Emotional reunion after couple spend US$11k bringing dog to New Zealand from Mexico
Crowdfunding in New Zealand meant lucky pup has gone from dirt and starvation to seeing beaches, forests and rivers for the first time
By Melissa Nightingale
Maggie the dog has spent her life wandering the streets of Mexico, never knowing anything more than concrete and buildings.
Sixteen thousand New Zealand dollars later, her owners can’t wait to take her to the beach.
Maggie was dirty, starving and covered in ticks when Karla Turner spotted her on the way home from University in the Mexican city of Monterrey two years ago.
“I talked to her,” Karla said, demonstrating kiss noises. “After that she started to follow me so I decided to just bring her home.”
Karla and her Kiwi husband, James Turner, took Maggie in and nursed her back to health, hoping to hand her over to an adoption agency.
“Over time she slowly became our dog,” he said. “I didn’t want to have a dog in Mexico because I didn’t want to have to leave her behind.”
But Maggie wormed her way into the couple’s hearts, which made coming home to New Zealand so hard.
Since about September last year the Turners and James’ family back in Waikanae have been working to bring Maggie over to New Zealand.
The first quote they received to bring her home was NZ$25,000 (US$17,225) - factoring in flights, quarantine time and stays in dog motels.
Luckily, the end cost was significantly less at NZ$16,000 (US$11,000), but still would have been unachievable without the help of generous New Zealanders.
A page called Bring Maggie Home through New Zealand crowdfunding site Givealittle earned nearly NZ$15,000 (US$10,335), a fact that has “overwhelmed” the Turners.
“Maybe some Mexicans, they’re not really into maybe helping animals, but I’m so thankful that this country loves to give to animals, their money, their love, their support,” said Karla.
The couple have been apart from Maggie since she was taken to Los Angeles to spend six months in quarantine. She was then flown to New Zealand and placed in quarantine in Levin for a further 10 days.
Today they were finally able to reunite.
“At first I think she was having trouble recognising us, then when she peed herself I was like ‘oh yeah, she remembers us’,” James said.
They plan to take her to the beach, to explore forests and rivers, and to meet other animals at James’ parents farm in Kapiti, where she will live.
They are astounded at the kindness of donors who wanted to help bring Maggie home.
Karla said Maggie would always be a part of their lives, and when they had kids the children would grow up alongside their beloved dog.
“We’re really happy that Maggie came into our life. I think the best things come when you don’t expect it.”