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Happening Now: Puerto Rico’s Spayathon

By Colleen Williams
May 3, 2019 • 3 min. read


“What happens when 26 local, national, and international organizations band together in an unprecedented show of support for the people and pets of Puerto Rico? Lasting change and history will be made,” reads the website for The Sato Project, a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs from Puerto Rico. Phase 4 of their incredible Spayathon is happening from May 3 to May 9. Here’s more about their work.

What is the Spayathon?

The Spayathon for Puerto Rico is a high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter initiative spearheaded by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to alter over 30,000 dogs and cats in underserved communities across the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Each animal treated will also receive rabies, leptospirosis and other essential vaccinations. All of these services will be provided at no cost to the pet parent. Additionally, every pet parent will go home with a new leash, collar, and bag of food for their animal.

Over 12 months, the Spayathon has included four rounds of these services in multiple sectors across the island. This initiative will also provide high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter training for Puerto Rico veterinarians, to increase the number of veterinarians on the island who can implement the high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter services. At the conclusion of the initiative from May 3 – 9, 2019, the HSUS will donate equipment locally to help further the animal welfare efforts in Puerto Rico.

What does this mean for the people & pets of Puerto Rico?

“At our very first Spayathon in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, a little girl about 12 years old came with her 1 year old chocolate lab mix. She had a chain leash for the dog so I went up to her and asked if her dog was a boy or girl and she said a girl, so I went inside and grabbed this big bright solid pink leash and brought it out,” begins on-the-ground volunteer Kristin. “She cried the moment she saw it.  She was just so happy to have this new pink leash for her pup. That moment really touched me. Something so simple that we would take for granted meant so much to this little girl.”

At each round of the Spayathon, pet parents have their pets vaccinated, including rabies (which is beneficial for everyone). They all go home with a few months of flea/tick preventive and a few months of heart worm medication, as well as food and accessories donated by Greater Good and the Humane Society.

“We also gather donations like leashes, collars, wee-wee pads, and dog cones for surgical recovery for each Spayathon,” says Kristin. “This is a really large undertaking so we are constantly trying to replenish items like this that are in absolute need for the care of these animals.”

How can I help?

“Other than our spay/neuter work and the Spayathon, we also have many rescue efforts like our Freedom Flights and Leave No Dog Behind,” explains Communications Associate for The Sato Project, Tara. “We just rescued a litter of puppies in pretty sad conditions earlier this week that we posted about on Instagram, and fly a handful of dogs on commercial flights every weekend this month.”

To support The Sato Project team efforts, check out the website to donate or find out how to help even more. “There are many ways to help: sponsor lunch for our Ground Team of staff and volunteers, buy a round of Gatorade for our Vet Techs to keep them hydrated, or make a donation to help us ensure that our efforts in this initiative are as successful as possible,” says Tara.

To read stories about the other Spayathon events, check out Round 2 and Round 3 – every photo shown at the bottom of both pages has a short story attached to it. Follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as they share daily updates on progress made during each round.

If you wouldn’t be prepared to pay thousands of dollars for a pet’s  unexpected accident or illness, consider enrolling in pet insurance. You can cover your furry family member and protect your wallet at the same time. Start by getting a free quote. Bonus: each quote means we donate some funds to help homeless pups get medical care and find a forever family. 


colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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