A sad beginning with a happy ending for Cleo!
~ by Jen Dehestani
My name is Jen Dehestani and I am very involved with animal rescue on the Caribbean island of Aruba. Aruba has an estimated 30,000-40,000 stray and semi-stray cats and dogs on an island with a population of a mere 105,000 people, and geographically is only 21 miles long and 6 miles wide. This ratio is quite staggering. Many go to Aruba on vacation to enjoy a slice of paradise but it is no such place for the animals of the proclaimed “One Happy Island”. Many locals view animals as vermin and treat them extremely poorly. Even many “owned” dogs are not treated well, not cared for properly/ neglected, and left to roam around on the streets, reproducing freely with other unsterilized dogs. Below is the story of one such dog, “Cleo”.
Cleo(patra) was found in an overheated concrete backyard. She was tied to a pole with an iron chain in the hot sun with no shade available. She had to keep herself and her six puppies alive for a very long time without food or water.
She was extremely skinny and dehydrated, in very poor condition, neglected, and not well cared for. Her owners had left the country on vacation and thought the dogs could survive without food or water for a FEW WEEKS while they were gone.
Nearby neighbors made reports and tried to improve Cleo and her pups situation by contacting a group in Aruba called the Crijojo Trappers, who primarily focus on spay/neuter but often help with many calls about animal abuse/ animals in need. When the “owners” were reached, their response was “we don’t want her, you can have her killed” (killed in this awful place called “the kill cage”, where animals are placed no questions asked and killed by a government employee within 24 hours).
Cleo had no place to go, as all the fosters on the island were full and all the rescue groups on the island were at capacity and unable to take in any additional adult dogs. So together with a foundation called Cunucu Dog Rescue we put our heads together and started fundraising to be able to pay for Cleo to stay at a lovely dog daycare / boarding facility in Aruba called Iguana Dog Resort run by two amazing people, Joop and Liz. Through the kindness and generosity of donations from many individuals, we were able to pay for vet /medical care and months and months of Cleo staying at Iguana Dog Resort until a local foster became available on the island.
Then finally after six long months Cleo was officially adopted by a wonderful family in Belgium recently! Lots of land for her to run, children to play with, even horses. A “forever“ home to finally call her own. Cleo’s journey is one that began in despair and suffering at the hands of her previous “owners” to a completely new lease on life, a home where she will only know love and kindness for the rest of her days on earth. Her story had the ending it did because of the kind hearts of so many people along the way. A village of good people.
There are a handful of amazing animal rescue foundations who work around the clock helping Aruba’s animals. Sgt. Pepper’s Friends, New Life For Paws, ARF, Luna Foundation, Cunucu Dog Rescue, United Dogs Aruba, Crijojo Trappers.
Cunucu Dog Rescue, ARF, Luna Foundation, and New Life For Paws, are all 501(c)(3) organizations. Should you wish to make a donation (that is tax deductible) the donation links are below.
In times of darkness, the light is what will get us through. We keep on fighting the good fight!