Adoptable Animals

Galleta: The Story of Our Rescued Dominican Coconut Retriever

Galleta was approximately 7 weeks old when she was found wandering the streets of Cabrera, a small, seaside town in the Dominican Republic. Galleta was pretty near death, covered in fleas, full of worms, dehydrated and hungry. Her little belly was distended, due to her worms, and who knows the last time that she had eaten or drank anything that wasn’t from a gutter.

Galleta and other female puppies like her are a dime a dozen in Cabrera, and other Dominican towns and cities. The people living here usually can’t afford to spay their female dogs on their own. Many of the dogs are free-roaming and come and go as they please. They become impregnated by the unaltered male dogs that roam the streets, and when a litter is born, the owners of the female dog often keep the males and dump the females, so they don’t have to worry about those puppies having more puppies and on and on. The females are usually dumped at one of the many beaches, with the thinking that tourists will feed the puppies and they’ll be fine. Sadly, most of the dumped puppies don’t survive.

Luckily, for Galleta, she hit the Puppy Powerball, and ended up in the care of Emma Clifford, who runs Animal Balance, a non-profit dedicated to spay/ neuter in impoverished countries. Emma currently lives in Cabrera, and her Animal Balance organization holds several campaigns in Cabrera annually, to spay and neuter the dogs and cats of Cabrera. Also, luckily enough for Galleta, the second campaign in Cabrera was getting ready to start, meaning several vets, techs and other animal lovers would be converging on Cabrera for the campaign. Galleta was still touch and go the week before the campaign started, with her survival in question. She began to improve slowly, and then, when the volunteers rolled into town, she took up residence with one of the volunteers from Canada, in her motel room. There, she was fed consistently, doted on consistently, and watched round the clock. She began to thrive. She stayed with this volunteer for the better part of two weeks, before it came time to make a decision……..what to do with Galleta now.

Should she be released back where she was found? Set free on one of the beaches, in hopes that the tourists would feed her? Or should she be relocated where she may have a chance for a better life. Although bringing puppies to the States from the Dominican Republic is not a practice that Animal Balance is fond of, it was a group consensus to bring Galleta back to Colorado and ready her for adoption.

Galleta is now in Colorado, is doing wonderfully, and will be adopted out through our organization. We have requested that her new family remains in contact with us, and sends us pictures of Galleta in her new home, and as she grows. While some may think of this as an inconvenience, we think it only fair to the people back in the Dominican Republic and also here, who rescued her, loved her, treated, and cared for her while she was fighting to survive. The animal rescuers in the Dominican Republic see daily animal suffering and neglect. Despite their best efforts, they can only do so much. They suffer regular heartache, and have to deal with the deaths of many animals, usually young puppies, in their own homes, as they found them a day late. The number of animals needing their help is usually overwhelming, and the number of rescuers small. So, in respect to them and in great appreciation for their efforts, we feel compelled to let them follow this happy ending, and to see the fruits of their efforts come full circle.

Special thanks to Emma, Connie, Liz, Dr. Medina, Kathy, Lucky, Lisa, Kyle, Shelby and everybody else who helped Galleta to survive and thrive!

Congratulations to Leah and AJ and thank you for giving Galleta a wonderful new home!

For more information about local spaying and neutering programs or about any of our adoptable dogs, contact CAWL at 720-939-2221.

2 comments to Galleta: The Story of Our Rescued Dominican Coconut Retriever

  • Leah Mitchell

    We adopted Galleta on December 21st from CAWL and we could not be happier. We renamed her “Boca” which is spanish for mouth. We love the name Galleta but on the drive home from Denver we could not help but notice how verbal our new puppy was and then we got home and noticed she had a very healthy appetite as well. “Boca” seemed all too fitting! Since then we have been so surprised by Boca’s intelligence. She was fully potty trained within just 2 weeks and was sitting on command (as long as she knew I had a treat in my hand). She also learned how to use the doggie door to the back yard very quickly…in fact, we knew she was completely potty trained when we were sitting at the dinner table and Boca stood up out of her bed and went outside on her own to potty then walked back in and laid back down in bed. AJ and I just looked at each other and smiled. Boca is our 4th dog and she integrated so well. She wrestles around with our 60 pound shar pei/chow mix and plays tug-of-war with our boston terrier all day. She is very independent and yet she sleeps right beside me every night. We will post some photos soon to show how big she had gotten. She is up to 16 pounds and the vet thinks she will be around 30-40 lbs once she is fully grown. I hope this story is encouraging for any perspective adoptive parents out there. Boca has been an amazing addition to our family.

  • Shelby

    The beach in the Dominican Republic where most of the female puppies are abandoned is La Playa Boca. You picked the right name.

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