This newsletter covers the second quarter of 2009. Some highlights: we have many people to thank for generous donations, two fabulous tales of rescued dogs (one of whom, Sandy is familiar to many) we found a pet-friendly and fun hotel in St. Maarten, we walk about how you can adopt and take your pet back overseas, once again we give you directions to the shelter e so you can visit us and our animals and we explain two community communications schemes.
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We Miss You!
Thanks to these dedicated shelter volunteers who have left Anguilla this year. We really miss you!
- Mai-Britt Rygg
- Bianca Vincken-Stapf
- Phil Gift
- Elin Zcimarzceck
- Jen Miller
- Janet Alexander
- Christine Gibson
- Veronica LeDuc.
AARF received many wonderful donations, and we'd like to send special thank yous to those that donated funds, goods, time among other wonderful things! To protect internet privacy privacy, we choose to use initials.
Mere thank you's can't go far enough to express what these people have provided us, but all donations go directly towards the welfare of AARF animals.
To the following donors, our heartfelt thanks: Cole & Wendy B., Michele & Julio B., Bud & Kathie B., Eliza B & Jeffrey S., Jacqueline C., Preston and Terry D., Barb and Gary G., Susan & John G., Peter & Paula G., Michael & Renee G., Janice H., Sherri H-M., Jose M., Sylvia M., Rob N., Jim & Joyce P., Virginia R., Anne & Mike R., Althea T. and Rick V.
We have two outstanding tales this time, Sandy (aka "the pond dog") and Boo.
Sandy turns out to be one of the most amazing AARF stories ever, with an amazingly happy ending.
The first chapter in this story was Sandy's rescue. Walking around the Sandy Ground salt pond area, three visitors (Penni, Bill and Jodi) happened upon a whimpering lump in a burlap bag in the salt pond•s• muck. They hauled the bag out of the pond and discovered a puppy (about five months old).
They, with the assistance of a local woman, washed him off and gave him food and water. They then called AARF, and shelter volunteer Bianca came and took the puppy to the clinic.
This writer was in the shelter the day after Sandy (named of course, after his origins) came in, and it was a sad story at first. Sandy had a fractured pelvis, scrapes, sores and other maladies. He howled if you touched him, because he was in such pain. It didn't look all that good, but we were game if Sandy was.
And he was game. Sandy quickly rebounded. At first the vet didn't want him walking because of the fracture, so the various shelter volunteer workers carried him back and forth outside each day for his constitutional. That worked surprisingly well, because even early on, he didn't make a fuss about being handled, although it was obvious he was in pain. He trusted all of the volunteers and vet staff - which is amazing given his prior treatment and condition. We gave him gentle sponge baths as he was too fragile for a regular bath. We gave him lots of good food to put some weight on his overly thin body.
Sandy became a volunteer favorite. Even though he had been abused, he was loving and kind. He tolerated his cage and wouldn't mess it, even overnight. After a while, the AARF staff would bring him up front while they working, and he was always a happy dog, never growling at other dogs and cats in the waiting room (although he showed normal puppy interest). His cries of pain turned into whimpers of joy when he was with the volunteers.
After a bit, he was walking without a limp and the skin sores got better.
The volunteers decided Sandy was going to get the best home possible, in an environment with loving people. In the meantime, it was decided he could use a foster home to make sure he was well socialized around people, and he had been in the shelter long enough; by this time he had been there for a month. Foster volunteers and AARF members Mark and Sally became the foster parents.
Sandy was very adaptable and also smart: he was fetching and returning a dog toy in just one day. Of course, he enjoyed the attention, the freedom and the open air. At night, he was kept inside on a nice soft dog bed. This was a very happy puppy! He even helped out at Anguilla Regatta 2009:
He was bonding quickly with the new foster parents, and AARF knew he needed him a great permanent home, and soon. But finding one was tough, because he was an older puppy and the volunteers were determined to be very picky in his placement.
And then, the best breakthrough imaginable, happened.
Michael and Renee, a couple from the Chicago area said they'd take Sandy. This couple loves dogs and in the past has even rescued other Anguillian dogs and taken them back to Illinois. The AARF shelter staff knew this couple and knew that this outcome was like winning the lottery.
The only problem was getting Sandy to the U.S. Someone was needed to take him to his new home.
And as luck (again) would have it, Mark needed to go back to the U.S. for a few days. Flying American Airlines, it was possible to routed flight through Chicago's O'Hare airport, which is a major American Airlines hub.
And that•s• what happened. Sandy rode the ferry to Sint Maarten, flew to San Juan, and then later that night, was given over to his new family at O'Hare. It was tough giving Sandy that last kiss on his big black snout, but there was happiness in completing a long rescue mission: from the rescue by Penni and crew, to recovery and healing at the shelter, and finally, to a new home with adoring parents.
A couple months later, Mark happened to be in the Chicago area (as part of another story, Boo•s• which follows this one), and made arrangements to visit Sandy in his new home. He witnessed first hand that Sandy is in dog heaven there! He really has the best home you could hope for.
It was more than rewarding that Sandy remembered Mark and jumped on the couch in happiness to greet him and pose (he is a gregarious showoff). He got a kiss on the snout for that one!
The shelter volunteers think it will be amusing to see photos of Sandy in the snow.
There is no way to fully describe the enormous and positive lift that this story gives everyone involved in this story (Penni/Bill/Jodi, the AARF volunteers, Michael & Renee and all of our many AARF supporters). But this story is something for all of us to pull strength from, any time things get tough. There are amazing stories and happy endings out there.
In late May, Boo, an older white puppy, was surrendered by a gentleman who had too many dogs. Boo was very frightened and shy, hiding in the back corner of her kennel at the shelter, too afraid to come forward. Volunteers patiently and gently reached in and carried Boo outside for walks. She didn't understand being on a leash. Once outside she would try to hide in the bushes because she was so frightened. She had worms, ticks, fleas, and conjunctivitis, which were treated. Each day's volunteers gave Boo their kind attention and she started to feel better and come out of her shell. She clearly enjoyed being held, petted, and loved. She also enjoyed being around the other shelter puppies.
One day Wendy and Cole arrived at the shelter. They were celebrating their honeymoon in Anguilla. Their hearts went out to the older shelter dogs who generally have a harder time finding forever homes. Volunteers brought out dogs for Wendy and Cole to see. It was when Boo was brought to them that the magic happened. We could immediately see that Boo wanted to be with these wonderful people and in turn, they were enchanted. They wanted to adopt Boo and give her a forever home in Illinois but there was a logistics problem: they were flying home in two days on an airline that doesn't take pets. Volunteers shared our recent experience with Sandy. The next day, Wendy and Cole returned to the shelter and said they definitely wanted to adopt Boo and would pay all of the expenses if someone would accompany her to their home. Mark was at the shelter that day and after a long talk about his experience with Sandy, it was agreed that Mark would take Boo to her new home. By now, Boo was healthy and ready to go.
Another challenge was that we were getting into the warmer weather season and airlines won't take pets if the temperature is too warm. That meant an early morning flight from St. Maarten. Mark brought Boo home, Sally gave her a good bath, then Mark and Boo took the Link ferry to St. Maarten, where they spent the night at the very friendly Mary's Boon (discussed in more depth here).
Mark emailed from Miami the next day:
Boo seems fine, but is sometimes scared. Poor thing, in two days she went through all of this: taken out of the shelter, first car ride, taken to our home, bathed, taken away from our home, put on a noisy ferry, then a taxi, then to hotel Mary's Boon, a night in a strange room, another car ride this morning, taken to the airport, taken out of the crate for inspection in SXM, put on a plane, taken out in the noisy Miami baggage claim area (by me), taken outside to the "pets area" for a walk, then back inside, and now she awaits another plane ride.
It was a long couple of days, but when they arrived in Chicago, Boo's new family was there to greet them. They drove to their home, where Boo had a nice warm bed, food, and the love of not just people but also siblings (Scout the dog plus a cat and a bird).
Boo settled in quickly to her new home and Wendy reports that she was a breeze to train (has taken to training like a fish to water (sits, offers a paw, stays, lies down, comes, etc, etc)). She enjoys long walks around the neighborhood and local parks and is now comfortable on a leash. She lopes along very happily with her new friend Scout and is taking in her new world. Wendy and Cole say she's quite a character and shows more of her personality every day:
Boo is doing GREAT! She is so full of life, love and spirit and is having a blast with us as are we with her. Little does she know what's in store for her here in the Midwest come December.
We're betting she'll do just fine.
Boo was a very frightened, sad looking girl the first days she was at the shelter. Now look at her!
Thank you so much to AARF angels Wendy and Cole for giving Boo such a wonderful forever home.
Mary's Boon Resort in Sint Maarten
Mary's Boon is a pet-friendly resort on a lovely beach next to Sint Maarten's Princess Juliana Airport. The staff is open and friendly. If you are taking a pet on an airplane and need a place to stay before your flight, this is a great place. (This applies even if you need a place to stay and don't have a pet.)
When we needed to put Boo on a plane, we looked for a pet-friendly hotel in St. Maarten. Mary's Boon quickly appeared to be the best choice, and we were not disappointed. Raul the owner and staff were welcoming, and we enjoyed the excellent sandy beach, beach furniture and our veranda that faced the sea. We noticed several happy dogs hanging around; that made us smile.
Tell Raul you heard about the resort from AARF!
Transporting your pet on an airline: some thoughts
Note as of May 2011:
We are leaving this section as it was written for legacy purposes, but we wrote a newer section on adopting and taking a pet home with you from Anguilla (with emphasis on North America). This section, with checklists, other links and more is on our Adopting a Pet — the Basics page, and is updated regularly.
American Airlines makes taking dogs to the United States easy, in case you, the reader, would like to have your very own Anguilla dog or cat (highly recommended as you can see from our many Happy Tails articles). Read on...
This is Mark; I'm the one who took Sandy to Chicago using American Eagle and American Airlines. I'll document the procedure below and provide some tips in case someone wants to adopt a dog or cat from AARF. In all cases, though, it's critical to check with American or your airline beforehand, as this article may not be accurate as time passes. This information comes from Sandy's trip in May of 2009.
Inside the cabin or in the cargo hold?
Small animals, such as cats or tiny dogs can go inside the cabin. They must fit comfortably in a soft-sided or hard carrier (they must be able to move around) under the seat in front of you. Because they have to fit under the seat, seats such as those in a bulkhead row cannot be booked. American will charge a fee for you to transport your pet. For in-cabin pets, by the way, the carrier counts as one of your carry-ons.
Bigger animals have to go in the airplane's cargo hold. A larger animal in a crate may incur an over-sized baggage charge as well. Airlines may have a maximum weight and size limit (American does and it's described on their Pet Page
Other airlines may or may not allow you to take animals either on board or in the hold, so you must check with them. AARF is always interested in any experiences you've with taking a pet to and from Anguilla. If you have something to share, please send an email to the Communications Chair.
Cargo Hold Barriers
At certain times in the year -- when the temperature gets too high for any airport in the flight's itinerary -- American (and other airlines) will not transport animals in the hold. (See the American Airlines Pet Page for more details. As of this writing, the temperature threshold is 85 degrees Fahrenheit, 29.4 degrees Celsius for most animals, 75 degrees F for "snub-nosers".) In particular, that means, from the summer until it gets cooler later in the year, it can be risky if you try and transport a pet in hot weather. Flying early in the morning helps. Note that a passenger jet has a pressurized and temperature controlled hold; inter-islander prop planes such as the ATR-72s used by American Eagle don't.
You must make a reservation for your pet traveling in the cabin with you, just as you do for yourself. American assigns a separate Record Locator to the pet. Checked pets do not need a reservation but American has a first come, first served policy on taking checked animals, as they seem to have a limit on how many animals can go on one flight. I don't know what that might be, but on one trip from St. Maarten this last June, I heard they had 3-4 crated animals in the hold.This is a reason to get to the airport early.
(For a next day's flight, consider staying at Mary's Boon hotel near the airport. It's a very friendly pet place, with a great beach, restaurant, and friendly staff and ownership. It's a few minutes drive to the airport, so you and your pet can get there early and be rested.) We have found that taxi drivers in St. Maarten are happy to transport pets. We talked about our experiences with Mary's Boon resort here.
For checked pets, a secure crate with some way to put water in the crate is needed. Most crates have a wired front door with a way to attach a small water bowl to the inside. This allows you and airline personnel to put water in the crate without opening the door. You will also need to attach information on your pet to the crate. We typed the itinerary, food and water instructions, and other pertinent data, put it in a gallon-sized baggie (for rain protection), and taped that to the top of the crate. Note that American requires that you sign stating when you last gave the pet food & water; we included this in our document. The crate must also have large “Live Animal” signage on it.
AARF is now selling crates and soft-sided carriers at the shelter. Be sure to check early in case we are out of the size you need. Anguilla does not have a store with crates for sale, so a trip to St. Maarten may be needed. I had bought a crate on the Dutch side of St. Maarten (the Mega Ace hardware store in Cole Bay had one). If you buy one in St. Maarten and bring the crate back to Anguilla, expect to pay a duty fee, although you can tell Customs that the crate is leaving the island and so should not be taxed.
Also buy some plastic tie-wraps (aka cable ties or zip-ties). Ones that can be unfastened over and over are the best, because then they can be re-used. Otherwise, buy normal locking ones and bring along one of those tiny toe-nail clippers (scissors, knives and other cutting tools will be confiscated). Expect to have to unlock the cage at every new airport for a crate inspection. The airlines have them sometimes, but it's best to have your own just in case.
Take along an empty plastic bottle so that you can fill it with water once you land.
In addition to the airline requirements, the country into which you are bringing the pet will have immigration/customs requirements. In the United States, this is governed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Generally, your pet will need to be current on vaccinations and receive an exam and health certificate from a veterinarian; these can be taken care of at Morlens Veterinary Clinic. If at a certain age, animals must be vaccinated against rabies. If they are too young for that vaccine, you may instead complete a form stating that you will keep the pet quarantined (in your house is fine) for the required period. This form and details are on the CDC web site. Anguilla is a rabies free country.
Sandy's trip from Anguilla to Chicago
Here is how Sandy and I got from Anguilla to San Juan and then to Chicago (all in one long day).
On the day of the flight, Sandy and I took a very early ferry to the Sint Maarten airport (we wanted the earliest morning flight since it was projected to approach the 85 degree cutoff temperature). Even though the winds were up and the water was choppy, Sandy was fine in the boat, happily sniffing away.
Once at the airport, I let Sandy out for a walk in a small area in front of the terminal and gave him some water. Next came the security inspection. The dog has to come out of the crate so that security can look inside, and possibly send the crate though a scanner. After the crate and dog inspection, I turned Sandy over to the American handlers. I needed to use my own cable ties to secure the crate door.
The next task was to make sure that he got loaded on the American Eagle plane to San Juan and that he was in no danger of overheating. (Yes, it's been known to happen that someone fails to put the crate on the plane.) I did this by asking the gate agent to verify that he got on the plane. And in fact, as I walked to the plane for boarding, I walked by the plane's open cargo hatch and saw the crate.
In San Juan, Sandy popped out the oversized luggage bin in Baggage Claim, and he and I cleared Customs. There was a long enough layover, so I hired a porter to wheel the crate and my bags to a small area outside the airport where I could give Sandy some water and let him out for a bit. (I had taken an empty Nalgene bottle in my carry on, which I filled with water in a restroom after landing in San Juan.)
I then took Sandy to the American check in (for the San Juan to Chicago leg) area, and was directed to a special area, where he needed to come out of the crate so that it could be inspected by TSA. Once that happened, back in he went and American gave me a couple of removable zip-ties to make sure the crate stayed shut.
I repeated the process to make sure Sandy was put on the flight to Chicago. I asked the gate agent to make sure he got loaded, and when i stepped onto the plane asked that the pilots call the ground crew to make sure he got on, and the American crew was happy to oblige, in fact coming to my seat to let me know all was OK.
The rest was easy. In Chicago, I got water again and by the time I got to Baggage Claim, I knew to head over to the oversized luggage area. After a bit, buzzers rang, lights flashed, and out slid Sandy's crate. I had called to make arrangements to deliver Sandy outside the baggage area, and I was able to meet the new family at the curb. One last kiss on Sandy's snout, and off he was to his new home, and I went back into the terminal for my connecting flight.
Each country has different requirements for bringing in a pet. The European Union has more stringent requirements than the US and more time is needed to meet those requirements but we do have Happy Tails (er, Tales) of people taking their pets from Anguilla to England, Germany, and Switzerland. Note also that there are special restrictions on bringing pets to Hawaii. As mentioned before, the American Airlines web site has a good summary of requirements for various countries; also check the government web sites.
It's easy to adopt an Anguilla dog or cat and take your new pet home with you. We recommend it and continue to get happy updates from adopters years later. If you are interested, talk to an AARF volunteer!
By the way, in case the American Airlines Pet Page moves, you can probably get to it with this Google search:
american +airlines +traveling +pets
AARF Shelter Location
We are often asked how to get to the AARF Shelter (which is inside the Morlens Veterinary Clinic) as well as operating hours for the shelter and animal hospital.
To get to the shelter and the clinic, see the map below.
From The Valley, take the Long Path road towards the East End. After passing the Best Buy supermarket, look for the the clinic on the right side of the road just before the Sandy Hill roundabout (the red dot in the upper right part of the graphic). If you go too far, just use the roundabout to turn around. If you do not have an animal to bring to the clinic, please park across the street to allow parking for people with emergencies and appointments (there is also a music studio attached to the building which shares the parking area).
The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. AARF shelter volunteers are on staff from 10-1, Mondays through Fridays.
On Saturday, the shelter is open from 9 a.m. to 11, and a volunteer usually works the same hours.
It's a good idea to call the AARF cell phone at (264) 497-2731 before coming out to verify someone is on duty, or to talk to about AARF-related issues. This phone has voicemail.
For Morlens veterinary business (vet appointments, purchase of pet supplies, etc.), call 497-4600.
Facebook and the aarfinfo list
Besides the AARF web site and newsletters like this, we have two other ways to receive AARF communications. Either or both may be of interest, depending on your desired level of participation.
Aarfupdate email list
The first is the Aarfupdate email list, aarfupdate. It is designed mostly as a one-way posting system: from AARF to the people subscribed to the list. It is set up essentially as a broadcasting mechanism. We use the aarfupdate email list (which we'll call "the list" from here on out) to inform list members about AARF happenings.
In general, we use the list for time-critical issues, such as dogs/cats/puppies/kittens for adoption, lost and found animals, events and special needs. We try to keep the list at a very low volume and low noise level so that list members do not get many emails. List members can choose to get the list postings as they come one at a time (as they are sent out) or in a digest mode which typically packages up a day's postings and sends the digest out at the end of the day.
Note that this scheme is is different from other lists, where anyone can post whatever they want and whenever they want (although the postings may be moderated for professionalism and tone), and not only can some many people reply to a given posting (called a thread), they can often start new threads. This often results in a great deal of postings to read through. Our list avoids that. Every posting is moderated and must be approved by one of the list moderators (traditionally called ListMoms over the years because they sometimes have had to step in and calm down unruly people posting to lists).
Once subscribed to the list, members don't have to do anything; list emails will come automatically, either one at a time or grouped in a digest.
That doesn't mean list members cannot post to the list; they can if the posting is relevant. The process for posting is easy: a list member sends an email to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The email goes to a holding place and must be accepted by a ListMom before the list subscribers see it. The ListMom can accept the posting or delete it. If the ListMom cancels the posting, the list member may get a short email back explaining why it got canceled.
Per our philosophy, to keep the list volume down, *general* postings to the list by members won't be passed on to the list. Specifically, casual responses to a list posting ("I agree", "great posting" "ListMom, you…", etc. types of responses), jokes, anecdotes, photos, stories and other items that are not AARF-related will almost certainly not be posted. Emails in response to a lost/found animal or an email that are germane to AARF or a list email may be posted. This keeps the list on topic; only emails of critical importance to Anguillian animals and AARF itself are sent out to what is a sizable number of list subscribers.
Trust us: irritated list subscribers will send fiery emails if they perceive a deviation from this policy.
Good news, though! We now have a way for list members to talk more freely; it's on Facebook. We have created an entity called "Aarf Anguilla" (we had to call it Aarf Anguilla because there are other AARFs around out there).
Sign on to Facebook (you need a free account) and search for...
...and become its friend. If you have other people who may want to added as a friend, please pass this along. They should make a request to become a friend of Aarf Anguilla.
This group is the place for news, photos of your animals (hopefully AARF pets!), jokes, etc. Being Facebook, people will post about all sorts of subjects other than AARF!
The Aarf Anguilla entity is only monitored occasionally by an AARF ListMom. There may occasional postings, but our intent is to use the aarfupdate list for important postings, and leave the Facebook site for more casual chatting amongst the Facebook friends.
On a Lighter Note
We end with some dog and cat quotes we found on the web.
The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.
Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than they love themselves.
The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never bathed a dog.
If your dog is fat, YOU aren't getting enough exercise.
My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money.
Ever consider what our dogs must think of us? We come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!
You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'
Dogs are not our whole life, but they do make our lives whole.
If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them.
"Managing senior programmers is like herding cats."
"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this."
"Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow."
"In a cat's eye, all things belong to cats."
"As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat."
"One cat just leads to another."
"Dogs come when they're called; cats take a message and get back to you later."
"Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia."
"People who hate cats, will come back as mice in their next life."
"There are many intelligent species in the universe. They are all owned by cats."
"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior."
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
"The cat has too much spirit to have no heart."
"Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God."
"Time spent with cats is never wasted."
"Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want."
"Cats aren't clean, they're just covered with cat spit."