Multiple earthquakes in Puerto Rico wreaked havoc on the locals and their pets in January, leaving thousands of people homeless and rescue groups struggling to house their animals.
Because of our close partnership with ARYA Pets in San Juan and our history of saving animals together, we knew we had to help the dogs and cats affected by the devastation.
Our supporters generously donated so that we could provide much needed supplies to the areas hit the hardest, Guayanilla to Yauco in the Southwestern part of the island. ARYA Pets then delivered food, crates, and medical supplies to over 20 rescue groups/individuals over three different trips.
Puerto Rico is still feeling aftershocks with several more 4.0 quakes, continuing to traumatize the residents; many fleeing the island to find solace in the United States. Unfortunately, this now poses a new problem for rescue groups - people aren’t taking their pets with them, abandoning them in their yards or on the streets.
Back in May we announced our partnership with Paws For Compassion (PFC) in sponsoring monthly spay/neuter events in Da Nang, Vietnam. PFC is a local rescue group with a focus on improving the welfare of companion animals through education and rehabilitation.
Sterilizing dogs and cats is the best way to cut down on the over-population of strays, therefore also cutting down on animals being traded for the dog and cat meat trade (DCMT). Just 1 female dog and her puppies can result in 67,000 dogs in six years.
Our fight against this barbaric practice has no value unless we work together with the groups actually on the ground throughout Asia. While Paws For Compassion does not focus solely on the DCMT, they indirectly help by offering these events along with education programs.
We have now sponsored 4 spay/neuter weekends and hope to have at least 2 more before the end of the year.
Please consider making a donation so we can continue making a difference.
Who remembers the stray dog we rescued in Puerto Rico? Look at him now. Renamed Miguel and being cared for by Barks of Hope.
Thank you to Nicki Lindy for making us stop to pick this guy up off the streets where he had clearly been living for years.
April 5th Update:
Remember Jaime? The severely neglected dog we saved from the streets in PR? We brought him to the vet and a very generous volunteer Nicole Lindy paid $600 to have him hospitalized. Because of your donations we were able to pay her back $475. Thankfully a local rescue group, Barks of Hope, offered to help and sprung him out of the hospital after 4 days. They have taken over his care until he's ready to be adopted and renamed him Miguel.
So if you're interested in giving this boy a loving home please email us at or contact them directly at www.barksofhope.org.
"Compassion Fatigue is a state experienced by those helping people or animals in distress; it is an extreme state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the helper."
I wanted to update you sooner about my recent trip to Puerto Rico, but I've been experiencing Compassion Fatigue of my own, after spending five grueling days working to save pigs. The situation there has become dire and at times I felt completely overwhelmed believing I wouldn't be able to make a difference. Just with the sheer number of pigs walking the streets, the lack of concern from the residents, the lack of support from the local government, and the lack of donations coming in, made me think I had bitten off way more than WUFAW could chew.
I'd like to share a story with you that truly had me questioning my abilities. I received a text about a pig lying on the side of the road, so the girls and I went to check it out. Not only did we find the piggy, but we found a second one lying on the other side of the corner. Both had been hit by a car and neither were able to walk. Clearly having been there a couple of days, they were laying in pools of their own urine and covered in hundreds of ant bites.
We lifted the two large males into the back of the truck and rushed to the Emergency Vet, praying they could be saved. The girls sat in the back of the pick-up with them, showing them kindness and affection for the first time in their unfortunate lives. Gently rubbing them and whispering in their ears how much they were loved. Unfortunately, when we arrived the vet informed us that he could not treat the pigs since they were not "pets". He also believed that they were too far-gone to help. So we mournfully said goodbye to our boys through sobs and tears. Then waited for them to be at peace, naming them George (https://youtu.be/iT2cR4gkWV8) and Luke (https://youtu.be/x4wIGrBskog) . (click on their names to see their rescue)
Seeing those boys suffer on a street, alone and scared, while car after car passed and did nothing, BROKE ME. I suddenly felt like a fool, like I wasn't as strong as I thought, having failed everyone, especially the piggies. In that moment I wanted to give up on the whole thing and just walk away. Fearing that the problem was far too great for our grassroots foundation to fix.
Yet, here were these amazing volunteers, students from the local college and 5 women who flew in from all over, looking at me to lead. They truly believed in what we were doing and were committed to the cause. Quickly reminding me that this wasn't about me or my feelings. Knowing that nothing ever changes by quitting, I just needed to adjust my way of thinking. To say, "I will do what I can and not more than I can handle. I will keep getting back up and continue to fight for as long as it takes."
So I ask you to please keep supporting us and our work. We are going to need an army of people, resources and supplies for us to have a profound impact on the lives of these pigs.
Thank you so much - Valarie
Aug 20, 1966 - March 23, 2019
To know her was to love her. GRACE was a true warrior, for herself and for the animals. Being diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago, most people would probably wonder, "Why me?" But for her, it ignited a determination to help as many as she could.
Never feeling sorry for herself or complaining about how tired or sick she was. She traveled the world; volunteering to save dogs in China and Thailand, to work with under privileged children in Africa, fulfilling her bucket list of visiting Tibet, and to so many other amazing places.
Grace was a friend and supporter of WUFAW, starting back when Valarie adopted a dog to her in 2016, a beautiful, spunky girl, saved from a slaughterhouse in China, named Sophia.
We are heartbroken by the loss of such an inspirational woman and animal advocate. But are comforted knowing she's at the Rainbow Bridge, running free with all the beautiful fur babies she loved so much.
Rest in Power, Grace.