This is the AARF logo, which shows three animals on a yellow life raft: a small black and white kitten, a larger brown dog with a collar and a small black and white dog. Grey clouds suggest an urgent need to find good homes for these animals. Floating on blue waves suggesting the Caribbean sea that surrounds Anguilla, the raft shows that these animals have a protector in AARF and its supporters. Finally, the sun peeks out from behind the clouds, representing hope for these deserving animals.

AARF Newsletter 2012, Quarter 1

Volume 12, Issue 1

January–March 2012

Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.

—Albert Schweitzer

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This newsletter covers the first quarter of 2012.

Note: images or photographs with a thicker gray border around them may be clicked to see an enlargement or another web page related to the image. And we’ve added a horizontal menu for quick jumps to different sections of this newsletter.

Feedback about this newsletter is always appreciated; please use our contact us page.

We’ve had some exciting developments this quarter, which will help us with our programs in what are tough times. Read on.

Geraud’s “Sweet on AARF” Fundraiser

Mel Laekas, co owner of Geraud’s Patisserie offered that she would like to sponsor a fundraiser for AARF. And AARF, being very short on funds, jumped at the chance.

And so, if you were in Anguilla the week of February 21–26th and you stopped in at Geraud’s Patisserie, you probably went home with a delightfully full tummy and maybe a t–shirt or a raffle ticket. And you were not alone.

Since President’s Week is always a busy one with lots of visitors to Anguilla, AARF chose that week to set up a table at the Patisserie with some AARF merchandise. The AARF goods included our t–shirts, hats, raffle tickets for our upcoming Viceroy Raffle and membership sign ups.

Plus, we also had a huge generous offer from Jo–Anne Mason. She donated 100% of the proceeds of sales of her book, Paddy, the Goat who Saved Rainbow Island. (It’s an illustrated children’s tale about a heroic Caribbean goat and is available from many sources online.)

Being very short on volunteers, we initially decided to limit ourselves to 3 different days — but then a miraculous and wonderful thing happened.

Geraud’s AARF sales staff

Items for sale

Geraud’s location

By this we mean that, Tuesday, our first day there, turned out to be a success. But…

…when we arrived on Thursday (for what we thought was our second day), we found that Shanessa Carty (who works at Geraud’s) had set up our table by herself on Wednesday.

And, on her own, sold almost $200 worth of merchandise! WOW!

Shanessa also suggested that, since they were traditionally busy days, we also should be there on Saturday and Sunday. She knew best!

Thus, our 3 days turned into 6 — and what a great nearly–a–week we had.

Thanks to everyone that donated to our cause, including those that came by specifically to benefit AARF. (Although we all know that worked out to be win–win since the food is always yummy!)

Thanks to Mel and Geraud and their staff for helping us out, for their donation of proceeds and encouragement. Special thanks to Shanessa!

We are pleased to announce that we made $3050!

These funds will enable AARF to continue to operate the shelter.

While our volunteers are 100% unpaid, we get no government or other funding; every bit of our budget comes from generous donations from our supporters, income from AARF events, merchandise and memberships. And we average expenses of over $3000 per month at the shelter! So you can see how great this event was for us.

Thank you everyone for coming out for Geraud’s “Sweet on AARF” week!

Geraud’s is conveniently located relatively close to the center of the island. You can find it in the local tourist maps, or click on the image in this section for a crude map we created.

Go to Geraud’s — you will be delighted! And we recommend Jo–Anne Mason’s book; use your favorite search engine and enter the book title.

Duke of Edinburgh Award

In July of last year, the AARF shelter was contacted by Albena Lake Hodge Comprehensive School with an exciting idea: a volunteer service program for the students.

The object of the program is to provide an introduction to worthwhile leisure activities and volunteer service as a challenge to the individual to discover the rewards of helping others by encouraging participants to show imagination, look beyond barriers, and to set goals.

There are several different activities that these youths are involved in, and those that chose to assist AARF as shelter volunteers gained knowledge in animal care including: socializing stray puppies and kittens, cleaning kennels, bathing puppies and the value of teamwork!

Additionally, and most importantly, these students learned the joy of volunteering — and many have commented that they will continue to volunteer at the shelter when their schedules permit. We certainly hope so, they are great young men and women and also since our afternoons are often without a volunteer and our Saturday mornings are very busy. Those would be good times for the students to volunteer.

And of course they needed to be recognized and thanked for their service. Which came to pass at a great time.

In early March, the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award was presented to nine students for their volunteer service at the shelter. And, they were able to meet Prince Edward and his wife Sopie who were visiting Caribbean islands as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Congratulations and thank you to the following Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award Winners: Hackeem Alves, Immario Harrigan, Romaro Richardson, Sherrod Richardson, Keano Romney, Isabel Rosario, Sonnisha Ruan, Paul Trim and Leon Vanterpool.

Hackeem Alves

Award Winners

Hackeem and his mom

Sonnisha & Mr. Hazell

Meeting Prince Edward

Paul Trim

Suzie Donahue said:

I was privileged to be a part of the Duke of Edinburgh awards this evening at the Governor’s when the AARF student volunteers were recognized for their work at the AARF shelter. These young men and women did a fantastic job socializing and caring for the homeless puppies and kittens at the shelter. Congratulations to you all — your gift of time and care is priceless! YOU are AARF’s future!

Vets Save the Day(s)!

Stephanie and Andrew

Larry and Roy

Cupid and Dancer on way home


Do Veterinarians get vacations?

Have you ever worked for almost 3 years without a vacation? Dr. Abi and Dr. Rommel Umali — the veterinarians at Morlens — have!

Finally on December 4th, they left Anguilla for a much needed 5–week vacation home to the Philippines. Everyone agreed it was well deserved, but there was a problem — what to do about sick animals and existing AARF shelter guests while they were away? Would we have to close the clinic and shelter and send everyone to St. Martin/Maarten for care?

Shelter Manager Suzie Donahue had a head start in not letting that happen since the Umalis had announced their plans in July. Several people had offered to help out at one time or another, but who would be able to come in during busy December and especially over the holidays?

One special person immediately came to mind. Stephanie Fitzgerald, a highly trained, certified veterinary technician with over 20 years experience assisting with surgeries and managing a very busy clinic in New York. Suzie had met Stephanie the year before when she was on Anguilla for vacation with her partner Andrew.

Several emails later, and, after a few fundraisers, Stephanie and Andrew were able to schedule their vacations and make flight arrangements.

They arrived on Nov 30th to volunteer their time and expertise without compensation for two weeks.

And good thing too, because the clinic was busy and Stephanie did a great job with the patients.

And, as if things could get any better, Stephanie and Andrew found wonderful homes with clients of Stephanie’s for 6 of the shelter puppies. They then transported them back to New York when they left on the 18th of December.

Now that was a project! Six puppies — 3 carriers, 4 puppies on board and two in baggage — what a trip, not to mention the ferry ride, the 4 hour flight and an hour long ride from the airport to home in an airport shuttle. They all made it and now have wonderful forever homes! (See our Happy Tail in this issue for how difficult this can be, and remember, that among other things, all those little snouts have to come out of carriers while the carriers go through X–ray machines.)

And what about the next 3 weeks — we still needed help after Stephanie left.

And that was another fortuitous bit of luck.

Larry Reynolds, a frequent visitor to Anguilla from Chicago just happened to stop by the shelter with his friend Charlotte one day in November. And Suzie just happened to be volunteering that day.

When Larry mentioned that he was a veterinary technician, Suzie asked if he might be interested in filling in while the Drs. Umali were away in December.

Initially Larry said no, but then after considering it over the weekend, he thankfully changed his mind.

Larry arrived on December 15th for a few days to get acquainted and filled in on some of the cases that Stephanie had so aptly taken care of.

And then he brilliantly covered the remaining 3 weeks until the Drs. Umali returned on January 10th. It was again a busy 3 weeks that Larry handled with ease and professionalism.

AARF would like to thank Stephanie, Andrew and Larry for their gift to the animals of Anguilla. Their willingness to give their time without compensation while also giving up vacation time and shouldering other expenses is something very few people would be willing to do in this day and age.

It truly was a “Christmas gift” — not only for the Drs. Umali, but for AARF and for all the owners of pets and the homeless animals at our shelter — we all owe them a huge, huge thank you!

William and Bertha Goldfinger Foundation

In 2001, when AARF was originally organized, the first donation we received was from Myron and June Goldfinger from the William and Bertha Goldfinger Foundation.

Eleven years later, AARF continues to be a recipient of this foundation and we are extremely grateful for the long–standing commitment of the Goldfinger Family to the homeless puppies and kittens of Anguilla.

Donations such as this, as well as the support of other businesses and resorts on the island, have made it possible for AARF in the past 8 years to sponsor spay and neuter surgeries for 1650 dogs and cats on Anguilla at a cost of almost $83,000.

Friends of AARF New Jersey

Take two caring young ladies who love animals as well as Anguilla and combine with a needed project for their Bat Mitzvah and you find “Friends of AARF NJ”!

It started when Rachel and Hanna’s mother, Susan contacted AARF last year about a way they could help. After several emails, the Friends of AARF NJ was born.

Donations from friends and family for these giving young ladies Bat Mitzvah’s became a double bonus for AARF dogs in need in Anguilla.

Each person that donates to the project is sent a certificate with a brief story with details of the dog that they helped and in addition Rachel bakes a year’s supplies of homemade dog biscuits for the person who made the donation.

Friends of AARF NJ has donated almost $1000 to this cause and so far 9 dogs have benefited from this program.

Vestibular Disease — a Warning and a Very Happy Ending

An example of why you should have your vet do a full diagnosis follows.

Bonnie, a local resident writes to warn about properly diagnosing your pet, telling us she has a real sunshine story that could have turned out terribly. She would also like give praise to our wonderful vets we now have on the island: Abigail and Rommel Umali.

Bonnie writes:

I found my 2 year old cat (Mei Mei, who I adopted from AARF) early one Saturday morning on the floor of my living room. She was meowing a lot and I could hear something was wrong. Her head was completely tilted to one side and she was unable to walk (emphasis is AARF’s).

I instantly thought she’d been hit by a car and imagined that this was the end and how sad my son would be if we had to put her to sleep.

I lifted her up and carried her with me into my bed and just held her. There were only a few hours until vet’s opening time so I thought I’d just spend some time with her. She did not seem to be in pain, so I thought it was spinal injury. She was purring away, although she was uncomfortable in some positions, she seemed to be calmer.

We got her to the vet, and I was ready to tell my son to say good bye to his beloved pet. Dr. Umali examined her and could not see any blood, fractures or any sign of injuries…so he said he’d keep her and get her X-rayed to see if anything would show up.

He called us next day to tell us there were no changes with her and that nothing had showed up on the X-rays. But she had not been eating at all. Monday we got a call from the vet and he told me there was a slight improvement and that she had been eating a bit and she had been standing up for a little while! I was cautiously optimistic.

I went to see her the next morning and she was standing up, and meowing when she heard me and really purring when I petted her. She looked much better although her head looked crooked and was still tilted — and she had a strange googly eyed look on her face.

The next day we took her home, kept her inside for a week and she is now fully recovered. Amazing!!!

Dr. Umali diagnosed Mei Mei with Vestibular Disease, which is a neurological condition that results in varying degrees of loss of equilibrium. It is painless but scaring to the pet. The onset is quick and the condition can unfortunately re–occur. The cause is unknown. The important thing is: cats who gets it can usually recover within 2–6 weeks.

(Notes: Dogs can get it too. It is easy to search for vestibular disease using your favorite search engine.)

The important thing is: don’t make any assumptions and get your pet to the vet as soon as possible to be checked for injuries, poisoning or diseases such as this.

Bonnie is so very thankful to Dr. Umali, for really taking his time to find out what was wrong with Mei Mei. Under such circumstances she would probably have made a swift decision for euthanasia to avoid any suffering whatsoever. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

And Mei Mei today? She’s alive and kicking and more active than ever — and even proudly presented the family with a big rat recently.

Thank you

The support you give us financially — as well as being our friends — helps us care for our animals and find them homes. In particular, we’ve really been lucky with many adoptions back to the USA (see our Happy Tails for examples), and we really want to keep that up.

However, this year has been a particularly rough one with so many animals needing adoption. We were deluged these past several months with a very large number of surrenders. And because of that, we are in financial distress.

If you can help, checks can be sent to our Treasurer at the following USA forwarding address (CRITICAL NOTE: the word “ANGPO” must visibly appear on the envelope; that is what gets it sent to Anguilla as opposed to Aruba or Trinidad!):

  • Rebecca Taillon / ANGPO
  • 12600 NW 107th Ave
  • AARF Treasurer
  • Medley, FL 33178–3127

Thank you very very much for your support; we couldn’t do it without you!

Happy Tails

Dart, Arrow, Hero and Dory — Four Puppy Rescue!

Malli (was Dart)

Noah (was Arrow). Now


Mason (formerly Hero)

Adoree or Dory

(now Pippen)

It’s on in Maryland:

tug of war

Mason gets adopted

Dory gets


Mason and new

family member

Back in 2004, two Anguillian pups traveled to Maryland and found a forever home with Rick and Tracie, who loved every one of the last eight years with their “Long Dogs” Coral and Reef. That’s why it was so hard for them when Reef passed away suddenly in February.

After seeing photos of Dart on the AARF Facebook page, Tracie fell in love with the little guy. Since Dart’s brother Arrow was also running out of time, Tracie and Rick decided that “two for the price of one” was the only way to fly, and Rick traveled to Anguilla to pick them up. His plan was to do that in just one day: fly in one afternoon, pick them up and head back the next day. Now that is a real labor of love! Sally and Mark (AARF volunteers) offered to foster the puppies at their home until Rick could get there. Rick and Tracie renamed Dart to Malli and Arrow to Noah. (To keep track of all the shelter guests, AARF gives them code names based on themes; puppies that arrived in February had names affiliated with Valentine’s Day. They are almost always renamed when adopted. Sometimes more than once: Noah eventually became Nekoh and Dory finally settled on Pippen.)

But it turned out that AARF had lots and lots— too many in fact — of puppies in the shelter during March. So Rick and Tracie decided at the last minute to rescue another two puppies, Hero and Dory (short for Adoree). The more the merrier went the thinking — if two pups are good, then four pups must be way better!

After a whirlwind of activity with Mark and Sally on the planned day of departure, Rick traveled to Sint Maarten with all four pups in tow.

Unfortunately, the independent ferry driver had decided that reservation times were just “guidelines”, left early to go to St. Maarten, and came back after his previously agreed upon time. Thus, he got Rick to the airport too late to catch his flight.

So the whole “pack” caught another ferry back to Anguilla (the last one in fact), and started the process of booking another flight.

After rescheduling the flight, the end result was that Rick spent a few more days relaxing and sightseeing before the long trip to Maryland. That’s not too bad, right? This meant he could see a bit of Anguilla.

Here’s a photo of Sally with Noah and Malli near the Anguilla Blowing Point ferry terminal on the day of the well–it’s–not–gonna–happen–today day:

Arrow (renamed Noah and finally Nekoh) and Dart (Malli)

Back on Anguilla, here’s a photo of Rick with Dory and Hero:

Hero (later renamed Mason) and Dory (Pippen) in Anguilla

But, the new travel day finally arrived, and, this time around, the ferry reservation departure time was honored. And so, the ferry got the whole pack to St. Maarten’s PJI Airport four hours before their flight. A bit long of a wait, but this time, no chances were going to be taken. And besides, there is a small area at the airport to allow animals that one last chance to, ah, sniff around.

Here’s a photo of all four pups relaxing at the Saint Maarten airport before their flight to Miami:

At the airport in St. Maarten

Here’s a photo of the pups asking “Do we really have to go back in those crates?”

Time to get packed up for the flight!

The adventures (or misadventures) of this pack weren’t over yet, though. Noah and Malli went as checked baggage while the other two went under the seat. Ah, you can sense what’s coming, right?

The next problem was: the baggage handlers in Miami managed to “lose” the crate containing Noah and Malli.

For three hours.

As a result, the pack missed yet another flight. This time, they stayed in the airport hotel overnight. One person with four puppies checking into the hotel at midnight must have been quite a sight for everyone hanging around in the lobby!

But, finally, six days after leaving Maryland for a “quick trip” to Anguilla for two puppies, Rick returned to Baltimore with four pups in tow.

Tracie and Coral met them at the airport, and everyone was very thankful for at least a smooth final leg of the journey.

Here’s a photo of Tracie with Mason, safe at last in Maryland.

Tracie and Mason

And things are working out!

Because, a few days later, Mason was adopted into his forever home in Pennsylvania; he’ll be living with Jerry and Pam and their family.

And then Dory was adopted by a loving family in Maryland (renamed to Pippen). Big thanks to his new family: Joshua, Lisa, and the family.

Here are some more photos:

Coral tries to figure it

all out

Dory gets some



Dory and Noah

Dory gets some

puppy whispering


Noah had never seen

green grass!

The chase is on in


Tracie and puppies

Rick and Dory



Grandmother and



Noah and neighbors

Happy Tails for the whole pack!

On a Lighter Note

For this issue we have “poyms”.


Title unknown

A man may smile and bid you hail

Yet wish you to the devil;

But when a good dog wags his tail,

You know he's on the level.

—Author Unknown


Poem For A New Puppy Owner

Don’t smell crotches, don’t eat plants.

Don’t steal food or underpants.


Don’t eat my socks, don’t grab my hair.

Don’t rip the stuffing from that chair!


Don’t eat those peas! Don’t touch that bush!

Don’t chew my shoes. What IS that mush?


Eat your cookies. Drink your drink,

Outta the toilet! Outta the sink!


Away from the cat box, it’s for the cat!

And MUST you kiss me after that?


Yes, raising a puppy, is not for the lazy!

Though puppies are funny, they’re also quite crazy.


But don’t despair, though its toil and strife.

After three years, you’ll get back your life!


So, let’s go for “walkies”, you can “do your thing”

And perhaps I’ll get back my good diamond ring!

—Judith Belsham Singer


A Puppy’s Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,

The king-size bed is soft and deep..

I sleep right in the center groove

My human being can hardly move!

I’ve trapped her legs, she’s tucked in tight

And here is where I pass the night

No one disturbs me or dares intrude

Till morning comes and "I want food!"

I sneak up slowly to begin

my nibbles on my human’s chin.

She wakes up quickly,

I have sharp teeth

I’m a puppy, don’t you see?

For the morning’s here

and it’s time to play

I always seem to get my way.

So thank you Lord for giving me

This human person that I see.

The one who hugs and holds me tight

And shares her bed with me at night!

—Author Unknown


Dog’s Life

Why do dogs sniff each other’s behinds?

Maybe for them, it’s a meeting of minds.

What better way to tell where one’s been?

Or if they should go that way again?


Why do dogs love to roll in dead things?

Maybe because of the perfume it brings.

The longer that opossum’s been lying there rotting,

The more dogs you’ll find that way trotting.


Why do dogs always slobber and snore?

Maybe because they enjoy nothing more.

Few creatures know how to sleep like a dog.

Except maybe my husband, the bed hog.

—Angela Rose


Cat Kisses

Sandpaper kisses

on a cheek or a chin--

that is the way

for a day to begin!

Sandpaper kisses--

a cuddle, a purr.

I have an alarm clock

that’s covered with fur.

—Bobbi Katz

Fillet of Sol

The sun slants in, its light a wedge

Of carpet by the door.

And to that slice of sunlight

Goes my cat, now, to restore

Herself. This nap is therapeutic

(Like the tuna she devoured).

She seems to need this daily bask.

She thinks she’s solar powered.

—Lee Anny Wynn Snook


You’ve torn the daily paper

Into a million shreds

And tested the comfort

Of all the beds.

Chased my wool

All over the floor

Hissed and spat

At the dog next door,

And proved yourself

So brave and bold

For a tiny kitten

Only six weeks old.

You’re now a black

Little fluffy ball

Curled up tight

Asleep in the hall.

—B. Hayes



Cats sleep fat and walk thin.

Cats, when they sleep, slump;

When they wake, pull in—

And where the plump’s been

There’s skin.

Cats walk thin.


Cats wait in a lump,

Jump in a streak.

Cats, when they jump, are sleek

As a grape slipping its skin—

They have technique.

Oh, cats don’t creak.

They sneak.


Cats sleep fat.

They spread out comfort underneath them

Like a good mat,

As if they picked the place

And then sat.

You walk around one

As if he were the City Hall

After that.


If male,

A cat is apt to sing on a major scale;

This concert is for everybody, this

Is wholesale.

For a baton, he wields a tail.

(He is also found,

When happy, to resound

With an enclosed and private sound.)


A cat condenses.

He pulls in his tail to go under bridges,

And himself to go under fences.

Cats fit

In any size box or kit;

And if a large pumpkin grew under one,

He could arch over it.


When everyone else is just ready to go out,

The cat is just ready to come in.

He’s not where he’s been.

Cats sleep fat and walk thin.

—Rosalie Moore


Until next time, thank you again for all you do for animals and AARF.