With the end date of Nico's visa quickly approaching, we had plans to head out of New Zealand for a ten-day trip to Samoa, so that by the time we returned we could get Nico a new visitor visa upon arrival.
Coronavirus began to ramp up as we were preparing to leave, turning our travels into quite the interesting experience.
But that's not what this post is about - as you might have been able to tell by the title! We split our time evenly between the two islands of Samoa, Upolu and Savai'i. Our final two days were back on Upolu, the main island, and, after an intense week of exploring and roadtripping and traveling around the island nation, we were happy just to chill out and relax.
Lucky for us, checking in at the Dave Parker Eco Lodge just outside Apia up in the mountains brought more than just incredible views - six three-week old puppies became our best friends for our stay!! Mama brought out her puppies for the first time when we arrived (the owner of the lodge hadn't yet seen them!) and quite literally nudged the tiny little warm balls of fluff onto our laps and promptly decided we were the new puppy-sitters in town.
Now, Samoa is not as developed as other countries, and this includes the animal health and safety system. Don't get us wrong, we really enjoyed our stay at the Eco Lodge, however, when we discovered that the junkyard underneath the lodge was acting as the puppies' home, we decided to step in and volunteer!
We spent a sweaty morning in 37 degree heat lugging junk first out of the space under the lodge where it had been discarded, cleaning out and throwing away all the rubbish remaining and then neatly returning the stuff in organized piles that allowed for much easier access.
Before the cleanup, the puppies were sleeping in an old tire that sat on a rotten old mattress and had to crawl over broken sinks to get out into the sunshine. After our cleanup, the puppies had the entire front section cleared with a clean nest of plastic to sleep on. With the understanding that the puppies would not be living here forever, we made it neat and organized all the way through so that the junkyard could become a useful storage space and the puppy sleeping spot could be removed (and maybe later installed if new pups came along!!).
Sadly, we did not get any final shots of the puppies sleeping in their new bed - mostly because every time we came close they squealed with excitement and clambered all over us.
Regardless, we felt good about volunteering and sleep much better now in comparison to that first night after discovering their original home!!