Every month SobelCo is proud to shine our spotlight on a special nonprofit.  For December 2019 we have selected Animal Lighthouse Rescue (ALR), an organization with a unique mission and a unique champion.

Let’s start with an important concept – ‘sato.’ For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term sato, it is a slang word that refers to the stray dogs that roam across Puerto Rico.  Bright and friendly, these homeless, and often abused, dogs are doomed to a tough life on the streets. Their best hope comes in the form of Animal Lighthouse Rescue, an organization that functions like a lighthouse - shining a beacon of light that leads to a safe place.  Under the leadership of Chiarwoman Tania Isenstein, this organization is dedicated to saving the lives of as many as possible of the close to 200,000 satos on the island.  First they focus on getting them off the streets, getting them necessary medical treatment, and then on finding families to adopt them and give them homes. 

This is no easy task, but it is one that Tania embraces whole-heartedly. Despite many years pursuing a career as a successful Wall Street lawyer, Tania knew she wanted to do something more meaningful with her life. Her search for a better, higher purpose led her to the plight of homeless dogs. Because there are plenty of stray and abandoned dogs in New York where she lives, Tania quickly discovered that there are other places where dogs are in significantly more danger. After natural disasters, for example, the situation becomes more immediate and more threatening. And it was that reality – the challenge facing dogs after a natural disaster strikes - that inspired Tania.

And so this important story began in 2013 when Tania began rescuing dogs. Today she is well known and highly regarded for her role as a warrior fighting for these dogs. Her love for animals and her passion for rescuing them goes well beyond the financial burden. In fact, ALR applies 100% of every donation to fund the process of rescuing, rehabilitating and ultimately finding permanent homes for the satos. 

All the hard work is worth it, as Tania and her team have saved hundreds of dogs over the last several years.  During an interview in 2018 with Spectrum News NY1’s Pat Kiernan, one of the ALR volunteers said, "I may not be able to solve the whole problem of homeless dogs in Puerto Rico but… we can really make a difference." 

Having once been chosen for the prestigious title of ‘New Yorker of the Week,’ Tania herself commented, “"There is just something about dogs that just gets to the center of my heart immediately." And when Steve Overmyer, CBS New York, featured Tania on the January 2019 SnapShot New York, she shared her passion and dedication with him and the viewers. Watch the interview here: https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2019/01/24/snapshot-new-york-puerto-rico-homeless-dogs-animal-lighthouse-rescue/

Life is what you make it, and Tania has clearly chosen a path for herself where the work is hard but the reward is extraordinary. We are proud to shine our spotlight on Tania and the satos she and ALR are saving. Please visit the website for more information at https://www.alrcares.com/