With round one of the Spayathon behind us, we've been able to spend the past month preparing for the impending hurricane season. We continue to receive countless calls for help rescuing dogs all over the island, and while we sadly cannot help everyone, our team on the ground is working feverishly to rescue as many dogs as possible this summer so they can fly off the island to safety before any  major storms . We've had some heart-wrenching rescue cases in recent weeks, chronicled on our Facebook page and other social media channels. Stay tuned while we prepare for an exciting Mission Possible Freedom Flight to take place on August 18th. This ambitious flight will have over 100 lucky satos on board! 

In the meantime, p lease read below to get to know one of our amazing team members in Puerto Rico, learn more about our day-to-day vetting operations, and see some of the faces of pups taking their flight on a last-minute Freedom Flight - tomorrow! 

Thank you f or being here, and for being a valued member of our community.

-- Chrissy Beckles, President and Founder
The People Behind The Project: 
Meet Vetting Coordinator, 
Sarai Cruz Negron  

Sarai examines a puppy during The Spayathon for Puerto Rico.

Have you adopted a dog from us? If so, your beloved sato first passed through the loving arms of our Wonder Woman Vetting Coordinator, Sarai. From the first moment they walk through our doors as a new rescue to the moment they board their Freedom Flight to NY, Sarai is with each of our dogs every step of the way, overseeing their health plan, safety, and well-being. Sarai is also in charge of our Spay/Neuter Community Voucher Program, coordinating Puerto Rico foster families, and sending information on each dog to our Adoption Coordinator in NY to help them find their forever families. 

Officially, Sarai has been with The Sato Project for two years. But truthfully, she's been here since the beginning, as a veterinary technician at one of our partner veterinary clinics, the Candelero Animal Hospital in Humacao. Sarai feels that she has the "BEST JOB EVER". Keep reading below to learn more about everything she does for our sato treasures.  

Left: Sarai helps three puppies get ready for their Freedom Flight.
Right: she examines a dog at the clinic.

What is your day-to-day role for The Sato Project? 
As a vet tech and the vetting coordinator for TSP, I am responsible for making sure every dog that enters our program follows our strict vetting protocol. I keep an up to date spreadsheet that contains every detail on our rescues (name, breed, weight, where they came from, which clinic are they at, results of tests, vaccines received; and all things about the health and progress). I keep Chrissy informed on everything that is happening with all of the dogs. 

When a dog first arrives, I give it a series of tests right away and it is quarantined for two weeks to make sure it is not incubating any diseases. After that, if it is healthy, it can go with the rest of our rescues. Then they receive vaccines every two weeks, deworming, monthly preventives for heart worm/ticks/fleas, a dental exam, microchip and get spay/neutered. I also make sure each of our dogs get to know other dogs, cats, adults and kids to make sure they can be in a normal environment and behave. Our protocol lasts for six weeks (for dogs that have no health issues). After that they are ready to go!

When a dog comes in with health issues (heart-worm, needs urgent surgeries, broken legs, etc.) I sit down with the vets, discuss the case and make a plan to make sure our rescue is kept comfortable. I visit the clinics everyday to make sure all dogs are following protocols and are kept as happy as possible. 

I also run our Community Outreach Voucher Program in Yabucoa. Through this program, we offer a low-cost spay/neuter option. For $35, each participant is given a voucher that covers a spay/neuter surgery, microchip, and vaccinations for their dog or cat at one of our partner veterinary clinics. I am the one who gives the vouchers to the clinics, makes appointments, and spreads the word! I explain to people the importance of spaying/neutering and its benefits. 

How do you help the dogs get ready for their Freedom Flights? 
I send lists (and photos and videos) to our Adoption Coordinator of all the dogs that are ready to travel so she can start finding temporary or forever homes for our babies! I also schedule everything that they need to travel. Two weeks before the flight we run what I call "Protocols prior flight", which consists of basic tests just to make sure that everything is okay. I also help assign crates for each dog and label them. We mostly transport our dogs in very early hours of the day and we feel tired after every transport but it's worth it.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
First, I can't get attached to any of them (sometimes I want to stay with them all!). 2. Keeping every single dog up to date on their protocols is challenging because we often have over 100+ dogs under our care. It is not easy being behind each one of them making sure everything is okay because I'm very responsible with my job and when I say they have to be OKAY, I mean they have to be in PERFECT CONDITIONS. We take our vetting protocol very seriously.  

What is your favorite thing about working with TSP?
I have so many favorites things about working with this amazing organization; starting with all the kisses and hugs that I receive from every dog that we rescue!!! Seeing how grateful they are by moving their tails while you whisper: "everything is going to be okay". But the most amazing thing ever is seeing how they first come in full of fear and distrust and how they become the MOST HAPPY DOG IN THE WORLD! That fills me completely! I know that I am doing the right thing.
Surprise! Partner Freedom Flight to take place on July 21st 
As an another Hurricane season quickly approaches, our team on the ground in Puerto Rico has been working overtime to take in as many dogs as possible and fly them off the island to safety before any storms hit. We've been focused on preparing for a Mission Possible Freedom Flight scheduled for August 18th set to have over 100 satos on board. But then we were approached by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, an organization in Washington D.C. that supports rescue work on the island, about possibly sharing a plane with our wonderful partners Wings of Rescue this month. Of course, we couldn't pass up the chance to fly even more dogs to safety, s o tomorrow, July 21st, seventy more dogs will  land  in NY, including two dogs who will be reunited with their owners who had to evacuate the island as part of our #NoDogLeftBehind program. 

If you know anyone looking to adopt a sato, you can learn more about the adorable adoptable faces below by clicking here

Learn more about any of these adoptable dogs by  clicking here.

Fema and Gamora's Howling Success 
After receiving a desperate plea from FEMA workers aiding Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, we rescued Fema, who was heavily pregnant. She  gave birth safely to nine puppies in our care and was a completely doting mother. However, Fema was positive for anaplasmosis and ehrlichia and sadly she passed the ehrlichia onto her puppies in vitro.  We lost eight of the nice puppies - they were just too weak to fight the blood-borne disease and we could not get ahead of it no matter how hard we tried. Watching them pass one by one was heartbreaking. But there was one little girl who refused to give up. Gamora, a spitting image of her mom, was the only pup who survived. We cheered her on daily. She fought, she won and she became our shooting star (see middle picture below  of the star on her chest).

Left, Gigi with her new mom Victoria and right, Gigi with Victoria and foster mom, Valerie.

When our volunteer Valerie was in PR for the Spayathon, she decided to pay a visit to our clinic as well. When she was there, she met Gamora and fell in love immediately, exclaiming, "When she comes to the states, I MUST foster her!" A few moments later, she texted a photo of Gigi to her friend, Victoria, who she knew was considering adopting a dog. Sure enough, after Gamora (now nicknamed Gigi) arrived to Valerie's house, it didn't take long for Victoria to fall in love too and promptly submit an adoption application. We are so thrilled that not only is Gamora's fight over, she now has a loving family of her own, gets to visit foster mom Valerie regularly, play with her two other satos, and stay nice and close to The Sato Project family.

From left to right: Fema smiling after landing from her Freedom Flight, sleeping at home, and taking a rest from adventuring with her new family.
After their flight landed, Fema went to a foster family who tragically lost their first sato, Eva, to cancer only one month prior. But after only a couple weeks, Kate and Tim decided that Fema (renamed Mira) was the perfect addition to help put their hearts back together and wanted this happy girl to stay with them forever. We are so happy for our loving Mira, who has been through so much, to land with such amazing parents, who we know will cherish her forever.


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."