Update, Dec. 24: We have great news! Our Puerto Rican rescue dogs are available for adoption, and some have already been adopted! Check out all of our great dogs here ; our Puerto Rico “pups” still looking for forever homes are Feliz, Gio, Matty and Oriana.  (Congratulations and happy tails to Reina, Tinky and the others who have been adopted!)

Also, we are thrilled to report that Hope is now ready for adoption! You may have heard about her — she’s the dog who was seen being dumped off I-95 near Yulee in November. She was terribly emaciated when we took her in, but sweet as could be despite her ordeal and her condition. Her story prompted an outpouring of support from the community. With the help of your donations and a wonderful foster home, Hope is now fully recovered and ready to find her forever home! She’s still as sweet as ever and now she has a big smile on her face. She’s about 4 years old, medium-sized and fully grown. Hope will thank you every day for giving her the loving home she’s deserved all along. Please come see all of our wonderful, adoptable dogs and cats, and thank you!

Update. 12/13: Our Puerto Rican rescue dogs are doing well, and most should be available for adoption or pre-adoption on Tuesday.


Dec. 12, 2020 — Thirteen more dogs from an overcrowded Puerto Rican animal sanctuary have arrived at the Nassau Humane Society in Fernandina Beach, and soon will be seeking forever homes!

The number of stray dogs in Puerto Rico has been estimated in the hundreds of thousands, and the sanctuary in the island commonwealth has been overwhelmed. About 125 dogs in total were airlifted to Palm Beach County on Friday,

Nassau Humane and other U.S. rescue groups agreed to take in the dogs, with the airlift conducted by Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Palm Beach County. Nassau Humane’s rescue van returned Friday night with 10 dogs and 3 puppies. They will be evaluated by the shelter’s veterinary and behavioral staff over the weekend and made available for adoption as soon as they’re ready.

NHS welcomed 15 Puerto Rican dogs from an earlier rescue mission in October. All of them have been adopted, NHS Executive Director Debbie Chissell said.

“The previous dogs all found wonderful homes and it was such a success that we are hopeful these new dogs will find their forever homes too,” she said. “We really want to encourage people to open their homes and hearts this holiday season and give these dogs the second chance at life that they deserve.”

NHS also hopes that the community will again offer financial support for the rescue. Last time, five of the 15 dogs required heartworm treatment, and all needed spay/neuter surgery, Debbie said. One dog needed special evaluation of an old leg injury, costing several hundred additional dollars. The costs were defrayed by donations ranging from $20 to $500.

“Please consider giving a donation toward the medical care and treatment of these dogs, and toward transport costs, so we can commit to receiving even more dogs from Puerto Rico who are in dire need of your help,” she said. You can donate by clicking here, by calling (904) 321-1647, or visiting the shelter at 639 Airport Road in Fernandina Beach.

“The first group of Puerto Rican dogs have made so many people happy, including an 8-year-old girl whose family adopted their first dog,” said NHS Operations Manager Mandy Holden, who transported the new dogs to Fernandina Beach.

“They all seem really friendly,” she said. “My personal favorites are two big dogs, who apparently were housed together at the sanctuary. They’re super-sweet and happy in spite of what they’ve been through.

“They were all very easy to handle. Socializing won’t be an issue!” she added. “Plus they were quiet on the drive back, which was great.”

Nassau Humane Society is a not-for-profit, “no-kill” animal shelter at 639 Airport Road in Fernandina Beach. As the new Puerto Rican dogs become available for adoption their pictures will be posted at, with updates on Facebook as well.

Top photo: Staff and volunteers of Big Dog Ranch Rescue unload the cargo plane that brought about 125 Puerto Rican rescue dogs to the United States Friday afternoon.

Bottom photo: Thirteen dogs were boarded into the Nassau Humane rescue van for a trip to the Nassau Humane Society in Fernandina Beach, arriving Friday night. Photos by Mandy Holden, Nassau Humane Society