Boonie Babies outlines mission to Rotarians

At 60K, stray dogs outnumber humans on Saipan
Posted on Oct 05 2022

Sisters Grace, left, Aria Keilbach present their Boonie Babies Saipan organization during the Rotary Club of Saipan meeting yesterday at the Giovanni’s Restaurant of Hyatt Regency Saipan. (LEIGH GASES)

Boonie Babies Saipan’s Grace and Aria Keilbach shed light into the boonie dog problem in the CNMI during  yesterday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan.

The co-founders of the nonprofit organization spoke to the Rotarians for the first time and informed them the ins and outs of their organization, with their mission to rescue, educate, rehabilitate, and relocate boonie dogs in the forefront of their presentation.

With the education and outreach aspect, Grace said, “most people are just not aware of pet care–anything about dogs in general, medical care–basically everything. And so we’re starting from the very bottom with [the education] and that’s how we really start building just how to make things better in general; you have to educate people on what is wrong in order to actually fix the problem. We do a lot of outreach with schools in the community, and basically just [try] to educate the younger generation, who will then grow up to fix the problem, hopefully.”

Grace continued “rescue is a huge mission of ours as well. We always have about 40 dogs circling through our house at any given time. That ranges from newborn puppies to older adult dogs that are still hanging out with us that we’ve had for a few years.”

Since their inception in 2018, they have rescued 300 stray dogs and cats from the streets of Saipan.

She added that relocation is their next mission, in that the goal is to “relocate these animals off the island. As of now we’ve been able to get about five dogs to the states. We’re really trying to get United [Airlines] to open that PetSafe travel program because our overall goal is to end the boonie dog population. Our statement is always hashtag ‘save the boonies,’ but we joke that it’s like hashtag ‘end the boonies,’ because we don’t want to see them anymore. So we’re trying to solve the problem here, get them off the island, and really put a dent in the stray dog population; as well as create a new culture across [the] Marianas of what it means to have a pet. And, if you don’t want a pet, what it means to show respect for animals– specifically to dogs and cats.”

The sisters then showed a viral video featured on The Dodo, a media company that shows animal-related videos online, which garnered millions of views on social media featuring Grace and Aria’s first dog rescue, Honey, and showed the boonie dog problem around the island.

According to the sisters, there are about 60,000 stray boonie dogs on the island—even more than the current human population of Saipan. They presented a pyramid which shows the gestational period of a dog, which within one year, 16 dogs can be produced; within two years, 128 dogs will be birthed; in three years, 512 dogs; in four years, 2,048 dogs; five years, 12,288; and six years, 67,000 dogs.

They did say that “not even a fraction of that is going to survive, but that’s just the absolute crisis that we are dealing with here. Even if a fraction of 67,000, for every one in six years is surviving—that’s a lot. And cats can have even more. The gestation period of a cat is three months, two months. So cats are pregnant for two months before they give birth. That’s a lot of kittens that can keep coming.”

They ended their presentation by saying that there are many ways to help their organization—“You can donate, foster, volunteer, adopt, support—follow us on social media, or borrow a boonie. There are so many things—I know a lot of people come up to us and say no, I can’t donate, I can’t adopt. Well, that’s okay, we have a long list of other things you can do as well. We are always looking for volunteers to come over and help us. We have a group that comes over on Sundays, taking dogs for walks, feeding, handing out treats, spending quality time with them… we also have fostering, which is just a step up from borrowing a boonie. But we do foster from any length. If you want to foster for a week or if you want to foster for three months—we’ll take the dog back at any time. We’re trying to create pets—we’re trying to create well-rounded dogs that are adoptable and can live at home. So those actions of coming over and spending that one on one quality time with one of our dogs really makes the difference in their life and makes them more adoptable which can be the difference between life and death,” she said.

At the end of their presentation, Rotary Club members presented them a certificate of appreciation as speakers in the meeting.

For individuals interested in donating or learning more about their organization, look up Boonie Babies Saipan on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, or you can visit their website at

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.