Carole Chapuis says the $5,000 and endless hours she spent trying to rescue five half-feral dogs in the Egyptian desert was no publicity stunt. "It was two months of living hell," she said by phone Friday, describing her ordeal. "I was on the phone with the Egyptian rescue at 2 a.m. some nights." That's what it took to capture, crate, and ship three of the dogs to South Florida (two labs were adopted in their home country).
Chapuis, who runs Pet Haven in Loxahatchee, what must be one of the most luxurious animal rescues in Florida (click here for photos), got a phone call a few months ago from her aunt, who lives in Egypt. A pack of dogs that ran wild near her house on the edge of the desert was slated to be poisoned.
"She was crying," Chapuis recalls, "begging me to help her do something."
"I can't take dogs from Egypt!" Chapuis says she protested. But the constant pleading from her aunt finally wore her down. "Believe me, this was not something I was eager to do," she adds. Chapuis notes that Egyptian dogs get no respect. "They hate dogs," she says. "People throw rocks at them, shoot them with guns, go after them with knives, and slash their throats.
Chapuis ended up flying three of the Shepherd-mix mutts, one of them pregnant, all the way from Cairo to Miami International. One puppy died on the way. She put the $5,000 expense for airfare and paperwork on a credit card.
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She says she's aware that the last thing Florida needed was a few more homeless dogs -- about 200 of them pass through her rescue every year. "This was a family member, and I couldn't tell her no," she sighs. Judging from the swank and pampered pups they'll be joining, those are some damned lucky dogs.