It's the moment you've all been waiting for.... Our little warrior girl has finally got a name!
You have been on this journey with her since the day I rescued her and I want you to continue to follow along whilst she is on the road to recovery. She still has a long way to go but she is getting stronger by the day. Her personality has really started to shine through and during this short time since I rescued her, I hope she has felt so much love that it will help her to forget what a horrific start she has had in life.
I am amazed every day when I look at her adorable sweet face that she survived against all the odds. It's truly a miracle that she pulled through. Her fighting spirit and warrior ways along with plenty of tender loving care and the best veterinary medicine available is what saved her life. I will forever be grateful to each and every one of you who sent heart warming messages, words of encouragement, prayers and positive vibes to wish her well and I am sure if she could talk she would say "Masha Danki" too!
Please allow me to introduce to you our warrior girl with her brand new name as voted for by YOU....
A phoenix is known for "rising from the ashes" and is a symbol of immortality.
She has endured so much and despite still being fragile she is going from strength to strength and I hope she has the most amazing, long and happy life ahead of her.
Now here's the kicker...
I cannot keep her... And before you all come down on me like a ton of bricks, please hear me out and let me explain why.
Since I already have three of my own rescued dogs I simply do not have the space or funds for one more.
I have received lots of messages asking if I will be keeping her and when I explain this reason the response I get is, "It's only one more".
But it's not.... As much as I hate to say this, Phoenix will not be my last rescue... There will be many more in the future just like her that need saving, a place to recover and my tender loving care. I know this from experience. Phoenix is the latest puppy in a long list of puppies that I have rescued over the years.
I wish that I could say that I will never have to watch another puppy or dog go through what Phoenix has gone through ever again, but the sad reality is, there will be more.
Until Aruba can get it's act together and really truly 100% make a change, there will be other puppies fighting for their lives just like Phoenix was.
It breaks my heart to say that, but it's the truth.
I have to be realistic and sensible and therefore I cannot keep Phoenix for myself.
I am sad just writing this because of course I have already fell in love with her, but I have fell in love with many others before her too... Isla, Deano, Cher, Lina, Leyo, Sol, Billy, Teddy... The list could go on. All puppies which I have personally rescued, all puppies which I have nursed and bottle fed around the clock, spent sleepless nights watching them to make sure they are still breathing. I have saved many lives and got attached to every single one of them.
Imagine if I would of kept them all?.... I would have a zoo by now and really would be the "crazy dog lady"!
It was only ever meant to be a temporary situation with Phoenix, I found her so I took responsibility of her, and I will continue to care for her until Luna Foundation can find her a loving family with a nice home to adopt her.
Trust me, I will be crying my eyes out when the day comes to hand her over to her new family. I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes just typing this.
But I know it's for the best.
Phoenix will hopefully get a kind and caring family that will spoil her rotten, give her a big princess bed, have a huge fenced in garden for her to explore, take her on long walks and adventures and love her unconditionally. That is my dream for her, and that is also my dream for all the other dogs living on the street, and all the other rescued dogs waiting patiently for a forever family at Luna Foundation's safe haven.
I dream that one day they will all get the happily ever after that they so desperately deserve.
Please don't be mad at me for not keeping Phoenix. Please understand my reasons.
If I lived on a big ranch with acres of land (and won the lottery) then I would be scooping them all up off the street and bringing them home, but unfortunately that is not the case.
I am only one person with a limited amount of resources and I can only do so much.
I hope you can accept and respect that.
I feel guilty enough as it is by not being able to bring Jax, Rufus, Kira and all the other strays home with me!
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
For now Phoenix will stay at home with me until she is fit and healthy enough to get vaccinated and then she will be ready to meet her forever family.
Here on Aruba the animal rescue charities try their best to get the dogs adopted off the island. This is something that I battle with internally because I wish that was not the case. I wish the dogs could be adopted on the island and stay in Aruba... But here's the harsh truth... There are simply not enough good homes and decent people available to adopt them! And I really HATE that!
This is the problem... Someone will adopt a cute little puppy, take it home and want to play all day with their new best friend... But then the puppy grows up, they start to chew everything, they maybe have a few little "accidents" inside the house and pee or poop on the floor, they get bigger and older and the novelty of that "cute little puppy" wears off. So what happens?.... They throw that dog out on the street like a piece of trash because they no longer want it anymore.
And so the cycle starts again.
I don't want Phoenix to go to a family and then six months or one year later I am driving along and see her out on the road again. That would devastate me.
Do you see what I am saying here?
If the overpopulation of stray dogs and animal abuse and neglect in Aruba was not an issue then we would not be in this situation to begin with.
That is why the animal rescue charities want to get them adopted off the island and either go to America, Canada or the Netherlands because they stand a better chance of finding a good family and having a happy life away from the island that failed them.
It pains me to even say all of that because you know how much I love Aruba, but I have to keep it real so you understand the reasons behind these decisions.
I have this conflict within myself because I know the USA for example has many abandoned dogs waiting in shelters for their own loving family, it's a catch 22 situation.
Do you send a dog from Aruba to the States to be adopted and take the place of a dog already in that country who needs a home?
Or do you adopt them on the island, take a chance and pray that they get treated good and don't end up back on the street again?....
What do you think? What would you do?
Right now, Luna Foundation has over 60 dogs and puppies in their care. They are full to capacity and cannot rescue more dogs because not enough are being adopted.
They physically do not have the space to take in more strays. During this lockdown the local volunteers have been working hard to try to build more cages and dog houses with the limited resources that they have, but it's still not enough.
The amount of dogs and puppies that need saving is through the roof and even more so now because of COVID19.
With the borders being closed and no tourists coming in, it's impacted the animal rescue foundations on the island more than you could imagine.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Your response to the stories of Jax, Rufus, Kira, Dushi and Phoenix has been overwhelming to say the least. Never in a million years did I imagine that sharing their stories would get the reaction that it did. So many of you reached out to me in emails and private messages to ask how you could help.
Here's a few suggestions as to how you can make a difference.
If you are on the island and have a couple of hours to spare each week, please consider volunteering with Luna Foundation. They are always in need of more team members and I promise you this, doing an act of kindness with no expectations in return will make you feel AMAZING!
Their safe haven is tucked away in the cunucu and whenever I drive there I instantly feel a sense of calmness. The dirt road leading up to their safe haven is surrounded by cactus and is so peaceful and tranquil. I love going there to walk the dogs on the trail through the countryside. Being outdoors, getting back to nature and walking a furry friend is a great feeling. The dogs LOVE exploring and it's so rewarding to see them enjoy these mini adventures of freedom.
Find out more about other ways you can volunteers by clicking here.
They say you can't buy love but you can rescue it!
Adopting a rescued dog is one of the greatest acts of kindness you will ever do.
Dogs that have been rescued are the most loyal dogs of all. They appreciate you so much because you have given them a second chance to have a happy life.
Every single dog waiting at Luna Foundations safe haven has their own horrific back story. Their traumas range from neglect, starvation, being used as bait for illegal dog fighting and even sexual abuse. It's shocking that this goes on in todays world and even more disturbing that this is happening on my beloved "One Happy Island".
So many people want to adopt a cute puppy but more people need to come forward and adopt the older dogs. They always get left behind and many of them have already been in the care of Luna Foundation for well over one year already. When they host adoption days people just walk by their cages and don't even look at them. Can you imagine waiting for someone to choose you, sitting there all excited, wagging your tail, patiently waiting for someone to fall in love you with... And then... NOTHING!
You are just left there, all alone in your cage, wondering why no one wants you.
The only way the charities can rescue more dogs and puppies is if these older dogs get adopted and go to good homes with people who will give them a new lease of life.
To find out which dogs are looking for their soulmate please click here.
Luna Foundation relies solely on donations from the public as they receive no government funding. Without these generous donations they simply would not be able to function. I am always cautious about donating to charities due to my own bad experience which I will get in to later, but hand on my heart I can confidently say that Luna Foundation spends every cent donated on the daily care of the dogs, veterinary bills and maintenance at the safe haven.
They estimate that they currently use 10 bags of adult food ($40 each @57 lbs.) per month ($400) and 15 bags of puppy food ($28 each @32 lbs.) per month ($420).
If you are in a position to make a donation, no matter how small, it all helps towards the daily care each of the rescued dogs requires. If you are based in the USA all donations as tax deductible as Luna Foundation is a 501c3 charity as well as being registered here on the island.
If you are not able to make a monetary donation then you can always donate your time and volunteer. It costs nothing to give up your time but yet it is so valuable.
They need all the help they can get right now so please share this post, give them a follow on social media, help spread their message and together we can make a difference.
As some of you already know, I have been rescuing dogs for most of my adult life on my island. In the beginning it was just me and my boyfriend picking up dogs off the street that had been hit by a car, or dumped outside a supermarket or left to die in the middle of the road. We would always bring them home, nurse them, clean their wounds or take them to the vets at all times of the day and night. Sometimes we had to put them to sleep and that always broke our hearts. We would drive home from the vets in tears, feeling bad that we couldn't get there in time to save them.
Other times we would get them healthy and then ask family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, literally every one we knew, if they would adopt them. I have now ran out of people to ask because everyone I know has already adopted a dog from me!
We always paid for all the vet bills ourselves and never asked for money from anyone. At that time we was very fortunate because my boyfriend had a well paid job on the refinery so financially we could fund all these rescues.
I was kind of naive back then, I didn't even know there was so many animal charities operating on the island.
My introduction in to the world of "dog rescue charities" all started when I watched a video on YouTube of some girl with a dog that was loaded with ticks... And I mean LOADED! His entire ears were covered, he was skin and bone and was a few days away from death. Luckily this girl had found him and helped to rescue him and get him to the vets.
I was amazed at watching this girl on YouTube.
Here she was saving dogs on Aruba, just like me! I knew I had to reach out to her and find out her story.
So I tracked her down, got in touch and it turned out that she was a volunteer with a new dog rescue charity on the island. I immediately wanted to learn more because I felt that I had finally found a group of like-minded people who wanted to save the dogs like I did. That's when she put me in touch with the two founders. These women were my heroes! One lived here on the island, the other lived in the USA.
I loved what they were doing and instantly wanted to know how I could help.
I told them I could use my tech skills to maybe help them have an online presence to raise awareness for their cause.
I designed their logo, built their website, managed their social media, made t-shirts for them, set up a PayPal account, organised fundraising events... Two years in and I was in deep! I was running so much behind the scenes, as well as rescuing, fostering, doing vet trips, airport runs, picking tourists up from the hotels and taking them to visit the puppies... Anything they asked me to do, I did it without questioning it. I felt so proud to be part of their team. I really believed every word they said.
That was until everything came crashing down!
All those years of giving up my time and energy for free, I volunteered, never asked for one cent or got paid one cent. I want to clarify that before I go on.
Volunteering for them took over my life. My own business suffered, my work/life balance did not exist. I was completely sucked in to their world.
Why? Because I genuinely cared about the dogs and really believed that this foundation that I was part of was really making a difference.
I haven't spoken publicly about this since it happened around 3 years ago. The reason being, these "charitable" people threatened me to the point where I felt it was best for me and my dogs to leave the island for a while for our own safety. That's how bad it got.
So, what actually happened was I started to get a bad feeling that something wasn't right. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was but things were not adding up for months. I had access to the back end of almost everyt