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« Dog days of summer | Main | Dipping my toes »

Animal Relief Foundation Aruba

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I've added a new hat to my ever growing collection: puppy foster mom.

Over the last 11+ years of traveling to our house in Aruba, we've noticed an abundance of street dogs and wondered what we could do to help out.  On our last family trip to the island, we were fortunate enough to be on the same plane as volunteers for a great organization called Animal Relief Foundation Aruba (ARF).  They raise funds and team up with vets to spay and neuter some of the wild dogs.  In addition, they rescue entire litters of puppies from a "kill bin" on the island.

Yes.  There is a "kill bin" where people drop off their puppies and they are put to sleep.  How very sad.  There appears to be an endless supply of puppies.  Yet, there is not an endless population of families on the island.  So, they started transporting the puppies to the US to increase their chances of finding a family.  There is no rabies on the island, thus no quarantine.  Just a small amount of extra paperwork going through customs.

When I was there for my birthday celebration, I offered to take home a puppy with me and to foster her until we could find a family.  We weren't sure what to expect from the experience or how long we would have her in our home.

Meet Divi (later renamed Bama by her family):

She was about 14 weeks old when I brought her home and was adopted by my Assistant Coach 5 days later.  During that 5 days, I grew very attached.  Lots of puppy snuggles and kisses.  I not only opened my home to her, but my heart.

Said heart nearly broke into a million pieces when I handed her over to her forever family.  It helped tremendously that I would be seeing her all season.  

Plus, ARF promised the first is always the hardest.

I chose to believe them and opened my home (and heart) to another little guy last week.  A couple offered to transport him from Aruba to Boston for us on their flight home.

Meet 9 week old Edward, Crazy Eddie... or Phoenix, as his new forever family is calling him.  He's been very helpful when I'm trying to work... ehem.  

New math: puppy does not equal productive.

He's such a love.  Even our grumpy old guy, Chester, is smitten and protective of him... especially when he whines in his crate.

It took 5 days to find him a forever family, but he's staying with us until this weekend while they get settled into their brand new house.  He's going to my neighbor's sister.  As smitten as I am by him, it doesn't hurt as much this time.  I know he's going to a great home and we are just a temporary stop in his journey.  Plus, we'll get to see him again :)

I get a lot of questions about the dogs.  Are they just mutts?  Well, kinda.  Aruba Cunucu dogs are an actual breed.  Since most of the rescues are dropped off, their parents are often unknown.  As a breed, they are very social, active, intelligent and friendly.  Both of the ones I fostered have the signature ears, body style and tail.  They will grow to about 45-55 pounds.

I'll admit, there were times when both dogs were with us that we considered just keeping them.  Becoming foster failures, lol.  But we know that our immediate future is uncertain.  There is a high probability that we won't be living where we are as early as this fall.  (That's all I'm saying about that right now, sorry).  

So, for now, we are getting an amazing puppy fix.  The kids are learning responsiblity: feeding, walking and playing with the pups... as well as a life lesson of loving and letting go.

OK, I'll admit, I'm learning that last one as well along with them.

Will share pics of any new foster babies we get in, both here and on Facebook.  Even if you aren't looking for a puppy to join your family, who doesn't love looking at cute puppies, right?

If you want more information about Animal Relief Foundation Aruba, check out their website at:

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