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Back in September, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, and parts of the U.S. itself, killing hundreds if not thousands of people, doing billions of dollars in damage, and devastating the places it hit, particularly Puerto Rico.

As of now, three months later, parts of the island are still without power, there are outbreaks of disease due to insects and standing water, and over two hundred thousand Puerto Ricans have fled to the U.S. (Remember, Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.)

Because of this, I’m in Puerto Rico now, where I’ve come with a team of trainers as part of my PACK Project in order to help a group of victims who are often forgotten in natural disasters.

Yes, I’m talking about dogs, of course, but their plight has been even more difficult in Puerto Rico because, like my native Mexico, bringing dogs into the home as pets is a fairly recent phenomenon. Otherwise, many dogs are strays, or they wind up abandoned when the family can’t take care of them.

Currently, life is very difficult not only for all of the stray dogs in Puerto Rico, but for the people trying to help and rescue them, which is why we’re down here. Shelters are not immune to natural disasters, and many of them were hit hard by the storm, suffering physical damage. But, since everyone down here was affected, local fundraising is very difficult.

One of the things you can do to help right now is give to the Cesar Millan PACK Project, where all donations collected from now until December 31 will go to the reconstruction and relief of Puerto Rico’s animal shelters damaged by Hurricane Maria.

Despite losing all power on the island for weeks, having landscapes changed or erased, and entire neighborhoods destroyed, the spirit and will of the people of Puerto Rico have not been broken. They will do what they have to in order to come through this.

The human pack comes together.

I got to see this last week in California during the wildfires, and I’m seeing it right now in Puerto Rico. When push comes to shove, more of us are inclined to help than not, and that is truly inspiring. It can be easy to give in to cynicism if all we do is watch the news, but if we watch what our fellow humans actually do, then we see a completely different story.

Despite reports to the contrary, the true human spirit seems to be more inclined to help than to harm. We really are more a pack than we aren’t, but that’s maybe the biggest lesson we can learn from dogs.

Every dog sees themselves in this order: Animal, species, breed, name. We tend to see ourselves in the opposite order, but all that does is divide us. Once we realize that we are all one species, then we can learn how to help each other without having to experience a disaster in order to do it.

Stay calm, and please give whatever you can to help us rebuild the shelters in Puerto Rico,

With Cesar in Puerto Rico this will be his last Sunday message until next year. Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones — Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Habari Gani, Good Yule and Happy New Year to all. Cesar will be back in 2018!

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