Russia-Ukraine war puts migration of J'can mongrels on back burner

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Managing director for Montego Bay Animal Haven, Tammy Browne, believes the chances of sending another plane load of dogs overseas any time soon are slim. This is because, for many global organisations they would partner with, the focus is now on getting animals out of war-ravaged Ukraine.

It's been a little over a year since Browne led a team that pulled off the headline-grabbing feat of sending 144 dogs from Jamaica to Canada on a specially chartered flight. They've sent other dogs abroad since, but never as many as those that left on March 13, 2021.

“I live in hope that it might happen again but at the moment there is a lot of relocation going on with the animals from the Ukraine. There are a lot of animal shelters from all over the world getting involved in trying to help those animals. Maybe when that has settled down we can hopefully discuss things happening again but at the moment there's nothing in the pipeline,” she told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.

Many people who took dogs from Jamaica last year, she said, would be willing to take others.

“Everybody I've spoken to has been so impressed with the dogs. This is what Jamaicans don't realise; these Royal Caribbean terriers are smarter than the average 'bear'. They are tough as hell, have genuinely short fur so it's easier to keep clean and their spaces clean. A lot of these dogs have gone into apartments and they've all adjusted well because they are smart. They are really clever dogs,” said Browne.

Some are now emotional support dogs for people who suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges, she said.

“Every single one of them is in a home and is very, very happy. They all passed every temperament assessment. They're all fabulous, they're all just doing a great job, they've all just settled in well from the support that they've had adjusting from Jamaican life to Canadian life,” she said. “It's truly incredible, I'm so grateful to Save Our Scruff for giving us that opportunity.”

Save our Scruff is a non-profit dog rescue and rehome charity located in Toronto and Southern Ontario. The plan was to send 150 of 300 available dogs to Canada but that number was eventually whittled down to 144.

“These were what passed because of health and temperament. They were the ones that could deal with the stress on a plane, stress of being in the crate for a long time and everyone went there and everyone is in a home and it's just the best thing ever,” Browne said.

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