When realtor Scott Kalmbach came to Guatemala in November, he knew he’d be giving a house to someone in need, but he had no idea he’d also be giving a home to a four-legged friend.
He’s a member of Home for a Home, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that builds homes for Guatemalan families. One day, while walking through Balanya’s cobblestone streets with several employees, Kalmbach was nearly tripped by a little, tan-colored animal that had rushed across the road at him.
It was a puppy, of course.
“She was wagging her tail so rapidly and fiercely,” Kalmbach told The Dodo, “and she kept falling over from all the enthusiasm.” In comparison to the many other strays he’d seen on his journey, he was shocked at how vibrant and enthusiastic the small puppy was.
He got out his phone and shot a picture, but he had to hurry since he had a full day of work in a nearby hamlet. Nonetheless, he told himself that he would return for her.
“I said to myself, ‘If I locate that puppy when we go back to Balanya, I’m going to take her home with me,'” Kalmbach explained. “She was such a cute young child,” says the narrator.
Chica was the name he chose for her. When he returned to his hotel that night, Kalmbach searched the internet for an animal rescue organization that could assist him and Chica. Unidos Para Los Animales was one of the organizations he came upon.
Linda Green, the rescue’s founder, agreed straight away to obtain Chica some vet treatment, vaccines, and documentation so she could go back to Kalmbach in California if she could be found. After all, the organization sends dogs to California every year to find homes. It was fated to happen.
After devising a strategy, the next stage was to locate Chica. He looked all throughout the hamlet but couldn’t find anything, so he turned to a group of youngsters for assistance.
“It was a big slope of waste,” Kalmbach explained, “where both youngsters and stray dogs searched among the mounds of junk, seeking for anything to eat or play with.” “Beside this tower of debris, Chica was sleeping in a nest of tall grass, her eyes sparkling and her tail swinging furiously.”
Chica was in horrible shape when Kalmbach was eventually able to take her up. She was frail, covered with fleas, vermin, and dung, and it was impossible to determine when she had last eaten. But, despite everything, she was overjoyed.
On the way to Antigua, where he planned to meet Green, the founder of the animal rescue, Kalmbach held the small puppy while he put up a milk container in his car with some pine needles inside to serve as Chica’s bed. Chica had finally found a secure haven, and she slept the whole 2.5-hour journey.
Kalmbach felt Chica would be in good care when he left her off at the rescue. “I’m going home with a tale and a surprise,” he said in a brief email to his family in San Francisco.
Little Chica gained some much-needed weight at the rescue during the next month, and she was thoroughly treated for parasites and fleas. She was soon health-cleared, immunized, and ready for her big day: returning home.
She arrived in San Francisco at midnight and was reunited with her father. Despite the fact that they had been apart for a month, Chica immediately recognized him. The adorable dog hadn’t altered at all, apart from being considerably healthier and bigger.
Chica would be a fantastic fit for the family, according to Kalmbach, and he was correct. She was immediately at ease and took to all of the other pets as well as the couple’s two children.
“She is wonderful with children and has been a wonderful stepmother to our other animals, including bunnies and goats,” Kalmbach added. “She is very loving and enjoys sleeping in bed beneath the blankets.”
Chica enjoys spending time with her family, but her real colors shine at her favorite spot: the dog park. “She gets along with other dogs and is the dog park’s belle of the ball,” Kalmbach added.
Chica is reaching her first birthday this autumn, and after such an uncertain start, she is having a dream life with her new family. Kalmbach will never forget the first time he saw her on those dusty streets – the moment that forever transformed both of their lives.