Dover native Lauren Cabrera moved to Guam three years ago. A lifelong animal lover and defender, Cabrera was startled by the stray dog situation she discovered there.

“There are an estimated 60,000 stray dogs on Guam, with a human population of only 160,000,” she said.

Cabrera explained that the strays are the descendants of World War II combat canines called “boonie dogs,” which means jungle dog, and she wanted to do something to help them.

Boonie Flight Project is Cabrera’s new organization designed to make a dent in the stray dog population on Guam. Quotes for transporting the dogs to the U.S., along with the required 48-hours quarantine, were initially a roadblock, but through diligence, Cabrera has found ways to reduce costs.

“So far, we have found homes for our dogs as far away as Alaska, Seattle, Texas, Indiana, Vermont, Washington D.C., New York, and New Hampshire,” she said.

Hundreds of U.S. military combat dogs came to the islands, such as Guam and Saipan, during the Pacific Island campaigns of World War II. These canines were brought to sniff out enemy soldiers, bombs, and land mines.

When the war ended, many of these working dogs were left behind. Now, thousands of their descendants are in Guam and without homes.

Cabrera credits the island’s stray dog saturation to a combination of cultural issues.

The cost to spay/neuter is exorbitant on Guam, which results in thousands of new litters each year.

“There is little incentive to build rescue centers, since anyone who wants a dog can literally walk down the street and get one for free," Cabrera said. "Many of these dogs are what we call 'casually owned,' and they come and go as they please.”

A natural problem solver, Cabrera learned that her home state of New Hampshire was experiencing a dog shortage due to high demands caused by the pandemic.

“With families working and learning from home, adoption rates were unusually high. I thought maybe I can make a difference, maybe I can get these boonie dogs to New Hampshire,” she said.

Lauren Cabrera

In fact, Dover’s Pope Memorial Humane Society is joining forces with Boonie Flight Project to bring three adoptable puppies to New Hampshire on April 15. Cabrera said those who would prefer an adult dog will be delighted as well.

“There are hundreds of well-behaved, house-trained adult dogs looking for a good home, Cabrera said. "We can make that happen.”

If you are interested in adopting a boonie dog from Guam, email Lauren Cabrera at boonieflightproject@gmail.com. You can also find information on her Instagram page here or her website here.

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