By Kathy Rowe
The story of Centennial’s own Lindo, a sweet-natured three-legged dog from the Dominican Republic, is a unique and heartwarming one.
Owners Michelle and Jim are passionate animal lovers with a history of fostering and adopting dogs and cats from the Toronto Humane Society and other rescues. Back in 2015 when travelling to the Dominican Republic, Michelle was taken aback by the uncared for dogs and cats that are left to wander the streets. “When I saw them on the street and I saw them starving, I felt that I had to do something to help. I had been taking food from the buffet at the resort to feed all these stray cats!” she said.
Michelle’s sympathetic heart for the suffering animals drove her to contact Rescatame, a local animal rescue organization. “I contacted them and asked the lady (Sylvia) who is one of the wonderful people who runs the organization if she could help and she offered to bring cat food! Sylvia met me at the gates of the resort with a big bag of food,” she said laughing.
“I found out more about the great work they did at Rescatame to offer free spay and neutering to the animals and care for them if they are injured and to also help the underserviced communities to care for their animals. “As a result, I developed a relationship with Sylvia and the growing organization.”
Michelle and Jim have been taking annual trips to Punta Cana as a vacation and to volunteer with Rescatame ever since. They soon became volunteer flight escorts for Rescatame. Each year they escort the deprived animals who are bound for Canada so they can be fostered and adopted through other rescues. Once in Canada, the animals are taken in by rescue organizations that support Rescatame and then adopted out to loving families.
Four years ago, Michelle met Lindo in Punta Cana while volunteering at Rescatame. The dog had been hit by a car and left to die in the street. Lindo had surgery to remove his badly damaged hind leg in Punta Cana that was organized and paid for by Rescatame.
That same year, Michelle was looking for a dog for her family. She visited one of the animal rescues that works with Rescatame in Toronto and met Lindo a second time. “ It was meant to be,” exclaimed Michelle. “We had been wanting a dog, so we adopted Lindo.” Further surgeries were required for Lindo’s leg, which had become infected, but he adapted well as an amputee. “He never struggled, he naturally adjusted,” said Michelle. Lindo is such a quiet and loving dog with people and he never shows his weakness. He is very empathetic too. When I’m upset Lindo will howl !”
Their son Marcus who is now eight years old has a very strong loving relationship with Lindo. “As Marcus gets older, his bond with Lindo is getting stronger “ states Jim. Lindo relates better to older children and they are very close”. By osmosis Marcus is being raised to have passion for animals. “Many people comment on the strong bond they witness with Lindo and his family. It highlights that a disabled animal from another country can give and receive unconditional love, states Michelle.
Michelle emphasized that the poor countries around the world really need volunteers who can help their people and their animals. “ If I could give one message it would be to encourage people to volunteer, donate, foster, adopt or become flight escorts, said Michelle. It’s rewarding and many animals from around the world would benefit from the help. In the end it is by giving that we receive our greatest rewards and this has certainly been our experience.
Rescatame is one of the many animal rescue organizations that is supported by organizations here at home. To find out more about Rescatame please visit