December 30, 2010

10 Years Ago: The Dog That Changed My Life

This is a letter I just received from Adrian Popescu, a resident of Atlanta, Georgia USA.  Adrian traveled with me on a Peru volunteer trip that I organized in July, 2001.  I had been traveling for years doing various volunteer activities.  However THIS trip was different.  In his words:
"Attached is the sequence of three photos that I took of a taxi and you on our last Sunday in the Amazon (July 2001); wandering around Iquitos. I was in a taxi heading out of town, at a red light, looking for a gift for the girls. As you pulled up, in your arms I recognized the dog that I had followed earlier that afternoon, walking around the market and the Inca Museo. Everywhere I walked, he walked in front of me; or maybe, he was my guide. 
As I walked behind this homeless critter, I remember feeling a tinge of sadness for his difficult and short life in that slum. He had mange from nose to tale, and he was hungry. He walked though, sure footed and with purpose. He actually led me into the museum. I remember wondering who would ever help with his bloody mange;  but I remember as well, his good attitude.....    And then you show up saying that you are taking this dog to a vet friend; to rescue the fella. Good job says I.    If my memory is correct, this act started you on the path that led to Amazon Cares."  - Adrian Popescu
(Editor's Note) I looked quite different at that time in my life, but putting vanity aside, here are the photos.

 In 2004 I was reunited with "Lucky," thus named because nobody could believe anyone would take interest in this very ill animal.  At the time I wrote:  

The dog that changed my life.

"I tried to start an animal rescue project in Iquitos, Peru in 2001. This dog, Lucky, was feverish & mangy and very near-death when my heart went out to him & I took action. I rescued him, extended my trip to Peru, and found him a home and arranged to rescue more animals with the help of a local. But I was living in the US and unable to finance and manage the project from afar. Here, in 2004, I am reunited with Lucky. He remembered me!" 

Addendum:  I received an email from Adrian following the publication of this blog post.  He wanted readers to clearly understand the miracle that happened on this day.  Among things he wanted to emphasize are:

  • What happened with Lucky that afternoon was truly remarkable.
  •  We did not find this dog together on a Sunday stroll.
  •  He found us separately.
  •  I asked a question of myself and you determined the answer.
  •  We only met for a moment at that stoplight (coincidence) that afternoon, as your new mission began....................Good thing I shoot a camera so well.
 Thank you Adrian for further contributing to this story, which has moved many people.

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