Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland animal lover David's dogged determination to bring home stray he fell for on trip up the Amazon

By Jill Goligher

An Antrim man is raising funds to bring home a stray dog he came across while on his travels in the Brazilian rainforest.

David Foster decided he would treat himself to a late summer holiday to South America.

He was enjoying a nine-day cruise expedition on the Amazon when his boat docked at an island for the passengers to go swimming and snorkelling, followed by a barbecue.

The 36-year-old, who works for a medical equipment company in Coleraine, decided to stay and relax on the boat in the shade when he spotted what he thought was some jagged bogwood.

"I grabbed my binoculars for a closer look and immediately recognised it was a dog. So I informed the boat owner, Hugo, who was handling a drone to keep an eye on the snorkellers," he said.

"When the guys who were snorkelling came back to the boat, the stray suddenly plunged into the water. So I leaped off the boat and ran down to the beach where she ran towards me; I knew something wasn't right.

"I fell to my knees and felt this bag of bones sticking into me, her tail wagging, covered with parasites and burns from the sun. This is when I thought to myself: 'I'm doing something about this'."

An animal lover, David has a Facebook page 'Play for Strays', which is dedicated to enhancing the lives of abandoned and stray domestic animals across the globe. Based in Northern Ireland, the charity was created to bring toys and a bit of fun to street animals and shelters all over the world.

David added: "I absolutely adore dogs so when this little black thing came bounding towards me I knew I had to help her. Me and another guy on the boat decided to name her Negrita, meaning 'small, little black thing'.

"Without hesitation I asked the galley staff to give me some food for her. No way could I leave her there alone to fend for herself, we really were in the middle of a jungle."

At his next stop David managed to get Negrita to a vet last Monday, where she was checked over.

He said he "completely fell in love with the mongrel and wants to bring her home".

"I have arranged a foster parent for her in Sao Paulo to mind her until I can arrange all the necessary paperwork and fundraising to get my Amazon girl home," he added.

David has set up an appeal where he hopes to raise £5,000 to bring Negrita to Northern Ireland at gofundme.com/amazon-girl

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