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Check Out Our Aruban Dog, Rebel

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I never wanted a dog.

That is until my wife and I spent our  honeymoon in Aruba.

They don’t think about dogs in Aruba, the way we think about dogs here in the United States. There are strays everywhere, hungry and abandoned. I would go for a run in the morning, and often times a dog would follow along, hoping I had something for him to eat.

It gets worse.

There is no money to spay and neuter all of the strays (or this isn’t what it’s allocated for), so they round them up and kill them. This is an every day occurrence.

My good friend Tisa, who lives in Aruba and helps run Bucuti and Tara Beach  Resort (what a great, great place), told me about ARF Aruba. It’s a charity organization that finds homes in the United States for the strays in Aruba. They find volunteers to fly the dogs to the US. They find volunteers to drive them to their new homes.

So we decided to get one of those dogs. We decided to adopt an adult dog instead of a puppy because we were told it’s harder to find them homes. We decided on Rebel (we kept his name), because he looked sort of crazy and thought he’d be a good fit. Tisa was kind enough to go visit him, and gave us her approval.

This could be a long story, because getting this guy was a real challenge (including a midnight drive to Newark), for a number of reasons. The short story is on Friday, we got him here, thanks to Tisa, Aletta (his foster mom in Aruba), and the very kind and hardworking Marie and Renee from ARF Aruba, who helped to get him here.

I never wanted a dog, but I love Rebel (in fairness, Val always wanted a dog). We’re already good friends. He doesn’t seem to like very many people right away, but he loves us.

The long and short of this is, if you’re looking for a dog, there are a ton to adopt here, but there are a ton to adopt from Aruba. It’s easy, and you’ll be saving a life. You can find out more RIGHT HERE AT THE ARF ARUBA WEBSITE. You can help the cause by being a volunteer to bring dogs back from Aruba with Aruba Flight Volunteers (it’s so easy), by going to THIS PAGE. 

And the best way to stop this problem is to spay and neuter. Marie Geerman, of ARF Aruba, has a fundraiser to do a very large spay and neuter campaign, and has raised nearly $19,000 so far. The goal is $20,000 and beyond. Every little bit helps. Please donate if you can right here:


Some pictures of our guy are below.

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  • Gina Potter

    Love your story! Lets spread the word! Aruba dogs are the best and so grateful! I am an ARF volunteer, I see first hand the suffering! These dogs are starving, yet as I pull over, jump out of my jeep to feed a group of strays, they all share…. no fighting!! We have our own Aruba Special, Tucker. I have transported, fostered or adopted 65+ to Wisconsin! We are raising money to have a large spay neuter campaign in Aruba this spring. We need to have an ongoing sterilization program to reach all the strays and Aruban owned dogs!

  • Susan Robertson

    So happy for Rebel – you & Val have made a loving home for him – Happy Life Rebel – you all look so happy – You are one of the lucky ones that made it out

  • Tara Raynak

    What a great story! My husband and I are thinking of doing the same thing. Could you answer a few questions? How long have you had him? Is he healthy? How tough was it to get him? Did you go look at him when you were in Aruba and tell them you wanted to adopt him? Thanks so much in advance! We’re just a little nervous about the whole process.

    • Spike Eskin

      Here you go!

      We’ve had him for about a month now. Couldn’t be happier.

      He’s healthy! He came with his rabies vaccine, neutered, and his medical records. Of course we took him to a vet right away, got his vaccinations and a checkup, and got a totally clean bill of health.

      It was tough to get him because of a couple of factors. It was the summer, and he was an adult dog. During the summer, the only airline that will take adult dogs in cargo (how adult dogs have to travel) is American Airlines proper (not run by USAir). It also has to be lower than 85 degrees at takeoff and landing. So we had to find a volunteer that was flying American proper, flying to the northeast, etc… So we had two volunteers do the flying, and Marie who works with ARF organizing. It was a bit of a struggle, but worth the wait. Also, if you wait until September, almost all of the problems we faced go away.

      We did not go look at him in Aruba, but I have a friend who lives there, and she went to visit him. Marie gave us a very accurate assessment of the dog’s temperament and situation though. Even if my friend hadn’t visited, I think I’d have been pleased with the report I got. If you’re going to be in Aruba you can definitely visit the dog.

      I’ve never owned a dog, but could not be happier. Rebel is a really great dog, always happy, energetic and friendly. He’s nervous around new people, but was great with us immediately, and even loves our cat. I can’t reccommend this enough. If you’re interested, send me an email at spike.eskin@gmail.com and I’ll pass along Marie’s info.

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