After stopping at a remote island, David saw a black, skinny dog off in the distance. “And then off in the distance, I saw a dog. I thought, ‘Why is she out here? It seems a bit remote’ … We hadn’t seen any villages for quite some time,” David told The Dodo.
The dog was covered in fleas and ticks and her ears were sliced open and bloody. In addition, the dogs bald spots from being emaciated revealed bruises all over her body. The dog was so close to death that vultures were circling above her.
“It looked as if someone had beaten her. She was so close to death. She was wagging her tail and crying at the same time,” said David.
Given the dire situation, David knew he couldn’t just leave the abandoned dog on the island. “I knew that if we pulled up our anchor and left, it would mean her certain death. She was not just a stray dog. She was sailed out and left there,” David said.
So, David gave the dog, now named Negrita, some food and took her to his boat. Finally, Negrita was able to relax a bit.
David and his team sailed to the nearest city in search of a vet for Negrita. Thankfully, they were able to find one who treated Negrita for her fleas and ticks, as well as cleaned her wounds.
Still weak, Negrita’s sweet personality started to come out each and every day. She followed David around the boat, wagging her tail at him. After just four days of caring for Negrita, David knew what he had to do: he had to bring Negrita home with him to the UK.
David manages PlayforStrays, a non-profit that brings donated toys to abandoned shelter pets across the world. David had recently traveled to Natureza em Forma, a shelter in São Paulo, Brazil to deliver toys and he thought they may be able to help him now.
David connected with the shelter who kindly agreed to foster Negrita while she continued to gain weight before her flight to her new home. Heartwarmingly, thoughts of PlayforStrays supporters began making donations for Negrita’s care and her fight home.
“People from the states, Australia and all over the world were donating toward getting her home. Negrita was so special, and I think that everybody recognized that. They fully rallied around us,” David shared.
David headed home to Northern Ireland and patiently waited the five months it took for Negrita to fly to her new home. Regulations on flying animals created some setback, but that didn’t matter to David, he would wait to Negrita. “What was a few weeks turned into five months. She needed multiple medical tests, both to leave Brazil but also gain entry to the UK,” said David.
Negrita finally made it to Northern Ireland and while she was a bit timid at first, she has since opened up. She loves to play with toys, much to David’s delight. “She loves her toys. She has one little teddy bear I sent her at Christmas time who is like her baby. She carries it gently and looks after it very well. It’s the only one she won’t destroy,” David shared.
Negrita is almost unrecognizable from the dog found starving on the Amazon island. “I look at her most evenings, when everything’s quiet and she’s lying on her bed sleeping, and think back to how she was found. The condition she was in was terrible. She has come so far — because of so many people who gave her a chance to live. I am humbled by them, and by her, every single day,” David said.