Saipan, a beautiful island in the Pacific, is most renowned for its influence in WW2. Evidence of the battles here are everywhere, from the sunken tanks and planes offshore to the pill boxes, memorials, and even unexploded ordinances scattered all over the island. However, the most common and identifiable remnants of the war’s history are the boonie dogs. After WW2, countless combat dogs that had been used to sniff out bombs and hiding Japanese soldiers in Saipan's thick jungle were lost or left behind. Today the descendants of those heroic war dogs are uniquely known as "boonie dogs", a jumbled mix of bloodhounds, Rottweilers, labradors, Dobermans, and German Shepards. Today, the distinct breeds in the genepool are nearly unrecognizable in these dogs as the isolation, crossbreeding, and diversity of the dog population has made Boonie Dogs their own "breed" coming in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. Boonie dogs roam the island living off any scraps they can find and enduring the harsh rainstorms and blistering heat. Most are homeless, starving, sick, and covered in ticks and mange, as Saipan is the only U.S. territory to enact an animal cruelty law just last year, one which still goes unenforced. The amazing people here who run the ONLY animal clinic, Saipan Cares for Animals, try their best to take in as many boonie dogs as they can and care for them around the clock, but without sufficient funding and volunteers, the sheer number of dogs in need can be overwhelming. Things have been especially difficult since 2018 when our island was hit by Super Typhoon Yutu whose 200 mile per hour winds destroyed nearly everything in its path and displaced many people and animals. Then, with Corona Virus affecting the globe, veterinarians have been unable to easily travel all the way to Saipan. Therefore, there are no certified vets on the entire island, the effects of which are devastating to animals who need veterinary treatment or spay and neuter procedures. The already rampant population has surged even more without the practice of sterilization being possible. Boonie Babies was founded in 2018 as a small, individual rescue group to aid the community and animals of Saipan. Our mission is to rescue, foster, and adopt out as many of these boonie dogs as possible, preferably to homes off island as the value of animals here is not widely recognized. We cannot do it alone. United Airlines is our only option to transport dogs off-island. However, United shut down PetSafe Travel two years ago and has yet to reopen the program meaning all animals are now trapped here. Please sign the petition below urging United to reinstate PetSafe Travel, a lifesaving program.
Boonie Babies' main job on-island is to look out for as many neglected boonie dogs as we can. Feeding rounds are operated everyday by volunteers in which stops are made to packs of starving strays to deliver water, a meal, and the kindness these dogs deserve. Because of the overpopulation of strays and lack of resources, unfortunately, only emergent cases can be taken into our care. We rescue dogs in severe need of help and try our best to save as many lives as possible,
After the initial rescue of boonie dogs and getting them off the streets fending for themselves, we immediately seek medical care. Nearly all the boonies we take in are fighting off several health risks, most commonly tick disease, severe mange, parvovirus, and emaciation. The clinic treats what they are able to without a vet, and then our Boonie Babies fosters are brought home where they are cared for, treated, and socialized until they are happy, healthy, and ready for permanent homes.
Because of our efforts, over 80 dogs have been rescued, rehabilitated, and adopted out to wonderful homes on-island. However, due to our small and isolated community, only so many forever homes can be found here on Saipan, the sheer number of dogs in need of adoption vastly surpasses the number of willing adopters. Therefore, we are expanding our search to adopters off-island. The process is longer and more expensive, but a necessary next step to end the cycle of suffering here.
a way of finding the
people who need them
And fulfilling an
emptiness we didn't even
know we had