We like to volunteer in every location we visit. Since we don’t always know where we are going, or the time frame, we often contact organizations once we are in a place.
Once we knew we were heading to Puerto Rico we got online to look for organizations who might want our help. We came across Pets Alive and were captivated by what they are doing not only in Puerto Rico but also in New York.
Pets Alive is one of the oldest and largest no kill animal welfare organization in the US, with two sanctuaries in New York and one in Puerto Rico. At all of our locations, they save the lives of animals that are in imminent danger of death. In New York, that means they pull animals from high kill shelters, often just hours before they are scheduled to die. In Puerto Rico, they rescue dogs from the street who are suffering and in need of intervention in order to survive. Last year alone, Pets Alive rescued more than 3500 animals!
We called Pets Alive just as founders Ken and Joy Carson were heading back to the states, so it didn’t work to volunteer there. However, Ken read some of the posts on The Courage Vibe site and sent me this story he feels epitomizes courage.
I am passing it along to you to remind us all that animals show incredible courage, too.
The Story of Mister Peter, The Courageous Sato
Peter Pepita was born at Pets Alive in Puerto Rico on February 1, 2013, to a beautiful, sweet and very pregnant sato that we rescued from the street. Peter lived for only 6.5 weeks, but he touched many people in his short life…
(Written by Ken Carson)
I call Peter “Mister” because anyone who can make me think seriously about some of the most important aspects of life, without ever saying a word, deserves the respect that is due him, whether he be man or beast.
So often, humans act as though we are above the rest of god’s creatures. However, if we stop and listen long enough to hear what others are saying to us, we may just be able to learn a thing or two.
Peter was born with some defects. I’m not sure what all of them were, but nonetheless they were present, and the longer he lived, the more pronounced they became. Among his many issues, Peter would often be unable to breathe after eating, which required us to revive him. I don’t think Peter had any idea there was anything wrong with him following these episodes. Like the “Little Engine that Could,” he just kept going and continued loving us, as if there was nothing wrong.
Peter needed help but he never asked for it. Perhaps he didn’t know how to ask. Joy and I gave him what we could and in return he showed us how much he appreciated it by loving us – the way only Peter could. Despite the fact that he was blind, he could hear, feel and snuggle.
Peter and I had a ritual every evening. Following his last meal for the day, and completely unaware that just a few minutes prior he had had one of his breathing episodes, I would bring Peter to my lap. I would wrap him in a towel and he would lick my face and gently and playfully bite my ears. I believe he cherished these moments as much as I did.
He was a real dog for that very small portion of his day. During these moments I was thrilled to be able to interact with him as a dog, not fearing for his well-being and my guess is that he reacted to my excitement by playing with me the way all dogs play with their human.
Although my time with Mister Peter was brief, it left me to ponder life’s difficult questions. Among them:
- Do we appreciate those small and sometimes fleeting moments in life?
- Do we celebrate the day-to-day little accomplishments or are we too busy “sweating the small stuff” to notice them?
- Do we appreciate every breath we take?
Peter is gone now, but the lessons he left us all (anyone who was fortunate enough to have met him) are still near and dear to our hearts.
Enjoy breathing easy now Peter, and thank you again for sharing your love of life with us.
In Puerto Rico, with more than 100,000 homeless dogs on the street, it is not possible to rescue every single one of them. Pets Alive knows that spay/neuter is the answer to solve the problem once and for all. Therefore, in Puerto Rico, they focus most of their efforts and resources on promoting this procedure. They offer low cost spay/neuter to pet owners. It is common for owned pets to roam the streets, and since spaying/neutering is not common, owned pets are responsible for producing many of the unwanted street dogs.
In the past six months, Pets Alive has provided spay/neuter to hundreds of dogs. People can help by sponsoring a low cost spay neuter for an owned pet (the pet owner pays $50, and the sponsor pays $30) or by sponsoring a spay/neuter for a dog that will be released (the cost is $80). Or if you would like to help more, go to www.petsalivepr.org to learn more other sponsorship opportunities.
Thank you Ken and Joy for sharing the story of Mr. Peter and for the great reminder to cherish every moment.