Resort Staff Braves Elements to Rescue Terrified Stray Dog in Wild Storm

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Staff at a hotel resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands came to the rescue of a stray dog caught in a wild storm sweeping through the region.

Mikael Doumeng from Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas took to TikTok to share the story of how Ruby, the 6-year-old stray, ended up in his family’s care.

Doumeng is a manager at the resort, which has been in his family for over 50 years and is owned by his parents. “Bolongo has a long and rich history in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and part of that included our involvement with animal welfare, which started with my grandmother being a vital part of the Humane Society,” Doumeng said.

Stray dogs are an ongoing concern for the people of St. Thomas. In 2021, Amanda Kenney, the director of operations for the Humane Society of St. Thomas, spoke about the impact they were having on the territory.

Kennedy told The St. Thomas Source, an online newspaper: “We have a huge problem with stray and free-roaming animals that are unowned, under-socialized and cause issues within the neighborhoods they frequent. All of these issues come back to the fact that we don’t have adequate spay and neutering services available in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and it is not affordable for everybody.”

Ruby, a stray dog, was rescued during a wild storm on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Doumeng said Bolongo Bay Beach Resort has always taken an active role in trying to help with this problem. “We rescue animals every time we can, though it’s usually kittens and cats,” he said. “We joke that we operate our own pseudo-rescue center because we get stray animals that show up at the hotel spayed and neutered, find them homes, or guests and staff adopt them. It’s wonderful, and we’ve saved dozens of animals over the years.”

While these rescues have taken many forms through the years, few have unfolded quite like the one involving Ruby at the start of the month. The staff came to her aid during a storm that battered the territory with strong winds and driving rain.

“The weather was probably the worst storm we’ve gotten at this time of year before,” Doumeng said. “The National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, issued flood, wind and rain warnings in the days leading up.”

With the weather leaving much of St. Thomas’ landscape inhospitable, one of the resort’s bartenders, a man named Alex, discovered a shivering and soaking-wet dog at his feet. That dog, who would later be named Ruby, would not be cold and wet for long.

Soon after, she found herself wrapped in towels while Doumeng constructed a crate in a sheltered outside area on the resort’s grounds to keep Ruby from wandering out into the devastating downpour.

Once inside, Ruby was given food, water and a comfortable place to sleep. Doumeng doesn’t know what would have happened to her had they not stepped in.”She likely would have remained a stray, unfixed animal in the Virgin Islands, a not too uncommon situation that our local Humane Society, volunteers, community members and businesses try to combat with trapping, spay and neuter programs,” he said.

But the staff at the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort had other ideas. “We are now fostering the dog and will be fostering her back to health until she has all shots,” Doumeng said. “We’ll be socializing her in hopes of getting her adopted in the States. Since she is small, it is very easy to have her transported on a commercial flight with a traveler to the U.S.”

Thought to be 6 years old, Ruby is missing several teeth. “Our suspicion is that she’s been on the streets for many years,” Doumeng said. Though she may end up with a new family in the U.S., he’s not ruling out her having already found one.

“We always have the option of making her a foster fail,” Doumeng said. For now, though, after so many years alone. Ruby is just happy to have someone caring for her.

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