Where do the dogs come from?

The dogs and cats we rescue are from St Lucia, a small island in the Caribbean. Many of them are rescued from the road side where they face almost certain death whether it is from being run over by vehicles, starvation, or disease. Others are brought to us from people in the community who either cannot care for them or are trying to remove them from a dangerous situation. Many a pup has been brought to us after a neighbour has threatened to poison them, as an example.

Where do the animals fly to?

Right now we are currently flying animals from St Lucia to major cities in the US and to Toronto, Canada. While you may have an international airport close by, there are not always direct flights available. We rely on cargo flights from Saint Lucia to New York where our transport company picks them up and drives them across the border OR flight parents to accompany our animals when they are traveling back from St Lucia.

The most common airports we fly to are mostly ones on the east coast of the US like, JFK, EWR, LGA, BOS, CLT, ORD, to name a few and MIA. Sometimes we get flight parents travelling back from St. Lucia to Toronto, but not always.
If you can meet your new furry friend at an airport in the US or pick them up in Saint Lucia, we do not charge the transportation fee. If the dogs come to Canada we do charge an additional $175 transport fee on top of the adoption fee to help contribute to our high transportation fees. You will also be required to meet your furry friend with at Pearson Airport, or

If your new baby is flying via cargo through the US to Canada, you will need to pick them up either at 97 North Drive, Etobicoke or Mapleview Mall, 900 Maple Ave, Burlington.

Are the animals healthy?

All of the animals from HelpAWS cannot be imported into the USA or Canada without proper health documentation, immunizations, permits, and health clearances. Before leaving St Lucia, all animals have at least one vaccine and are inspected by a government in St Lucia to get an export document.

We have a rigorous deworming schedule as being in the hot climate theres all kinds of nasty criters around so our dogs are frequently dewormed using panacur, Pyrantel, Ivermectin, Praziquantel, and Baycox every 2-3 weeks while in our care,  and treated for fleas/ticks.

However it is important to note, while we work very hard to ensure our animals are in the best health prior to travel, we make no health guarantees and, things can show up later on or come out after travel. That is why we insist our adopters taking all new animals to a trusted vet within the first week of arrival. We also ask that a 4DX snap tests is done and other diagnostic test to ensure they have a clean bill of health.

Are the dogs potty trained?

As you can imagine, these dogs have gone through a lot. Most are still young and while at our shelter they have indoor/outdoor access, we do not have time to potty train each and every dog that comes through our doors.  With that being said, they are very smart dogs and pick up training quite easily with patience and repetitive routines.  It is important to remember that there will always be accidents, especially when coming into a new environment!

Are the dogs good with kids?

Again, these dogs usually spend the first few weeks of their lives either on the street until they are rescued and brought into our shelter.

Although they are not exposed to children in a family home setting, if you follow our social media you can see that our founder, Charlene, regularly brings her 2 year old son to the shelter and spends time with him and the dogs socializing them and evaluating who plays well and who prefers to keep their distance.

All possible adopters should be prepared to supervise the relationship between child and dog until you are comfortable, or, simply do not take the risk knowing it’s not guaranteed. Once you adopt, it is forever so please remember to also consider the dogs safety as well as the child’s.

Personally we only recommend bringing a dog home to your family if you know you have the time and training to work through different scenarios with both child and dog.

This process should only be done if you are in a position to work with the dog to see how they do around kids. If you have any concerns, it is best to wait until you are fully confident in your ability to work through any and all issues.

Are they good with cats?

There are always cats in our shelter however the interaction between the dogs and cats is limited as they have separate areas.

The relationship between your new dog and the current cat would be entirely dependent on their unique personalities and your management.

If any rescue promises their dogs are “good” with other animals without warning you that any two animals can not get along at any point, that is a red flag. Animal and human relationships depend 100% on the adults in the home to establish and monitor slowly, over time.

What is their mental health?

Many dogs are rescued from a young age however it is almost impossible to judge how their early traumas may effect them later in life. We will always notify you of any details we are aware of but this process is best for those that understand nothing can be promised and all homes should be prepared to handle some trauma.

Because these dogs come from various scenarios and information is limited, we do our best to provide as much info beforehand as possible. The only people that should adopt these animals are people that are prepared to confront and conquer any problem that comes their way.

Does it cost to adopt?

Yes. Getting the dogs rescued, healthy, and to their forever home is no easy task! So much goes into this. To rescue, medically treat, vaccinate, test, spay/neuter, transport, board, feed and place the dog into a new home runs us about $1,200- $7,000 depending on each dog’s medical situation. HelpAWS does NOT profit off of any dog and the adoption cost is simply covering a small portion of the dog’s cost of care.

Adoption costs vary per dog but they range between $625 – $1,000. Keep in mind, you are also getting a new best friend at a much lower rate than a dog from a breeder. Of course, these dogs come with more needs which is why we try to keep the cost more reasonable. We use donations from our amazing community to offset the difference.

What kind of home does a rescue need?

The perfect home for a rescue is a home that is committed 100% to the dog’s happiness. While we prefer homes with nice, enclosed, safe yards, we will never rule someone out for not having a yard, as long as you are an active person with a solid plan for their exercise. Here are some good questions to ask yourself before adopting!

Will the dog be home alone for long periods of time? This is not ideal if so.

Will the dog have plenty of exercise and attention?

Will you be able to work with the dog on any training needs they may have?

Will you be patient with them while they potty train?

Will you be able to pay for any medical treatments they may have over their life?

What would you do if the dog had fear-based aggression?

What would you do if your current dog and the new dog did not get along?

What would you do if your dog bit you or someone else?

How to rescue?

As you can see, rescuing a dog is a huge commitment and for us, it’s entirely about giving an abused animal a second shot at life so we like to make sure our adopters agree! There is no such thing as the perfect dog, even from a breeder. These dogs, like purebred dogs, will have accidents, they will bark, they will need training, they may get sick, they need lots of TLC but, at the end of the day, you are giving them a second chance and they will be forever grateful of this gift!