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Animal Lighthouse Rescue reunites rescued dogs from Puerto Rico at NYC party

Bentley wore his nicest tie: a chocolate brown tie sprinkled with colorful Christmas wreaths. It wasn't Christmas, but it might as well have been.

On a rainy Sunday morning, Bentley, a beige mixed-breed dog with wide eyes and a pink nose, got to go home with his new mom, Lara Slater. His brother, Linus, who sported a black and white plaid bow tie, was adopted as well.

Bentley and Linus were adopted through Animal Lighthouse Rescue, a nonprofit foster network that has been rescuing stray dogs in Puerto Rico since 2013. According to the nonprofit’s website, more than 200,000 stray dogs are roaming the streets of Puerto Rico.

“If you go to Central Park and see squirrels everywhere, that’s dogs in Puerto Rico,” said Julie Sinaw, president of Animal Lighthouse Rescue.

Many of these dogs are found sick or injured on the side of the road in Puerto Rico. After they’re taken to El Faro De Los Animales, the only no-kill shelter in Puerto Rico, owned by Animal Lighthouse Rescue, they’re nursed back to health and brought to New York City to find good homes. To date, the nonprofit has rescued about 2,000 dogs.

On Saturday, June 5, 2016, Animal Lighthouse Rescue partnered with Camp Canine, a doggie day care on West 73rd Street, to host its first reunion for 42 furry friends and their families.

Scroll down to see what went down at the doggie reunion.

If you've ever wondered what it's like to
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be in a playroom full of dogs and their human companions, it looks kind of like this. Woofs and cheers galore!

Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

"I know I'm cute, but let go of me, Ma!"

Jillian Belmonte (left) kisses her restless dog, Beau. Belmonte and her mother, Valerie (right), rescued Beau in April 2015 after they found him covered in mange on the side of a road in Puerto Rico.

Sara Norcross and Sean Piereman swap adoption stories
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Sara Norcross and Sean Piereman swap adoption stories about their respective dogs, Meara, left, and Rosie.

"She seemed very playful, very happy and silly," Piereman said about Rosie, who was rescued in February 2015 and adopted in November. For Piereman and his wife, both residents of Long Island City, Queens, Rosie checked off all the right boxes: she's got a short coat and a snout, she isn't too heavy and she's a hit with kids.

Eric Knapp, co-founder of Animal Lighthouse Rescue and
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Eric Knapp, co-founder of Animal Lighthouse Rescue and doggie-family matchmaker, had a moment with Finn, a black lab and Chihuahua mix. Knapp said his job is to walk families through the adoption process, which can take up to two weeks, and make sure the dog they're adopting is "a perfect match."

Ece Manisali had her hands full with three
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Ece Manisali had her hands full with three furry pals. From left: Penny, Peanut and Annabelle. Manisali adopted Penny, who is 2.5 years old, in July 2014.

Tania Isenstein, owner of Camp Canine, told a
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Tania Isenstein, owner of Camp Canine, told a story of a volunteer who was driving on a road in Puerto Rico and suddenly saw something thrown in front of her.

"It was a dog," Isenstein said. "They threw a dog out the window. We have that dog in here now. She's fine, and we're going to get her an awesome home."

That dog is Pika, a golden mixed-breed dog (pictured cuddling with Meredith Robilotti, a dog handler at Camp Canine). Up until June 5, she was one of two dogs still up for adoption. Three people at the reunion who met (and fell in love) with Pika have since filled out adoption applications.

Mara, a black Chihuahua spaniel mix, belonged to
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Mara, a black Chihuahua spaniel mix, belonged to a dog hoarder in Puerto Rico up until a month ago, Sinaw said. The hoarder had owned as many as 200 dogs. For now, Mara is living with Sinaw and her boyfriend, Randy Malm (pictured).

Brothers Linus, left, and Bentley show off their
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Brothers Linus, left, and Bentley show off their ties with their respective mothers, Brooklynite Victoria Keelan, left, and Lara Slater, who lives on the Upper West Side. Both dogs were adopted on the same day.

Toward the end of the reunion, Tania Isenstein,
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Toward the end of the reunion, Tania Isenstein, owner of Camp Canine, hosted a raffle fundraiser. Lucky winners took home several prizes, from pet collars to a gift certificate to Shake Shack to a private photo shoot -- for the dogs, of course.

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