Back in April 2019, my wife and I were on holiday in Cartagena, Colombia when a sick and frail dog came and sat under our sun lounger.
She was scared and desperate so we bought her some chicken and gave her water but we were pretty sure she would die if we left her.
Being a mature, independent adult, I called my Mum and asked her what to do. Without hesitation, she said, "You have to give her a chance". So here is a little story (in pictures) about our gorgeous dog Mango.
Getting her well
We quickly Googled vets and rushed her to the first decent-looking one we could find. The vet saw her straight away and did tests to work out what treatment she needed.
The diagnosis was pretty scary and the vet wasn't sure if she would make the next 24/48 hours. She had mange, multiple skin conditions and scary amounts of stomach and blood parasites. But the real worry was that she was so badly anaemic it was a miracle she was alive. She stayed at the vet's so they could try and get her iron levels up and we had a rocky few days of visiting her there, waiting to see if she would survive.
Our long weekend in Cartagena got extended to a multi-week wait for her to get strong enough for us to take her home. She was so weak, we were scared of hurting her when we stroked her.
She struggled to hold her own body weight at times but she had to try to build up strength to fight all her illnesses.
She quickly turned into a little cutey though and loved snuggling up for snoozes.
Initially, we had to hold her on towels as the type of mange she had could pass to humans. We ended up falling in love too much not to cuddle her though and both of us ended up getting bitten to hell by mange mites (they can't live on humans luckily, they only bite. Still not fun though).
She was terrified for the first few days but after a while, she started to like us and we finally got some tail wags.
Getting her home
We couldn't stay in Cartegena forever, so we started planning how to get her back to Bogotá where we lived at the time. She was too ill to fly as the sudden change of altitude could have killed her, so we were left with one option: a 28-hour bus.
Here she is on the bus shortly before squirting diarrhea up my arm:
And looking out the window wondering where the hell these humans where taking her:
She was still only skin and bones so we had to put her in warm little outfits. I even had to buy baby human socks and tape them on her paws to stop her from doing damage when she scratched. I always turned my nose up at people who dressed their dogs but I can't say I didn't enjoy it 😂.
She had a cone for the first 6 months of her life as - despite our best efforts and a million vet visits - we struggled to get rid of it.
Getting her personality
She got better over time and we found out she was very partial to snuggles:
In fact, all she wants is to be close to her humans:
She particularly likes sits:
Her favourite spot is sat on the top of the sofa cushion so she has a good view of anything interesting and can keep an eye out for squirrels.
Getting her to the UK
We moved back to the UK last year and getting her back was a bit of an ordeal. She thoroughly enjoyed meeting the locals though:
We had to fly back on a separate flight due to covid restrictions so we had an anxious wait as she flew cargo. This is her first park visit and a moment of huge relief as we knew she was safely back with us.
She is quite the fancy pants nowadays:
There is a rumour going around that she is a bit spoilt but Mango denies it:
It was all worth it
It was a long, stressful journey but I couldn't be happier that we gave her a chance. She is a happy, healthy doggo with a family that loves her.
If you are thinking of getting a dog, know that you won't find a more loving one than a rescue. The are millions of doggos out there who would love a place to call home.