The dog was alone on a tropical island and in rough shape. She was starved, full of ticks, had a sliced ear, and vultures were following her around. It’s unlikely she would have survived much longer. Her health was terrible and the island she was on would disappear with the seasonal rise of the Amazon River. It was hours away by boat to the nearest human settlement and the island offered little to sustain her.
She was rescued by an Irish tourist named David Foster who was on a tour that stopped at that island for lunch. When the dog came running to the people on the boat, they didn’t immediately recognize her as a dog because she was so emaciated. Her eager approach suggests that she was desperately happy to see people, perhaps recognizing that a stroke of luck had come her way.
Foster asked permission of the captain and the other passengers to bring the dog aboard, and named her Negrita. He then took care of her for the two weeks it took for the boat to reach a community with a veterinarian who could treat her. His plan all along was to bring her to Ireland, but he knew he had to arrange a temporary home for her while he took care of all the paperwork involved with international canine relocations. He hoped it would take just a couple of weeks, but it took five months to clear her medically and deal with all the red tape.
When Negrita finally arrived in Ireland, she was so much healthier that Foster barely recognized her. He says that if not for the distinctive torn part of her ear, he would barely have believed it was the same dog he had found in such pitiful shape months earlier. Perhaps inspired by his experience with saving a dog from across the globe, Foster created Play For Strays, an organization that brings toys and positive enrichment to animal rescue centers all over the world. The reach of his kindness to animals extends far beyond his loving rescue of a single dog.