A Dog’s Journey Across the World

With the help of a local rescue group and determined friends on three continents, one lucky terrier made it from Nepal to Washington. Now he needs a home.

By: Marisa M. Kashino

Once abandoned on the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal, Jerry, a now-32-pound terrier-mix, arrived last week in a small crate at Dulles International Airport. He had boarded the first of two airplanes 29 hours earlier—but his journey to Washington started long before that.

In March 2012, Iolanda Jaquemet, living in Kathmandu because her husband was assigned there with the United Nations, spotted the black-and-white mutt down the road from her house. He had a wire tied around his neck, and based on how fearful and skinny he was, she guessed he’d been badly abused. Though she couldn’t take him in herself—she already had five cats and one dog, all rescued—she started feeding him and doing her best to intervene when the tougher street dogs picked on him. She decided to call him Jerry.

A few months later, Jaquemet noticed a rash on Jerry’s back. He had never before allowed her to pet him, but now he let her apply some cream. He soon trusted her enough to let her scoop him up and take him to the vet. Every day for the next week, Jaquemet drove Jerry to get his treatment. During the half-hour ride, he would lie still next to her, with his head in her lap.

She had Jerry neutered, nursed him into a healthy, sweet-tempered pup, and searched—without luck—for a good home for him in Kathmandu. This spring, more than a year after first meeting Jerry, she redoubled her efforts to find him a permanent family, since her husband’s job was transferring them to Burkina Faso, West Africa, and she knew Jerry wouldn’t survive without her.

One of Jaquemet’s friends in Nepal, Klari Fajzi, there because of a State Department assignment, had adopted her dog from Friends of Homeless Animals, a rescue group based in Northern Virginia, when her family lived in Washington. Though the shelter typically rescues local animals, Fajzi reached out to its K9 intake coordinator, Sue Lehman, hoping she could help. The request was unusual, but with the approval of the shelter’s president, Lehman agreed to find Jerry a foster family in Washington.

Now in West Africa, Jaquemet volunteered to pay for Jerry’s travel costs, while Fajzi set to work filling out the required paperwork to get Jerry from Nepal to the US. On July 2, with humans rooting for him—and worrying about him—from three continents, the terrier boarded a plane bound for Doha, Qatar, then caught a connecting flight to Washington.

Rescuers from Friends of Homeless Animals, along with his new foster family, found him in his crate in the cargo area at Dulles. Despite the arduous trip—and 18 hours since his last feeding and bathroom break—Jerry was calm and happy, and eager to meet his welcoming party. During the car ride to his foster home, he laid still next to the family’s son, with his head resting in the boy’s lap.

In the past week, Jerry has come to love chasing squirrels in the backyard and learning how to go on leashed walks. Though he’s enjoying some hard-earned relaxation, his journey continues, since he must still find a permanent home. If you’re interested in adopting him, you can fill out an online application.