Dear friends of Ozzie,
As our fur baby spread out across the lounge, my hubby Darren, 39, squeezed into a tiny square of couch.
Smiling at how spoilt our pup is, I remembered how his start in life wasn’t so comfortable.
Ozzie’s journey to our home in Bonny Hills, NSW, began in Thailand – and it was all thanks to the kindness of your hearts that he’s with us today.
I first laid eyes on Ozzie three year ago.
As Darren and I soaked up the sun on the island of Ko Chang on our honeymoon, we came across a tiny black pooch.
After being hit by a scooter, his little front leg was turned out and his tummy was swollen.
Chatting with a local lady, Duen, who fed the stray dogs on the island, she told us she was unable to afford proper vet care for this tiny pup.
But meeting his eyes, I couldn’t just leave him on the side of the road to die.
Scooping him up, we went back to our holiday rental where Darren and I picked 26 ticks out of him and created a makeshift splint.
‘We’ll call him Ozzie,’ I said fluffing up a blanket I’d wrapped him in. ‘Because he’s a real Aussie battler.’
After that, our honeymoon quickly changed from a relaxing newlywed break into a mission to keep little Ozzie alive.
With no X-ray machine at the local vet, we travelled six hours to get him the care he needed.
After surgery to fix his leg, he needed help to beat a tick-borne disease that was slowly eating away at him.
He had blood parasites and mange.
Poor thing, I thought, my heart breaking.
With our credit cards maxed out we couldn’t afford to save his life ourselves.
‘We can’t just leave Ozzie here to die,’ I cried to Darren.
And neither could he.
That’s when I reached out to you.
Posting on Facebook I shared Ozzie’s grim situation.
‘Good Luck Ozzie,’ comments flowed in.
You dug deep and donated $2000, which saved Ozzie’s life. We can never repay you for the gift you gave Ozzie.
But your generosity didn’t stop there.
With our visas about to expire, we had to leave our little man in the hands of the vet while we travelled on to Cambodia as we’d originally planned.
I couldn’t enjoy my honeymoon though, I spent all my time buried in my phone trying to read about how to bring Ozzie home with us.
Due to Australian quarantine laws, he couldn’t fly straight here... but he could go to the USA while he recovered.
Once again, I turned to you and posted about our plight online.
When a Chicago man named Geoff offered to pick up Ozzie and open his home to him, my heart was full.
Geoff was heading to Thailand, and took Ozzie home with him, sending us updates and photos every day.
Then, poor Ozzie developed a deadly staph infection.
Darren and I fell behind in our mortgage repayments as we fought to cover lifesaving treatment.
That’s when our family and friends suggested we try GoFundMe.
So we shared Ozzie’s story and asked for help.
Incredibly, we were bombarded with generous donations and well wishes from you, Ozzie’s friends.
I don’t dare to think what would have happened to Ozzie without you all. You’re his saviours, his army.
And as he recuperated at Geoff’s, Darren and I made plans to bring Ozzie to Australia.
After he was put on a plane, we met our beloved pup at the airport.
‘Ozzie!’ I squealed running towards him. ‘I could never forget your face.’
His tail wagging, we knew he hadn’t forgotten us either.
Finally, after two months in Thailand, seven months in the USA and 10 days in Aussie quarantine, Ozzie was finally where he belonged – with us!
It had been a $25,000 journey, but worth every cent.
‘Not on the lounge, bud,’ Darren smiled, as we welcomed Ozzie home.
But soon Darren was asking permission to sit on the lounge next to Ozzie!
Since we opened our door to Ozzie, our family has grown from three to five after our sons Thorsen, two, and Colten, nine months, joined us.
Ozzie stepped up and has become a big brother to our two boys.
Looking at my beautiful family now, I have all of you to thank for it.
So one night at 2am, the only time I have a minute to myself, I penned the beginning of your story.
I’ve turned Ozzie’s story into a book which I hope will be the first of many about other animals in need of love around the globe.
You saved a life, and your kindness and actions inspired me to help more Ozzie’s.
So proceeds of my book Ozzie the Miracle Stray will go directly to the local vet on Ozzie’s island to help other dogs.
Ozzie isn’t just my best friend, he’s yours, too.
Join the campaign to get ‘Ozzie the Miracle Stray’ in stores.