My dog is a West Highlands White Terrier named Tiki. Tiki is a wonderful model and appears in many of my fine art dog photographs and in the book “the Quotable Westie” (available on Amazon – but he is my only dog.
Any other puppies or dogs that you see in my portfolio in studio shots are not my dogs. They are Tiki’s friends and acquaintances.
Take Ronnie the cute puppy in the photograph above for example. He’s a newer friend. Ronnie is a “Sato” dog, rescued from the beaches of Puerto Rico by a high school senior in my son’s class. Their March Intensive trip went down to Puerto Rico for the week and learned about the poor dogs that are left for dead on the beaches.
Sato is a Puerto Rican slang term referring to a mixed breed dog or mutt.
Satos are usually small dogs under 30lbs. The majority have terrier in them so they tend to be incredibly smart and quick to learn. Many have the instantly recognizable ‘sato’ ears; large ears that stick up.
Satos vary in looks quite a bit but share some common characteristics. They tend to be small to medium-sized, with slightly folded ears and a thick, short coat.
The most common Sato variety looks like a small Terrier/Pointer mix with a thin, agile frame; long snout; and often a sickle tail. Many are almost fox-like.
While strays come in a variety of shapes and sizes, sato dogs are often small to medium-sized, with large ears and stubby legs. Animal rights groups in Puerto Rico claim that they are frequently the target of abuse and neglect.
Unwanted, often abused mongrel Sato dogs that have been dumped on a beach in the southeast corner of the island, called Playa Lucia. Hundreds have roamed the sand in unruly, starving packs for so long that the locals have given the area another name: Dead Dog Beach.
Luckily for Ronnie he now lives with a nice family in New Hampshire, enjoying snow for the first time this winter.