My boyfriend and I go on vacation every year. We usually go somewhere tropical where we can lay on the beach, drink some fruity drinks and get extremely sunburned. Every year, we find some sort of dog on the beach just strolling that I swoon over for a few hours, but this past March was a whole different story.
We landed in the Dominican Republic on March 5th, with plans to spend 5 glorious days on the beach, sipping some drinks and making out every now and then. After an hour of arriving at our hotel, we were walking on the beach and I see an old construction site near by, right past the resort. I immediately said to my boyfriend “I bet there is a dog over there somewhere”, he knows me pretty well at this point and just knows to go along with it if it involves dogs, so we started to stroll over. After just a few steps in the direction, we see a dog laying in the sand. I of course, I let go of my boyfriend’s hand and run over to the pup. When I tell you it was love at first lick, I am not lying. She shot right up from the sand at the sight of human and started licking my face and wagging her tail. My heart started to break right there. I was in love. She then made her way over to Tom, and melted in his lap, he was then hooked. We spent the whole rest of the day laying on the beach with this sweet pup. I went to get her a hotdog and cut it up for her. She didn’t eat it though. She took piece by piece and hid them all over the beach. She would dig a hole, hide the hotdog and then cover it up. She hid about 10 small pieces. Around 30 minutes later she went to dig them up, just to cover them back up again. I am sure she was just making sure they were still there. I automatically started to crying, the fact that she had to hide food in sand, because she wasn’t sure the next time she would get any, broke me.
The next few days, were not like any of our other trips, no swimming in the ocean, no laying out, instead, we were going back and forth to the buffet, sneaking food to her, and doing some major research all day and night looking into way on how to her get back to the states. The third night, we went to bring her some cold cuts, cheese and some water by the shacks that she stayed around. On the walk over, we notice a puppy who was curled in ball in the sand. We automatically ran over to him. He was beyond thirsty and hungry. We gave him the food we had and went back for more to feed Rumba. After leaving them that night, we knew that there was no way in hell we were leaving without BOTH of them.
We finally came across a rescue, after dozens of phone calls and emails to so many people. After countless calls, and emails, Collares Rojos got back to us from a Facebook message we sent. Yalenda, the owner of the rescue, recognized Rumba from the photo we sent. She puts on spay and neuter clinics in DR, for stray cats and dogs, and had spayed Rumba about a year ago. She offered to come and meet us, and pick up Rumba and Papi, as well as hold them for us, along with getting all of their shots, and papers in order. She was heaven sent! On the last day of the “vacation” she came to meet us at the beach where the dogs were sleeping. They were sleeping in shacks that some guys were selling things out of. One man who said he “owned” Rumba said we could take her, and that she was too much work. She had been poisoned by the resorts and he didn’t want to get blamed for her or have to take care of her again if she got sick. Then there was Papi. The guy who “owned” him but, didn’t feed him or give him a safe place to live didn’t want to give him up…… without money. So, after about an hour of talking to the guy, we settled on a price. There was just no way we could leave with one and not the other. Papi, would have grown to be much bigger the resorts would have killed him for sure.
After getting both pups in Yalenda’s car, we went with her to the vet in La Romana. The vet then did a quick check on both of them and checked them for heart worms and ticks. They were both healthy, young and ready to go! After leaving the vet, we went to the shelter Collares Rojos. To say this place is amazing, is such an understatement. They take in the worst of the worst dogs on the streets of DR, and trust me it’s the worst. There were dogs there that had been burnt and left for dead, a dog who had acid poured on her, dogs with broken bones and so much more. Collares Rojos is the save haven in DR for these pups. We will soon be doing a full post on them, so we can share everything they do with you!
Later that night, we left to come back to NYC, knowing that we would see Papi and Rumba in just a few weeks. It was the best feeling getting on that plane, knowing that they were not sleeping on the beach, didn’t have sand in their eyes, had dinner and didn’t have to worry about getting breakfast. Over the next two weeks, we worked so hard to make sure that everything was going to be beyond perfect for them when they arrived. We had some AMAZING companies donate some awesome basic goodies to these two pup that have had nothing their whole lives.
Thank you to Kibble Pets for the shampoo and conditioner along with the waterless shampoo for their first baths as pets! Thanks to Billy Wolf, for the amazing bandanas and their very first toys! A shout out to our girl Leela Ryan for sending some organic, gourmet treats for the babes! Thank you to sweet friends at Dog + Bone for the new leash and collar sets, they are beyond perfect, and it’s so heartwarming to see them with a collar on. Thank you to Clive and Bacon for their personalized American themed bandana! I can’t wait to see them rock these on their first 4th of July as Americans! Thank you to Brooklyn Bowties for the ADORABLE bow ties for both Papi & Rumba, they can’t wait to sport them this summer! A big thanks to Vital Essentials for all the amazing raw treats, most of them are all ready gone, they lost their minds over them! Words and can not express the kindness of these companies to selflessly give products to two dogs they have never met.
After two weeks had past, and everything was set for the pups, the day had come. We were to PUMPED to go pick them up! We had agreed to help another organization, Global Strays and Collares Rojos out by also picking you 3 other pups that were coming to NYC in the chance of getting new FURever homes. So imagine my excitement to knowing i’m not only going to pick up 2 puppies but 5! I mean it was like The Backstreet Boys came to by birthday party or something! Everything at the airport went smooth, we got all 5 pups back to the city, dropped off 3 on the way home and were ready to introduce Pharrell and Rosie to our new house guest. If you know Pharrell at all, I am sure you can already guess his reaction to this whole thing…… (insert panda emoji and eye rolling emoji). He quickly got over that and started to enjoy the fun. It was so great to see Pharrell and Rosie getting along so well with these two new pups in their home, it was such a proud parent moment! The first night, we all slept in the bed…. Yup, all 6 of us. It was pure BLISS!
The following day, I had a friend come over with her sister to meet Papi. Her sister was about to move to Boston, saw Papi on Instagram and just knew that he was hers. They clicked right away, and I knew that was his new human. As hard as it was for me to say see ya later to my little Papi Chulo I was so excited knowing that he was going home with someone that I trusted! It also helped knowing that I was going to see him again, seeing I was friends with her sister! Then there was my sweet Rumba Girl. I don’t know how to explain it but, from the first moment we met on the beach it was like this instant connection between us, and I knew deep down inside she wasn’t going anywhere. We did entertain a few people, and even really thought about letting one of my friends who lives across the street from us take her, but there was just something telling us both no, and that she was ours. So here we are 3 dogs later. Pharrell is still getting use to the fact that we brought ANOTHER dog home, but Rosie had found her soul sister!
We just wanted to thank everyone for their kind words, their donations on GoFundMe to get both pups here, the donations for their welcome baskets and everything in between. A special thank you to our new friends that we met and were with us the whole time in DR, Lisa, Abby and Henry! And a huge thank you to Yalenda and Collares Rojos, without you I wouldn’t be sitting here on my couch writing this with Rumba at my feet. This would have never been possible without all the love, encouragement and donations! So thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
I can’t wait to watch both Papi and Rumbas lives unfold the way God intended them to. To follow along with Papi’s story as he grows up in Boston you can follow him on Instagram at @littlepapiinboston and to see Rumba living out her Upper East Side dreams be sure to follow along with @pharrellandrosie along with the hashtag #papiandrumba! To see more dogs that need help just like Rumba and Papi please follow @collaresrojos for updates!
Collares Rojos runs COMPLETELY off of donations. The government in DR, doesn’t help with animal welfare at all, if you feel it in your heart to donate, please donate through their website.