This shelter rescued more than 100 dogs from Puerto Rico. It plans to save hundreds more.

“Every single life is worth it. Every single life matters.” The owner of a Florida dog rescue is helping bring in dogs in need from Puerto Rico.


The bus pulled into the parking lot at Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves, Florida, just after 6 p.m.

As the doors opened, dogs could be heard barking from inside.

“These babies don’t deserve to live in an outdoor run in the elements and get sick and die,” Lauree Simmons, owner of Big Dog Ranch Rescue, told sister station WPBF. “They deserve better than that.”

And that’s exactly why Simmons brought the dogs in from Puerto Rico.

Big Dog Ranch Rescue flew 126 dogs in Friday, rescuing them from overcrowded shelters and dangerous streets. The dogs were fed and bathed, and veterinarians checked them. Most were healthy, but many were not.

Aside from heartworm and ticks, some had broken bones, the result of speeding cars in Puerto Rico. All are now being treated.

Simmons said half of the dogs will be moved to shelters in the Northeast.

“They’ve got tons of room up at their shelters and plenty of adoption applications,” Simmons said. “So, we’ll fill them.”

The other half will stay South Florida, hoping to find their forever homes.

Simmons has heard the criticism from people who say she should focus her rescue efforts on animals closer to home. Her response is that while she mainly focuses on needy animals in South Florida, she won’t turn her back on other dogs in need.

“I don’t care where the dog is born,” she said. “If the dog needs help, and we can help it, I’m going to do that.”

This was Big Dog Ranch Rescue's second trip to Puerto Rico the past month.

Simmons said she plans to make at least six more trips to rescue hundreds of more dogs.

“Every single life is worth it,” she said. “Every single life matters.”