After three months with only his dog Bella for company, rescued Australian sailor Timothy Shaddock had to say goodbye.
He was 54 years old. Rescued after being lost at sea. When his catamaran was badly damaged in a storm en route from Mexico to French Polynesia.
Mr Shaddock met Bella, a black and brown stray dog, who was living in his home in San Miguel de Allende when he arrived in Mexico at the start of the pandemic.
Bella became his constant companion for the next three years, despite occasional attempts to find a suitable home on Earth.
Mr. Shaddock and Bella were a few weeks into their journey. When the storm came. He lost his ship, some electronics and cooking facilities.
She said after her rescue that she finds solace in meditation, swimming in the ocean and writing in a journal.
Keeping Bella fed and content gave her more purpose. Both survived on raw fish and rainwater.
Andres Zamorano, the helicopter pilot who first spotted the pair, said he believed the moral obligation Mr Shaddock felt to keep Bella alive helped them both survive.
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“That dog is something else,” Mr Shaddock said after touching dry land for the first time on Tuesday.
Asked how Bella was after the rescue, she said she was “amazing.”
Despite the bond between a man and his dog, Mr Shaddock had to give Bella up before returning to Australia.
He gave it to one of the crew of the Maria Delia, the tuna boat that rescued them.
“The Australian embassy really made that decision for me,” Shaddock later said.
Australia has very strict animal quarantine laws and Mexico is not an approved country for importing pets.