Dog Spotted is starting a new series: Rescues in the City
When searching for a rescue to find your new furry friend, it’s hard to really understand what the rescue does, how they pick the right fit adopter, what their foster program entails, and more!
Jane, thank you so much for joining us! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Thank you, Jamie, for featuring us! Happy to share a bit about myself. I am a native New Yorker, who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. After graduating from Duke University in 2012 – where I met my husband, Jeremy – I lived in Washington, DC for a bit and then returned to NYC, where I began my career in education. I taught 5th grade at a private special education school for several years and, when I had my son, Jack, in May 2020, I decided to start my own educational practice, where I offer one-on-one academic support to students in K – 12 from schools all across New York. My husband Jeremy is from right outside of Boston and is finishing up his MBA at NYU Stern. He is extremely entrepreneurial and a travel enthusiast, and while in business school, Jeremy started a travel company that builds joint ventures with established firms to do group bookings and airfare, as well as long-term programs in Israel placing college students at internships.
I love the entrepreneurial spirit! Can you share a little bit about how you started Cunucu and why you chose Aruba as your key spot to rescue dogs?
Jeremy and I had been fostering for a NY-based rescue for a while and decided to pivot and start our own non-profit with a sole focus on Aruba. We chose Aruba because Jermey and his family have been going to the island for thirty years, since his late grandmother, Edie, was one of the first travel agents to bring US tourists to the island. This is a place near and dear to our hearts, so it only felt right to try to help with the animal crisis there.
Aruba is home to twenty to thirty thousand stray dogs, and the main source of the problem is a lack of spay and neuter on the island, combined with virtually nonexistent animal cruelty laws. We partner with an incredible organization called the Crijojo Trappers, which focuses on trap and release efforts, where they travel around the island, find stray dogs in need of sterilization, get them spayed or neutered, and usually put them back on the street. However, the trappers are, of course, animal lovers, and when they find abandoned/neglected puppies, they reach out to organizations like ours to ask whether we have the bandwidth to take those pups into our care.
Once we agree to take puppies in, we place them with one of our trusted fosters on the island – a wonderful network we have built across the last three years. While there, they receive a lot of TLC and all the medical attention they require, until they are approved by the vet to travel to the US.
How does the process work to transport your dogs to NYC?
We find people who happen to be flying back to the East Coast after vacationing in Aruba, who are willing to take a pup with them. It is usually quite a seamless process and you can read more about it here.
What are the different volunteer opportunities at Cunucu and what do those roles entail?
We are a small team, which I often say is essentially a one-woman-show (me!). Recently, we have brought on a wonderful social media consultant, who happens to be one of our adopters. She spearheads all things social media-related and has been a tremendous help! We are always looking for people to help pick up pups from the airport, too!
What is it like to foster with Cunucu?
“Fostering for cunucu dog rescue was an amazing experience. Jane was extremely communicative, constantly checking in to see how both the foster dog and my family were doing. Being able to help foster these dogs to find their forever homes was so inspiring, I would definitely do it again!” – Hunter Groveman (adopter and foster mama)
What does the application process look like for potential adopters
You can see those details here!
What is something you look for when reading adopter or foster applications?
Most importantly, we look for people who are willing to put in all necessary time and effort into setting a dog up (and themselves!) for success. Like any rescue, we are not looking for adopters who just want a cute puppy; we are looking for people who truly want to add a family member to their home. Having a dog is a lot of work; it’s truly not so dissimilar to having a child! There are many ups and downs, so we try to find adopters who understand all that having a dog truly entails.
What is something you wish potential adopters knew about rescuing and Cunucu rescue?
Adopting from us is like joining a family! We are a close-knit community and I stay in frequent communication with all of my adopters. We text, we call, and we celebrate the good times in each others’ lives (babies, weddings, moving cross country, etc.).
What are some alumni perks of adopting from Cunucu?
Being part of the amazing Cunucu Dog Rescue community! Above is a recent get-together hosted on a Brooklyn rooftop.
We always like to learn… what is your favorite part about Dog Spotted?
I love that Dog Spotted gives dog parents -especially new dog parents – a place to go to get all their questions answered! There is so much information out there, so it is great to have a resource that helps someone comb through all of that info and make the most informed decisions for their dogs!