Rescue dogs are an important part of our lives here at DogWatch. Former shelter pups help DogWatch Dealers train new customers, roam the halls of our headquarters in Natick, MA and inspire us everyday. So when we heard about a young dog who traveled thousands of miles in search of new home, we had to share his story!

We found out about 14 month-old retriever mix Rico thanks to Jacqueline Stahle, a volunteer with the Long Island, NY-based rescue organization One Puppy at a Time (OPAAT). OPAAT rescues puppies from the Caribbean island of French St. Martin, located about 200 miles east of Puerto Rico. Since OPAAT was founded five years ago in September 2011, the organization has helped 47 puppies find forever homes in the Northeast United States.

Rico arrived at a shelter in St. Martin with his sister Lola when the two were only a few weeks old. Sadly, Rico’s tail had been cut off with scissors, which required extensive care. After his recovery, Rico arrived in the U.S., in his new home. He was 11 weeks old.


Rico’s first adoptive family loved his energy and adorable smile but struggled when Rico started exhibiting signs of fear aggression. Rico made great strides in group and one-on-one training classes; however, the family still found that their home environment presented too many triggers for his reactiveness. Rico returned to OPAAT for rehabilitation, more intensive training and placement in a more structured environment.

Last week, Rico started a two week board/train program at Sit Means Sit Dog Training in South Easton, MA. The Sit Means Sit team report that Rico is already making great strides during his first week of training. He is listening to commands, no longer growling when he doesn’t get his way, and is behaving much better on the leash. Check out the videos below!




Sit Means Sit will also monitor Rico in play groups this week to see how he behaves with other dogs. Historically, Rico has not been reactive with other dogs, so he may be able to live in a multi-dog household. He was living with a cat at his previous home and left it alone.

After Rico completes his training at the end of week, OPAAT would love to see him find his new forever home. “We are currently looking for the right home for him when he completes the program,” says Stahle. “We need an experienced trainer or someone who will be dedicated to continue his training. Basically we need someone who understands a dog like him and will take him on to continue to work with him to help him become a nice pet.”

If you’re looking for a spirited, unique and playful young pup and you’d like to learn more about Rico, contact Mindy Ryan at or (631) 298-0125, or Jacqueline Stahle at or (603) 772-1170.

Rico’s story of strength, resilience and hope has inspired us here at DogWatch. We would be happy to help his future forever family continue his training by donating of one of our DogWatch Training Products, including the BigLeash® Remote Trainer, to Rico’s adopters. We wish you good luck, Rico, and thank you to Jacqueline and the rest of the team at OPAAT for helping dozens of dogs like him find loving homes!

If you want to highlight a great rescue organization or animal shelter in your area, or if you know a particular adoptable pet who you’d love to see find a forever home, share their stories with us in the comments or via Facebook, Twitter or email! We are looking for more pets to feature in future “Adopt Me Wednesday” posts!