Kaylan O’Connor was on a cruise with her family when they stopped at Valparaiso, Chile. Little did she know there was a stray dog at the port who would get into her heart.
They stopped to take a photo at the cruise ship terminal, and there the dog was, posing along with them, according to the Inquisitor.
“He jumped at us like saying ‘hello,'” O’Connor told BBC World. “He was sweet and he followed us the rest of the time we were there. We knew he needed a home.”
They were in Chile, alas, only eight hours, but O’Connor never forgot the friendly dog. Once home, she reached out to rescues in Chile, and landed on Alexis Castillo, director of Red de Defensores y Rescatistas de Animales, or EDRA, in Chile’s capital city, Santiago de Chile. At first, Castillo was skeptical.
“The email said [O’Connor] had fallen for a stray dog and wanted to arrange transport back to Seattle,” said Castillo. “At first I was skeptical. I replied back and said I needed $100 to pay for expenses in trying to locate the street dog. If I received the money that same day before midnight, I would be able to search for the dog the very next day. Twenty minutes later I had received $200 via Western Union.”
So, Castillo went to work. O’Connor wrote on her Facebook page in February, expressing hope: “We found this puppy on the streets of Valparaiso, Chile. We appropriately named him Chile Dog. By his teeth and behavior he is most definitely under 1 year old. He sat and smiled for group photos with us, and I fell in love. I searched desperately online for someone to help me rescue him so I can get him home to the USA. I found the right person, Alexis with a rescue in Santiago called EDRA.”
It was a rough search, full of touring the port area on bicycles and contacting shelters, but one month later — and armed with a small team — Castillo finally found Chile Dog. She had him vaccinated and neutered, then found an airline willing to transport him. On May 28, he arrived in Seattle after a 20-hour trip to join his new mom and her other dogs, Auto and Klaus.
O’Connor was ecstatic. “Chile Dog is here! He was so happy when they brought him in his cage,” she wrote on Facebook. “He let me put a collar and leash on him, and he got out of the cage and went to the bathroom forever! No messes in the cage! Good boy! Welcome home to Chile Dog!”
All told, O’Connor was set back $2,000. But Chile Dog now has his forever home.
“Normally my dogs don’t like other dogs, but when Chile Dog arrived, they allowed him in the house and shared their food and water dishes,” she said to the BBC. “I believe they knew that Chile needed a home.”