One of my good friends had told me, “you’re going to fall in love in Chile, I just know it”. As a frequent flyer of the singles table, I naturally scoffed at her and laughed at her. But, secretly I hoped it would happen. Apparently she has “ESPN” or something because she ended up being right. At a little cafe in Pichilemu a Chilean street dog, that I ended up naming Hermano, stole my heart.
Street dogs are abundant in Chile. Fortunately, they mimic the mannerism of most Chileans and are extremely friendly. Everywhere we went they would flock to us. We were in puppy heaven. Despite the daily begging, Donny (our responsible ski guide), veto’d the idea of a “Trip Dog.” We knew that naming all of them would only lead to attachment, then heart break when we had to leave them, but we couldn’t help ourselves. We would all joke that one of us was going to end up bringing a dog home. Little did we know, we weren’t kidding.
Hermano may be the smartest dog we have ever met. He saw myself and Chelsea (two, now unsupervised, crazy animal ladies, who are no strangers to making impulsive, slightly irresponsible decisions) sitting at that cafe and knew he could hitch a ride to a better life. All it took was a few cuddles and stares with those adorable puppy dog eyes and we were hooked.
You may be wondering, ‘how on earth do you bring a dog from Chile to Canada’? When we first met Hermano, we were asking ourselves that very same question. We thought of many scenarios. Some involved a long trench coat, a fedora, and standing on each others shoulders to impersonate a rather tall individual in true Peanuts fashion. Others would have probably resulted in charges and possible jail time.
All of our research resulted in one answer; we did not have enough time to get him home with us. We had taken Hermano to the local vet and obtained the rabies vaccine and health certificate, that Health Canada required, but each airline played by different rules. Some required the vaccine to have been administered 10 days prior to flying, others required 30, and we were leaving in a fast approaching 4 days. After a few long, stressful days, that involved an alarming amount of cafe con leches and empanadas, we were about to give up. We were leaving the next evening and were not even close to figuring this out.
Just when we started working on our Michael Schofield inspired prison break tattoos, my sister, who had been doing extensive research back in Canada, found our last potential solution. Miraculously, she obtained a private cell phone number for Martin, a gentleman who worked with a company called Interfamily. Interfamily is a private company that works closely with United Airlines to transport pets internationally. Hope was restored!
After a few phone calls, autographing some legal documents, and handing over a possibly maxed out credit card, we met with Martin the next day in Santiago. He took Hermano and the rest was history. 48 hours later we picked up an excited but probably very confused Hermano from the YYC airport.
Now that Hermano has officially received his green card, he is well on his way to becoming a true mountain pup. This previously beachy, surfer pup was more excited than we were for YYC’s first snowfall. He probably never envisioned that he’d be running along side skiing mountain betches, while decked out in a super cute coat and booties.
Hermano will now forever be known as the most extravagant Chilean souvenir in history. And as for Chelsea and myself, we are no longer allowed to travel without “adult” supervision.
We want to meet your fur babies! Email us your furever love story at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or tag us on Instagram @mountainbetches and use the #mountainbetches and #furbabyfriday