Scooby's Story

In truth, Scooby's story begins before he was even born, it starts in February of 2018. My partner is originally from the island of Puerto Rico and after Hurricane Maria had swept through the island we had a chance to visit for a family wedding. While people on the mainland assumed that months after the island was fully recovered, actually being there told a very different story. There were street lights out, you could still see lines of sand from where the water flooded, and as you flew into San Juan there were just tons of blue tarps where roofs of homes should have been. And that broke my heart, but on our short trip to the island something else broke my heart even more. 

On the drive from San Juan to Cayey in the mountains I kept seeing dogs, and I assumed that these dogs just belonged to people and weren't wandering too far from home. I had no clue how wrong I would be, the day after the wedding we spent a few hours wandering around Old San Juan and there was a dog that just followed me the whole time I wandered around El Morro. When my partner's mom came back to get us, she told me he was probably a stray and that's when I learned about how many stray dogs are on the island and I just cried. 

After coming home to New Jersey my partner and I decided that when the time was right we'd find a spot that allowed us to have a dog and that we would somehow adopt a dog from Puerto Rico. That's how I learned about The Sato Project and the fact that at any given moment there can be 500,000 strays on the island and I learned all about Dead Dog Beach where people just go to dump unwanted dogs of all ages. I also learned about all the amazing work The Sato Project does with vaccination clinics and spay / neuter clinics in addition to rescuing and finding these dogs homes on the mainland. 

In 2019 we moved to an apartment that would allow us to have a dog and decided that as soon as we settled and found a rhythm or could take the time off to help a dog settle in that we would do it. Like everyone else in 2020 our lives were totally turned upside down by COVID and we started to talk about the idea of finally getting our dog. We'd spend the early days of lockdown talking about how we wanted to train, what we'd need saved to ensure everything was okay, what would we name a dog, could we actually handle integrating a dog into our lives, and every little thing in between. By August of 2020 I had left my job to pursue Tea Rose full time and that was when the applications for a dog started, we applied to local shelters at first and got no response since they were all so overwhelmed and then one day despite the huge warning in bold that they were overrun I put the application in with The Sato Project and said "if we don't hear from them then this isn't the right time." A few weeks went by and I started to think for sure that we weren't supposed to get a dog, we'd had one interview with a different rescue and just never heard back, we were denied for another because we literally just wanted to rescue a dog...any dog. And then it happened, I crawled into bed one night and just as I was about to fall asleep the e-mail came through "we have a match" there were photos included of a dog named Bean and we were so excited, I e-mailed back instantly but assumed with Labor Day weekend I wouldn't hear back until the Tuesday after. As it turns out that e-mail reply got lost in spam and at first I was a little heartbroken but Sam assured me that she would match us to the perfect dog for us. We literally had no stipulations other than our landlord would need to approve and the dog would need to be under 50 pounds to get in on our lease. She e-mailed me back the next day "how about Arjona?" and there he was, our shy little boy that the second I sent the photo to my boyfriend he said "if he's ours, we name him Scooby."

From the moment we were approved we had to advocate for our pup with our property management, they thought he looked to big, they didn't want pitbulls, all of it. I remember literally copying, printing and highlighting every spot I could find in our lease that said nothing about breed restrictions and that since he was 43 pounds he fit under the weight stipulation in our lease and as advertised on the website. Luckily while we were doing this 2 of the maintenance guys that also happen to be from Puerto Rico were in the office and struck up a conversation with my boyfriend and somehow that was all we needed to get the final approval. 

We picked up Scooby on October 10th 2020 alongside 140 other dogs and it was in those first few days that I knew The Sato Project had picked the perfect dog for us. If you follow along on social media then you know that Scooby is the perfect mix of goofy, overactive, playful, and couch potato. He's been by my side every single day since he got here and I wouldn't have it any other way. Have there been issues? Sure, but I would and will gladly deal with all of them if it means he never spends another night on the streets. 

Shortly after adopting, I had been talking to my boyfriend about wanting to use Tea Rose to give back but I had no clue where to start. The answer was cuddled up next to me the whole time, because of Scooby we donate 20% of all sales to The Sato Project so we can give back to the organization that gave us our best friend. So that they can continue to rescue dogs off the island and find them the homes the deserve because watching Scooby grow and learn to trust and come out of his shell since he got here is something I truly believe every dog deserves. And I'm so happy I get to share our journey with you.