BUFFALO, N.Y. —
For the past two months, Alondra and Lyanet Rivera and their mother have been living with seven adorable puppies, who they named after the cast Friends.
"This is Monica," Lyanet said, introducing one of the puppies over a Zoom call from their family's home in Guayama, Puerto Rico.
"Ross is very energetic as you can see," her sister said, holding up another puppy.
A few days after Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico, the sisters were driving with their mother on the highway, when they saw a mama dog that needed help.
"She looked well taken care of. She had a collar, a pink collar on, and she looked pregnant," Lyanet said.
"We just didn't have the heart to leave her," Alondra said.
They took her in and tried to track down her owner.
"We kept in mind that was a few days after Hurricane Fiona, so we had a power outage on the island," Alondra said. "We were waiting but we never had an answer."
The puppies were born on October 7. While one didn't make it, the other seven in the litter are doing well and ready to find their permanent homes.
"It's a lot of responsibility. We want them to have the attention they need, the attention they deserve," Alondra said. "We want them to have a loving and caring home. We just can't do that for all of them."
The family is hoping the City of Good Neighbors can help.
"That was actually my mom's idea because she lived her whole life in Buffalo," Alondra said.
The GoFundMe called Operation Hurricane Fiona Puppy Rescue has been set up to raise money to transport the dogs from Puerto Rico to Buffalo, which is costly and complicated.
A family friend is working with local shelters to make sure the dogs will get adopted once they arrive.
Alondra says with their options exhausted in Puerto Rico, they're hoping their mom's former home will step up for the pups.
"We're looking for other connections outside the island because we tried," she said. "We called shelters, we called different programs, and they were all full. Shelters that work with street dogs are already doing good for the island, but they were all full. So we needed help from outside."
For more information and to donate to help the dogs make it to Buffalo, visit their GoFundMe page.