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The Sato Project at West Elm Market

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The Sato Project at West Elm Market

There are an estimated 250,000 stray dogs in Puerto Rico. Unlovingly known by the locals as “Satos,” these dogs are considered menaces. Having already been abused, neglected or both, they are left on the streets to fend for themselves. On Puerto Rico’s southwest coast, “Dead Dog Beach” is infamously populated with Satos, many of which either die from malnutrition or are intentionally killed. The island’s five shelters are inundated, resulting in a kill rate of 99 percent.

In 2011, former Golden Gloves boxing champion Chrissy Beckles founded a non-profit organization, “The Sato Project,” to rescue the Satos of Puerto Rico.  Her passion had been at work well before that, though; she began saving dogs on the island in 2005 and has been rescuing full-time since 2009. The Sato Project’s staff members and volunteers work tirelessly, not only to care for Satos and find their “forever homes,” but also to change the public’s negative perception of and indifference toward them. In 2012, The Sato Project rescued, vetted, rehabilitated and adopted out 400 dogs to new homes in Boston and New York. The group prides itself on its purpose – “We fight so the dogs of Puerto Rico don’t have to.”

Photographer Sophie Gamand, also the organization’s executive coordinator, documents The Sato Project’s daily challenges with her camera. Her photos were featured in a fundraising and awareness event held at the West Elm Market in DUMBO, Brooklyn on April 13. Duggal partnered with The Sato Project to create beautiful prints of Gamand’s stirring Sato portraits.

Many supporters showed up to the event with their Sato rescues, making for a heartfelt reunion.

“It was very emotional for the entire team to see these dogs we rescued months ago, sometimes as puppies,” Beckles said. “But the icing on the cake was bringing the team up to our office and revealing our magnificent Duggal prints. Everyone was very impressed; there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”

Courtesy of The Sato Project

Courtesy of The Sato Project

Courtesy of The Sato Project

2 Comments

  1. Thank you to Mr Duggal and Duggal Photography for believing in the work of The Sato Project. The beautiful prints you so kindly made for our office serve as a daily reminder of why we do what we do. Sophie Gamand’s wonderful photographs give our dogs their dignity and show the world just how incredible and resilient they are.
    Mr. Duggal’s life story was such an inspiration to me and I hope to make him proud with our continued work.

  2. Thank you for your support and the nice article!
    We love the prints! My photos look amazing on your prints and it makes me very proud. So glad all these babies were rescued and are living the life now! Humbled that I was able to capture them in their dignity after they were rescued from the horror. Thank you Duggal, for being a part of such an important mission like The Sato project’s.

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