laughing!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Ending Sibling Connection!

I got an E-mail from an adopter that had been visiting our Happy Endings page on our website and came across another dog that she thought could be her satos sibling. She wrote the following -

"I was recently on the Save-A-Sato website looking through the happy endings and came across Bosco (formerly Wilson). I believe our dog Rusty (formerly Robin) is his litter mate. On Christmas day me and my three siblings opened a huge gift wrapped box only to find a red and green collar and a few dog toys The next day we drove about 50 miles to come see Rusty and it was love at first sight!  So on December 26, 2008 (My birthday!) when welcomed Rusty into our home when we adopted him from the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA.! He looks exactly like Bosco and has quite the personality. He is smart and very affectionate. He will even "talk" to you if he feels he is being ignored or left out. Rusty is a cuddle bug and is the love of my life. He was the best Christmas gift our family could ever hope for and we are so proud to have saved a Sato. The work your organization does is truely a saving grace and a second chance for many of these animals and we are proud to be a part of it."

Here is Rusty, formerly Robin.

I looked for the E-mail from the family of Bosco to see if the two dogs could be related and sure enough, Bosco's family sent the following -

"I adopted “Wilson” (pictured with Brother Robin – lite brindle - in attached photo) now “Bosco” from the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA on December 24, 2008. He came with paperwork describing his prior life in Puerto Rico, so we just wanted to let you know that little pup you rescued last November is almost 6 months old now, loved very much, and growing like a weed. We recently had Bosco DNA tested and it showed him to be a Rottweiler / Boxer mix."

  Here is Bosco, formerly Wilson

Wilson's family even included a photo of the two pups together at Northeast Animal shelter - 

Wilson and Robin at the shelter.

We love sato sibling connections! We hope that maybe one day the boys can get together for a reunion and a playdate! Thanks to Bosco and Rusty's families for sharing their stories!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Custom Pet Portrait Raffle

Our latest Fund Raiser, a beautiful custom portrait of your pet painted in oil, generously donated by Gwen Rosewater of Iconic Dog. Go to to purchase your tickets.


I think it is about time Save a Sato had it's own blog! Here I will keep you up to date on what is happening at the shelter in San Juan, highlight the stories of our wonderful rescues and introduce you to the wonderful dogs and volunteers of SAS.

This is Paco, a new pup rescued by Gloria.

Gloria spotted Paco sleeping under a car and stopped to pick him up, he is now resting comfortably at the SAS shelter waiting for his forever home. Here are the photos of his rescue -

(Photos courtesy of Ursula!)

Paco is one of an estimated 200,000 stray dogs on the streets of Puerto Rico. He is lucky that someone stopped to rescue him, many others are not as lucky.