Rescue dog Dash captured the heart of Gill Gordon. But it took great effort for them to be together again.

It was an epic “foster fail.”

The tale of Gill Gordon and rescue pup Dash involves multiple road trips, strategic air travel, a ranch in Missouri and the whole-hearted support of friends and family.

Dash enjoying the companionship of his new sibling Flash, left

Dash enjoying the companionship of his new sibling Flash, left. Photos by Stephen Clarke

It all began when a friend who was fostering the dog for rescue group One Dog at a Time asked if she and her husband Rich could care for Dash for a week while their family was away. The dog was slated to fly to ODAAT’s partner shelter in New York City at the end of that week.

After introducing Dash to their dog Flash, a Humane Society rescue, they agreed.

“We had a great time,” recalls Gill. “We went all over the island together.”

It had only been a week, but Gill already felt a deep bond with Dash.

She cuddled with him all night on the couch before taking him to the airport the next day, a Saturday.

“I was in a flood of tears because I had gotten quite attached,” she says.

Sad beginnings

When Gill learned the dog’s story, she was crushed. Dash had been found abandoned in North Side, left tied to a tree with a piece of wire. Three of his puppy siblings were also tied to trees. Dash was the sole survivor.

“I was just beside myself,” recalls Gill. “On Sunday morning I messaged the shelter saying we made a mistake – we want him back. They said no.”

Gill become distressed after watching a video of Dash posted by the shelter. “His eyes were just empty, and I thought, “I did this to him.”

Husband Rich stepped in, messaging the shelter on Tuesday morning, sharing a video Gill had made of her time with Dash during the foster week.

This time, the shelter agreed to return the dog – but Dash had to be picked up by noon Wednesday.

As there are no direct flights from Cayman to New York on Tuesdays, Gill called a travel agent friend to see if she could arrange to get her there on time. She flew to Houston on Tuesday, overnighted, and made the long trip to the shelter the next day.

When Gill arrived, tails were wagging. “We had this amazing reunion,” she said.

Photo9s of Dash.

Paying it forward

Meanwhile, Gill had contacted her friend Sharon Shannon, a former Cayman resident who had relocated to the U.S. Sharon agreed to foster the dog until all the necessary documents were in place to fly him back to Cayman.

She told Gill that when she moved from Cayman to Panama, a friend looked after her dog for an extended period, and she wanted to pay it forward.

Sharon flew to New York and the plan was to fly Dash back to her ranch in Missouri. However, the August weather meant no airline would fly the dog due to high heat in the hold.

So, they rented a car and made the 1,000-mile road trip to Missouri, a three-day trek. Gill started on the paperwork for Dash to bring him back to Cayman.

The whole process would take around six months.

Dash settled in with Sharon’s two rescue dogs – Merlot and Malbec – and Gill returned to her post as a physical education teacher at St. Ignatius Catholic School.

In October, she booked a trip to visit Dash. “It was a great reunion.”

All clear

Dash was given the all-clear to travel on Dec. 10 – with a 14-day window to bring him to Cayman. Gill flew to meet Sharon, and the two hit the road for another lengthy trek, this time to Dallas to catch a direct flight to the island.

Dash and Gill arrived in Grand Cayman on Dec. 19.

Was it worth all the time, effort and expense? “Absolutely,” says Gill. “There was just something about this dog. He just captured my heart.”