Eva the Dog’s Journey: From Near-Death in Jordan to the U.S.

When I heard about Tammie Gilfoyle and her story about rescuing her dog Eva, I knew I wanted to share her story. I learned about Tammie through her boyfriend Ari (who owns Zingermans in Ann Arbor for any of you Michigan people), when I was in Michigan visiting my brother for his birthday. I was connected to Tammie and wanted to learn all about her journey with getting her dog Eva from Jordan and also why she became so passionate about the treatment of animals in Jordan. After hearing her story and learning about everything she knows, I too have become passionate about spreading awareness about the horrible treatment of dogs in Jordan. I, like I’m sure many of you, had no idea that dogs were treated so poorly in Jordan and I’m happy to be able to bring awareness to this travesty today, with Eva’s story.

For more information on stopping dog abuse in Jordan, make sure to like the Canaan Dogs for Adoption Facebook page and also use #stop_killing_them_jo to all of your Facebook, Instagram and twitter posts.

Here’s Tammie’s story about how she rescued her dog, Eva, from near death in Jordan (after being intentionally run over)…

It has been almost exactly one month since Eva arrived to me, in a crate on a direct flight from Amman, Jordan. Yes, I adopted a three-legged dog from Jordan (the country). The next question that follows is how in the world did you find her, or “WHY?”

There is a long story here, but I believe any love story worth the struggle is one that is meandering and purposeful and passionate, and also worth the telling.

I first learned of this small animal rescue group in Jordan because of another dog needing a home. Aslan. He has a wheelchair and is swoon-worthy because of his sweetness. “Goats of Anarchy” posted a picture of Aslan, saying “this sweet pup has not been adopted for eight months, step up people!”  We were in Colorado at the time; social media takes us to interesting places these days. The algorithms are ones we’ve created. Moving from San Francisco to Ann Arbor four plus years ago, I finally hopped on the ol’ Instagram and Facebook bandwagon.

That is how I found Eva.

First, I tried desperately to adopt Aslan. I couldn’t sleep. I was communicating with the rescuers at all hours, googling “time in Jordan.”  At the same time, I was thinking is this for real? The volunteer asked for photos of our yard, where the dog would be sleeping, letters from our vets, etc.  Ann Arbor is full of extraordinary doctors and vets and even with their letters, the volunteer wanted to be sure whoever rescued him would fight for this dog’s life.

The decision came down to myself and another family in New Jersey.  I wrote a vision statement about my life with Aslan. The day came and the decision was 50/50. The family in New Jersey had experience with dogs without use of their back legs, and I did not. Aslan, went home to them. I cried. I loved Aslan from a distance in my own way.

The volunteer let me know that there were a few other dogs he was helping to foster that needed homes and, if it were the right fit, I had already passed the criteria.  I took a step back from my emotions, I painted, I wrote, I thought.

The volunteer sent me some information on a few of his cases he was working on…

Throughout this journey I started to painfully learn about dogs in Jordan. Mass killing. Shooting. Stoning. Starving. Not just by adults or authorities, children too. There are no animal shelters in Jordan. There are no spay or neutering programs in Jordan. Dogs are viewed as filthy animals. Owners of dogs are also in danger. Dogs are managed by mass killing. 

Eva, at around four months old, was run over by a man in Jordan. Repeatedly. On purpose. I know.  My Eva. The super tri-paw-super-girl. The woman that scooped her up off the street is the one that saved her life. We are in continuous contact about Eva’s progress and just to share silly photos and videos of Eva loving her life! I love this woman for many reasons.

I was in the airport leaving Colorado after learning Aslan would be going to another loving family. Nothing sad about that–right? Yet I couldn’t stop crying. We were in the Delta lounge in the airport and I couldn’t stop crying. I just told Ari, we have to do something. He said he knew but it would be a lot of work. I told him I knew that and I would do whatever it took.

The rescue volunteer and I were emailing often. I told him, soon after I had time to think about her and I was home.

Eva.

I want her, I want to take care of her.

Let’s do it. As much as I loved Aslan from a distance, he was the catalyst for my journey with Eva. Because of Aslan, another tender life was saved!!! He sparked this fire in me!

When Eva was run over, both or her legs were crushed. To save her life, one was amputated. The other existing back leg had a pin and an external metal brace put on it to ensure healing. All of this was done in Jordan.

Countless emails continued between the rescue volunteer and myself about her healing, the timing, the flight, the raising of funds, etc.  When it came time to raise funds for her flight to the U.S., the volunteer started a crowd funding page for $1,000 to go towards her flight. I was told by another woman who adopted a dog from the same person that he wouldn’t accept money.  I still tried. I was so excited to see tangible work to get her “home.” I donated a meager $100. Who could argue with that? Just push the line over by that much…

Within one hour I was refunded. Following a letter from the volunteer saying thank you, but to please save my money for Eva’s treatment when she arrives and her whole lifetime with me. I was and still am, amazed by that gesture.

The money was raised. There were more funds raised by the volunteer for her surgery and time at the clinic, and food, and travel crate. He has a network of very kind people.

The time came closer for her to come home to us, but they had to be entirely sure her existing leg was healed enough to travel. It is an 11-hour direct flight, plus customs once she arrives. A LONG journey. Eva’s flight was schedule for September 1st. I was told I would get a phone call about picking her up. I did. All was confirmed and coming together.  The realness of her coming into my life became closer and closer. About a week before the scheduled flight, the rescue volunteer was not confident that she was healed enough to travel. As anxious as any of us were, there is no sense in risking her health. So with bated breath, I waited. I waited to hear…every day I was a thorn in his side messaging him about how she was doing. September 8th was the day. I spoke to my in-home dog trainer. I booked a whole house on Air bnb so she would be able to sleep and acclimate to just me, without our other two dogs barking from upstairs. I packed my overnight bag, I packed new toys, dog bowls, kibble, treats, and a blanket from my best friend who had just said goodbye to her pup. I was really ready.

Eva’s flight was two hours delayed. That’s ok. It’s ok…she’s on her way. I got to the freight specialist carrier place outside of the airport. They don’t have too many dogs, and I happened to be the only one there waiting for anything. I waited…and waited aaaaaand waited. Finally her flight landed! It’s not like with humans where you get to pick them up and hug them at the baggage claim in 15 minutes. Eva was transported (still in the crate) to the freight handler outside of the airport. She had paper work attached to her crate that I had to take back to the customs office in the airport. Do you know how torturous that time frame was? To know this sweet little girl has already endured at least 22 hours of being in a crate, by my calculations, to wait that much longer for me to race, literally back to the airport customs office. It is a miracle I remembered where I parked in the airport parking structure. I ran the entire time.

I made it back to the freight office. I ran in so quickly to hand them the paper work I didn’t see they had brought the crate with Eva inside to the office. “Do you want to say hello? There she is.” I started crying. She was there. She was alive. Eva made it. Eva is real.

As soon as they had everything signed off they helped me put the travel crate in my backseat. I was so anxious to get her to grass and our of the crate, but we needed to get away from the airport. Luckily, Ann Arbor is close to the Detroit airport. However, I pulled off at a gas station with grass and wanted to get her out of that crate! I parked and went around and gently spoke to this sweet girl and went to open the crate. Zip ties. Oh my goodness. I needed scissors stat. I ran into the gas station. They had nothing that would cut zip ties. I convinced the nice cashier to lend me scissors and I raced back to the crate to free my sweet Eva.

After that she slept on the front seat until we got to the air bnb. I couldn’t believe she was real.

I carried her in to this sweet, dog-friendly, rental…she was tired. She was hungry. She was thirsty. She was also, mostly, a lover. This girl-whoa! She loves affection! How can a street dog that has been run over and in a clinic be so lovable so quickly? I do not know. I do know, that we formed instant trust and affection, providing her with a calm, happy environment…and so it continue to be. She continues to amaze me.

That first night, I just snuggled her right way…she let me! I thought that would be a hurdle in itself, but no.

I even had the confidence to lift her into the bed with me that night. I woke to her front paws and legs draped over me almost in acceptance.

Where did she come from!? Eva.

It’s been one month. Within that time, I have learned so much about her. About myself. I’ve had aches and pains in the places she has. Her pelvis was twisted and our amazing alternative vet, Dr. Matt J at Integrative Veterinary Clinic in Howell, Michigan, has adjusted her spine and pelvis and performed acupuncture. You can see by the photos and videos how far Eva has come. As big as she looks and I believe her personality to be far bigger…she is only about 33 lbs. She is a tender, loving, affectionate, intelligent, companion. Not only to me, but to our whole family and everyone she meets. I have yet to see her meet someone, or a dog, that that she doesn’t love an approach with innocence.

I have many goals for Eva. The first of course is to help her get to her strongest self. I feel confident we are well on our way. My other very sincere goal for people that come to know or learn about Eva, is to inform you all about how dogs are mistreated in the middle east. 

Eva is a true miracle. Not only for her resilience and lovable ability to survive, but because many dogs there, as kind, tender, smart, beautiful, playful, and loving as they are, they are not loved like Eva is now.

As I type this, Ari just walked in the door and Eva was thrilled, wagging her tail in her soft bed, going to get her alligator toy to show him. This is what dreams are made of.

I am the lucky one. Eva is the brave one. We are a happy family!

 

You can follow Eva the dog HERE – she has her own Instagram :)

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