The strays of Puerto Rico: Los Machos Beach, where a dog’s life is no kind of paradise
This excerpt from the award-winning documentary ”100,000″ focuses on the work of Island Dog, an animal welfare organization in Puerto Rico founded by Baltimore native Katie Block.
Block left Baltimore in 1999, looking for paradise, she admits. On her first day in Puerto Rico she came across a homeless dog and brought it home. When she took it to a vet and explained how she had found it, he laughed at her.
She quickly learned the stray she’d found was just one of thousands — and that many of them spent their lives at a particular beach, called Los Machos, where they’d either been abandoned, or, sometimes, born from those previously abandoned.
She tried to do what she could. At her bartending job at a resort, she persuaded guests to take dogs home to the states. She enlisted her parents help in getting dogs shipped to new homes. Making a small dent in a very big problem, and swamped by veterinary bills, she, after three years, threw in the towel — but only temporarily, as it turned out.
In 2002, Block returned to Baltimore. She finished college and ended up in Puerto Rico again, where in 2006, she established Island Dog.
Today, as the founder and director of the organization, she works full-time to rescue dogs, find them homes in the states, and supply strays with food and medical attention — all while focused on longer term goals.
Those include teaching responsible pet ownership, expanding the practice of spaying and neutering, and increasing awareness around the world about the cruelties animal face in U.S. territories in the Caribbean. Her hope is to make Puerto Rico more animal friendly, and get an animal education program started at every school in the territory.
Only about 10 percent of Puerto Rico’s pet population ever visit a veterinarian, it’s estimated.
In the documentary “100,000,” which we’re featuring all week on ohmidog!, director Juan Agustin Marquez captured the scene at Los Machos beach, and a lot of the work Island Dog does — feeding and medicating homeless animals, rescuing and rehabilitating strays, and finding them homes in the states.
The organization also offer clinics for free or low cost spay/neuter services and vaccinations, provides a humane education program for children that encourages kindness to animals and responsible pet ownership, and supplies medication and food to other animal welfare organizations working in the U.S. Caribbean.
You can find Island Dog listed with our other animal welfare friends on our rightside column, and you can visit its website and learn how to donate to the cause here.
(Photos courtesy of Island Dog)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100000, abandoned, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, beach, beach dogs, documentary, dogs, homeless, island dog, juan agustin marquez, katie block, los machos beach, movie, paradise, pets, puerto rico, rescues, shelters, strays, street dogs, unwanted