Editor’s note: In Part 1 of this story of an international adoption of a street dog, we met Maddie—a charming, friendly dog living on the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal. She was rounded up and spayed by Sneha’s Care, an animal rescue organization that cares for 100 street dogs at any given time. Hillary Kloetlzi, a visiting American volunteer who runs Nepal Street Animal Rescue, was taken in by Maddie’s charm and determined to find a forever home for her. After 2 months of searching, Hillary found a match! Maddie’s new mom, Amy, lives in upstate New York, USA. In Part 2 of Maddie’s story on May 16, 2017, we followed her journey from Kathmandu to New York. It was a long flight that headed east with a layover in Seoul South Korea. But Maddie made it safely to New York and to her new mom. She had spent most of her short life on the streets of Kathmandu and at Sneha’s shelter, and now in Part 3 of her story, we learn how she has adapted to life as part of a family—including another dog, cats, rabbits, chickens, and her new pet parents, as well as adapting to all the new sights, smells, sounds, furniture, food and family culture of her new forever home.
Maddie Tells Her Story
My name is Maddie…you probably remember me as a Nepali street dog that was rescued by some kind people from Sneha’s Care. Being taken from the streets and loaded into a van for the trip to a strange place was really scary. There were many of us taken to this place that day. We all had the same surgery so we wouldn’t have any puppies. We got some shots and lots of good food. I loved the people who rescued me and tried my best to stand out amongst the 15 other dogs in my kennel. I would run up and down the wire fencing when a human passed by hoping for a kind word or a touch. When it was time to leave this place, two nice ladies decided that I was special and let me stay.
One of the ladies took to me right away. She told me that one day I would become an American Princess. When she left the shelter and didn’t come back, I knew that Sneha would always take care of me because she was Mom.
For nearly 6 months I lived at Sneha’s Care. It became my home. HOME is a special place for a dog like me…so many of my kind, about 30,000 in the Kathmandu Valley will never know home. Time passed quickly for me at Sneha’s Care. So much to do and so many other dogs coming and going. I always had good food and knew if I got sick that Sneha would make me well again like she does for my other friends. My young life was just about as perfect as it could be for a street dog.
It’s Time to Go Home
One day Sneha told me I was going to go on a long journey to a new home. A scary looking plastic box was brought around. For days before I left Sneha’s Care, I was put into the box and left there. I was told this was so I would get used to being in this new place. The Veterinarian came around and made sure that I was very healthy. Everyone was being extra nice to me and I didn’t know or care why, I just knew I liked it.
Sneha made this great video about my journey from the streets of Kathmandu all the way to my new home in New York.
Saying Goodbye to Sneha
One morning very early, the men came and put me into the box. They loaded me into an ambulance, the same one that brought me to the shelter, and drove me to a new place where Sneha was waiting for me. Peering out of the box and seeing Sneha made me relax. Sneha took me out of the box and gave me a long and very strong squeeze…I think she was crying. Sneha was telling me goodbye and that I was going to a wonderful place far away. Some important men came and looked at some papers. I was very scared and confused when I was put back into the box. Big men came and loaded me onto a cart and wheeled me away from Sneha. I never felt so alone.
For 24 hours I stayed in the box. I was so scared that the time seemed to never go forward. It seemed like years that I was in the crate. When I left my home in Nepal, I never knew that I would fly over 7,000 to my new home in the USA and that there were many people checking in every few hours to make sure that I was safe and on schedule. Little did I know but at the end of this long journey, I would be meeting my forever Mom.
My box was taken out into the light and more men loaded me onto another cart and wheeled me to a van. It seemed like I was never going to stop moving. Soon enough however, one of them men told me that I “had arrived”. Arrived? Where? Why? Was Sneha at my new home? After a few more hours in the box, my box was picked up and loaded into the back of a car. I heard a voice say to me “Welcome home Maddie.” HOME!
The car ride in the box seemed like it took forever but there was a voice in the car saying my name and talking to me in a soft tone. I didn’t know this lady but I did know she was being kind and reassuring me that I was safe.
Exploring My New Home
At last! Freedom from the box. The lady with the calm and soothing voice reached in and took me out. She put a new collar on me and attached it to a leash. My new friend told me she put me on the leash so she could always know where I was. At first I didn’t want to go far but the new smells and sounds were so different than my Nepali home. The lady at the other end of the leash said her name was “Amy” and that she was now my “Dog-Ma.”
Amy let me sniff around the big yard for a bit and then she sat down on a fluffy chair outside. I was so tired and I was also very stinky. Dog-Ma said that I could stay stinky for a night because she knew a bath would make me even more stressed. Instead, she sat and I quickly climbed up onto the back of the soft chair, put my head on Dog-Ma’s shoulder so I could smell her breath and I fell asleep. In just a few short moments I had claimed Dog-Ma as my person.
My first 24 hours in my new home were very exciting. I got to lay on a long and very soft thing called a couch next to a man who Amy told me was “Dog-Pa.” I was leery of this man but soon warmed up when he allowed me to get to trust and love him at my own pace. And then there were the animals! Animals everywhere! Dog-Ma told me I had to get to know and respect the kitties, the rabbits, the chickens and my new Dog-Brother! Everywhere there were new friends. I was a bit too curious with the cats. They do NOT like having a strange dog bark at them and charge them. It took me just a few days to learn that if I was gentler with the cats, they wouldn’t feel the need to swat at me and hiss.
The scariest thing that happened the first day was when Dog-Ma went out the door to feed something called rabbits. I howled at the door like I thought my heart was breaking. But she came back quickly and I was back to my happy place.
The first night, I slept in what Dog-Ma called “the big bed” and it was heaven! The first days passed so quickly. Dog-Ma taught me all about what it is to be in a proper home. She slowly introduced me to really good dog food. She allowed me to explore further and further from the house each day but always on the leash. She helped me to learn that going potty outside would be rewarded and that I no longer had to go wherever I could find space. She told me that I could lay, sit, nap, play just about anywhere inside the house. Dog-Ma tells everyone that she is very surprised how quickly I adapted to my new surroundings.
New and Wonderful Things, Especially Dog-Ma’s Love, Even When I Make Mistakes
Dog-Ma says that I am darn near perfect. I have been in my new home for a few months and each day with Dog-Ma and Dog-Pa is better than the next! I sleep in Dog-Ma’s big bed and sometimes I will even search out Dog-Pa at night. My best friend is a little cat…… I learned quickly that cats aren’t all that bad and once I stopped chasing them and that they really can play and play. Dog-Ma says that she can still tell I have some old habits from the streets and from living in the shelter. I still like to eat anything and that includes things that might not be too good for me. I have managed to get up on the kitchen table and eat some of the cat food. Sometimes I forget that I don’t need to eat everything that I see because I will get my own food two times a day and treats! Treats! They are my favorite thing besides Dog-Ma. I have treats that I can chew for what seems like days and days. Antlers, hooves, bones, anything that will keep me busy and stop me from chewing the corner of the couch. Yeah, Dog-Ma says it’s an old couch anyway and I don’t mean to chew strange things. I guess I am still learning what is off-limits and I am only about 8 months old after all. I’m still a puppy.
Dog-Ma tells everyone she is very proud of me for making such great strides in such a short time. Even my potty-training is almost perfect. I do have a small accident now and then but those are becoming few and far between. Given that the world has been my toilet, I am pretty proud of myself for being able to hold it in when I could easily go anywhere, any time in my old life.
I have met many nice people. Friends of Dog-Ma and Dog-Pa and they think I am perfect. I have 2 acres to explore at my new home, although Dog-Ma never lets me wander off too far and I know I am always being watched. My days are joyful from the moment I get up in the morning and hear Dog-Ma’s voice and begin playing with my friend the cat while waiting for food to the end of the day when it grows dark and I sit next to Dog-Pa on the couch, gnawing on a treat and watching people and animals from a lighted box with sound.
Every day, I wake up and think this has to be a dream. Every day, the life I had on the streets and at the shelter grows to be a distant memory. Every day I grow more secure, stronger and more devoted to my new family of people and animals. Every day I know what it is to be loved, even if I do make a mistake. Every day, I see, do and learn something new. Every day, I grow more in love with Dog-Ma and Dog-Pa. Every day, I am reminded that without the love from Sneha and her friend Hillary, I wouldn’t be here. Every day, I know what it feels like to love and be loved unconditionally. Every day I wake up and realize that I am, finally, HOME.
Sneha’s Care is in much need of:
- Vets and vet techs
- Shelter workers (hardworking people who don’t mind getting dirty and helping out in the kennel)
- People to help arrange international adoptions
Contact Hillary Kloetzli for more information at Nepal Street Animal Rescue.
Donations may also be made directly to Sneha’s Care.
Latest posts by Hillary Kloetzli (see all)
- Rescuing a Dog from Abroad:3 International Adoption Stories - April 1, 2018
- Sneha’s Care Rescue and World Vets Team Up To Reduce Street Dog Overpopulation in Nepal - January 17, 2018
- Maddie’s Story Part 3: Forever Home - July 14, 2017