Here’s the story of our dog adoption aka one of our greatest little blessings.
I never thought I’d ever have a dog.
Danny loves them to pieces (which started to rub off on me a bit, I’ll admit.)
But in New York, a dog just wasn’t an option we were willing to consider without a yard.
But down here in Ecuador, there are so many dogs on the street (many who are starving or sick) that you can’t help but think about adopting them. My heart really had been feeling pretty big for these animals.
Little did we know we’d meet our little street dog after Vipassana…
After the meditation course, Danny and I felt so ridiculously lucky to be able to go on a get-away together. After 10 days of being a part, WE WERE DYING TO BE WITH EACH OTHER!!! All I could think about was being with my husband. It freaking felt like a honeymoon!! 🙂 🙂 And we were both even extra full of love after the cleansing/healing experience of Vipassana. (Can you see I’m trying to recommend Vipassana for husbands and wives?)
So off we went two hours by bus to Otavalo to stay in another one of Ecuador’s oldest and most famous hotels…Hacienda Cusin
. Every guide book says it’s a “must visit.”
|The Imbabura Volcano is nearby and offers the perfect backdrop in one of our favorite areas in Ecuador
|The grounds for Hacienda Cusin are massive, and full of old world charm
We kinda wanted to just be homebodies and be with each other every second. We reconnected, chatted like crazy about our individual experiences at Vipassana, slept in (instead of getting up at 4:00 am!!!), enjoyed the scenery in what is known as “volcano alley”, ate a romantic dinner at the hotel (oh, that fish soup!), watched a movie in their cozy movie room (with a MASSIVE bowl of popcorn that they brought to us), and we fell asleep to a huge and extremely cozy fire in our room each night.
|The Hacienda is located about 20 minutes from Otavalo in a quaint little town. The cobblestone road lined with old stone walls reminded us of some of the old European towns we’ve visited
|They grow all the produce used in the restaurant on the hotel grounds
But this was the best part of all…
We met a very, very cute little doggie that was hopping and playing around the gorgeous gardens of the hacienda.
Oh my. She was seriously adorable. Likely due to an injury, she had only one working eye which made us melt.
We started to wonder: did she live there at the hotel? I’m all about asking in situations like this. And so we did. And we discovered that this 3 or 4 month old puppy was a street dog who had just wandered onto the property. The kitchen had been feeding her scraps.
|How could we not fall in love with that face?
Would she be available for adoption? We asked, just for fun. Though asking that question was a bit surreal to me as the idea of owning a dog was still very new. I couldn’t believe we were actually asking about adopting a dog!! Oh my goodness!
And the answer was YES. The wonderful women at the front desk were GIDDY about the idea and said they would be delighted if we adopted her.
We kind of wanted to pee our pants after that. We looked at each other like – – Would we be crazy to adopt a dog down here? But how could we not do this?
It seemed unreal that it could be happening. And it felt very exciting, too.
We let the hotel know that we would LOVE to adopt her, but we weren’t able to take her with us just then as our home was 12 hours away and we knew we couldn’t take her on the bus. So we returned home and later hired someone with a car to drive up there to get her for us. In the meantime, the amazing staff at the hotel took her to a vet to get her vaccinated and prepared for the trip. (They bent over backwards to be helpful through the entire process. I can’t say enough good about the dear people working at that hotel.)
I will never forget the moment we received her.
Danny had to teach a class at church that day so I was waiting patiently at home for her to arrive.
I expected the same playful puppy. But it turns out she was scared to death (!) when the driver placed her in my arms. She was shaking terribly. She wouldn’t walk and tried to hide against a wall so I carried her in my arms to the house. I felt this love just come over me for this little being as I carried her. I had never actually held a dog before. I had never even thought I’d ever own a dog. And yet here I was walking with her – just the two of us. And I felt this overwhelming desire to care for her.
Once home, she didn’t want to go inside. After all, she likely had never been indoors. I carried her in and wanted to feed her right away. When I returned with the food I couldn’t find her – she was hiding in a dark bathroom behind a toilet. She wouldn’t eat or drink at all. In fact, she started to tip over as she was standing. I called Danny and told him to head home that second! I may have a had a little tear.
It turns out that our little girl was not only traumatized by the car ride but soooooo very tired. She had traveled all night to get to us and we figured she didn’t sleep a wink the entire time.
Danny got home and we both loved on her and tried to gain her trust. She eventually ate a little bit (she probably had never eaten dog food and so instead of eating out of the bowl, she would take it with her to a “safer” more isolated spot). We were so happy she found comfort in laying on a folded up blanket. It became her favorite little spot for the next couple of days while she became more used to our home.
Now she seems as happy and playful as ever. She is SOOO affectionate. Oh my goodness. Her favorite thing on earth is to get some affection with her head buried in our legs or arms. She just loves to follow us wherever we go and sits at our feet when we’re on the couch. When we arrive home after being out, you just can’t imagine how happy she is to see us. Her entire body wags back and forth. She’s also an incredibly well behaved dog (I don’t know how we got so lucky! I think street dogs have some extra smarts.) She comes when we call her name. She obeys us quickly if we ask her to stop doing something. She quickly learns anything we teach her. She instinctively knows to go to the bathroom outdoors. She is now looooving her daily walks (though it took many days to get her to budge while having that leash on.)
We really are loving her to bits.
And – – her name is Sila. (Or Si. Or Little Miss. Or Cutie Patootie.)
And her little Peruvian blanket is still her favorite place in the house.
And Danny refers to me as “mama” when he’s talking to her.
(Something I didn’t see coming. But it pretty much makes me melt.)
Thanks for all your excitement. 🙂 It has been exciting for us, too.
P.S. Truth be told, we thought she was a boy when we first met her. Oops!
Back then, due to her one eye, Danny was brainstorming with cyclops – and that turned into Silas. Later we realized she was a girl and by then we couldn’t bare to change her name much, since we’d been calling her Silas for two weeks before we got her. So Sila it is. It seems to suit her so well.
P.P.S – A big THANK YOU to Hacienda Cusin for providing accommodations and for going way past the call of duty in order to help us give Sila a loving home. Their staff was wonderful when we were just guests, and continued to be so helpful and accommodating when coordinating the care, vaccination, and transport of our puppy. Thank you!!!