By Gail McCarthy
---- — With the news of two recent sato dog rescues from Puerto Rico by individuals, officials with the Gloucester-based nonprofit Cape Ann Animal Aid are reminding residents that, among the group’s many efforts, it also works with All Sato Rescue, a dog rescue organization in Puerto Rico.
Through the partnership, Cape Ann Animal Aid finds homes for these often diminutive canines on Cape Ann and beyond. To sweeten the deal, rescuers from Puerto Rico are often reunited with these adopted dogs during the organization’s annual Rescue Reunion held at Stage Fort Park each summer.
“Our first priority is always to take in dogs from our immediate community,” said Executive Director Sunniva Buck, “but we often have space for out-of-state animals in need and are proud to have found homes for hundreds of satos over the years.”
Last week, representatives of Cape Ann Animal Aid went to Logan airport to pick up a group of satos that will be available for adoption soon. The organization moved into a new 7,500 square-foot facility, called the Christopher Cutler Rich Animal Shelter, in June of 2012.
“Our new facility allows us to do more for homeless dogs and cats than ever before,” said Buck. Anyone interested in learning more about the shelter or the sato program can visit the facility located at 4 Paws Lane in West Gloucester, or visit www.CapeAnnAnimalAid.com.
Buck also noted that, because most local pet owners tend to be responsible when it comes to spaying or neutering their animal companions, the numbers of unwanted puppies being surrendered to shelters has declined.
“While this is a positive trend in national animal welfare, it also means that shelters in New England may not have enough locally surrendered dogs to meet the high demand for adoption,” she said. “The partnership with All Sato Rescue addresses this need, while also saving the lives of highly adoptable and loving dogs that would otherwise be euthanized.
“We help rescue an individual animal from a region where it doesn’t have much — or any — chance of finding a home and bring it to a community where families want to do the right thing and adopt instead of supporting pet stores,” she added.
Buck noted that the out-of-state rescued pups also help promote adoptions of the older and larger dogs that are often harder to place, as well as cats, by bringing more visitors through the doors. Every sato must meet strict health and behavior protocol and is held for 48 hours in a state-approved isolation area prior to being put up for adoption.
All Sato Rescue President Edilia Vazquez said her group is honored to work with Cape Ann Animal Aid.
“We are so grateful to everyone at the shelter in Gloucester,” she said. “They always go the extra mile to find just the right home for the right dog. They have saved so many lives.”
Vazquez said that the new adopters often write lovely letters and send photos of their satos in their new homes.
“These stories keep us going,” she said. “It’s every rescuer’s dream to see a photo of a dog they found starving on the street, now walking on the beaches near Gloucester with its new family.”
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.