This has been a busy month on the ground for our small but mighty team in Puerto Rico. In the twelve years I have been rescuing dogs, I have never witnessed anything like what The Sato Project and other rescuers on this island are trying to contend with right now. The calls for help and numbers of abandoned dogs have continued to increase since the hurricanes, not decrease. All the while, o ur heroic vets are still working with generators most of the time. They can only open their clinics on a limited schedule, and regularly perform surgeries with headlamps.

This is our new normal, and it requires a new approach. I am incredibly excited to be formulating plans to participate in a massive coalition effort underway to spay/neuter and vaccinate tens of thousands of dogs and cats on the island of Puerto Rico over the next year. Please stay tuned for more details on this effort!  

In the meantime, 
thanks to our generous supporters, at the end of last month, our team was working through the night to prepare another 100 dogs to take their Freedom Flight (you can see pictures of their landing below). Almost all of these dogs have already found their forever families.  Every day since, we have continued to rescue more dogs. Last week alone we took 20 new satos into our program. Just yesterday we responded to a call that led us to rescue a mum and her litter of  puppies. When I look into their faces and think about how different their lives are going to be from this day forward, I feel full of gratitude for our community and our efforts. It is all worth it. Thank you for making this work possible. We could not do it without you. 

-- Chrissy Beckles, President and Founder
Murray  Featured on The Dodo

Murray is a dog very special to our hearts. Not only was he one of our earliest sato
rescues four years ago, but he is one of our most inspiring stories of survival.  Murray was  rescued from Dead Dog beach when he was only 12 weeks old along with his three siblings. He and his siblings had tested negative for distemper during his intake vetting protocol, but about a month later , he started to show signs of this deadly viral illness with severe neurological effects . As there is no known cure for distemper, we made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize Murray . However, when the moment came , Murray wagged his tail, and we couldn't go through with it . A new decision was made to  treat him with lots of extra TLC and give him the best life possible. Not only did Murray survive, but he went on to become an incredibly happy-go-lucky, constantly tail-wagging pup. 

The  distemper affected the growth of his skull and Murray has had to contend with some ongoing health  issues. But The Sato Project remained dedicated to helping him live his best life, and to finding him a perfect family who would love him just as he is. 

You can read more of Murray's story and meet his family on t his recent feature by The Dodo . Thank you to our friends at The Dodo for sharing Murray's story, and reminding everyone about the joy that can come from taking a chance on a dog with special needs.

Another Freedom Flight Completed for Over 100 Dogs  

Our 'new normal' continues. Whereas at this time last year The Sato Project was regularly transporting 4-10 dogs on any given weekend, now our transports are averaging 10 times that amount! On February 24th, another 100 dogs arrived safely in Florida and New Jersey, ready to begin the next chapter of their lives. Upon landing, the dogs were welcomed into either forever families, foster families, or one of our shelter partners. We also reunited 5 owned dogs with displaced families who had been forced to leave them behind in tenuous circumstances in  Puerto Rico. We are so grateful to Wings of Rescue for helping to make this transport happen and to our incredible volunteer and staff teams in both Puerto Rico and New York for orchestrating this huge transport. Almost all of the dogs from this transport have already found permanent homes, but if you are interested in adopting, you can visit this link ( ) to see those still looking for their forever families - and we have another group arriving on April 7, so stay tuned! Take a look below for some amazing photos of the magic in action, captured by talented  photographer  Will Ferman. 

Howling Success

When Hurricane Maria hit, Cindy knew that she wanted to help and she wanted to do more than just donate. A frequent visitor to Puerto Rico, she has seen first hand the large number of street dogs all over the island. Not ready for a third dog yet, she signed up to foster. 

Enter Mofongo, an elderly Beagle mix who was abandoned by her family after the hurricane.  Before Mofongo even got on the plane to the mainland US, there was an application in to adopt her, so Cindy knew that she wouldn't have her for long. However, fate had a different plan. First, at the time, Cindy was out of work with a broken ankle, which meant the two of them were able to bond full-time right from day one. Second, Mofongo fit right in with Cindy's two other dogs, almost like they were already siblings. Third, the applicant who had applied for her backed out by the end of the first week. Several other inquiries were made about her but nothing worked out. So, after a couple of weeks, Cindy's first foster quickly became a 'foster fail.' "We were secretly ecstatic when the first adopter canceled" she said, "almost from the beginning we couldn't imagine giving her up. There was just something very special about her."

Mofongo, now Mollie-Mofongo, lives with her family  in South Weymouth, MA, where
she enchants everyone she
meets and brings lots of laughter with her expressive personality and mischievous antics (like smelling flowers and insisting she sit ON the coffee table).   "She should be the poster girl for adopting an older pup!" said Cindy, "Spend five minutes with this old gal and she'll have you eating out of her hand. Everyone who meets her seems to fall under her spell."

Congratulations to Mollie-Mofongo on successfully working her sato magic. May she continue to cast spells of joy for many, many years! 

Help Us Win a Grant from The Petco Foundation and You Win Too! 

Have you adopted a dog from us?  Share your love with the world and we could both win!  The Petco Foundation has launched a photo project to create the world's largest mosaic mural of adopted pets and their people, to be revealed at an Adoption Rally in NYC on March 25th.

You can become a part of the mural by uploading a photo of you and your dog to by the end of March. By participating, you will automatically have the chance to:
  • Be chosen as the daily winner. Every day an adopter will be chosen to win a $100 Petco gift card, a MUTTS print and WholeHearted pet food + their partnering shelter wins a $500 grant!
  • Share on social media to win the most number of likes. The adopter with the most likes will win a $500 Petco gift card, a whole year of WholeHearted pet food and a custom painting of your own dog by Patrick McDonnell.
  • Help The Sato Project win a $10,000 grant. The shelter with the highest number of submitted pets in the mural will be awarded $10,000 to rescue more pets (this would help us rescue 10 more sato hurricane survivors!). Just upload your photo and remember to include The Sato Project / with your submission.


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."