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May 15, 2018

Welcome to the Family (Dadli Dogs)

Our trip to Antigua a few weeks ago wasn't just for a beach vacation. It was to adopt these two adorable ragamuffins. We're pleased to introduce you to Scarlett (previously named Unity) and Zac, our newest family members. They are Native Antiguan dogs (or NADs). NADs are also called "Dadli Dogs" after the original name of the island (Wadadli). You might also be familiar with the name "potcake", which is used for all Caribbean mixed dogs. They are true mutts; every dog is a little bit different.


PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

When we were on Antigua last February, we spent a day at the PAAWS animal shelter walking the dogs and playing with the puppies. PAAWS Antigua is a no-kill shelter that relies solely on donations (no government funding) to keep it going. The employees have little time to walk and socialize the dogs so they welcome tourists and visitors to come by and help out.

Our Chloe is getting older and isn't up for playing much anymore. Last summer we started thinking about getting a younger dog so that Sasha would have someone to run around with. We tried adopting through a few of the local shelters and rescues, but were turned down either because we don't have a fenced property (we have 15 acres of rural land) or because they wanted their dogs to go to a single-dog home.

Of the many dogs we walked last year on Antigua we had taken a special liking to Unity. She's a sweet little thing who was found wandering in Parham in 2016 at only 8 weeks old.

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

We contacted PAAWS to find out if she was still available and (sadly and happily) she still was. They told us she was very close to her kennel-mate Zac though, and asked if we would be willing to take both. How could we say no?

We were familiar with Zac as we had walked him last year when we walked Unity. He'd also been at the shelter since 2016, arriving a few months after her. He's outgoing and energetic and in love with everyone he meets.

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

So began the long process of getting the dogs to Canada. The biggest obstacle to adopting an island dog is the cost involved. There are:
- the medical expenses (making sure they have all of their shots and paperwork),
- the flight costs (more than twice as much if they are unaccompanied), and surprisingly,
- the cost to send a travel crate to the shelter (it costs the shelter over $300 to buy one on island).

The options were either 1) have them shipped as cargo, or 2) fly to Antigua to get them. Of course, we would then be paying for our own flights, but we would also get a vacation out of the deal. We spent quite a bit of time working it out with the shelter and watching flight prices until we finally decided to fly there in April. We managed to find two used travel crates on Kijiji (like Craigslist) for $50 each - a shout out to Free Korean Dogs for selling them - and packed one suitcase between us so that we wouldn't have to pay for extra baggage.

Once we were on the island, in between some hiking and beach R&R, we spent time taking the dogs to the vet for their rabies shots, helping out at the shelter, and visiting the government vet to get the final paperwork approved.

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

I'll admit that I didn't really enjoy the last couple of days of vacation as I was so stressed out about the return trip. But it ended up being so easy. We got the dogs checked in, paid our fees, and then tried to relax before the flight. The flight itself was a bit bumpy and there was a medical emergency on board that we thought might re-route our plane to Miami, but it ended up going smoothly. Once in Toronto we visited border security to have our paperwork inspected, paid our fee, and we were on our way home.

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

Since then it's been very busy at our place. The dogs eat in shifts and we go outside for pee breaks a lot. The new dogs have an entire room to themselves right now (with a DIY gate!) so that we can keep them separated from Chloe and Sasha when we aren't home (We don't need any arguments to break out without a referee present!)

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

It's been nearly three weeks and Scarlett and Zac are gradually getting used to their new home and becoming part of our "pack".

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

They're venturing out to explore the rest of the house more, getting into everything, and just yesterday Zac tried to get Sasha to play with him for the first time.

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs
PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

We're so happy to have them here. And so happy that we could do a small part to help the animals of Antigua. If you would like to adopt or donate, you can contact PAAWS Antigua directly.

And if you are vacationing on Antigua, or know someone who is, consider being a flight volunteer to get one or more dogs to their forever home. It costs you absolutely nothing and the shelter will handle all of the paperwork/arrangements at both ends of your flight.

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs

PAAWS Antigua dadli dogs





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