Woman Tirelessly Revisits Chained Up Dogs In Hopes That She Might Rescue Them

When it comes to animals, patience truly is a virtue. After all, not all animals will trust humans without getting to know them first, and that can take time. Recently, a traveling woman proved just how much patience she had when it came to animals.

In the summer of 2018, the animal-lover was hiking through Spain’s wine country saw a scene that made her sick. After taking full stock of the situation, she knew she needed to do something to help — no matter how long it took.

Hoping to escape hectic Barcelona, Sara Ortín León packed up her three rescue dogs in the summer of 2018 and headed to her family’s home in La Rioja, a city tucked away in Spanish wine country.

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There, Sara spent hours hiking through the jaw-dropping terrain. A trail led her to a hidden sheep barn, where the dog-lover saw something that upset her stomach…

Someone had chained two Australian shepherd mixes outside. The dogs had no food or water, and the short chains made breathing a struggle. Surely, Sara hoped, this wasn’t a permanent arrangement.

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But Sara returned to the shed, day-after-day, only to find the dogs still chained up without food or water. “I thought, ‘OK, this is weird,'” she said. “They shouldn’t be there all the time.” So Sara asked around about the dogs.

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A local friend confirmed her worst fears: “They don’t get [much] food or water,” he said, “What they sometimes get [are] vegetables and tomatoes and beans, fine for pigs but not dogs and…they are chained 24/7.”

So forget a relaxing, low-key summer with her pups: at that news, Sara made a commitment to rescue those suffering dogs. She got to scheming, and, right away, uncovered two potential problems with a rescue…

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For one, Sara wasn’t a thief, so stealing the dogs in the black of night was out of the question. Two, even if the theft was on the table, the skittish dogs didn’t trust her enough to go gallivanting away with her.

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So, step one? Sara fought for the dogs’ trust. She visited them every single day. “I gave them food,” she said. “And I would read to them. It’s something that relaxes the dogs because when we read, there is no movement.”

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Over weeks, with more and more trips to the farm, the chained-up dogs —  named Mori and Opis — opened up to Sara, even letting her pet them. Then, on one of her visits, she found the dog’s owners.

Two retired sheep farmers owned the dogs. When Sara questioned them about the Australian shepherds, the elderly couple, both in their 90s, told her a heartbreaking story.

The couple told her they “sold the sheep years ago,” but since Mori and Opis were such good working dogs, they “didn’t want to kill them” as their retired friends had done with their herding dogs.

In other words, as Sara put it, the couple “didn’t really think that the dogs were suffering. They thought that they were doing them a favor just keeping them alive.” The thought further broke her heart.

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Still, by her estimate, the dogs had been chained up for six whole years. They were suffering, whether the farmers knew it or not. So she took a chance and asked if she could take the dogs…

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Surely, the couple would be happy to send their hard-working boys away to a loving home? Unfortunately, they were hesitant. When their granddaughter visited, they said, she loved to play with them.

But they gave Sara hope. They told her, “Talk to our granddaughter. If she says ‘yes,’ then we will give them to you.” So Sara sent her a hopeful message. The granddaughter responded…

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…with hesitance. The granddaughter admitted she didn’t actually spend all that much time with the dogs, but still didn’t want to part with them. She asked for some time to make her decision.

So Sara waited. And waited. Meanwhile, her summer vacation ended and she went back to Barcelona with only her three dogs. “I started getting really sad,” she said. “And I had to stop thinking about Mori and Opis.”

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Finally, in early July, the granddaughter responded: she said Sara could have the dogs! The dog lover raced back to La Rioja, where she met the elderly farmers who unchained Mori and Opis — they were finally free!

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Sara leashed up her new dogs and whisked them away from the farm. “As soon as she got out of there,” she said of Opis, “and I got her on the lead and I touched her, she started licking me!”

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Free for the first time in years, the dogs “were licking each other and licking each other. They were super cute.” And when Sara took the dogs back to her parent’s house, they further basked in freedom.

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“It was like having something wild in the house,” she said. “They wanted to eat everything. They got a packet of raw pasta, opened it and started eating it so fast.” She also bathed them and took them on a few hikes.

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When she let the dogs off their leashes so they could run free, the dogs opted to lay down with each other and cuddle instead! “They were a ball of fur together,” Sara recalled, “just kissing and licking!”

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Because Sara didn’t have room for five dogs at her home in Barcelona, she arranged for Opis and Mori to go to Lliga per a la protecció d’animals i plantes de Barcelona, a no-kill dog shelter.

There, staff found the sweet dogs a forever home! A couple with a big house and a garden adopted both dogs, together — looks like they’d have a few more cuddle sessions after all! They were happy. They were free.

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Thanks to Sara’s tireless dedication to the chained up dogs, Opis and Mori found a home where they would be loved forever. When it comes to animals, patience truly is a virtue.

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