Are you interested in adopting a Rescue dog? Please read the following experiences from people who have already adopted a dog through RPC.
This will help you get a realistic idea about adopting a Rescue dog from Curaçao.
In April 2023 we were on holliday on the beautiful island of Curaçao. We were staying in a nice cabin and we had rented a car to see the most beautiful and most remote spots of the island.
On our last day we visited the Rescue Paws Center. Our daughters were travelling with us, so we needed to visit the Rescue Center as we are all huge animal lovers.
Gerard showed us around the center. We were all pretty emotional. Tears of sadness because of the horrific circumstances these beautiful dogs were rescued from and tears of joy because of the volunteers who work so hard to help safe these beautiful creatures.
At the end of the tour we were told that a mom dog was just brought in some days earlier with her 8 tiny puppies. She was found on the side of a very busy road, covered in blood with her tiny babies. Luckily they were picked up and taken care off.
At our visit we saw mom Erna for the first time. She was so sweet! We were able to pick up and cuddle her puppies. And she has such beautiful brown eyes....
During our journey back to Belgium, those big brown eyes kept popping up in our heads. Puppies are often easily adopted, but what about mama Erna? We talked a lot with the kids and we cuddled with out labrador Rex.... We finally made the decision to adopt sweet mom Erna.
Rex is the sweetest, most easy going dog. He goes well with other dogs. Also we met Erna, and we saw a lot of video footage of mama Erna with kids and other dogs. So everything should be fine.....
On the 15th of July Erna landed at Schiphol. We were so nervous and a bit anxious.. What if... Would it all work out? Did we make the right decision?
The journey to the Netherlands was long for Erna, afterwards she slept a bit in the car during our 2 hours drive to Belgium.
When we got home, we met Rex is a 'neutral' area, and the dogs sniffed eachother a while. You could easily notice Erna was very tired and on edge.
She growled at Rex when he came too close and she was not at ease in her new home yet. The first night we had separated the dogs; Erna in the hallway and Rex in the living room, so Erna could get her rest. The first night went great! So for the second night we also let Erna sleep in the hallway and Rex in the living room. Rex had other ideas.... He opened the door for Erna and they both ended up sleeping in the living room. Since then they have both been sleeping there and this has been going great.
With the kids (8 and 12 years old) we made agreements. If Rex or/and Erna are laying in their crate, they need their rest and you do not disturb them or cuddle them. The 'safe' space of the dogs is something we made very clear to the kids.
After a night of rest, we noticed the change in Erna. She became more relaxed and more at ease. Her stress level lowered and she started discovering her new home and environment at her own pace.
Furthermore, she loves to take walks. She easily adjusted to our daily routine and there were no 'accidents', she often did her business in the garden.
What we are really noticing is how kind and gentle Erna is. She loves attention and she loves cuddles. When we sit on the couch, she joins us and prefferably lays on top of us just to get as much contact as possible. She likes to be cuddled for hours and hours.
We are so happy we decided to adopt this sweet mama Erna. I let go of the hesitation, the 'what if's' and the fear. I followed my guts and we made the right decision. Rex and Erna are great together, they have a lot of fun and everything goes so well with our daughters😊.
When we saw Pelle's photos, we were sold immediately! What an incredibly sweet and playful face he had.
Pelle was already a bit older than in the photos, but he still had that sweet face.
At the end of January 2023, the time had finally come and he finally landed at Schiphol.
Gosh he was so scared when he had to get out of the crate. Pelle was seven months old and had never seen a sitaution like that before. We took him to the car in our coat, it was quite cold in the Netherlands. The journey home in the car went well. And once at home, the great discovering began. Everything was new to Pelle, a car driving by, children playing in front of the door and the TV was something completely crazy. We took everything easy so that Pelle had plenty of time to get used to his new surroundings and his new owners. It's not nothing to suddenly have a couch that you can lie on and that whole food bowl that's just for you, without you having to share.
He found the children a bit exciting at first, but now they are completely used to each other and this is going fine. He is a cheerful dog who sometimes finds new things very exciting. But his curiosity and open character win every time. And he will do anything for a tasty treat. Pelle likes to play with other dogs and is never tired. We are now training with Pelle and that is also going well. It is a studious dog that picks things up quickly.
The guidance from Rescue Paws has also been great throughout the entire process. And we still keep in touch every now and then.
In the future we would like to visit the Rescue Center on Curaçao to see where he comes from and to cuddle the other darlings at the Rescue Center.
2 years after the passing of my previous dog, I was ready to take in a new dog.
Via Instagram I saw the page of Rescue Paws Curaçao. On the page I saw pictures of Muis and her brothers and sisters, in need of a home. It was love at first sight.
I filled in the adoption form and then volunteers of RPC reached out to me. They asked some hard, but fair questions. The volunteers emphasized that dogs from abroad often haven't had the best start at life and with that come challenges as their owner.
Before the arrival of Muis I got a lot of pictures and video's of her. She became a part of our family before she was even here.
In January 2023 the day finally came: Muis came to the Netherlands. It was a lot harder than I expected. Muis was a very energetic puppy. My kids struggled in the beginning, they were affraid of her because of her playfull biting and her being a bit of a loose canon. Muis is a very happy, playful puppy and has a lot of energy, so the kids really had to get used to her, and Muis ofcourse had to get used to the kids. This was very challenging in the beginning. 2 small children and a wild puppy take a lot of energy and can be a bit of a handful. So please make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. We practiced and practiced and practiced and now we have the sweetest dog. The kids absolutely adore her. And she loves the kids. They just had to get used to each other and now it they are the 3 Musketeers.
It was definitely the right decision to adopt Muis. We are all so happy with her and she is a real part of the family.
Lastly I'd like to thank you all for helping us adopting Muis. I would recommend adopting a dog through Rescue Paws. The volunteers know what they are talking about, have experience and are here to help you every step of the way.
We were so excited to finally welcome Rox into our home. Beforehand we got regular updates about Rox and we got information on how to prepare for the big arrival.
Because of all the information provided to us beforehand, we could make arrangements at home and prepare properly. We have two small kids and another dog; so some ground rules had to be set. We already set up the bench for Rox so the kids and the dog were able to get used to it. We started teaching them that it was a “safe zone” for Rox and the bench was not a toy or playground. Creating a safe space for Rox where she wouldn’t be disturbed by kids or the other dog was a very important preparation.
Furthermore, work schedules were changed so Rox wouldn’t be alone and we got an anti-escape harness. I would recommend this; it is great for Rescue dogs!
On the 19th of January we finally welcomed Rox in our home. After the long journey from Curaçao, Rox was exhausted and she slept under her blanket in the car on the way home from Schiphol. Besides a blanket we also brought snacks, baby wipes, water, leashes and a harness to Schiphol.
When we arrived at home, she immediately went on her exploring expedition through the living room. So many new impressions, sounds and smells. She fell a sleep soon afterwards, she was exhausted. At the end of the day she met our children for the first time and that was love at first sight.
The days and weeks following were all about resting, resting and resting. Rox slept in our bedroom in the travel bench. After three weeks she slept in the bench in the living room. We had been bench training with Rox, so this transition from sleeping in the bench in the bedroom to the other bench in the living room went smoothly. She was familiar with the bench and slept without any issues in the living room after three weeks of sleeping in the bedroom.
Besides getting Rox the rest she needed, our main priorities were getting closer to Rox, making her feel at home and getting her potty trained. We used puppy pads to get her potty trained and she was a big fan of doing her business in the backyard.
We took short walks with her of a maximum of 5 minutes per walk. We made sure to walk with her in areas without any traffic, but even in areas without any traffic she wouldn’t do her business. The first couple of weeks she only peed and pooped in the yard. Now, after three months, she also has some spots during our walks where she feels comfortable to lay her peepee’s and poopoo’s. She loves to walk the familiar blocks. Unfamiliar places with a lot of traffic are still a bit overwhelming.
We are extremely happy with our choice to adopt a Rescue dog and especially with our sweet Rox. In case you are interested in adopting a Rescue dog, please note it takes a lot of time and patience. You really need to invest in the dog and give the dog time to settle and take it slow. Make sure you have your priorities straight and follow the pace of the dog. If your Rescue dog is scared, doesn’t like busy places or is afraid for other dogs, you cannot take the dog to a dog-pension when you’re going on holiday. A Rescue dog needs a different approach than a regular pup.
Oh, in regards to the love at first sight of the three musketeers, it is still there. Even after some struggles with puppy teeth. ♥️
When we moved to Curaçao three years ago, our dog Mavro came with us. Mavro was in a crate for more than 10 hours, which is a very long time for a dog.
Because we didn't have a real home yet, dog Mavro went straight to Eveline Yuka's van, where he emptied his bladder for several minutes with his hind leg up....
We went to a B&B near the Jorisbaai. After weeks we had a house with garden and swimming pool and Mavro came back to us. Mavro was a big, black dotterel, found by us in Greece. After two years our Greek friend became ill and vet Pieter had him put to sleep. Great sadness.....
Within a year we met a foster, Joyce, who had a number of Rescue pups roaming around. We immediately fell in love with Pleuntje, a female of a few months old: feisty, cheeky but very affectionate. What was actually not intended at the time, happened anyway. We decided to adopt Pleun.
We will never forget how that little girl climbed onto our porch, draped in garlands and with a look of "I'm moving here!"
Pleun soon felt at home and it turned out that she took her job as a wachdog a bit too serious, meaning she barked at everything that came by.
The advice of a number of experts was: get a somewhat older male, that will dampen Pleuntje's behavior.
Storm came our way via the same route: a male and more than a year older. Storm had a difficult childhood: broken bones, had surgery, moved twice and eventually ended up with us and Pleun. A great combination. Storm was goofing around with Pleun, but with a growl or snarl he let it be known: enough is enough. He had his pack again. So his presence with us was the icing on the cake!
Every morning there is an early run at the Joris Bay. They enjoy it, until Pleun suddenly stopped running and sat on her ass..... the beginning of a long process of many examinations, operations and long rehabilitation. But.....we think Pleun is the only Westpointer on the island with a titanium knee!
Everything is almost back to normal now, we are happy with each other, we have good dogsitting addresses and we hope to spend the next two years here on Curaçao together.
Of course, they will come with us when we go back to the Netherlands. How will that go? We'll see.....there are always solutions!
17 December 2022, the day finally arrived. Small Joep made the long journey from Curaçao to the Netherlands. A couple of months later, Joep is a sweet, big teenager and we are madly in love with him!
A difficult start
The transition from the life on Curaçao to the life in the Netherlands had, and still has, its challenges. With a lot of guidance and advice from the Rescue Center we tried to welcome Joep as best as we could. “Take it slow” was a large part of the advice. “He really needs to get used to everything, this takes time”. So we took it slow, but it was easier said than done.
When Joep finally got home, he felt right at home. He loved being cuddled, he was calm and slept well. The only challenge was that Joep didn’t want to walk any further than our own street. It is very important to pay close attention to your dog and see what he is struggling with. Joep was found, with his mother and siblings, near the airport. We think he associates loud noises and traffic with that horrible time in his life. He loves the beach and the forest. He doesn’t run there, he practically flies, that’s how fast he goes on the beach. When it comes to walking inside our neighborhood, we take it very slow. Each week we go a tiny bit further. This is going great and this way it is really working for us.
Adopting a dog isn’t for a while, it is for life. Beforehand you don’t know how big they are going to be, if he has any fears or how his personality is. So reality could turn out a bit different than you anticipated.
The experiences and information provided by the Rescue Center are very important. Please don’t underestimate the impact the journey and the change from Curaçao to the Netherlands has on the dog. We are very grateful for all the help and very happy with our sweet teenager Joep. Keep up the good work!
Sometimes waiting can take forever. The waiting seemed to last forever, especially because the adoption of Excel was delayed a bit due to a tick disease he had. He first needed to recover and get healthy.
Finally the big day we had been waiting for had arrived; The 29th of November 2022.
The journey was long and Schiphol also took their time. Once we finally got to the parking lot, Excel didn’t feel like getting into the car. He was very frightened. When we finally got him in the car he luckily fell asleep. At home he was very scared and overwhelmed. When the kids came home from school that day he started barking at them. Later that day we had to put him in his bench just to make sure he got some rest. He wouldn’t go to sleep on his own and wouldn’t rest. It seemed he couldn’t find the “off button” by himself and he needed a helping hand to be able to get some sleep.
Walking outside wasn’t an option in the beginning. He did all his “business” in the yard.
After three days in the Netherlands, his new owner was able to put on his harness. Also we started walking small blocks in the neighborhood, but he only did his “business” in the garden. This was a safe space without any traffic and other distractions.
In the first three weeks Excel really bonded with his female owner. But he wasn’t a big fan of his male owner. Excel showed some unpleasant behaviors towards me. We weren’t sure what to do so we asked volunteer Wendy. That’s how we got in touch with Esther. She is a behavioral expert and has experience with dogs from Curaçao.
After 1 session with Esther the situation at home with Excel already improved. She gave us some excellent tips and pointers. In short the issue was that we had too high and too many expectations of Excel and we were too uncertain and insecure with him.
Now, after six months, we are extremely happy with Excel. We cannot imagine a life without him. He is so sweet. In the evenings he lays between the kids on the couch. When they go to bed, he lays between us on the couch. He is a real family dog.
During our walks, people are sometimes still a bit scary and exciting. Over time this has improved a lot and he is still learning and improving.
Furthermore, Excel LOVES other dogs. He wants to play with all dogs. He has a lot of energy so playing and running around is a great way for him to loose his energy.
We are very thankful for Rescue Paws Curaçao. They really guided us through the proces and helped us when we were facing issues with Excel.
Also we are very thankful for his foster on Curaçao; Judy. We keep in touch and we send her regular updates and pictures.
After our vacation in November 2021 on Curacao and many beautiful encounters with dogs on the beaches, we did not have the plan to adopt a dog. When I became aware of RPC's website, I looked at Plien's face at some point. Those cute big ears, they touched us.
We completed the adoption application and initially received a rejection. Another family had been awarded the contract already. We were sad, even though there were many other dogs there, none of these great dogs managed to inspire us so much.
However, we were lucky, the chosen family had reversed the adoption because Plien was too shy and there was already a dog in the family.
At that time, Plien was already in a foster family on Curacao, too young to fly. The contact with Liv was quickly established and we were provided with photos, video and information. Every question was answered and we felt well informed. What an exciting time it was.
A few days before departure, I received information that Plien had been diagnosed with megaesophargus. She has difficulty absorbing food and vomited again and again. An incurable disease. We were given the option to withdraw from the adoption. But that wasn't an option for us.
Plien deserved chance at a happy life. With us!!
When she finally came, she was so small and scared in this huge box. A long journey, a new environment, strange people.
On the way back, she lay on my lap in the car and slept.
An exciting time began. She hardly wanted to leave the house, was afraid of people, often had to vomit, restless nights, separation anxiety.
Soon she accompanied me to the stable. She loved horses. Didn't understand that they didn't want to play with her.
At home she got a lot of rest, she slowly understood that she never had to leave again. Her joy was great.
She went to dog school, she really likes every animal, wants to make friends with cat and hedgehog.
At school, she is called a nerd. She learns so fast and does everything so great.
The problem with eating got worse. Food came out regularly and she felt bad. She lost weight and we were really worried.
Light food, everything pureed. But she couldn't gain weight like that and you could see her ribs too much.
We built her a Bailey Chair in which she could eat upright so that the food could reach her stomach. The veterinarian has recommended nutritional counseling and we changed her diet.
Her chair was finished and she almost went backwards into it on her own, because she couldn't wait to get her food.
It became much better with the eating, less food came out again and the sleep became better. The dog became more vital.
At the end of last year, she suddenly didn't want to go into her chair to eat, started shaking with her hind legs and slept a lot. She had pneumonia. Probably getting some water in the lungs, due to the disease. Thanks to good medication, however, she quickly recovered.
Now we have been able to cope without the chair since the beginning of the year. She eats from a raised bowl and then sits on our lap until she burps. Nevertheless, there are always good and bad days with vomiting.
Now Plien will soon be 2 years old, still in puberty. But she does really well. Holidays, big city, shopping mall and escalator, walking with the horses, loves water, gets along well with other dogs, even if she is sometimes too enthusiastic.
Only some people -we haven’t found out yet what it is- she still doesn’t like. She barks at them, growls and tries to pinch their fingers.
When she came to us she weighed 9.2 kg, you could see every rib and she was anxious. Now, a little more than 1 year later, she weighs 17 kg and has become a big girl.
An adoption with challenges and choices, very exciting. But we didn't regret the adoption for a second.
Plien is a great dog, a great family member. We don't want to be without her anymore.
Our connection to Curacao started in 2018 and while we fell in love with the island we really fell in love with the dogs. Those that know us know we love all dogs however I have a soft spot for the mamas in particular. We already had one rescue at home and in 2020 we came across our first RPC girl, Miley. Terribly neglected and with puppies we first had to let her recover before we could formally adopt her.
Then we had to figure out a way to get her to Canada during the pandemic (Curacao/Amsterdam/Toronto). In 2022 we found out we were able to have a third dog and were so thankful for the opportunity to formally adopt Pia (we had remote adopted her a year earlier), who came to us via a flight volunteer. Pia also was a mama (found with 7 puppies after a fire) and also served as a surrogate mama at RPC for over a year.
We never met either one of our girls before adopting them. We established a great relationship with Miley’s fosters and would receive regular updates and videos about her. Key members at RPC (Lena & Wendy) were very familiar with Pia and provided us extensive videos and updates. As such we felt a connection to both dogs without actually meeting them while gaining insight into their personalities.
For those considering adoption of an adult dog it is the greatest feeling and we have done it 3 times. I strongly believe in the RPC approach of always remembering 3 Days, 3 Weeks, 3 Months in allowing your new family member to acclimate slowly. It is about exhibiting patience and understanding and having realistic expectations while they get comfortable and gain confidence in their new environment. It is also about not overwhelming them. Everything in their world as they have known it has changed: new people, the weather, new sights, sounds and smells, maybe new to an urban area (traffic, stairs, elevators), riding in a car etc. Even the dogs can look different, and squirrels become the new lizards.
Upon arrival to Canada the primary focus was ensuring being house trained in the new environment and helping them to do so by building a steady routine (do not be surprised if your dog does not immediately relieve itself while initially acclimating. It took Pia 48hrs). After that it was simply focusing on leash skills and getting them used to walks while exploring a little more each time and continuing to build/reinforce comfort and confidence. After that we introduced things like a car ride or meeting a family member, gradually exposing them to a little more. Each doggo is different and there is no set recipe so its about taking the time to really get to know them and building that trust. What they need to know is that you “got them” and that they found a soft spot to land.
Both of our adoption experiences went incredibly well. We remain actively involved with RPC in their continued efforts to make a difference, help facilitate the adoption process for others to Canada & US and became flight volunteers ourselves this year bringing Rubio (Tucker) to Canada. RPC has allowed us to meet incredible people in both Curacao and Canada and forge great friendships. We will always look for the opportunity to help wherever we can.
7th of May 2021- finally the day came, the flight to your forever home in the Netherlands
Beforehand we knew you were scared about a lot of things and that it would take some time for you to feel at home.
When I saw you in your traveling crate, so small and scared in the corner, it broke my heart. I lifted you up from the traveling crate, into my arms and carried you to the car. In the car you laid in the corner, completely overwhelmed. I sang to you (probably very out of tune, sorry for that), so you would get used to my voice and would feel at home faster.
When we got home, we introduced you to your safe space, your crate. You still love to sleep, snack and rest in your crate. It took half a day before you felt brave enough to walk through the living room. Taking small steps each day, you were gaining more confidence in your forever home. The first few nights I slept downstairs, with you, on the couch. Everytime you lost me from your sight you started crying. Sweet baby girl.. So tiny.. I often wondered what you had been through, those first 9 weeks before you were found.. All alone, without your mama. The first few days you slept in my arms on the couch. Later on you slept in your crate in the bedroom, untill you were ready to be 'alone'. What a great victory that was.
Despite the victory of you gaining confidence and being able to sleep alone, there were also some very tough times. After having you at home for a month, you slipped through the front door. We spend 6 hours looking for you, I thought we would never see you again. Those 6 hours were very scary and very emotional. On hindside, you were never far. You were just watching us from the high grass across the street. There I sat, crying on the biking lane, begging you to come home. I was so scared something would happen to you. But there you were, peeking through the tall grass when you heard my voice. You allowed me to come and get you, and we cuddled all night. After that horendous day we made sure to be extra careful.
On the puppy training they told us: this dog will never be able to walk off leash and look where we are now! You are walking off leash, enjoying the free walking areas. We are still very careful, because crowded places with a lot of loud, unfamiliar noises still scare you. Also new people are still exciting. But we keep on growing every day!
We are so extremely proud of our gorgeous (inside and out) westpointer. She has been in the Netherlands for 2 years and is doing so well! To celebrate Izzy's second year with us, we got some new toys. All 'Curacao' themed ofcourse. The life with a westpointer isn't all fun and games, but it's totally worth it. We love you so much sweet Izzy! We cannot imagine life without you
Thanks to RPC for taking such good care of our Izzy and making sure these dogs get a chance at a good life. To all adopters: thank you for providing a loving home to these unique dogs.
14th of februari 2021 was the day Bella’ve landed at Schiphol, Valentinesday, how appropiate. The weeks before that day you stayed at Wendy’s house. Fortunately I’ve received a lot of photo’s and videos! You looked like a sweet dog with a tender soul, but playful as well. Through the stories from Wendy I saw that you were/are a very special lady.
The week you flew to your forever home it was so cold in Holland, it was -10 degrees and there was a lot of snow. I was curious to see how a dog from Curaçao would react to all that snow, so I bought a jacket, just to be sure that you were going to be ok. On the day you came, I was a little stressed. It was a long journey. Would you be ok? How would you react to all the different things here in Holland? When you came out of the costoms, I took you to the toilets so you could come out of the crate and put your safety-harness and leash on. You walked with so much confidence straight away and you were so curious. When we drove to your new home you sat on my lap and you were totally ok. The first steps in your new home and in the snow were fine with you as well.
The first days I had to get used to you, however you were pretty relaxed. Because of the snow it was a challenge to take you out for a walk. I was really happy with the good contact Wendy and I’ve had, because in the beginning I was quite insecure in how a responded to Bella. I was a lot more distant than I expected I would be. But we grew together and now we are a real team.
And what Wendy told me already, you are a very special doggo. Rarely I’ve met such an easy and relaxed animal as you are and everybody that meets you likes you immidiately. Still you are really sensitive and would like that each day is the same, but I will give you time to get used to new things just like you gave me that time in de beginning. We enjoy life together!