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People Who Care: A Tail to Tell

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – It’s been said a dog lover’s heart is covered with paw prints. And Bonsai, a black-lab mix, leaves a lot of paw prints in his wake.

In early July, the 6-month old puppy was alone and barely surviving on the streets of a Mexican village.

And then, fate stepped in.

Dani White and her girlfriend Sejal Dave were on a Mexican vacation. The avid dog lovers had plans to volunteer at animal shelters when they spotted the black lab wandering the streets and eating roadkill.

Like so many places around the world, the shelters in Mexico are full. And there was little hope for this black lab mix.

That’s when Dani and Sejal decided to do something radical. At the end of their vacation, they planned to load Bonsai onto a plane and bring him home to Rochester.

Those plans fell apart at the last minute. Some unexpected airline regulations forced them to temporarily leave Bonsai in Mexico. Saying goodbye at the airport was tough.

And then, Bonsai’s story took a happy turn. Complete strangers, responding with compassion, volunteered their time to transport Bonsai a thousand miles from Puerto Vallarta Mexico to Tuscon Arizona. And Dani drove another 16-hundred miles from Rochester to Tuscon to be re-united with the floppy-eared boy she first met on a dusty Mexican road.

This first chapter of their lives together has had a happy ending. But their journey together is far from over. Bonsai has inspired Dani and Sejal to develop a dog-centered nonprofit that would benefit other homeless dogs. It’s an ambitious project. It’ll be funded by their Rochester business, Pooches and Palomas, a place for dogs to learn fear-free training, and humans to enjoy unique craft cocktails.

It took more than 30 volunteers to bring Bonsai home to Rochester.

He’s one of the lucky dogs. Too many around the world are left abandoned and unwanted.

But the work to make a difference has to start somewhere.

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Tom Overlie

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