Who We Are
Puerto Rico Alliance for Companion Animals, Inc. (ACA)
Dra. Úrsula Aragunde Kohl - Founder and President
Dra. Aragunde Kohl's CV can be viewed here.
Úrsula is a clinical psychologist with a passion for animals, especially for the satos. Since she was young, she watched her mother (born in Germany) rescue satos (no matter their size, condition or age) from the streets of Puerto Rico and made them part of their family. She explains that it never occurred to her to buy a dog as so many were desperately waiting to be rescued from the streets. Úrsula lived in Germany for four years and adopted a sato from Greece named Nana, and her life was changed forever because of that little dog. Coming back to Puerto Rico, and seeing daily the suffering of animals made it impossible for her not do something to help the satos, so she began volunteering at a local shelter and served as a board member for a rescue organization. During her graduate courses she discovered animal assisted therapy, and made her dream come true where she could combine psychology and her love for animals. She has three dogs (two satos rescued from the streets and a border collie that is certified as a therapy dog) and two sato cats. Úrsula believes that educating people about animals and developing their capacity of empathy will change how people see, treat, and relate to them. Úrsula is pictured left with her dogs Nina, Flecha and Ceviche.
Tracey Goodwin - Vice President
Tracey has worked with non-profit animal welfare organizations for more than 14 years. She worked with the Massachusetts Ferret Friends, Inc to legalize ferrets in the state of Massachusetts and held many positions on their board, including multiple terms as the President of the Board of Directors. More recently Tracey volunteered as the Public Relations and Outreach Coordinator for a rescue organization in Puerto Rico and was responsible for all public relations and marketing in the US and Puerto Rico including media relations, development of publications and newsletters, establishing brand recognition, website development and maintenance and all social media activities. She created and implemented fundraisers and events, cultivated donors and managed volunteer teams in both the US and Puerto Rico. Tracey is currently a volunteer for 2 Million Dogs, an organization dedicated to eradicating cancer in pets and people by educating people about comparative oncology studies, and is also a member of the The State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART), a network of organizations, agencies and individuals who are committed to responding to the needs of the animal population in disaster situations in the State of Massachusetts. Tracey's first sato, Baxter is a special needs dog that was rescued in Puerto Rico in 2002. Her second sato, MacKenzie, a deaf dog, was rescued in 2004 in Puerto Rico. These two dogs are Tracey's inspiration, seeing how they overcome life's many challenges with wagging tails and happy hearts motivates her to work with the people of Puerto Rico to make changes for the satos. Tracey pictured left with her sato MacKenzie. Photo by Douglas Hodgkins Photography .
Cybelle Cartegena Romanacce - Trustee
Cybelle is an artist that spends her free time working with several animal welfare organizations in Puerto Rico. She began volunteering 4 years ago after arriving at a shelter with a rescued dog in her arms and realized there was a great need for people with compassion for abandoned animals. Cybelle says “I understood right away that this was it, that it was my calling and a mission in my life I could not ignore any longer”. Since then she has dedicated much of her free time to caring directly for the animals and raising funds and awareness for the animals of Puerto Rico. Cybelle pictured left with her sato Frida in front of one of her beautiful paintings.
Dr. Rafael Aragunde - Honorary Trustee
Dr. Aragunde's CV can be viewed here.
" Satos, chingos, perros de la calle, they are their own breed and there is not much one can do about it. Once they are in your house, it is their home and you better watch it because they want you to behave, especially if you are only the husband. Our first sato was Biondo. My wife kept on feeding him at the corner and after a couple days he decided that she was a fine lady and could allow her to take him in. He just walked in the house as if he had left some hours before. Me, when I came back from the college where I had just begun to teach, well I was only my wife’s company, not to trust too much. Probably because he had been showered and had not liked it. I know it for a fact.
It’s been this way always, except of course, when I bring in my own sato, like right know with Wolf, a guy with some German Shepherd blood in him and probably some Chihuahua and Pekinese genes, a perfect sato if there was ever one, found in the Carretera Panorámica some years ago. Wolf specializes in barking at lightning and thunders, a man thing, and he doesn’t have time for my wife. But all the satos my wife and daughters have invited to join us at home, have all been very skeptic with me. They look at me strange when I make my way into the house and then glance at my wife to see whether she approves of me and only settle down when they realize that she feels that I am sort of ok. But barely.
The most satos we have had at one time has been five, a colorful bunch. The least, excluding the six months we didn’t live in the country and we could only have Biondo, … four. Right now: five. I know, not much of a variation, but that’s how it has been since my two daughters, at five or six, were old enough to start caring for these wise guys and gals that people abandon in the campos of Puerto Rico. It certainly got crowded because we are people that love dogs around us, in the kitchen while cooking, in the dining room while eating, at night while reading, in the morning while breakfasting, in the bath room while we shower, right now while I write these lines! (It is thundering and Wolf is enjoying a heavenly vision and he barks as if he didn’t have any worry in the world, which he doesn’t!) Well, my daughters joined my wife in her sato Leidenschaft and if I had not said that there would be a limit to the food we could afford, believe me, we would probably have a whole zoo of them, all, except Wolf who trusts me, with their skeptical attitude towards me. Probably because I always get to meet them when my wife has just finished showering them. Oh satos, they are their own breed."
- Dr. Aragunde, August 2010