This is us – Donata and Eduardo. We met ten years ago while on exchange in Marseille, France, and have been together ever since. Long story short, we spent the last four years living in Ecuador and now it’s time to cross the pond again and move back to Europe.

However, in those last four years our little family of two has more than doubled, now we are proud parents of two dogs Pepper and Sasha and a cat named Pancho.

I have always been a huge animal lover. So has been my family. I grew up with dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and parrots (not all at the same time, of course), once we even had a rescued baby roe deer living with us. Our pets had been our family members, and I have always dreamed to have a little furry family of my own. Eduardo, on the other hand, wasn’t so much into animals and didn’t care much for having a pet, but little by little I have converted him and now he thinks they are pretty darn cool as well.

When we moved to Quito, Ecuador, it came as no surprise that one of the first things I wanted to do was to fulfill my lifelong dream to adopt a dog. Eduardo was on board and so we did. It was the first shelter we visited. She was the first dog we saw. We clicked. We connected. We fell in love. And few hours later Pepper was already peeing on a carpet in our apartment. We adopted Pepper when she was still a puppy. She was rescued in one of the public parks in Quito, after her whole family and other stray dogs living there were poisoned…

Pepper is rather introverted and very serious, but also quite dominant and wants to be in control and aware of all new developments happening at home at all times. Even though Pepper doesn’t care much for other animals and people, except those who she already knows and loves them very much, Pepper is indeed very loving and sweet, loves car rides and playing fetch, could have a hundred doggie cookies a day and demands sleeping under the blankets. Pepper is definitely the pack leader. While Sasha would gladly follow her to the end of the world, Pancho thinks he runs his own pack, of which he is the only member.

In April of 2016 the coast of Ecuador was hit by an earthquake. I left to work there helping with the relief efforts, and this is when I met Pancho. When I found him, he was this tinny ball of fur crying for his life. Panchito was in pretty fragile state at first – malnourished, weak, too small for his age and infested with parasites -, but nothing that loads of TLC wouldn’t cure. Panchito spent his days surrounded by people 24/7, who showered him with love, and he was more than pleased to be receiving it. Because of his unusual living conditions, Pancho grew up to be a bit spoiled and incredibly friendly cat. About one week before it was time for Pancho and I to leave the Ecuadorian coast and head back to Quito, I met Sasha.

Sasha was about two – two and a half years old, malnourished, suffering from mange, eye infection and internal parasites. Yet, somehow, she had a pretty positive attitude and I swear she even smiled when I petted her for the first time. There are a lot of abandoned and neglected dogs roaming the streets of Ecuador, especially in the coast region. Many times I wanted to rescue one or another, but I was always stopped by a lack of courage, determination, lack of financial means to have one more dog, and by the fact that we would be moving back to Europe eventually. But there was something about Sasha and I just couldn’t leave her there. So, I asked Eduardo if he would be ok if I were to bring not one but two more animals back home, and since he was already converted into an animal lover, he was totally ok with it.

I couldn’t take Sasha with me at the time, but a local volunteer agreed to take care of her and bring her to us to Quito on his next trip there. Three weeks later, late at night, we picked her up from the back of a pickup truck and brought her home. The initial idea was to nurture her back to health and look for a forever home for her. But it didn’t quite work out that way… While Pancho and Sasha hit it off since the beginning, I guess because they both share the “costeñan” blood, Pepper definitely needed some time to adjust to the idea that there was one more dog in the house, and the first month we did have few incidents regarding the sharing of food and toys. But now they are the best of sisters, looking out for and protecting each other. Anyways, soon it became obvious that Sasha wasn’t going anywhere. While I was still in denial of this fact and occasionally would mention that we better get started looking for that forever home for her, one day Eduardo just said that he already loved her too much, and that Pepper was also way more mellow having a sister, and that she should stay. And she did. The most grateful dog who smiles in her sleep.

Now moving back to Europe is no longer a plan for one day in the future, it’s happening in few months. We need around $2700 to cover the costs of their trip from Ecuador to Lithuania. We would be so very grateful if you could help us to achieve this goal! Please, donate to our fundraising page: , or if you can’t help us with your donations, please, share our story with your friends.

Thank you so much!

Donata, Eduardo, Pepper, Pancho and Sasha

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Pepper, Pancho and Sasha

Pepper on her first day at home

Pancho few days after being rescued

Sasha when she was first found