The man hardly had enough money to take care of himself. But when he found two very sick puppies a few months ago, he did everything he could to help them.
The man, who goes by the name Gamaliel, had found Snow and Shylah while he was out feeding stray cats in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.
“He is a big cat feeder in Puerto Rico,” Chelsey Williams, founder of Souls of Satos, a dog rescue group based in Dorado, Puerto Rico, told The Dodo. “On his feeding route, he saw these two puppies. They were little at the time — maybe 7 or 8 weeks old. They were by themselves and in horrible condition.”
Gamaliel scooped up Snow and Shylah and took them home with him.
“He actually tried to treat them himself for the first couple of weeks,” Williams said. “He’s really poor and he had no means to get them to the vet. He was doing the best he could.”
But when Snow and Shylah went from bad to worse, Gamaliel reached out to Williams, who had helped him with rescue animals before. Williams agreed to take the puppies and get them to a vet, and Gamaliel found a way to drive them to her, even though she lived about two hours away.
The puppies had a severe case of demodex mange, a skin condition caused by parasites that burrow into the skin.
“It was one of the worst cases of skin conditions that I’ve ever seen,” Williams said. “They were broken, scared and not feeling well.”
But Snow and Shylah found comfort in each other. As they recovered at the vet hospital, they’d curl up together and sleep.
When the puppies were released from the hospital, they initially went into foster care back at Gamaliel’s house. But Williams planned on finding them a forever home in the United States.
“We never adopt out any dogs or puppies in Puerto Rico, just because the situation is so bad,” Williams said. So she reached out to AMA Animal Rescue, a group based in New York, and asked for help to find Snow and Shylah a home together.
In July, Michele Walsh, director of animal care at AMA, picked the puppies up at JFK International Airport.
“I could never even envision how bonded they were,” Walsh told The Dodo. “I walked into cargo and opened the crates slowly to say hi, and the two of them were petrified until I turned the crates to face each other.”
“I knew from that moment that there was no way we could separate these puppies, and we wanted to adopt them together as this amazing, bonded pair,” Walsh added. “When we got them in my car, the first thing these two did was find each other, snuggle together, and then they slept and rested so peacefully.”
Snow and Shylah initially went into foster care, but the AMA team quickly found the perfect home for them.
“This couple, Joannie and Robb, were looking to adopt a bonded pair,” Walsh said. “Within minutes of reading their email, I reached out to them, and said, ‘This is Michele from AMA Animal Rescue, and I think we have the perfect pair for you.’”
Snow and Shylah, who have now been renamed Jethro and Abby, couldn’t be happier in their new home.
“They’ve been with Robb and Joannie for just over a month, and they’ve learned how to be free and run wild,” Walsh said.
“We love that we can keep the ‘twins’ together for the rest of their lives,” Robb Linde and Joannie Bozek told The Dodo. “Watching them play together makes our day every day. It is remarkable how resilient they are, given what they endured getting to us.”
Williams is thrilled too. “I just couldn’t be happier,” she said. “There are certain dogs that are inseparable. I’m just very grateful that AMA teamed up with me, and that they found them the home that they have.”
And when Williams told Gamaliel, he choked up with emotion.
“He cried,” Williams said. “He’s so grateful, so thankful. He comes from nothing, and he’s one of the most generous, kindest humans I know.”