Before our first trip to Roatan I did a lot of research on Trip Advisor. To my dismay I learned of the wide need for help with the animals of the island. I read stories of starving, manged, abused animals and was sickened. I almost cancelled my trip because as animal lovers, I knew our vacation would be ruined if we witnessed any of this. I learned there was a program called Roatan Renegade Rescue, run by Penny Leigh. I sent her an e-mail asking what I could do to help. She replied with a list of items needed. I decided that instead of cancelling my trip I would try to make a difference. I brought dog and cat food with me so that if I ran across any hungry animals I could feed them. I decided also that I would go by Penelope’s Island Emporium and meet Penny in person. I visited with her and was very saddened by the stories I heard and grateful for the efforts of RRR. I made a cash donation before I left and joined her e-mail list. It was not long after that we got an e- mail from Penny that read: “Dog in Sandy Bay – owner tried to strangulate his dog by hanging him. He is alive, but obviously has a broken neck. We have to get him away from his “owner” to a safe place, and try to save him. He is able to walk around, somehow. Please help??”
She sent a follow up email after we sent a little money to help: “Jhonan Vargas (a very nice volunteer) and I were able to steal him. After what this poor, sweet dog has survived, Jhonan convinced a cab driver to drive him and the dog to the vet. The extreme cruelty this dog endured is beyond comprehension. My dear young Honduran friend actually broke down and cried. I firmly believe animal lovers are the very best, big hearted people in the world. This is tough work. What I see is sheer horror. I cannot cry anymore, I must help. We will call this dog Sandy for now. It took less than 5 minutes to gain this poor dog’s trust. He could not move his head, made choking sounds and was in terrible pain. The photos make him look huge. He is tiny.This is how we found him.”
We could not stand the thought of what this little dog had gone through in his short life. We decided that we would take him and bring him to live with us in Houston. I notified Penny and offered to fly this little guy back. Penny has her own business to run but she has a very big heart and I don’t know how she gets it all done. On June 4th (2011), we flew back to Roatan. We picked up Sandy, as he was called that same afternoon from Jhonan’s house. We found Sandy to be very timid and absolutely loved Jhonan. We took Sandy to a nice rental house we had on West Bay Beach. It was immediately apparent that Sandy had never experienced air conditioning before and enjoyed it very much. We learned that first night that our new friend loved pizza and just couldn’t get enough of it so decided to call him, Luigi!
The next day Luigi ate hardy and slept soundly, back and forth all day. It was good to see.
We took Luigi to the veterinarian on Monday afternoon (the 7th). The vet commented that the neck wound was getting much better. Dr. Soto told us that he had lived his short life tied up with a wire around his neck and, as he grew larger, the wire did not and had to be surgically removed – which he had already done the week before. The vet gave us antibiotics along with gauze and antibiotic cream to treat the remaining neck wound.
Tuesday was a good weather day, so we took Luigi out for some walks. We could tell he was already getting better. Monday the 13th we flew with Luigi to San Pedro Sula on the Honduran mainland. We went to San Pedro Sula because there, Continental Airlines is equipped to fly animals to the United States in a pressurized and climate-controlled cargo area. The next day, we all three took off for the United States. Once we arrived, we took Luigi to our house. He is very happy here and, as of June 18th, his neck wound is almost completely healed. The veterinarian here is looking after him well and he is putting on weight and plays with his new toys most of the day. He is also getting to know his big sister, Maggie and his new feline friend, Mr. Kitty. We are so happy to be able to give Luigi a good home with lots of love.
All of this was made possible by the hard work and efforts of Penny Leigh of www.Roatan-Renegade-Rescue.org and all that have supported this organization with generous donations, time and effort. A big thanks from Luigi to all of you…
Our little pal, Luigi, is doing fantastic. He is very happy, sleeps well, eats well and plays a lot. He and Maggie are getting along better and we are still working on Mr.Kitty. It is such a joy to see him holding his head high and confident.
Luigi likes to play a lot and you can’t tell that he ever went through the hell that he did.
You have done a great thing here.
John & Susan Brotherton
Sadly, their Houston vet found out that Luigi has heart worms. He will be medicated for a month before he undergoes heart worm treatment. Besides the horrendous cost there is significant risk. Yet another challenge for this brave little dog and his courageous, loving new family. Please keep them all in your prayers.