Vacations are usually planned, but sometimes there’s a detour from the itinerary. When this young woman saw a desperate creature in need, she knew she had to do something.
Seattle teen Elliot Sherin was on vacation in December 2017 with her family, on a cruise through the Caribbean. Their first stop was Jamaica.
Sherin and her father were about to go horseback riding on the beach when she saw something that made her stop.
There were a number of stray dogs around, but she noticed one in particular.
A puppy emerged from beneath a deck, and Sherin was shocked.
“He was by far the most malnourished dog I’ve ever seen in my life. It was heartbreaking to see this little puppy who was just clearly struggling to survive,” Sherin told Humanity.
Sherin and her father tried to feed him, but the larger dogs would push him out of the way.
Sherin’s parents agreed that the dog was in a terrible situation, but were initially unwilling to take the puppy with them because they already had a dog and other pets at home.
She asked around and discovered that the puppy had been abandoned on the beach.
Sherin went back to the boat with two pictures of the little pooch, and couldn’t let him go.
“I was just curious as to if there was anything I could do to help him,” Sherin recalled.
She researched animal rescue shelters and found Animal House Jamaica. She contacted them to see if they could help the little guy.
Sherin sent an e-mail to the horse ranch to see if they would take the puppy to the rescue shelter. It took some time, but she persisted until the ranch finally brought him to Animal House Jamaica.
However, it wasn’t enough to rescue the puppy. Sherin needed him back in the U.S.
But, after the cost of travel and vaccinations, it would cost about $700 to get the little dog stateside.
Her parents told her that if she could figure out the logistics, and pay for it, they would consider adopting him.
Sherin was about to turn 17, and had a selfless idea.
She set up a GoFundMe campaign and asked friends and family to donate to cover the cost of adopting the puppy instead of spending money on birthday gifts.
Through the GoFundMe operation and raising awareness on social media, Sherin was able to raise more than $700 in just five days.
After a month, the puppy was healthy enough to travel. When he arrived in the U.S. on February 16, 2018, Sherin saw that he had gone through a traumatizing experience.
“You could see just the fear in his eyes. He had no idea where he was. He had no idea what was going on, and you could see that,” Sherin recalled.
Sherin sat with him in the backseat during the car ride home. She put her hand next to him and tried to cautiously engage with him.
When they got home, Sherin let him out of his crate. He was immediately affectionate.
“He just wanted to sit on you and cuddle. All he wanted to do was to be pet, to have attention, and to be loved,” Sherin said.
Sherin and her parents were shocked at how quickly the puppy adjusted to life in their home. He even housebroke himself.
She took him to the vet because he still had physical ailments from his abandonment, but after a week he was a healthy puppy.
Sherin named him Kingston, after the capital city of Jamaica. He’s eight months old now, and is doing great.
Kingston gets along famously with Bentley, their 6-year-old red Labrador, and other people’s dogs.
It’s a satisfying ending to a long process that all started with a vacation she’ll never forget.
“I’m 17 and I think it’s by far the greatest accomplishment I’ve ever had. It’s the thing I’m most proud of by far,” Sherin said.