It was love at first cuddle. Maybe they both needed cuddles. Nataly certainly did, after she was thrown out onto the street from the safety of her home in Chimaltenango. AWARE gets these emails all the time: “This poor dog was put on the street by her owners. She is so sweet. We can’t just leave her there. Can you take her, please…” With a critical overpopulation of dogs in the Shelter, Xenii has become quite good at turning down most of these appeals. Often she talks to the concerned neighbours and between them they come up with a solution that doesn’t involve one more space to find at AWARE, one more mouth to feed, and one more claim on the already over-stretched workforce. This time Xenii just looked at the picture that came with the email, and her heart melted.

The rationalists among you will balk at the mention of Fate, so out of respect for a noble calling I’ll just say – what? Nothing, except Peggy was here as a Volunteer when Nataly arrived scared, timid and bewildered. Peggy picked her up and gave her a cuddle.

But Nataly’s troubles weren’t over. Pretty soon Peggy had to go home to Canada. Of course she wanted to take Nataly with her, but airlines have strict conditions. Nataly needed shots; the endless paperwork had to be obtained – and it was nearly Christmas. Peggy left, alone, and Nataly was on her own again.

One requirement of all airlines involves the weather: at minus 31 centigrade animals are grounded. Come the middle of January, the weather was warming up a bit, but somehow one impediment succeeded the other and Nataly’s stay at the Shelter lengthened week by week, while Peggy, one supposes, was perfecting the art of patience. Finally an all-clear sounded, the paperwork was no longer out of line, and last week the two were reunited. As you can see from the picture, Nataly is recovering nicely from her tribulations.


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