By Lisa Kava
Humans are not the only ones who get displaced during hurricane season. In Puerto Rico, 50 dogs lost their temporary home in the El Faro de los Animales shelter, which suffered severe damage during Hurricane Fiona in September.
Fortunately, El Faro (The Lighthouse) partners with the nonprofit dog-rescue organization Animal Lighthouse Rescue (ALR), led by Upper West Siders Tania Isenstein and Harry Leff. They have been hard at work arranging transport for the dogs from Puerto Rico to New York City, and are holding an adoption event this Sunday October 16, from 12-3PM, at the place every dog in the neighborhood is barking about — Black Lab Cafe at 420 Amsterdam Avenue (80th Street.)
ALR rescues stray dogs — called “satos” by the locals — from Puerto Rico, where approximately 500,000 are living on the streets. El Faro de Los Animales, located in Humacao, provides temporary shelter, as well as medical care and socialization for the dogs.
“Hurricanes are devastating to the shelter,” said Isenstein, the former owner of Camp Canine, a daycare center on West 73rd Street, and chair of the board of ALR. Isenstein retired from her role at Camp Canine in 2021 to focus full time on her rescue work. “Huge trees fell on and crushed several of our buildings, roofs were blown off by wind, and the space is now covered with branches.” Shelter staff members have taken the displaced dogs to their homes, some as many as 20 dogs.
Isenstein traveled to Humacao in the aftermath of Fiona to help with the clean-up and travel arrangements to New York for the dogs. A group arrived in New York on September 29th. This flight was the “first of several anticipated airlifts from Puerto Rico following the destructive trail of Hurricane Fiona,” Leff told the Rag. ALR is now looking for both foster and permanent homes for the dogs.
Leff and Isenstein hope for a positive turnout at the adoption event at Black Lab Café on Sunday. But if you cannot adopt, there are other ways to help. “We can use anyone with construction experience and skills to rebuild and repair roofing, replace fencing and rebuild dog runs,” Isenstein said. Volunteers are also needed to help transport the dogs. Monetary donations are needed as well.
Animal Lighthouse Rescue and El Faro de Los Animales have set up Amazon wish lists for needed items. For ALR’s wish list click here. For El Faro de los Animales’ wish list click here. ALR also has an active Facebook Fundraiser. Donations to ALR can be made here.
For more information on how you can help and/or adopt, contact: