From the streets of a Mapuche village in Pucon, Chile to a home in Los Angeles
This past March, my wife and I were on a biking trip all around Chile. After an exhaustive week of biking and socializing, we decided to take the last day off from our group and explore a nearby waterfall and mountain bike a little. Upon finding the entrance to the Salto Mariman waterfall we were greeted by this amazing spry pup. We gave her a quick pat on the head and began our hike. We didn’t think much of it as there are stray dogs all over the country. This sweet girl, however followed us all around, it was as if she was showing us the way, She never got too far ahead or behind, actually she stayed in between us the entire time. She even made it into some of our waterfall photos. After spending an hour or so exploring, it was time to get back on our bikes and make our way back to the hotel. We said good bye to the sweet ‘perra’ and stared on our way. That was when I immediately noticed this girl running full speed behind us. I would stop a few times to try and persuade her to go back or to stop, she looked exhausted. At one point we were greeted by a large pack of dogs barking at us, that was when our new sweet friend would circle around our bikes and bark at the pack in an effort to protect us. This girl ran behind us all the way back to our hotel, which was at least 7 miles from that beautiful waterfall. We approached the gates to our hotel, And Beyond Vira Vira, walked our bikes in and watched our girl follow right behind us. By this point she was so tired she found the first little creek to jump into to cool off and get some water. At this point we decided to name her after the hotel, she seemed to have earned that. She followed us to our room, where we were able to hang out on our back porch. We gave her a little bath in our outdoor tub. She has these amazing eyes and such a deep soul, it took no time at all to fall in love with her. Later that night we met up with our group for our farewell happy hour – Vira Vira followed us and hung out as if she was meant to be there. We began asking around about what our options could be for her? How can we check and make sure whether or not she has a home? Is it possible to bring her home with us? Several staff members from the hotel, who I consider wonderful instigators, were convinced that this is a sign, and that she is meant to be ours. Vira Vira waited outside of our restaurant for us to finish dinner. We were given a list of veterinarians in town, and decided that if she remained by us until the morning we would contact one of them and take the necessary steps to officially adopt her and make her ours. That night we were so distraught and could hardly sleep. Our sweet girl slept curled up on the blankets we provided right outside of our room. As soon as we woke up in the morning we went to the front desk and made arrangements for a taxi to take us to the vet. Despite the language barrier we were able to get her micro chipped, vaccinated and set up at the local Dog hotel where she would have to remain in quarantine for the month. We were so sad to leave her, but I was confident that we would see her very soon.
We began formulating a plan immediately. It was such an amazing coincidence, that our travel agent had a family member who lives in Santiago, Chile, and also happens to run a dog shipping service. The veterinarian in Pucon also became incredibly helpful as she took on all of the responsibility of obtaining the needed paperwork from the Chilean Department of Agriculture. At the end of the 30 days quarantine, one of our friends from the hotel flew with Vira Vira to Santiago, where she stayed for another week before arrangements were finalized on her flight to the US.
When the day came, we couldn’t believe it! After an incredibly long flight Vira Vira made it to LA where I was eagerly waiting for her. I couldn’t believe how well she did. She was just hanging out in her cage waiting to be let out. I called her name and she immediately jumped up and began wagging her tail. We were worried that she wouldn’t remember us, but that clearly wasn’t the case.
She has now been living here in Los Angeles for a little over a month, and it has been amazing at how well adjusted she is. She gets a long with everyone, loves to play, and is an absolute lover and cuddler. She loves to go hiking and frequents all of the local dog parks. We are just so in love with her and overjoyed that we were able to bring her home with us. There is really something special about the experience of when a dog truly choses you.
Bianca and Hallie Harris