From Puerto Rican Dumpster to a Loving Chicago Home

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Serena when rescuedLittle Serena, was found in a Puerto Rican dumpster – her broken, decomposing back leg had wire and fabric wrapped around it to hold it together.  Sadly, this sweet girl was thrown out as trash.  A good Samaritan found her, and contacted Save a Sato (a shelter on the island).

They took Serena to a veterinary hospital where they immediately amputated her leg in order to save her life.  Save a Sato then reached out to As Good as Gold, a golden retriever rescue organization, for help in finding Serena a better life in the Chicago area.  Once medically clear, Serena flew to Chicago, where she got her second chance at life.

Throughout Serena’s entire ordeal, she always remained a sweet, kind and loving girl (even though she was in pain, fighting an infection, and healing from her amputation).  She did great in her foster home and adjusted quite well to having only 3 legs.  She loved to play with the other dogs and cats, and she LOVED to run.  She would run up and down stairs without a problem, and was able to turn on a dime.  In foster care, Serena recovered from her traumatic injury nicely, and she began to think things were pretty nice in the USA.

Serena’s life in America got even better when she was adopted by a wonderful family.  She now enjoys an abundance of petting, hugging, and attention from her humans, and has several cat and dog siblings.  She walks, runs, and helps work in the garden with her new family.  Serena uses a special harness to provide extra support while walking, and someday, she may need a brace for her good leg.  But for now, Serena is busy building up the muscle and strength in her other 3 legs.  Who needs that 4th leg anyhow!

Serena ready to leave hospital
Serena ready to leave hospital

One last tidbit about Serena –her name was changed to Mija to maintain a link to her Puerto Rican heritage.  Mija, is an affection term that often means “daughter” or “special little one”. Mija certainly is a “special little one”, and is loved very, very much.  Welcome to America Mija!

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As Good as Gold, Golden Retriever Rescue of Illinois is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has rescued over 1,600 golden retrievers and golden mixes.  Incorporated in 2003 AGaG never turns down a dog due to age or medical conditions.

Save a Sato is a non-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to easing the suffering of Puerto Rico’s homeless and abused animals. “Sato” is slang for street dog. They rescue Satos from the streets and beaches, give them medical care, food and shelter and plenty of love. Once healthy, they send them to one of their shelter partners for adoption into loving homes.

17 thoughts on “From Puerto Rican Dumpster to a Loving Chicago Home”

  1. Kill a shelter pet in your area by buying an imported dog from the new international retail rescue business. How many shelter pets die to save this one dog. One is one to many. Rescues are now contributing to the murder of domestic shelter animals in local communities.

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  2. Save-A-Sato is a HUGE organization responsible for sending hundreds if not THOUSANDS of island dogs to the states while our own strays, abandoned or abused dogs die in shelters. In 2004, they shipped a puppy to Mass that had rabies. For every imported street dog, a local American shelter dog dies. Support your local shelters and buy American.

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    • Educate yourself. Puerto Rico is part of the United States. GOOGLE IT!!! We (including our dogs) are as American as you…just more educated. Save-A-Sato saves tons of animals. A life is a life, btw. It doesn’t matter if it’s Chinese, Mexican, Russian, etc. Animals don’t die because of rescue places. They die because most people are as uneducated and ignorant as you are.

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      • In 2009, the CDC said we had eradicated rabies in the continental U.S. To bring it back shows a decided LACK of concern for the pets and people that are HERE now! Stopping the problem at the source by education the people of PR the benefits of S/N, vaccinations AND responsible dog ownership would be in the long run more beneficial than bringing over disease animals that can affect not only the ones here but also the people!

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  3. Apparently neither of you know what Puerto Rico is. Puerto Rico is a US Commonwealth; not a state but still part of this country. Save A Sato is not responsible for our shelter pets’ deaths, our own citizens are! If we educated our neighbors, friends, and families, the situation would be different. Spaying and neutering saves lives and teaching people that animals are not disposable will help!

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    • Well said. This is a beautiful story and those that do this work, no matter WHERE they are, should receive our praise.

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  4. A rescue dog is a rescue dog, it matters not where they come from. Interesting concept. I will disagree with it. As long as shelters in my state have euthanasia rates from 50% to 97% than every rescues dog brought into that community means one less dog gets out of a county run kill shelter.

    I applaud you for wanting to make changes in your commonwealth. My SIL says strongly that he is a Puerto Rican, not American. He gets the benefits of being an American, but he recognizes that he is Puerto Rican. The vast majority of “island born” citizens I have met echo his comment. SO….maybe it is time that more people on the island step up and get involved in your organization. I realize that is a challenge and that it is far easier to ship the dogs to the mainland. But I challenge you to make people change their behavior towards dogs and stop sending these street dogs across the water.

    As long as a dog in my state dies in a kill shelter…a rescue dog is not a rescue dog. It simply is another animal that takes the life of one imprisoned by the county. I don’t believe in interstate transport of rescue dogs either. Only when a state has successful eliminated the kill shelters and all the unwanted dogs and cats have homes then that state should be open to the importation (and quarantine) of dogs and cats from other rescues into their state licensed rescue organizations.

    There are significant regulations for commercial breeders, there should be the same regulations for commercial rescue organizations that transport in or out of their registered state or commonwealth or country.

    A Russian is still a Russian, A Mexican is still a Mexican and a Chinese is still a Chinese. Call them humans, but they are all individuals with an allegiance to a specific location. They are not interchangeable lives with members of my community.

    There may be a solution, but as long as the dogs imported from other areas bring disease and do not reduce the numbers in my county shelters you are only contributing the the problems I see in my state daily.

    I respectfully disagree with the transportation of dogs and cats for retail rescue sales. I also respectfully disagree with the commercial transportation of dogs and cats for retail sale.

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  5. Thanks Chrissy! I follow your work. I am from Puerto Rico but I live in Chicago. I am the contact/liaison person between AGAG and SAS. Like you, I have witnessed first hand the many horrors the thousands of stray dogs have to endure in the streets of the so called “Enchanted Island”. I am working to bring more awareness and my goal is to get many vets involved to have a massive TNR program to attack the problem from it’s roots.

    Thanks for the work you do. You are truly admirable.

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  6. Amazing how there is no room here for reasonable disagreement of the importation of dogs from outside of individual communities. The supporters of rescues disgust me with their intolerance for differing opinions.

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    • You sound like a very disgusting, straight up racist person. Your state obviously fails and the education apparently sucks. Go read a book Jesus. Educate yourself dumb baby.

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  7. I am in Canada and there is a rescue that is close to me that takes dogs from a high kill shelter in CA, also another rescue that takes from Mexico, what the hell is wrong with the thinking of some people on this page, save a life is what counts, Canada has a low rate of kill shelters, maybe you should contact your own government to change the laws on animals, I know that Canada and previously UK is happy to help other countries and you seem set on staying insular and helping know one not even your selves. Shame on this mentality.

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