October has been off to a busy start. Last weekend we sent another 65 lucky dogs on their 'Freedom Flight' to safety with our partner, Wings of Rescue, and our next transport is already scheduled for November 17th. You can read some of their success stories below. But what really has our whole team hustling right now are preparations for Round Two of 'The Spayathon For Puerto Rico', happening in less than three weeks from now. After our incredible experience as a Ground Team lead for Round One in Ceiba last June, we are very excited to apply everything we learned during that week-long round to ensure that Round Two is an even greater success. We hope to treat at least 1,000 pets this time, so stay tuned!

 

As always, thank you for being in our sato corner.

-- Chrissy Beckles, President and Founder

PS: If you only recently joined our email list, you can peruse our previous monthly email newsletters on our new archive on our website: thesatoproject.org/newsletters.
65 dogs take their Freedom Flight and four are reunited with their families 

Left: the team in PR loads 65 dogs into the plane during the early hours of the morning. Right: our Vetting Coordinator, Sarai, gets off the plane in NJ after riding along as the sato chaperone. 

This past Saturday, after our tireless ground team in Puerto Rico worked through the night and loaded the plane in record time, another 'Freedom Flight' took off from the San Juan Airport. For the 65 dogs on board, it was a long journey. First, there was a stop in Florida where the plane refueled and three dogs were reunited with their families through our #nodogleftbehind program. Then there was a second stop in Delaware, where twenty dogs were dropped off to our shelter partner Brandywine Valley SPCA. And then finally, the plane  reached New Jersey where our NY team and the staff of the Bloomberg Hangar at the Morristown Airport could not wait to welcome them. All of the remaining dogs, except for one, either went straight into the arms of their new forever families, our foster network, to our shelter partner Animal Haven, or our new partner Potter League for Animals in Rhode Island.  

The one remaining dog, Celia, had something extra special in store. In 2016, Celia showed up in the yard of a family's house in Puerto Rico. They quickly decided they never wanted her leave, and she officially became a family member. But then Hurricane Maria hit. Schools closed and jobs ended, and Celia's family decided they had to leave the island, but they could not take Celia with them due to the flight restrictions at the time. Thanks to our No Dog Left Behind program, they were reunited on Saturday after being separated for 11 months. 

On Saturday, Celia's mom Ivelisse, did not tell her two daughters why on Earth they were going to the airport in Morristown, NJ. Watch a video of their surprise happy reunion on our Instagram page at: bit.ly/celiareunion.

Congratulations to all of our new families and a huge heartfelt thank you to all of our amazing volunteers in Puerto Rico and on the East Coast, and of course to our longtime partner Wings of Rescue. We truly could not do this work without any of you. Keep reading to our 'Howling Success' section below for another happy surprise story from last weekend's flight. 

Staff and volunteers welcome the new arrivals, and satos meet their new families.

Spayathon Round Two 
begins November 3rd!

Learn more about the Spayathon for Puerto Rico and the success of Round 1 at

The Spayathon for Puerto Rico is back for Round Two!  We are so excited to again be a part of this historic 23 member coalition that is making lasting change for people and animals across the island. The Spayathon is a high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter (HQHVSNV) initiative spearheaded by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The aim is to sterilize and vaccinate over 20,000 dogs and cats in underserved communities across Puerto Rico over the course of a single year through four rounds of free services.  

After a successful Round One in June when our team completed 899 spay/neuter surgeries at our location in Ceiba, we are now prepping to make an even bigger impact in Round Two. From November 3rd-9th, we will again be partnering with veterinary team Helping Paws Across Borders at a new location in Fajardo to offer free spay/neuter surgeries as well as vital vaccines to owned dogs and cats brought to our clinic. We are applying everything we learned in Round One, and adding an additional four veterinarians per day, and are hopeful that we'll complete over 1,000 surgeries this time around. 

As the 'Ground Team', The Sato Project is responsible for handling all community outreach and registration, volunteers, organizing additional vet techs, and coordinating all of the daily logistics and supplies to ensure that the team of veterinarians can perform the HQHVSNV services as efficiently and safely as possible. Would you like to help us get ready for Spayathon Round Two and make sure this round is even more successful than the first?   You can help by purchasing items off our Amazon Spayathon Wishlist
Gordon's Howling Success 

In early September, Gordon was rescued as a tiny puppy along with his four siblings. After completing our vetting protocol and given a clean bill of health, he was scheduled to take his Freedom Flight on October 6th and then stay with one of our foster families until he was matched with an adopter. But after he landed in NJ on Saturday, his itinerary took a unexpected turn.

Lauren and Gordon make their case at the airport to Lauren's parents for why they should stay together forever. 

Every time a Freedom Flight lands at Morristown, the staff of the Bloomberg Hangar go above and beyond, doing everything they can to help welcome our new pups. They jump right in along side our staff and volunteers to load them off of the plane, walk them, clean their crates, and overall, treat them with immense love and special attention. But for one Bloomberg employee, this was not just a routine Freedom Flight. As he has done several times before, Tom brought  along his daughter, Lauren, to also help welcome our special arrivals. And for the first time, his wife Amy came too. Lauren was visiting with several of the puppies when she was handed puppy Gordon to take for the first walk of his new life. The walk ended but Lauren didn't want to give Gordon back to anyone else.  She had  walked several other of our satos at previous flight landings, but there was something special about this one. Gordon also seemed smitten and looked like he would definitely be happy for his new best friend to take him on all of his future walks. After some family discussion right there at the airport, and helping Lauren to state their case for why they should be able to stay together, Gordon suddenly found himself with his new forever family. They went home together that very day, and met Lauren's brother Kerry who was equally as excited.

Tom has lent his hand to so many of our satos' journeys. We are thrilled that he now has a sato of his own and that our sweet Gordon (now renamed Finn) got to go home with a wonderful family where we know he will be truly cherished forever. 

They said yes! Lauren and Gordon celebrate that they can hold onto each other 
forever and never let go. 

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The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico, where there are an estimated 500,000 strays (referred to as "satos" in Puerto Rico). With only nine shelters on the island with over a 90% euthanasia rate, we have rescued over 2,500 dogs, rehabilitated them with the highest standards of veterinary care, and found them loving homes on the mainland U.S..  We are also working to make systemic change on the island through community outreach and a Spay, Neuter, Vaccinate and Microchip Program.
The Sato Project is a 501(c)3 organization relying entirely on
volunteers and tax-deductible donations for our operations.


"We fight so the dogs of Puerto Rico don't have to."