Hidden In Plain Sight

By Joy Carson, Executive Director Pets Alive Puerto Rico

Look closely at this photo that we took at a busy parking lot in Utuado. Less than one day old, this tiny baby lays on the pavement, waiting for mama to return to the “den”. Like a metaphor for the problem of stray dogs in Puerto Rico, this newborn is hidden in plain sight, within view of dozens of people, but invisible to all but a few.


A shaded pavement is not a sufficient temperature to sustain the life of a newborn pup, even here in the tropics. If the chill doesn’t kill this baby, the torrential afternoon rains will. We wonder why mama chose such an inappropriate place for her den, and when she returns, we have our answer. Mama is just a baby herself, maybe 9-10 months old. She is skinny and full of mange. We look around for other hidden pups, but find none. We ask around in the stores, and are told that she delivered only one pup – not surprising given her age and physical condition. We have no doubt that without intervention her baby will be dead within hours.

Now try to imagine that YOU are a compassionate animal lover, as so many Puerto Ricans are. You come upon this baby, or you come upon any one of the thousands of pups or dogs in need here. Your heart breaks and you want to help, but you simply cannot take in even one more because you already have 5, 10, or 12 dogs at home that you picked up off the street (multiple dog households with high numbers of dogs is VERY common here). The rescue organizations are full (you’ve called them many times in the past), and you know if you call animal control the dog will be taken to a shelter and killed.

The images of the dogs you have seen but could not help are burned into your eyes. So you learn to look away, you pretend not to see. You close down a part of your heart so you can go on with each day. You pray for help for these precious creatures, and you think that’s all you can do.

But I am begging you to stop turning away. YOU CAN DO MORE, and if you care about animals, you MUST do more to help and to prevent unwanted animals – like this baby – from being born, suffering and dying in the streets.


SPAY/NEUTER YOUR OWN DOGS. It is the single most important thing YOU can do to help solve the problem of unwanted dogs on the street. And not just the females! If your males are not neutered, YOU are directly responsible for adding to the population of unwanted dogs on the street.

TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS ABOUT SPAYING/NEUTERING THEIR DOGS, and consider helping them if they are not able to afford it or need help getting to the veterinarian.

Instead of feeding strays, save that money and spend it on spaying/neutering just one stray dog. One unspayed/unneutered dog and its offspring can produce THOUSANDS of unwanted dogs. By spaying/neutering just one stray, you prevent the suffering of countless dogs.

If you are not in Puerto Rico, or cannot bring in a stray for spay/neuter, then SPONSOR the spay/neuter of a STRAY dog.

SPONSOR the spay/neuter of an OWNED PET so we can continue to offer low cost services to families that want to spay/neuter their pets.

ADOPT A DOG FROM YOUR LOCAL SHELTER instead of buying a purebred dog. Please don’t buy a dog while wonderful and amazing dogs suffer and die in the streets.

TALK OPENLY ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR ANIMALS, so others who feel the same way will know that they are not alone.

We need YOUR help now to change the world for the animals of Puerto Rico.

REOPEN YOUR EYES AND YOUR HEART, PUT ON YOUR BATTLE GEAR, and send email to info@petsalivepr.org to let us know how you will help.


Please Consider a Donation

It costs just $80 to change the world for a stray dog. Your gift will provide spay/neuter, 2 vaccinations, a collar and ID tag, and medication for internal parasites, common skin ailments and flea/tick preventative.

For just $30, you can help sponsor one low cost spay/neuter for a pet owner who wants to be sure that their dog never adds to the population of unwanted dogs suffering on the streets.

If you are a pet owner, or if you want to spay/neuter a stray dog, we offer you a low cost option. For just $50, you can have your dog spayed/neutered, vaccinated and receive a collar and ID Tag. Please send email to info@petsalivepr.org for more information.

Are you wondering what happened to the newborn puppy in the parking lot?


Welcome to Pets Alive Puerto Rico Mrs. (Eliana) Empanada and your precious baby. We will take good care of you now. XO

At Pets Alive, we know that rescue and transport will NEVER solve the problem of unwanted dogs suffering in the streets – it is just a band-aid on a gaping wound. For every dog we take in, there are thousands more that suffer and die each day. That’s why we focus on spay/neuter – to solve this problem once and for all!


Thank You.

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill by John Sibley on May 14, 2013.  There are 1 Comment

One Response to “Hidden In Plain Sight”

  1. Nelly Says:

    Hi, I just wants to know if you rescue dogs in other places near Utuado, like Adjuntas. If you do, I feed some dogs in Adjuntas and rescue others, but I don’t have place for them, and can’t find persons for adoption, so I’m ready to donate money if you received the dogs that other two persons and me feed in Adjuntas.

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