Island Dog Rescue is a “pack” comprised entirely of volunteers who are passionate about rescuing dogs. Our mission is to rescue dogs, medically treat, spay/neuter and provide education and resources to significantly reduce the population of homeless dogs in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Sali Gear, a pilot, military veteran, and former resident of St. Croix is the founder of Island Dog Rescue. Sali has the knowledge and expertise to solve one of the most difficult problems in aiding our rescue partners in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands... Transportation. Once dogs are medically cleared and ready for travel, Island Dog Rescue coordinates and funds the collection of the dogs, crating, loading and the flights. We often fly as many as sixty dogs per trip. Upon arrival to the mainland, we handle the coordination and transportation on the receiving end with our adoption partners and fosters, located throughout the US.
No one organization moves more animals out of the Caribbean than Island Dog Rescue. As military veterans and aviators ourselves, we have leveraged our knowledge and relationships to establish a way off the islands for not only animals that were left behind in the evacuation, but the thousands that are still homeless. In 2018, we moved more than 3,600 dogs (and many cats) to safety on the mainland, of which over 700 were adopted directly through our organization. Our focus is on the few island community shelters and primarily with the small, independent rescuers. Over time we have become partners through financial support and the establishment of medical protocols that ensure the dogs we fly to our stateside partners are healthy and adoptable. We have come to see that there are many passionate people that care about the island population and we can best serve them by supporting them in their efforts. Stateside partners are an important link in the process and we are always looking for shelters and rescues that want to join us in our efforts to reduce the burden on the islands, while we work to resolve the multiple issues. It clearly “Takes a Pack” and we are happy to be the leaders in the effort.
As cute as the dogs are, we wish there weren’t so many. Too many die from starvation, automobiles and, to put it bluntly, neglect. We believe in addressing an issue at its core and one of those components is spay and neuter. Not only does it stop an unwanted animal population, but it makes for a healthier and happier dog.
All rescues need basic veterinary care but some need more treatment for major injuries. The good news is there are great vets who are reasonably priced. The average cost to get a healthy dog ready for transport to include spay/neuter is about $125. That is not a lot of money when it includes vaccines, deworming (a series), sterilization, and a health certificate. Stateside that could total over $400.
This is key to helping with a solution to the islands problems. With already overwhelming numbers, it is difficult to stay motivated mentally and physically impossible to stay viable if our rescues and shelters can not move the animals they have given so much care to off to a place that use adoptable animals. It is the model they use in the southern states, but more problematic since we are moving them from an island. Fortunately, we have this job down pat and, while a bit more expensive, the low cost medical care helps balance the numbers.
We have built a relationship with our rescue partners in the islands and we work with local government and influential people to engage the community.
We strive to provide information to the communities we serve as well as our adopters and potential adopters. Information related to the welfare of the animals we serve.
As an all volunteer organization, we rely on our supporters to keep going. We have lots of opportunities to get involved!