January 31, 2014

Mama Bear's New Family

In October 2013, Amazon CARES supporter Kristi Emerson traveled to Peru and adopted Mama, a dog from our no-kill dog shelter. Here is Mama's story as told by Kristi.

A year and a half ago I woke up one night because I couldn't sleep, so I got up to watch some TV. There was a story on about Peru, and to be honest, I wasn't even sure where Peru was. I was drawn to the TV and I knew I had to go there, so I got out my computer and booked a ticket right then and there. My friend said I was crazy to go to Peru all by myself not speaking any Spanish. I visited the usual tourist sites such as Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and of course the rainforest.

Iquitos was like being in a different country! I stayed at the floating Camiri Hostel and the owner at that time, Marcel, said that with me being such an animal and vegetarian activist, I should visit the Amazon CARES vet clinic and no-kill shelter. He took me to meet Bruno and he gave me a map to the shelter so I could go volunteer walking the dogs. It was the best experience of my entire trip. I was home a month and was already planning my next trip to Amazon CARES.

Kristi at the CARES no-kill shelter.

On my third trip to Peru, and third visit to Amazon CARES, I took a friend with me. On our last day at the shelter we were walking the dogs and this one little, skinny red dog kept following us with every dog we walked. We were commenting on how smart she was because she stayed right with us even though she wasn't on a leash. At the end of the day I think she sensed we were about to leave. She jumped in my arms and was giving me kisses like you see in the picture as if to say please don't go.

When the moto taxi arrived, she kept jumping in it to go with us! As we pulled out of the gate and headed down the little road something told me to look back. There was Mama running full speed down the road after us on her little injured leg with Harri running after her! My friend and I were crying like we had never cried before. After a few minutes when we were out of sight I couldn't get her out of my mind running after us, so I told the taxi driver to stop and turn around. My friend told me to be reasonable as we had no idea how to get a dog out of a foreign country and our flight home was in five hours!
Mama Bear
I had the moto taxi driver take me straight to the Amazon CARES clinic to find out what I needed to do to bring Mama back home with me. Delta would not allow me bring her back on my flight and I was devastated! Once I was home I could not stop thinking about that sweet little dog chasing after me and I knew I had to go back for her! I planned another trip to Peru to go get my little Mama Bear and I was even able to gather medical supplies to donate to the clinic this time. Even with plenty of time to prepare, getting Mama Bear back to the states was still a daunting task as things in Iquitos do not move as quickly and smoothly as they do here in the states! But with the help of Veronica and Bruno I was able to make it happen!

Shannon the US Director of Amazon CARES just so happened to also be in Iquitos at the same time. Shannon went to the shelter and brought Mama Bear back to the clinic. When Mama Bear saw me it was as if she remembered who I was and knew I was coming back for her. The hostel I was staying at would not let me have Mama with me, as I wanted her to stay with me for the remainder of my trip so she could get used to me before our multiple flights home. So I found a hostel that would with the help of Bruno. I will never forget what it was like to watch Mama Bear eat out of her very own dog food bowl for the first time, and to sleep on a nice comfortable bed in an air-conditioned room. She seemed to be so at peace, and so was I! We were just meant to be!
Kristi and Mama reunited at last!

We spent the next few days together taking long walks around the city of Iquitos until her final adoption papers were ready. I was such a proud mama on the day that I signed her adoption papers.

Once we got back to Tennessee, little Mama Bear’s life drastically changed. She had her first trip to the Sonic drive-through, and by the way, she loves tater tots! I introduced her to my other three animals as I have two dogs and a seven-month-old kitten, and it was as if she had always been a part of our family, no adjustment time needed. Mama Bear is partial, however, to my seven-month-old kitten Meow Meow, as they are best friends! They do everything together!


Mama and Meow Meow.

Mama Bear has since gained a lot of weight and she is very happy and loves to spend her days playing outside and playing with her toys. And of course taking her daily naps in my arms on my lap! I do believe it was fate that night that I couldn't sleep and I got up to watch TV. Because there was a missing part of my family and that part was in Peru, at Amazon CARES! I cannot express my deep gratitude for everyone at Amazon CARES for helping me bring my Mama Bear home, home to her family!



  1. So touching, I wish so many more persons like you would go to Amazon Cares... Just keep posting those happy photos... and yes, dogs do know who they adopt well before we do.

  2. What a great story. I'm a big supporter of pet adoption and shelters, especially no-kill shelters. I got my dog, Lilly, from a no-kill shelter in Bloomington, IN. She's one of the best dog's I've ever had.


  3. Love your story! SO heartwarming :) and Dogs/Pets TOTALLY choose us! There is some kind of instant bond where you just know! I too, brought home a dog Quita from there (AmazonCares/Peru) and I know it's not easy and can be frustrating but oh so worth it! Glad you stuck with it.


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