Dog News

Chilean stray dog lives the American dream

by Katherine

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130615 Chili dog
Photo credit: Kalyan O’Connor

A stray dog from Valparaíso, Chile, had no idea that by photobombing a picture and spending eight hours following the O’Connor family while they were visiting the picturesque city, his life would change drastically.

Kaylan O’Connor from Seattle, Wash., was on a cruise with her family when they stopped in Valparaíso, Chile. This South American country has a large population of stray dogs, and it is very common to encounter them wandering the streets.

While O’Connor and her family posed to take a picture, the stray dog sat at her feet. O’Connor instantly fell in love with the dog.

“He jumped at us like saying ‘hello,'” O’Connor told BBC World. “He was sweet and he followed us the rest of the time we were there. We knew he needed a home.”

The dog was lovingly named Chili Dog, but the 8-hour love affair had to come to an end when O’Connor had to get back to her cruise.

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Chili Dog
Photo Credit: BBC

They said good bye, but O’Connor knew that wouldn’t be the last time she would see the sweet dog.

Once back in Seattle, O’Connor reached out to animal shelters in Chile. She searched for someone to assist her in finding the dog, and transporting him to the United States.

Alexis Castillo, director of Red de Defensores y Rescatistas de Animales (EDRA) in Chile’s capital city,  Santiago de Chile, told BBC world that he received an email from O’Connor back in February asking for help in finding Chili Dog.

“The email said [O’Connor] had fallen for a stray dog and wanted to arrange transport back to Seattle,” said Castillo. “At first I was skeptic. I replied back and said I needed $100 to pay for expenses in trying to locate the street dog. If I received the money that same day before midnight, I would be able to search for the dog the very next day. Twenty minutes later I had received $200 via Western Union.”

The search for Chili Dog was arduous. It took Castillo and a small team of volunteers a little over a month to locate the stray. The dog was vaccinated, neutered and prep for travel, but first Castillo had to convince an airline to transport the dog. The transport was arranged and finalized a month after Chili Dog was found.

O’Connor spent almost $2,000 in the search and relocation of her beloved stray dog.

“Money well spent,” O’Connor told BBC World.

EDRA believes the lucky dog is 2-years old, and was not born as a stray dog. It seems he was abandoned on the streets of Valparaíso.

On May 28, 2013, Chili Dog arrived in Seattle after a 20-hour trip. Today he is living the American Dream along his other 2 canine brothers, Auto and Klaus. Chili Dog no longer scavenges the streets looking for food. He eats multiples times a day, sleeps comfortably inside a warm house and constantly gets spoiled by his now forever family.

What a lucky canine!