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  • Writer's pictureAlanna O'Connor

Paws for a Cause: Helping Aruba's Stray Dogs Find Forever Homes and Fund Their Future

Aruba, known for its pristine beaches and vibrant culture, faces a significant stray dog problem that often goes unnoticed by many visitors. These stray dogs, affectionately called "Cunucu dogs" or "Cunucus," are a part of the island's landscape but present numerous challenges.

Overpopulation is a major issue, as there are not enough widespread spaying and neutering programs to control the number of dogs.  

Moreover, shelters and rescue organizations often struggle with limited resources, making it difficult to manage the high volume of stray dogs effectively.  From an animal welfare standpoint, many stray dogs suffer from malnutrition, disease, and injuries, living in harsh conditions that highlight the need for more robust animal care services.

Efforts to address the stray dog problem in Aruba are ongoing, with local and international organizations playing a crucial role. 

Spay and neuter programs aim to control the stray dog population and prevent future overpopulation.  

Adoption and rescue efforts are also in place with many dogs finding new homes both locally and internationally.  

Education and awareness campaigns are essential, as they teach the public about responsible pet ownership and the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. Additionally, there is a push for stronger government policies and support to manage and reduce the stray dog population effectively.

While great progress has been made, Aruba is about to take a few steps backwards.  The recent CDC rule prohibiting the entry of dogs under six months old into the U.S. starting August 1, 2024 is set to have significant implications for Aruba's stray dog population. This rule, aimed at preventing the spread of rabies, inadvertently affects international adoption efforts that many rely on to help mitigate the stray dog issue in Aruba. Because of this, It's imperative that we help sooner rather than later!

Additionally, US airlines do not allow dogs to fly under the plane from Aruba, so they must be under 20 lbs & small enough to fly in cabin.  With this new rule, to adopt a dog thats too big to fly in cabin, which most will be after this rule goes into affect, the foundations need to get a charter Cargo flight to get the dogs off the island.  Pricing will depend on how many dogs are on said flight.  Canadian flights do allow dogs to fly under the plane but must be accompanied by their owner, not a volunteer.  

One of the most immediate impacts of this new rule is the reduction in adoption opportunities for younger puppies. Many international rescue organizations and adopters in the U.S. focus on bringing young puppies to new homes, where they can be socialized and integrated into families more easily. With this age restriction, the number of puppies able to be adopted out to the U.S. will decline, resulting in fewer dogs being removed from the streets and shelters of Aruba.

With fewer young puppies being adopted out, local shelters and rescue organizations in Aruba are likely to experience increased strain. Shelters, already often operating at or near capacity, may struggle to accommodate the growing number of stray and abandoned puppies that can no longer be sent to the U.S. This could lead to overcrowding and further strain on resources such as food, medical care, and space.

How can you help?

If you’re a visitor or a local, there are several ways you can contribute to helping solve this problem. 

Supporting local organizations through donations helps provide essential resources for the care of stray dogs.   

They also have “Wishlists” of things you can buy on island or bring along with you to donate!  Some small, easy things to bring would be collars, leashes and harnesses(different sizes), medication like Flea & Tick removal, etc, food bowls, pee pads and small puppy toys.  Once on island, you can buy larger items they need, like bags of dog and cat food and dog & cat beds and cleaning items.

Considering adoption is another impactful way to help; many organizations facilitate international adoptions, making it easier to give these dogs a loving home. 

Volunteering your time at local shelters can also make a significant difference, helping with daily operations and animal care. 

Spreading awareness about the stray dog issue can lead to increased support and resources, further aiding in the efforts to address the problem.

The stray dog problem in Aruba is a complex issue that requires a collaborative effort from the community, local organizations, and government.   

By supporting these efforts, we can improve the lives of these animals and ensure that Aruba remains a beautiful and welcoming destination for all. With continued dedication and support, there’s hope for a brighter future for Aruba's stray dogs.

Luna Foundation

Luna is a no kill dog sanctuary for the neglected and abused dogs of Aruba.  They also have adoptable dogs.  You can volunteer to help with feeding and cleaning the cages and cuddling with the dogs.  Locals can also get involved and sign up to help educate the youth, help take care of street dogs and assist in taking dogs to the vet.  You can also sign up to walk the dogs between 10am-12pm daily. 

To volunteer for any of this, please text via Whats app +31 6 39354442 a few days in advance to set it set up.  They also need Fosters, Adopters and Transporters on Aruba as well as in the US.  

 Wishlists are another route to help!  If you buy something off their wishlists, it automatically gets sent to their volunteers in the US who then brings the goods to Aruba!  So you don’t even need to bring anything with you and you can still help!

Donate here:

Venmo: @Ashley-marszalek, last 4 digits of cell is 9422

Sgt. Peppers Friends

Volunteering for Sgt. Pepper’s Friends is possible and much needed! They really can use all the support they can get.  They have both local volunteers and international volunteers.  As an international volunteer you can come help out with one or more morning duties from 08.30 – 11.00 am. Please Direct Message (DM) on instagram or email to set it up.

In general for local volunteers: they could use your help with many things: taking care of the animals by doing a breakfast or dinner duty, rescuing animals, taking rescues to the vet, visiting foster families and providing supplies, foster rescues (if accommodation allows), see our rescues off at the airport, etc.

Donate here:

Aruba Animal Shelter

You can volunteer your time here too!  Sign up to Feed the animals, clean out the cages, bathing the dogs, cuddling, etc.  

Donate Here:

Animal Relief Foundation (ARF)

A non-profit, founded by concerned tourists. The organization’s mission is to raise funds to provide care for homeless, hungry, injured, sick, abused, or neglected dogs and cats in Aruba.  A walk on the beach in the hotel area with an Adopt Me vest on is a great way to help train, socialize and exercise one of their dogs as well as provide immediate exposure to people who may not realize they are ready to adopt.

Donate here:

New Life for Paws

New Life for Paws’ mission is to rescue as many stray, neglected, and abandoned Aruban dogs as possible while also advocating for spay/neuter programs to reduce the overwhelming amount of street dogs on the island. They provide shelter, food, and veterinary treatment for each of the rescues saved.  Volunteer to Foster, Transport  or adopt a dog!

Donate here:

One Love Foundation

Founded by a group of strangers on an animal rescue mission to Aruba a few years ago, the mission of One Love Foundation Inc. is to help change the lives of Aruba’s street animals by generating funds, raising awareness, and educating people.

Their primary goal is to raise funds to assist various local rescue organizations provide food, vet care, shelter, spay and neuter, etc. to dogs and cats in need. Their second goal is to raise awareness of the number of homeless, neglected, abandoned, sick, and hungry dogs and cats on the island. Their final goal is to educate people on the variety of ways they can help these organizations from afar or if they are vacationing in Aruba.

All proceeds received by donations, merchandise, events, and fundraising, will be donated to the various organizations in Aruba so they can continue their life saving work.  

Donate Here:

Stimami. Sterilisami.

Stimami Sterilisami Foundation is non-profit organization dedicated to addressing Aruba's pet overpopulation crisis. Our mission is to promote responsible pet ownership and humanely reduce the stray animal population through our national spay and neuter program. As a non-profit entity, they diligently channel 100% of their donations directly towards sterilization initiatives for the public and volunteer and rescue organizations.  The initiative, initially proposed by Yesenia Arends and established by Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in 2016, officially became a foundation in 2018. 

Donate Here:

Bank Name: Aruba Bank

Account Number: 6012630190


Swift Code: ARUBAWAX

Animal Rights Aruba

A non – profit Animal Welfare Organization that aims to protect all Fauna, Flora and Marine Life on and around the island of Aruba.

I found this info on and thought it was good information to share as far as what to do if you find a stray dog in Aruba and want to help!

You’ve spotted a homeless dog or cat and want to help!

Thank you so much for caring enough to look into your options for ways to help. When you see a street animal you’d like to help, start by getting a few pictures of the animal.  Some of the animals who appear homeless are actually known to be owned, and possibly wearing a collar, but are let to roam the streets by their owners.

Please check Lost and Found Pets Aruba to confirm that someone does not own the animal.

You’ve seen a homeless animal and would like to help provide medical attention.

  1. Contact an Aruba veterinarian (contact details below) to make an appointment and ask if they have space available to board an animal for the medical treatment process.

  2. If there is space available at the vet, now catch the animal and bring it in. If you cannot catch the animal yourself, Crijojo Trappers can possibly assist for a fee.

  3. The cost of medical care will depend on the animal’s needs and how long they are kept at the vet office. At a minimum, sterilizations are completed to help the effort to limit the homeless animal population.  Other possible medical needs could include blood tests, heartworm treatment, and flea/tick/mange treatment.

  4. If you need help with any logistics, the volunteer organizations listed above might be able to help.

Aruban Veterinarian Contact Information:

Veterinaire Kliniek,Wayaca 128 Tel: 582-1720

Veterinaire Kliniek, Noord 50-B  Tel: 587-0911

Contreras Veterinary Services, Shaba 2  Tel: 587-0917

Contreras Veterinary Services, Savaneta 112 Lokaal 2  Tel: 584-0918

Animal Care Clinic, Paradera 177- A Tel: 582-8382

Animal Health Veterinary Hospital, Caya J.E.M. Arends 20   Tel: 586-3592

VSH Ernesto Petronia, 88, Oranjestad

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