CAPS rescued Carmen, a Chihuahua-terrier mix in 1996. She was living on the streets of Arenales, Puerto Rico. Due to demodectic mange, she was missing half of her fur and had infected, bloody sores on her body. Her stomach was bloated because she had given birth to puppies (two died and local people took the other two). Tom Howard photographed Carmen in front of a warehouse. He noticed that she was weary and dejected. Mr. Howard showed Carmen's photo to his wife, Deborah, the president of CAPS. He told her about the overwhelming number of unwanted dogs - Puerto Ricans call them "satos" - on the island.
Ms. Howard arranged for Nilsa Diaz from the Ciudadones Pro Animales de Aquadilla to rescue Carmen and take her for veterinary treatment. Several months later, Mr. Howard went to Puerto Rico to bring Carmen back to the states. Mr. Howard and Carmen appeared at a press conference that addressed the plight of the satos. Carmen's story appeared in a Puerto Rican newspaper.
Mr. Howard wanted to find a home for Carmen, but this feisty sata had other ideas. She became very attached to Mr. Howard and he couldn't part with her. Carmen is also very partial to her Abuela (grandmother) because she speaks Spanish to her and takes her for walks. Carmen spends her days sitting next to Mr. Howard in his home office and sunbathing. A true Puerto Rican, she is partial to warm, sunny weather. Her evenings are spent sitting right next to Mr. Howard on the recliner while he watches television and reads the newspaper. Mr. Howard tucks her in at night in her dog bed, which of course is situated on his side of the bed.
The Save A Sato organization, which rescues Puerto Rican street dogs and places them with no kill shelters on the mainland U.S., has excellent in-depth information on satos.