Dear Sato Supporter,

Freedom Flights are always emotional for my team and me. The experience of watching a dog we have rescued, loved, and nursed back to health fly into the air, knowing that it will be meeting a new loving family on the other side, is hard to describe. These transports are also always exhausting and full of unpredictable obstacles. But every time we rise to these challenges and succeed in getting a flight off the ground, I am filled with pride for my mighty team and the magnitude of what we are able to accomplish together, thanks to the support of our community.

Last weekend, we sent a record-breaking 240 animals on to new lives, all at once. You can meet some of these lucky satos and read more about this biggest transport in our history below, and on our website. And when you do, I hope that you will also feel proud of what we accomplished. The success belongs to all of us.

In gratitude,

-- Chrissy Beckles, President and Founder

Two Planes, 240 Animals, and
the Biggest Freedom Flight Ever in Puerto Rico's History
Mission Possible X airplane #1 landed in Morristown, NJ, where our East Coast team and their new families were anxiously waiting for them. Photos by NYC Pet Photographer
Last Saturday morning, two airplanes landed in Puerto Rico packed with supplies for the Spayathon Initiative and other spay/neuter efforts throughout the island. Our team immediately got to work unloading both airplanes and prepping them to be filled with 240 rescued animals (221 dogs and 19 cats) who would be saying 'good-bye' to the island forever, thanks to our epic double Freedom Flight mission, which we dubbed 'Mission Possible X'.

In the middle of prepping and loading the planes, a tropical rainstorm tried to slow us down. But by 1:00 am Sunday morning, Plane #1 was locked and loaded. An hour later, Plane #2 was also ready for take-off, right on time. Nothing could bring our mighty team down, even though the week leading up the biggest transport in our history was not an easy one. In addition to organizing all of the final details for both Freedom Flights, we had several challenging rescue missions, and experienced a devastating loss: that of an elderly and abused boxer named Papi whom we had recently found suffering on Dead Dog Beach. Our vets did everything they could to save him, but sadly, he did not make it. So, instead, he became a special guardian angel who helped make sure that all of his sato cousins made it to their new lives safely. And he did an excellent job. 
Top left: A sign on the side of the plane honors our flight's guardian angel, Papi; Others: newly arrived satos are greeted by volunteers and wait patiently to be processed before being taken out to their waiting adopters. P hotos by NYC Pet Photographer
Both planes landed in Florida to refuel, where some animals disembarked and headed to the Broward Humane Society. From there, Plane #2 ended in Tennessee, where its remaining treasures headed off to the Nashville Humane Society. Plane #1 made another quick stop in Delaware, before landing at its destination in New Jersey, where our New York team and a crowd of excited new adopters could not wait to receive them. One by one, each dog was carried off the plane, greeted by our team, and then transported safely to its next destination.  For many of these dogs, this destination was simply a handoff to their excited new families waiting for them in the parking lot. Others went to our foster volunteers or our shelter partners at the Brandywine SPCA, Animal Haven, and Bideawee.

There were a lot of special satos on this flight - like Kaelen, pictured below. We found her last spring near a trash dump, trying to care for her litter of nine puppies in miserable circumstances. Sadly, only two of her puppies survived, but Kaelen and both of her special pups were greeted by their new loving families on Sunday. 
Top: before going on their separate ways from the airport, the new families of Kaelen and her two puppies, Monroe and Simon, stopped for a group family photo. Bottom: Kaelen is smothered in love by her new family. Photos by NYC Pet Photographer
There were also a lot of happy tears and countless tail wags. The end of the long day was a resounding reminder of why we do this work: the gift of being able to give so many animals a second chance at the lives they deserve, which they otherwise would not get. It is hard for us to lose dogs like Papi, but watching so many satos whom we’ve fought for finally make it into the arms of loving families, is what fuels us to keep going.

Congratulations to all of our new families. And THANK YOU to everyone who supported Mission Possible X and helped make it a success: all of our donors, volunteers, shelter partners, and followers who helped spread the word.  We could not have done it without you. 

We would especially like to thank our flight partners, Wings of Rescue , GreaterGood.org , and Free Kibble , and our matching donors, Sidewalk Angels Foundation , Bark Box, The RTA Store , Moroccanoil and Devin and Mike Shanahan for making this epic double-plane mission possible

It has been a long summer of preparations, sweat, and hard work. But thanks to all of you, 240 rescued animals have all been given their second chance at life, just in time before the peak of hurricane season. 

by signing up for a monthly gift today.
Benicio and Aria's Howling Success
Brothers Snoopy and Benicio were rescued and adopted together in 2017, and have been living dream lives together ever since. But last month, Snoopy came down with an aggressive form of cancer and suddenly passed away, leaving Benicio broken hearted. But, luckily, a sato flying on Mission Possible X was on her way to comfort him.
One winter morning in 2017, just before 2am, Nicole arrived at the airport to greet one of our arriving Freedom Flights. She asked one of our volunteers if she thought she was crazy for adopting two large German Shepherds, sight unseen. But that apprehension quickly faded away after she met them. Benicio and Snoopy, two bonded bothers, immediately became treasured members of her family, and were soon happily spending their days running around their property, sleeping on twin mattresses as their dog beds, and loving every member of their family. But just last month Snoopy came down with an extremely fast moving lymphoma. Nicole and her family did everything they could save him, including taking him on a private jet to see a specialist. But nothing could be done. He passed away on July 21st and everyone was devastated. Benicio became extremely depressed. He had never spent a single day without his brother by his side. Nicole didn’t feel ready to adopt another dog so soon, but wasn’t sure what to do for him.

Meanwhile, Aria, a shepherd who was found abandoned in a deserted house after Hurricane Maria, was being fostered by Daphne, a member of our rescue team in Puerto Rico. Aria had become such a part of Daphne’s family that she was very close to becoming a ‘foster fail’. But when Daphne found out about how depressed Benicio was, it broke her heart, and she realized that she had the solution right in front of her. Daphne had also fostered Benicio and Snoopy, so she knew their personalities well. She knew Aria could be the perfect match to help put Benicio’s heart back together. 

Nicole and Benicio came to meet Aria in New Jersey at Sunday's arrival of Mission Possible X. When the two dogs first met each other, Aria immediately wagged her tail and gave Benicio big kisses on his face. Gradually, Benicio’s tail started to wag too. And in the four days since Aria arrived, Nicole says that Benicio is finally playing again, smiling again, and returning to his old self. We like to think that Snoopy is looking down and smiling too, knowing that his brother has a new companion, and that his departure paved the way for another lucky sato to get to experience a dream life too, just like he did.
Left: Benicio and his new sister, Aria, hang out in the grass together in their yard. Right: Aria snuggles Benicio in the car on the ride home from the airport.
The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico, where there are an estimated 500,000 stray dogs. With only nine shelters on the island with over a 90% euthanasia rate, we have rescued over 3,000 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 permanent change on the island through community outreach and a Spay, Neuter, Vaccinate and Microchip Program.
"We fight so the dogs of Puerto Rico don't have to."