South African expat rescued a dog in Joburg and flew her to Portugal!

A kind woman living in Portugal could not stop thinking about a South African dog who was about to be euthanised, so she decided to rescue her and move the pup overseas live with her.


Lagos, Portugal – While people continue to emigrate from South Africa, and a disappointing number of those leave their furry companions behind (adding to the existing strain on welfare organisations), this fur parent to an existing family of three dogs in Portugal, saw a notice that Marley would be put to sleep soon.

Janey Jane (as her name appears on Facebook) had moved to Portugal from Belgium two years ago and had made a new home in Lagos, but without even meeting Marley, immediately adopted her and arranged for her to be flown to Portugal to become part of their family!

Jane found the ‘South Africans Emigrating with Pets‘ page on Facebook and posted about Marley’s story in the hopes that it would encourage South Africans leaving the country to take their pets with them.

“I am amazed at the exodus of people leaving South Africa! I’m on this site as I have adopted a dog from a shelter in Gauteng and she is flying to join me here in Portugal as soon as Jaco from Animal Travel Services tells us when she is booked to fly to me. My head was saying no, what about all the dogs in Portugal who need to be rescued but my heart said you cannot let Marley be euthanised!”

Jane first heard about Marley in May 2019 while she was on holiday in Plettenberg Bay, when a friend in Port Elizabeth posted a photo of the pup to her Facebook page. Marley is a year old Australian Cattle dog who had been left at the shelter for unknown reasons, and she was due to be euthanised as no one wanted her.

“Something about her caught my heart. I contacted the original poster Alicia Tewson, a South African who tirelessly works to save Cattle Dogs and together we made a plan to rescue Marley.

Without Alicia’s help, it would not have happened!”

Jane kept the group up to date with posts about the entire journey and on the 29th of May confirmed that her chip was finally in, blood titers for rabies had been done, and all they had to do now… was wait.

“I think she can travel in early July so not too long to wait. I just need to find a company in Lisbon to help me import her as I have been told without a company it can take 8 hours and they get it done in less than 2. I think she goes from Johannesburg to Amsterdam with KLM; she will stay overnight in a dog hotel in Schipol and then head on another flight to Lisbon.

I live 3 hours from Lisbon on the Algarve, so it’s going to be a long trip for her, and we have never even met. She is a brave young lady.” 

And 3 weeks later – on the 19th July – Jane gave the update every one had been waiting for!

“My rescue dog Marley travelled from Johannesburg to Amsterdam last night. She arrived in Amsterdam this morning and is staying in the KLM dog hotel. Tomorrow she flies on to Lisbon and her new home with me. Marley and I have never met each other, I saw her on a Facebook, and she was going to be euthanised. Jaco from Animal Travel Services has been amazing. When I called KLM animal hotel today to check that Marley was ok, I was informed that over 200 dogs had arrived at the hotel today!!! The guy told me that Quite a few of the 200 had travelled from SA!!”

The pup’s trip would last three days, as she was dropped off at the Johannesburg Airport on Wednesday the 17th of July, and would only arrive in Lisbon on the 20th of July but the arduous journey would mean that Marley would eventually find her forever home!

“After a long trip from Johannesburg, via Amsterdam Marley arrived in Lisbon yesterday. She got held up in customs as they first took their lunch break and then their computers went down. She then had a three-hour drive to her new home in Lagos, Portugal.

First, we had to introduce her to my three Portuguese water dogs. It went well, and Marley was very cautious. She slept in her new bed in the living room. Our other three sleep in our bedroom, but that is about to change. They have had breakfast now, and we are shortly going for a walk around a lake near our home.

Thank you all for your interest in Marley’s story and your comments.

And none of it would have happened without the amazing Alicia Tewson who got her from the kennel, got her chip, rabies, and looked after a dog who was quite distressed, wouldn’t eat, etc.

 My original post was really just to encourage others to bring their pets with them. That it can be done. It’s not insurmountable I’m not looking to be a hero.” 

Jane, you are a hero and we all thank you for not only saving Marley but for reminding all South Africans how important it is to take your fur-baby with you, wherever you go!

Sources: South Africans Emigrating with Pets 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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