how to help
Spay & Neuter, Feeding & medicate, Animal rights & AWARENESS-
those are the magic words to actively help to make a change!
Here a few tips and hints what you can do personally and on a daily base, it doesn't matter if you are visiting or living here, every step into the right direction already helps to make a change!
If you find an animal around your hotel resort or beach:
Please refrain of taking stray animals into your Hotel facilities, this is very important, as not all guests may be thrilled about it and you and your new furry friend can get in trouble.
If you make friends with dogs, lure them away from the hotel grounds to where its is more public.
Feeding is fine, but please away from your hotel. Food from the hotel buffet, such as ham or spicy foods, are NOT suitable, drinking water is often difficult to access and a much better help for your new furry friend. Dry or spicy foods would only increase their thirst, a foldable travel mug which you can get in most pet stores at home, easy to pack.
It's a good idea to educate other visitors too in your hotel, why the new furry friend should not be brought into the facility.
If you want to help any animal during your stay, do bring deworming and spot-on products against fleas & ticks, they are mostly friendly enough to let you administer it right there.
If you want to do more proactive help, contact us in advance, perhaps you want to assist a dog feed Saturday or look for a veterinarian, where you can bring your new furry friend to spay/neuter during your stay? This will not only help an individual animal to a much better quality life, but also contributes very much to animal welfare in the Dominican Republic.
Please contact us immediately should you find an animal with injuries or in distress!
Note: These many dogs you meet on the beach or on the street mostly have an owner!
Land is rarely fenced and dogs enjoy their free run, a very independent life, which allows them to spend the day with their pack, watching the hustle and bustle on the street or accompanying tourists on their beach walks.
Please consider this different dog life, when you feel that you have to "rescue" an animal, check if its neglected or in need.
But we understand that you want to help and here a few tips:
Hotel and strays
Should there be cats residing in your hotel, then never feed them in or near the restaurant, but as far away as possible and where it does not bother anyone. Also, if you can, check if the cats are spayed or neutered. If this is not the case or you are not sure, contact us, Rescatame Punta Cana to make an appointment for a visit to the Vet. With this you help and get the good feeling of helping a pet during your vacation.
Horse back riding
If you are planning a trip with horses, get as much information where you go, ask for pictures and look at the horses before booking the excursion! Please pay attention to the following:
That the horse is in a well-fed and well-groomed condition
The hooves are okay (not too long or with breakage, should the horse have horseshoes that they are fitted properly)
The horse has no injuries (insist to check the horse WITHOUT the saddle, often the animals have open backs due to the improper saddles)
How tall is the horse, mostly horses here are type "Criollo" a relatively small breed, they can carry max. 90 kg/200lb rider
Checks if the horse has access to clean water - this is often omitted here
Has the horse, while waiting for his "work", been resting in the shade and without a saddle
Be ware, if only on of this points is not met, then there might be more things not accurate to animal welfare! Do not go on this excursion, do report this to your tour operator or Trip Advisor. If you feel confident that everything is ok in terms of animal welfare, please remember plan the horseback ride during the cooler morning or afternoon hours.
Please do not book excursions by horse or mule, where the path is very steep, rocky, or loamy soil, which turns into a slippery "greasy soap"and is an extremely high risk for accidents.
Photos shoots with parrots, monkeys and other animals
There are always that expensive opportunity to be photographed with parrots, monkeys and other animals. Please reconsider this, for these animals this is "no fun" and a lot of stress, they under very bad conditions and often are beaten too! After the photo shoots they are put back into very tiny crates, behind the scenes the "love" of animals shown on display stops right there. They are often left to scream, just to wear them out for new photo shoots.
Snorkeling and diving
To dive and snorkel in an environmentally conscious way means to behave like a good guest in a strange apartment: do not touch or break anything, not to try to catch the fish or turtles, or to disturb their surroundings they live in. Species protection and conservation should be sacred to you as a diver or snorkeler. Respect the underwater life as much as the rest of the beautiful nature.
Everyone wants to eat lobster during their vacation and all hotels offer a lobster feast during the week.But just take a moment to calculate these number, its simple impossible to harvest these in a conscious way and so there are almost extinct. As well during the months of March 1st to July 1st, harvesting is prohibited in the Dominican Republic. This is to give them the possibility to mate and reproduce the massive numbers they are eaten. If your hotel restaurants do offer lobster during this period, please do not only boycott, but also report to your tour operator and Trip Advisor. FYI, lobsters only become sexually mature between four and eight years of age and only a 0.005% survive of their offspring. A better idea is just refrain from eating them and would rather enjoy discovering a live lobster while snorkeling or diving.
The humpback whales in Samana Bay attract numerous tourists every year between January and March. It is truly a breathtaking natural experience to watch these peaceful colossi. Please make sure that you book excursions only with licensed tour operators and ships that are certified to take you out, its for your and the whales safety. In the Bay of Samana new rules have been established to ensure the protection of our whales. Thus, a maximum of one large / two small boats may be located near the whales at the same time. Between your ship and a full-grown whale, the distance must be at least 50m/150ft away and from any whale calves at least 80m/180ft. Any observation boat must not be in a group of whales for longer than max 30 minutes. The speed of the boats must not exceed 5 knots. Swimming with whales is not allowed!
Please make sure that your excursion boat complies with these rules!
Deep Sea Fishing
If you absolutely must experience a deep-sea fishing excursion, then do catch only as much fish as your crew can eat. To catch a majestic fish only as a "sport" and then to be photographed with this trophy is in no way compatible with animal welfare.
Snakes / Tarantulas / Scorpions
Yes, they exist - no, they are not poisonous!
There are three very common snake species (although they are already threatened with extinction!)
The Culebra Verde - these are small, long, thin, bright green tree snakes
The Boa Hispaniola - a beautiful, rainbow-colored snake, it is said they are only up to 2m/7ft long, but we believe if they are not constantly killed, they can become as long as 14ft, 4m.
The black earth snake - not very long, very shy and often living under rocks
The local tarantulas are absolutely harmless, but can bite if you disturb or harass them.
The Scorpions - most scorpions are not "real", they are very similar to the commonly known scorpion, but absolutely harmless.
The Dominican Republic is home to millions of street dogs and cats.
RescataMe and other non-profit organizations are dedicated to help to improve the welfare of stray animals in the Dominican Republic. We are addressing the main source of all problems, the overpopulation, with the only ethical and the most effective way of managing, is through mass spay / neuter clinics. RescataMe has sterilized and vaccinated over 3,000 animals since starting in 2012.
Stray animals are collected from places where they congregate, typically hotels and beaches, then brought back to live their happy beach life. With our weekly feeding we check on them regularly, some are already older as its a well known fact, that spayed & neutered street animals do live longer.
All animals, just like us humans, do have the ability to suffer in the same way and to the same degree. They do feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, loneliness, and enjoy love. We believe that every creature with a will to live has a right to live free from pain and suffering.
Animal rights is not just a philosophy, but a social movement!
We work with local veterinarians, some of whom live more than 6 hours away by car.
And sometimes we can organize groups of veterinarians from abroad, who come as volunteers and help with mass sterilization campaigns to spay & neuter up to 400 animals.
They all come to help in order to suppress the large number of stray dogs and keep as reduced as possible.
These campaigns are usually very spontaneous so that only a few animals can be sterilized, all depending on how many veterinarians we can activate and volunteers to assist.
Together with veterinarians and volunteers we travel with our tent to those many small villages, where poorer people live and to help to spay & neuter as many animals as possible.
The number of homeless or stray dogs and cats in the streets of Punta Cana has been drastically reduced since the beginning of our collaboration.
At the reconnaissance of our work, the survival of the strays was mostly in the foreground, also owners had no means to feed their animals, but now with a better feed situation, changes and improvement are noticeable.
With the awareness in general now, of medical needs, such as deworming, treatment of skin parasites, castrations and vaccinations, locals tend to see the animal as a friend or family member and can live together in harmony and community.
In the beginning days, as many female Dogs, as possible were castrated only, still a very a difficult task, because often we had very little vet help. A fight against windmills, with barely neutered 10 females, a box of 10 puppies were dumped on the street at the same time. As Punta Cana grew larger and with the many foreigners living here for a longer periods of time, the population of stray animals increased also rapidly, due to the abandoned home pets.
In 2012 the reality looked like this: every other block showed stray animals, emaciated, mangy, wounded, with scars and often sick, unfortunately many times they just died on the open road.
Even breeds like Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds or Chow Chows were now among the street dogs, a very sad picture.
This is when the Association Rescatame Punta Cana was founded, we took all our private savings and started the first big castration campaign in Frisua. A total of 47 animals where spayed/neutered that weekend.
Walking the streets of Punta Cana and the area today, the number of strays is reduced enormously, a large part of the strays are neutered and healthy, its noticeable that many of the castrated strays are well fed and happy. Through the educational work, the Dominicans have taken much more responsibility for their own, but also the stray animals and some even share their meals with the strays.
Often we are asked why we do not have a animal shelter. But many of the street animals do have an owner. Strays have their fixed routes and areas that they usually defend against newcomers. In a third world country, where there is no real waste concept, the garbage is often disposed on the curb at the roadside. The organic waste is eaten by the dogs and cats, which is also necessary, otherwise the overpopulation of rats would bring a much higher health risk to humans than dogs or cats.
Imagine these strays living very freely and socially, a shelter would no be appropriate for them and they would frustrate. Taking into account the costs, it would be difficult to finance. On the other hand, the costs of castrations are quite low and they help the animal to live an appropriate, healthy and stress-free life in the long term.
Through our tireless work, street animals in Punta Cana have become almost as much a part of the streetscape as parked cars. The average age of a dog is now no longer just 5 years, there are many gray muzzles with their 14 years lead a quiet and contemplative life.
We humans have to say goodbye to our "human" thinking and start to think "animally". A dug sand hole on the beach pleases a dog as well as a $ 200 expensive dog bed, fresh bones taste much better and are healthier than dog treats out of the bag, dogs prefer to live free and with their peers. With beach walks in the pack where they play with coconuts, it's a far more species-appropriate, than a living alone in a home full of expensive plastic toys.
If you ever had the privilege to meet the happy strays in the Punta Cana area, to see how they treat each other socially understands how they enjoy their life.
The most important is that we are here to help and continue to spay/neuter all of them, that they are in good health and are respected by us the people.
With our work we tackle the problems directly at the root, with comprehensive castration campaigns, on-the-spot awareness-raising work, and of course with your much apprecaited donations you can contribute to supporting this long-lasting animal welfare organization Rescatame Punta Cana.
Spay & Neuter, the procedure
The procedure is a sterile, clean and professional operation, with an intravenous narcosis administered, the incisions made are very small (3 - 4cm/ 1-1.5") with the removal of the ovaries. Sometimes its necessary to even remove the uterus (ovariohysterectomy) mostly the interventions take around 20 minutes. Males are far less complicated and often in less then 10 min operated.
In addition, all animals are injected with a painkiller, a depot antibiotic, a vitamin body preparation and a remedy for endo- and ectoparasites and are sprayed against fleas and ticks.
The castrated dogs get a tattoo and depending the vet, cats get a small triangle cut in their ears to be quickly identified as castrated.
Through the targeted dose and short anesthesia, the sterile work, absorbable suture material and the small incisions the animals can immediately return to their usual place. This allows a professional veterinarian to castrate up to 25 females in one day.
We set very high standards for our castration campaigns. Not only the surgical material must have the best quality, the veterinarians who volunteer are absolute professionals. Sometimes senior vets bring their veterinary students to keeps costs low, but animal safety is a top priority and every castrated animal counts.
RescataMe PuntaCana is a registered association, recognized as a non-profit organization and registered with the Dominican tax authorities.
Every cent of your donations goes a 100% directly to the animal welfare. There are no administrative, advertising or personnel costs, etc., paid from donations, all work is offered by volunteers only.