As I sit here writing this blog I can barely keep my eyes open. I am physically exhausted, my body is aching and I am emotionally drained.
I am feeling like this because for the last couple weeks TEAM PAWS has been on a rollercoaster ride that we just couldn't get off.
Due to a personal emergency where by our one and only rescue lady, Natalya, was taken in to hospital, we (Team Paws Volunteers) have had to step up and step in to her shoes... And believe me... They have been BIG shoes to fill!
Firstly, we would like to let you know that Natalya has made it out of hospital today and will now be recovering from her surgery at home with her family where she belongs.
It has been an agonising few weeks for her, not only the pain she was suffering but also the not knowing what was wrong.
Finally, a tumour has been removed and once completely rested she is expected to make a full recovery. We will of course pass on your well wishes to her but we would like to ask that you don't call or message her with puppies and dogs that need rescuing at this time because it is physically impossible for her to do anything right now and we barely have enough volunteers to take care of the puppies and dogs that are currently in our care at this moment in time.
She needs to rest, relax and recover. We hope you understand this.
Moving on to our AMAZING Team Paws Volunteers.... The last few weeks would not have been possible if it was not for these remarkable people stepping up and offering to help our Rescue Paws.
Team Paws foster Mom Eunice has been a constant support and comfort to Natalya, visiting her at every single opportunity in the hospital. She has been there for Natalya almost around the
clock. Also, driving to our make shift shelter, picking up dog food supplies, running errands... You name it... She has done it!
Thank you so much Eunice for being the most kind and caring person, always being there at times of need, being the calm in a crisis and always putting others before yourself. You are truly a beautiful person both inside and out. New Life For Paws Foundation would be lost without you. We cannot thank you enough!
Secondly, we have to thank our awesome volunteers who have been going to the make shift shelter every single day to feed, water and clean. To give vitamins. To give affection. Such a selfless act that quite frankly is a thankless task. Every day they go and spend hours in the baking heat, never complaining... Why... Because they LOVE THE DOGS! Wonderful humans with hearts as big as the ocean! Team Paws really appreciates everything you do for our Rescued Paws.
Reno.... Mr.Victorino!!!! What would we do without you... He has been our "chauffeur" driving back and forward to the make shift shelter, taking puppies to the vets to get their vaccines, driving around the island collecting dog food, he is the "Man with the Van who Can".
He takes everything in his stride and has not let this crisis phase him. Being Aruban he has taken the island motto "One Happy island" to another level at this crazy and chaotic time! Thank you so much Reno. We are so fortunate to have you on our team and volunteer to help us.
We also had a tremendous offer of help from Jet Higgins. A remarkable woman who has been rescuing and feeding the street dogs of Aruba for many years.
We offered to help her with two little puppies which she rescued from her neighbourhood, Jonny and Jolie. We helped with the vet costs, arranged their plane tickets and found them some Flight Volunteers to chaperone them to the States to be adopted.
In return, she has paid us back TEN FOLD! She knew we was struggling to find foster families and was short on volunteers, so together with her husband Jim, they agreed to foster and prepare some of the latest puppies that was ready for travel.
Thank you for driving to the shelter, picking up Brandon, Dakota, Maggey, Grace and Margaret. Thank you for cleaning them and preparing them for their flight. Thank you for getting them all to the airport safely. Thank you for simply being YOU!!!!
Jet, you came through for us when we couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. You have shown compassion and kindness to each and every rescued puppy that you have allowed into your home. THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES!!!!
To our small team of foster families... You came to our rescue at short notice and have opened your hearts and homes to these wonderful sweet loving Aruban Cunucu puppies. Thank you to Lupe and Magda, Zoraida, Nabhilach and Afraina. We are so grateful to you and your families for everything you do. Being a foster family is a HUGE part of their rescue journey and we cannot do this without your support. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Just this past week we have managed to co-ordinate the travel arrangements for three litters of puppies...
Thanks to these awesome Flight Volunteers we was able to get Dillon and Margarita, Brandon, Dakota, Margaret, Grace, Maggey and Jonny and Jolie to the States to meet their forever families!
Thank you Nancy, Susann, Kimberly, Samantha, Damien, Sarah, Christie, Lois and Andrew.
Special thanks to Donna who donated to our vet bill, also Nancy who made a donation to our vet bill and to Lois and her husband Andrew who not only donated once, but TWICE to our vet bill and came and spent the morning with Team Paws helping out with vet duty!
We are so thankful and appreciate your generosity towards our Rescued Paws. Thank you!
Thank you also to United Dogs Aruba who have donated even more food to New Life For Paws through their Pet Food Donation Stations.
We appreciate this massively!!!!
Just when you think that's it... What more could you possibly fit into a couple of weeks... Well... Plenty! Not only has it been hectic for Team Paws in Aruba... But it has been non-stop for our Team Paws volunteers and foster families Stateside...
Whilst we have frantically been shuttling puppies to and fro from the vet, to the airport, to fosters, to the make shift shelter... the work continues and does not stop once they touch down on US soil.....
Thankfully we have an equally amazing TEAM of volunteers who have come together to make magic happen for our little fur babies!
Between them they have greeted the new arrivals at various airports, taken them into their homes to allow them to adjust for a few days. They have driven across state lines to co-ordinate which puppy needs to go where...
Airport - Foster - Adoptive Family.... Everyone has a vital role to play and each and every one of them has contributed to the success stories of our Rescued Paws.
Thank you to Sherry, DeeDee, Wendy, Laura, Christine, Kelie, Abbi, Nancy and Rebecca. These ladies will move mountains to get these puppies safe and into their forever homes! You are the unsung heroes who barely get a mention, but please know, that over here on the island, we are so thankful, and amazed by your constant support, strength and love for each puppy and dog that you foster. You ladies ROCK!!!!
So by now I am sure you will see... Simply by just reading this story you are probably exhausted...
Imagine living through this story for the past few weeks... Rescuing puppies is time consuming. It is physically demanding. It is an emotional rollercoaster. So many wheels and cogs go into saving these precious lives.
When Natalya got taken into hospital we all immediately thought "S*&%"
Our first reaction... "Is Natalya going to be ok?"
Our second reaction... "Who will take care of the puppies?"
Our third reaction... There was not time for a third reaction!!!!!
We all had to go in to RESCUE MODE! And do what we had to do!
My own personal experience of being a TEAM PAWS VOLUNTEER these last couple of weeks has been.... Well... I don't think I can describe it in one word... Not even two!
Crazy, Chaotic, Heart Wrenching, Heart Warming, Exhausting, Frustrating, Beautiful, Sad... The list goes on.
Every night when I have reached home I have sat and thought to myself, "Why am I doing this?!"
And I will tell you why... I am driving around the island back and forward to the vets, taking puppies for their vaccines and microchips, cleaning dog poo, getting pee'd on, shuttling puppies to the airport, meeting tourists who want to donate supplies and food, feeding dogs at the make shift shelter, comforting a Mama dog who has just given birth to four tiny puppies, syringe feeding those same four tiny puppies because their Mama has no milk, ferrying puppies to foster families, rushing a puppy to the vet for emergency treatment when I found her lying limp and lifeless, feeding the street dogs etc... So why am I doing all this?...
I am doing this not for Natalya, not even for New Life For Paws... I am doing this for the DOGS! For all the helpless, defenceless dogs and puppies on the island of Aruba. Simple. And I will continue to do whatever I can for them until Natalya has made a full recovery.
It is impossible to write this and not give Marie a mention... Marie, Marie, Marie... You have been on the end of the phone every single day for me! You have listened to me cry, let me take my frustrations out on you, advised me, laughed with me (probably sometimes at me)... But all the while, you have remained calm in this crisis, even though I know how extremely tough it is for you being over there whilst we are over here. You continue to do everything in your power to save each and every life possible and give our Rescued Paws a second shot at life! Thank you for not only being the voice of reason during these last few weeks, but for believing in all of us in Aruba to help take care of this sad situation that we was all thrown into. New Life For Paws, all of our volunteers, every single puppy and dog are so grateful for all that you do. You are our flight co-ordinator extraordinaire! Our Mother Hen! Our Boss Lady! Our Crazy Cunucu loving forever friend! THANK YOU just doesn't seem enough!!!
Right now, we need YOU... More than ever! We need people, humans, hands, physical bodies... VOLUNTEERS! People who don't mind cleaning dog poop, people who would like to feed the dogs in our care. People who have a fenced in yard, a genuine love for dogs and would like to open their home and hearts to our rescued puppies.
WE NEED FOSTERS AND VOLUNTEERS to help with the daily duties of New Life For Paws.
We currently have 6 large puppies who will be going to their new foster homes today whilst they await their travel.
Then we have another 8 puppies around 7 weeks old who need to get to the vets for their vaccines and microchips and health certificates with in the next few weeks.
Two more puppies are currently being fostered and will be ready for adoption soon.
Plus we have adult dogs which we are taking care of, not to mention the countless number of street dogs which we are feeding.
AND..... Last but not least... This has got to be one of the most terrifying, yet heart-warming things I have ever done in my life... Some time during the late hours of Sunday 10th July... We welcomed four teeny tiny new additions to the TEAM PAWS family...
A street dog who Natalya had rescued right before she went into hospital... Turns out... That street dog was pregnant!!!! With all the drama surrounding Natalya going into hospital we did not know what to do with this pregnant Mama dog... So it happened... This beautiful, sweet natured Mama gave birth to four of the cutest puppies I have ever seen.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet them and spend time with them yesterday. She is such a good Mama, so gentle with them all. I have never seen puppies that had just been born. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!
Less than 24 hours old... I looked at them with a heavy heart... Part of me said, "WOW! What sweet, cute puppies" the other part of me said, "OH NO! Not more puppies!"
To add more craziness to the mix, and push us to our limits even more.... The sweet Mama dog is not producing any milk... Which means... Yes... You guessed... We... Us humans need to syringe feed the puppies every two hours!!!!!
With all our fosters families full we desperately need YOUR help!
CAN YOU HELP?
If you have the time and patience to dedicate to these four tiny puppies and their Mama
Please get in touch as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope that during these last few weeks we have shown the true meaning of TEAM WORK and our small team of volunteers, both here in Aruba and in the States, has made Natalya PROUD and have continued to save lives even when it felt like everything was going to come crashing down around us. I have no idea how Natalya does this day in day out, week in week out. I always admired her passion for the dogs before and I admire it even more as time goes on. I don't pretend to be anywhere near as experienced as Natalya but we have all been giving it our best shot. We all have the same focus and goal in mind... Changing Aruba... One Dog At A Time! And this is what has been spurring us on through this crucial and testing time.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please share our story.
One Very Sleepy Team Paws Volunteer
If you would like to make a contribution towards our never-ending vet bill please click on the link below: