Last February…Valentines Day, we stayed at a hotel in a small town in Mexicos’ mountains to trek to find the migrating Monarch Butterfly. The trip was a surprise 60th birthday present for hubby as he’s wanted to see the buttefrlies for many many years.
We wandered outside to find some food…there was nothing anywhere and we only had some crisps and cup-a-soup to share for our Valentine meal together. We wandered outside……,. and met Bruno.
Bruno….a filthy older dog wandering the street with a sore eye, a limp and bite marks from an obvious dog fight to his head……I sat with him for a cuddle….we found a small shop to buy some dog biscuits and discovered he had hardly any teeth too.
The next day we were due to fly back to the UK. My husband hardly slept thinking about the dog and we looked outside our hotel room window to look for him…he was laying down outside our window.
We went to the airport to fly back…..and knew we had to find a way to get Bruno some help.
Here started the remarkable events that followed. Heathrow was chaotic with cancelled flights and a storm ravaging the country. We were stuck for hours. I put a post on Facebook asking if anyone had any connections with this area of Mexico. It was remote……no vets, no rescue centres. The nearest was a plane ride or a day drive away. I was ready to buy a flight to go back and look for him.
Then, amazingly, two strangers on holiday from Canada in Mexico offered to go and look for him. I transferred money to hire a car. They drove for hours with photos I’d sent them to find him…and found him! The locals said he had no owner, slept on waste ground, and would be left to perish.
These two wonderful strangers then drove for hours to the nearest city, Morelia, to an emergency vet. Here Bruno stayed for two weeks to be treated for his bites, his eye that had a parasite in, dental issues, vaccinations, blood tests, neutering, food! His microchip had to be sourced from America as Mexico don’t routinely microchip dogs.
A lovely ex veterinary nurse in Canada became our angel by translating for us and being the go between with the vet as we don’t speak fluent spanish. Many dead of night phone calls went back and forth as the time difference meant this was required.
All this I got in place while I found a pet transport company….all as Covid 19 took hold and restrictions loomed. I had a dog in a vets in Mexico with no idea how to get him to the UK and no idea of the time span or cost as Covid threatened to close down all hope of getting him to us.
I had previously fostered dogs from Thailand for the Soi Dog Foundation. One dog I had sent onwards to Australia. The UK company I liaised with years ago for this passed me onto a reliable pet transport company in Mexico.
The paperwork started immediately. Thank God I’d had the experience and foresight to start the vaccinations, microchip and blood tests as soon as he’d arrived at the vets.
The transport company drove for hours from Mexico City to Morelia to collect Bruno and board him at the airport….we tried to get him on a flight as lockdown was looming. He only had a bath once he was at the airport.
A national holiday in Mexico delayed us by a day….and lockdown was announced on the day Bruno was officially allowed to leave Mexico after his rabies vaccination.
I got the call on the day Bruno was due to fly that the government in Mexico had suspended all dogs leaving on flights and the dogs in the airports waiting to fly that day now had to stay in Mexico. All but Bruno had somewhere to return to.
He was hours from where he’d been found…we were in the UK, his rescuers back in Canada…..the pet transport company closing down as they went into lockdown. Bruno had nowhere but the streets of a strange city. I cried and was in despair….a good friend Claire told me to have faith.
The last flight out of Mexico that day took off as lockdown was implemented. It was 11;45pm and lockdown started at midnight. I was in tears not knowing after all the efforts what was to become of Bruno.
Then I got a call from Mexico…somehow they’d got Bruno on this last flight and he was in the air! I hadn’t even paid them for his flight but they trusted in me.
The bank stopped my money transfer as I’d now transferred several amounts to Mexico for car hire, food and vets bills. As I was in the bank managers’ office getting the funds released Brunos’ flight touched down in Heathrow.
I got the call from Heathrow customs then. Bruno could not be released from quarantine as his rushed paperwork used an old version of a form. I drove down to Heathrow with an open checkbook and another UK pet cargo company advising and continuing the task of finally getting Bruno released from customs.
I sat in the customs office waiting room for hours trying to get the paperwork resolved. More money and paperwork and the next day he was finally back in my arms and I drove him to Lowton on our first day of lockdown back in March.
Now a frequent visitor to My Pets Vets in Lowton, Bruno has had an ear infection resolved, physio and a pain management programme for his arthritic legs and a specialist to repair a perineal hernia.
He is a great brother to our Thai meat trade rescued dog Popper.
He is such a loving dog…he wakes happy every single day.
He is the best and the loudest snorer I’ve ever heard and sleeps with his tongue hanging out as he doesn’t have the teeth to hold it in!
He has had his first Christmas…he has played in snow for the first time.
He is the miracle of strangers pulling together as lockdown was implemented to get him to us….he is our happy lockdown story.
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