Animal Lighthouse Rescue chairman Tania Isenstein had just settled into her couch after a particularly difficult day of work when she got the text.
The message was from Liza Arias, the executive director of Animal Lighthouse Rescue’s sister-shelter in Puerto Rico, El Faro de los Animales. It read, “We just found a trash bag with babies.”
Arias had discovered what an Animal Lighthouse Rescue Instagram post later described as a “horrifying surprise” — seven newborn puppies, not even 2 weeks old, were wriggling around in the garbage. Miraculously, they were all still alive.
Isenstein was devastated, but not shocked.
“Unfortunately, it is not the first time we have seen abandoned puppies,” Isenstein told The Dodo.
El Faro’s lead vet technician, Sharday Villahermosa, stepped up to care for the puppies, who needed around-the-clock help and required housing outside the shelter due to their fragile immune systems.
“[Villahermosa] and her family are up throughout the night and are there during the days to provide the extensive care,” Isenstein said.
Isenstein is in awe of Villahermosa, who, on top of this litter of puppies, is currently caring for a number of other rescue dogs. Isenstein wishes there were more people like Villahermosa who were willing to do something when they noticed an animal in need.
“It’s the right and humane thing to do,” Isenstein said. “Too many of us with more resources figure that someone else is taking care of it. I wish people would become actively involved.”
If all continues to go well with their care, the puppies will travel to the New York City area in June, where they’ll prepare to find permanent families. Isenstein looks forward to the day that this litter no longer worries about being left behind.
“They will most definitely be available for adoption,” Isenstein said. “We are extra excited to find them the perfect homes to make up for their awful beginning.”
To help these puppies and many other animals in need, make a donation to Animal Lighthouse Rescue. You can keep up with Animal Lighthouse Rescue’s work by following the rescue on Instagram and Facebook.