The R4A Team Splits Up For a Mission
For the past four months Russ and I have been focused on reaching the End of the World -- Ushuaia -- and we did it! Along the way we made many friends, found many pleasant and unpleasant surprises, and each of us promised to take on a challenge to make our journey even more meaningful. Russ' challenge has been to learn Spanish. I've never seen anyone work so hard to achieve a goal. He has been a source of inspiration and I'm very proud and honored to count him as a friend. My challenge has been to follow my heart and DO something about the dogs in desperate need that I'm in a position to help along the way. The result so far has been Suri's and Sunshine's rescue, but the work won't be done until they're both in their furever home, so this, like Russ' quest to learn Spanish, is a work in progress.
My challenge is now thrusting me into a rescue Mission Impossible, so the R4A team must split up. Let me share some details. North of Santiago, Chile, we ran into a little dog at a refueling stop. Like all other stray dogs, this one was malnourished and infested with ticks and fleas. But this little dog was also wounded with a right rear leg that is ripped open. I set up a food and water station and the little dog had a chance to eat and quench his thirst. Unfortunately, because this was a refueling stop halfway through a 500+ mile ride, I didn't have much time. I searched for a veterinarian, but the nearest one I could find was 270 miles in the direction we came from. I spoke with some of the locals in hopes that I could convince someone to adopt the dog if I paid for all the veterinarian care, but I found no takers. Resigned that there was nothing else I could do, I had to leave.
My challenge asks that I follow my heart and DO something about the dogs that I'm in a position to help. It started with water and food, but then Suri came along. She needed more than just nourishment and though it seemed like an impossibility, I was able to adopt her. Then came Sunshine. I was already carrying a dog around and had no room for another, so I didn't think there was anything else that I could do. Well, it turns out that with your help I was able to do more and Sunshine was not only rescued but also received a much needed surgery. When I left the gas station, I was convinced that I had truly exhausted all avenues and there was NOTHING I could do about this third dog. That was several weeks and many, many miles ago, but I have not been able to stop thinking about that dog. Was there truly NOTHING I could?
I started by reaching out to people and humane society groups in the area. Unfortunately the closest group is about 300 miles away and they don't have the resources to mobilize for this dog. I spoke on the phone with the owners of the restaurant/gas station where I saw the dog, but they had no interest in helping. So this is something that I MUST DO myself. I call this a mission impossible because the odds are stacked against its success. It's been over two weeks and I'm over 2,600 miles away, so it'll be at least another week before I reach the town. What if I can't find the dog? What if the dog already died? BUT, what if I do get there in time and find it? Wouldn't that be absolutely amazing?
This mission won't be featured in People Magazine nor will it be one of those viral click bate stories you see on Facebook with millions of Likes. If successful, though, this will be a remarkable rescue story and you'll have the exclusive. So here's the plan: Suri and I will leave the comfort and safety of the pack and will travel north on February 18th. We'll travel the 2,900 miles to a Chilean town called Antofagasta. From there we'll rent a car and drive down to Chañaral to search and rescue the dog. Once we find the dog, we'll bring him back to Antofagasta, where we've made arrangements with a veterinarian and foster home. We will then leave Antofagasta and cross the continent to make our way to Buenos Aires, where we'll make arrangements to ship the motorcycle and catch a flight home. Once home we will join the most wonderful adventure -- the Ordonez/Miller adventure of doing the things we love with those we love most.