Meet Laura, Reza & Pacha
I met Laura Irwin, Reza Noori and their pooch, Pacha (which means Earth in the indigenous language, Quechua) of Fifty7 Degrees South on Instagram, and we quickly connected over two things: 1) We’re both cycle touring South America, and 2) Laura and Reza rescued an adorable puppy from the brink of death along the way, who has now become their travel companion.
Laura, Reza, and Pacha plan to head back to the UK after they finish cycling South America. The costs of bringing Pacha home, however are quite unexpectedly exorbitant. After tests, flight, customs and quarantine fees, bringing Pacha back to the UK will total some £3,000. They are asking for help in raising money in order to help out with the costs. You can learn more at their GoFundMe page and by watching the video below that describes Pacha’s story, from a neglected street puppy to a loved adventure dog.
PUPDATE: Laura and Reza did raise the funds in order to bring Pacha home! Little Pacha, however did not pass her tither test, so the trio are hanging out in Canada before moving on to the UK so Pacha can avoid quarantine when they go back home. Thank you so much to those of you who helped out!
Where and when did you adopt your dog?
We were cycling through a remote village in central Peru about two months ago, when we first set eyes on a little puppy in horrifying shape.
Tell us how you first met your dog and how you knew you had to take this dog home with you?
I think that her immense vulnerability really struck a chord in our hearts and there was no choice but to take her with us. So we picked her up, fashioned a cardboard box and transported her 50km to the nearest town on the back of our touring bikes to get veterinary assistance.
In what condition was your pup when you first met?
She was severely emaciated, with every bone in her body protruding abruptly through her thin pale skin. She could barely stand. In her eyes you could honestly tell she had lost hope. How could we cycle on and leave this poor thing to her certain fate of death without any compassion from anyone?
What sort of medical treatments did you have to undergo in order to get your pup healthy?
The vet tested her for common diseases then cleaned her of the thousands of fleas and ticks that had infested her coat. Thankfully, we were told she didn’t have any significant diseases, but she was suffering from severe malnutrition and anaemia, and that with good nutrition and TLC she could make a full recovery. She had several high dose vitamin injections, anti-parasitic medication, and the vet gave us a high calorie/vitamin supplement paste. Although she was 6 months old, we had to wait several weeks before her first set of vaccinations because she was so sick. We had to go back and forth to the vets for the first couple of days because we were concerned that she was so lethargic and slow to eat… but she just needed a little time. She now has a microchip and is fully vaccinated.
Since those first few days, Pacha has increased in weight from 2.7kg to a healthy 8kg.
How was your dog adapted to life as a pet?
For the first week, her tail would be firmly tucked between her legs & she made no sound. These days her tail is somewhat of a helicopter! She runs, plays, barks at ducks and loves to dig – much to the horror of the framers that we pass on our journey north. She loves life on the road, a true adventure pup but we think she’s most happy when we climb into tent at night.
How many countries has your pup visited with you?
Since adopting Pacha, we have crossed over into Ecuador, her first international border but we are not too far from Colombia now.
Have you faced any unexpected challenges?
The biggest challenge has been to train a little puppy whilst living life on the road, pedaling most days. The lack of routine, constant change in environment and travel on the back of a bicycle can be unsettling for a young puppy but in all honesty, she has not only coped but thrived. She has more exercise & freedom than most pets and with Laura’s positive reinforcement philosophy, Pacha is growing to be the sweetest little dog.
What about unexpected benefits?
The biggest benefit is certainly having the love and companionship of a beautiful little dog… Who wouldn’t want to wake up by having their face slobbered on?!
Why should someone consider adopting a street dog?
Adopting a street dog is not something we ever planned to do but there is no way we are ever going to give Pacha up now. We have an intelligent, strong and wonderfully affectionate dog. Across the world and especially from what we have witnessed in South America, there are hundreds and thousands of dogs longing for a home… Or even less than that, for just some affection, if only for a second. Adopting one and giving him/her a loving family could very well be the most worthwhile thing you do this year.