Surely we’ve all had the experience of falling in love with a stray animal while we’re on holiday and desperately wanting to take them home.
For most of us, that remains just a fleeting wish. We know we can’t really take in a bunch of kittens we spot on the beach or welcome in a stray dog.
But Levi Danyeil refused to let any challenges stop her from rescuing a dog she found roaming the streets on holiday in Greece.
Levi, 22, visited Zante earlier this year and made friends with a stray dog named Punter.
When her holiday came to an end, Levi was devastated to return home without her new pal by her side.
Weeks after the holiday Levi couldn’t stop thinking about Punter so contacted search groups on the island to try to track him down.
The hard work paid off. The dog was tracked down and has now been brought back to the UK, with Levi travelling to London this week to greet Punter as he arrived on a ferry.
Levi said: ‘I was in Greece for seven nights and on the very first night I met him.
‘Then I saw him the night after that, and then the next until I grew really attached.
‘I started to ask the locals about him to find out if he was owned, but lots of them said he was new to the village and they hadn’t seen him before, so then I found out he was a stray.
‘I tried to track him down before we left, roaming the streets with a lead and dog treats, but unfortunately I was unsuccessful and had to leave the country without finding him.’
Levi was determined to track Punter down so she got in touch with two Zante-based animal charities, Zante Strays and Healing Paws.
Within 24 hours a woman who was in Zante on holiday messaged Levi a photo of Punter, asking if he was the dog she was looking for.
Right away Levi asked the charities to send a volunteer to the beach, where they were able to pick up Punter, put him into boarding, get him vaccinated, sort out his pet passport, and finally bring him over to the UK.
Punter was reunited with Levi this week and now lives with her and her two other dogs, Oscar and Bella, in Devon.
‘I travelled to London to be re-united with him yesterday, and I just cried,’ said Levi. ‘All the way home he had his nose on my hand.
‘He’s settling in now, he’s been going mad roaming around the house and it’s so nice to finally have him here.
‘He’s so desperate for love and affection, and such a lovely dog after all he has been through.
‘Before he was dodging cars not knowing when he’d next be fed, even having to eat horse faeces to survive, yet he was so loving and happy from the moment I saw him.
‘Lots of people have been so touched by him and the story, and I’ve gotten so many messages of support which is just lovely.
‘One lady even commented saying that he doesn’t have a clue how famous he is, and it’s so true, it’s so nice to see how many people care about animals too.
‘If I hadn’t have pushed to find Punter and been so determined, then he probably wouldn’t be with me now so to anyone thinking of doing something similar, be patient and don’t give up.
‘To think about the awful life he must have had, to now know that he’s got a bed, he’s got food he’s got everything that a dog should have, I can’t wait to shower him with love!’
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