A German Shepherd Dog mix was close to death when Chris and Bob Thornton ran across her, chained outside an empty home in a remote region of Mount Sagra, near Alicante, Spain.
It was Christmas Day and the English couple were on a walking holiday with friends, when they found the dog tied up with no shelter from the sun and without food and water. Another dog was chained up next to her but had died.
The severely emaciated and dehydrated dog was just feet away from a stream, but could not reach it. “It must have been torture,” Chris recounted. “I don’t think she would have survived another night. She was very emaciated and could barely stand. She had a huge raw wound around her neck where the chain had cut in as she struggled to get free.”
They released the weak dog and gave her water from the stream. The next day they returned to her to give her some food. They drove away after delivering the food, but felt terrible about leaving her.
They drove down the narrow laneways of the area and went for a walk. When they returned to their car three hours later, the dog was by the car. Chris said, “It was absolutely amazing she found us. There were so many turn-offs and ways she could have gone wrong.”
The couple felt destiny was telling them the dog was meant to be with them and they decided then and there never to leave her again and named her Noa. They took her to the nearest vet who treated her neck wound. They then took Noa to the animal rescue centre in the area.
When the Thorntons returned home they contacted the centre to begin the adoption process and arrange the necessary paperwork to have her flown back to England. In all, after covering the vet bills, animal passport and flight back to the UK it cost around £1000 ($2000 USD) to save her.
Now Noa is enjoying life in the Lake District with her family. She loves going on long walks and is spoiled rotten.
“Everybody loves her, she is so popular,” said Chris. “She will certainly have a better Christmas this year than the one she endured last year.”