The Latino Alliance for Animal Care Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide humane education to low income and underrepresented communities. Our goal is to incorporate concepts of kindness and respect for animals into the lives of individuals and the communities they live in, through a philosophy that respecting and protecting even the smallest and weakest among us, will help us become more compassionate toward animals and toward one another.”
The goal of the Latino Alliance for Animal Care Foundation (LAACF) is to provide humane education to low-income and underrepresented communities through workshops IN these communities. We also work with other groups to bring free or low-cost vet services to these communities- primarily vaccinations and spay/neuter services. We believe that education is the key to healthy pet/owner relationships; Education is also the key to decreasing the overwhelming amount of unwanted pets that flood our streets and our shelter systems on a daily basis.
Jose Sandoval was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. His love and passion for saving the lives of abandoned animals began when he adopted Lucky, a German Shepherd mix, from the East Valley Shelter. It broke Jose’s heart to know that Lucky had been returned to the shelter four times before. Jose soon developed a close bond with his canine companion and, six years later, they are inseparable.
Not satisfied with saving the life of just one animal, Jose founded the Latino Alliance for Animal Care Foundation in an effort to educate the local Latino community about the importance of animal welfare. Jose’s vision for the organization is to enlighten the community to the importance of kindness and caring for their animals.
My name says it all, Lucky. It was tough growing up as a german shepherd mix in the dark and lonely streets of the San Fernando Valley. I was cute as a puppy and everyone loved me but once I got older I became too much responsibility for anyone to handle so they sent me to the animal shelter. I met other dogs who had also been abandoned by their owners. We all cried at night as loud as we could but no one seemed to care.
During the day people would come to visit us. Sometimes they would stop by and say hello. Other times they would just walk by our cages like we were invisible. This made a lot of the dogs bitter but not me, I just smiled at them (especially the little ones).
Soon days turned into weeks and weeks into months. I tried to stay optimistic and smile at all the people that walked by my cage but I couldn’t help thinking that nobody wanted me. Slowly my heart turned cold. It helped me stop crying at night when I felt the loneliest. Why doesn’t anybody love me?
One day a family of three came by my cage and wanted to play with me. When they took me out of the cage I ran all over the yard. The little boy seemed to like running with me. We had a great time. The two older humans went into the office and signed some paperwork. Next thing I know I was in their car driving home with my new family. I would finally be loved.
It was scary being in a new home. It had been a while since I lived with humans and had forgotten that they don’t mark their territory with urine. They scolded me when I did.
They had so many new toys to play with. I liked the big beige one that they all sat on, the couch. I chewed it up and smiled at them. They didn’t like that either. So they hit me. Again and again. It seemed I was always in trouble and could never do anything right.
One morning the older male human drove me back to the animal shelter. I overheard him say I was destructive, whatever that means. I told all the other dogs about my adventure outside. Some of them just stared in awe at me and said I was so lucky.
When night came, I couldn’t help but shake in the thin blanket they had given me. I cuddled up in it and looked up at the night sky. I loved looking at the all of the twinkling lights. Inside I felt very sad and lonely. I wondered if I would ever find a home or if I would meet the fate that my older dog friends had once they were unwanted.
I was adopted twice more, but every time I got into trouble. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong but they all said the same thing, ‘he is destructive.’
When I was taken back to the animal shelter the last time my dog friends told me that I wouldn’t be lucky for very long because they keep sending me back. They worried that I would be put down just like the pitbull across the way. The animal shelter employee took him away and we never saw him again. I wasn’t sure what that meant but knew that I wouldn’t be able to see another day. I had nightmares the entire night.
Bright and early in the morning, another man human passed by my cage. At first I ignored him because I thought he was just going to pass me by, but instead he stopped and looked at me. He really looked at me. I looked the man human in the eye and he looked into my eyes. It was like he understood me. He understood my treacherous journey thus far. He took me out to the big yard to play. I was so happy to be outside of my cage I just ran around and around the yard. My dangling tongue caught a lot of flies that day. The humans just looked at me run and laughed. When I was finally tired I went to drink some water in the bowl next to the male human. I drank so much water it leaked out of my mouth. I could see him looking at me from the corner of my eye. I didn’t know what to think. I was so scared.
The male human knelt down next to me and pet my back. It felt soo good. “I will take him,” said the male human.
“Are you sure?” responded the woman in the uniform.
“I am sure.”
“My name is Jose,” said the male human. “What is yours?”
‘Destructive’ I barked.
“I am going to call you Lucky,” said Jose and smiled.
After he signed the paperwork, the animal shelter took me to a clinic where they fixed me. I was very groggy when Jose picked me up the next day. I was so scared when I got there. I wanted to be the perfect dog so that he wouldn’t send me back to the shelter or beat me. I looked around at all of the human toys and started jumping on his couch. Jose just smiled at me. No one had ever just smiled at me before. He slowly walked towards me and gently grabbed me by my collar.
“No playing on the couch,” he said with a soft smile on his face. Oh I thought, he doesn’t like it when I do that. Then I wont do it again, I barked. And so it went for a couple of months. I would mess up and Jose would kindly correct me. No one had ever taken the time to explain to me what was right and wrong. Both Jose gave me just what I needed; a little patience. I don’t get along with other dogs or other humans so Jose never a got another dog. I am the way I am because I am afraid of being beaten. Now I know that I am safe here because Jose would never let that happen to me again.
It’s been —years now and I still live happily with Jose. I still mess up sometimes but he corrects me. He tells me everyday how much I have positively affected his life but in reality I am the lucky one.