Manny is getting a new home.
The mixed breed dog had been scalded, abandoned and left to die when Maureen Cattieu rescued the animal in Cartagena, Colombia.
Now a healthy 54 pounds, the 4-year-old pooch will arrive at Buffalo Niagara International Airport at about 7 p.m. Monday to meet his new owner, Anne Darmstedter of Blasdell. And she can’t wait to welcome Manny and give him a home.
“I just want him to feel like he has a family,” Darmstedter said Saturday night as she prepared for her new family member. “I can’t wait to start loving him and spoiling him. I’ll be driving him around and bringing him to meet my family.”
Darmstedter has a big heart for animals. Manny will join her two Dachshunds, Frank and Cooper. She also rescued Cooper, a miniature Dachshund, through Pixie Mamas, a Buffalo rescue organization.
Manny’s story began when Cattieu – a Williamsville East High School and University at Buffalo graduate who founded Cartagena Paws three years ago – walked past a restaurant on a Cartagena beach several months ago. Manny had been scalded by hot cooking oil and cut with a machete, then abandoned on the beach to die in the blistering sun. But the dog received veterinary care and was nursed back to health.
Darmstedter and Cattieu met through mutual friends of local rescue groups and saw one another over the Christmas holiday. It was Darmstedter’s connection with animal rescuer Kim Rodeffer, who runs Little Ones Independent Rescue in North Tonawanda, that led her to Manny.
“I am close with Kim’s local rescue and saw Manny in my Facebook feed with her story being shared from Colombia,” Darmstedter said. She followed his story for a few days and then, about six weeks ago, posted a comment online that she’d be interested in adopting him. Rodeffer messaged her and connected Darmstedter with Cattieu, and the rest is history.
It was the heart-wrenching photos of Manny that got to Darmstedter. “When I saw him, right away, I was like, ‘Whoa, what happened?’ ” she said. “I read his story and I was just glued to it. It’s just so horrible that people can be so horrible to animals.”
Darmstedter never planned on having a trio of dogs, but Manny’s face won her over. “He just looked so sad,” she said. “I’m surprised I don’t have 50 of them. I fell in love, and his story was heartbreaking.”
As Darmstedter followed updated pictures of Manny while the adoption process began, she mailed a doggie bed to him in Colombia.
On Saturday, he began the first leg of his $1,400 journey to Buffalo – flying to Bogota, Colombia. On Sunday, he headed to Texas, and from there, to Newark, N.J. Finally, he should be in Buffalo by Monday night. Darmstedter bought his traveling kennel ensemble and paid his airfare.
Rodeffer also will be on hand to welcome Manny.
After being united with Darmstedter at the airport, Manny will go to his new home to meet Frank and Cooper. He’ll also have a checkup at the veterinarian and continue treatment for heartworm.
Manny won’t be the first abused canine from Colombia to find a loving home here. Lazaro, also rescued by Cartagena Paws, was flown to Buffalo last November. Cattieu found Lazaro wrapped in barbed wire and rope and covered with maggots and ticks in a Cartagena suburb July 4.
Another rescue, Lucita, a 2-year-old greyhound mix, also flew over the weekend to a new home in Vancouver, B.C., from Bogota, Colombia.
Rodeffer said she is still looking for families to adopt Amador and Princesa, two greyhound mixed breeds she has been caring for since Cattieu brought them to Buffalo in mid-December.
Cattieu, who moved to Cartagena about six years ago to teach first grade at the George Washington School, rescued her first dog, Tica, a Chihuahua mix, while vacationing in Costa Rica 13 years ago. She currently lives with Tica and another rescue, Ramona, a 3-year-old greyhound mix left to die on a Cartagena street after being hit by a bus several months ago.
Meanwhile, Cattieu and Rodeffer have joined forces in Buffalo CARES Animal Rescue and Against All Oddz Animal Alliance, headed by Buffalo attorney Matthew Albert, in helping dogs down on their luck find new homes.
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