Oops! How I Ended Up Bringing a Puppy Home From Belize

How I Ended Up Bringing a Puppy Home From Belize #travel #explore #adventure

As I mentioned in my last post, my trip to Belize was mainly about service and education, mixed with a healthy dose of sun, sea, and silver tequila. But I did happen to bring home the best souvenir yet—a puppy!

How I Brought A Puppy Home From Belize #travel #explore #tips #adventure

The Important Stuff:

Saga Humane Society has been on Ambergris Caye for 16 years and remains the only humane society on the island. The organization provides low-cost or free procedures, like spay and neuter, as well as medicine to local animals. Why is this important? Without the free spay and neuter, wild dogs pose a major threat to both domesticated dogs and humans. Children are especially at risk for being bitten by a dog. And then everyone is scared of the animals, it’s just a vicious cycle. But that is why the humane society is there! Just like most humane societies in the U.S., the majority of animals serviced are cats and dogs of all ages. This means playing with adorable puppies. Located right behind the airport on the Tropic Air side (there are only two terminals) in San Pedro Town, the organization houses a ton of crawling kittens, friendly cats, sweet puppies, and big ole dogs. They love having volunteers stop by to walk the friendly dogs!

How I Brought a Puppy Home From Belize #travel #explore #Belize #adventure

Between Shell doing surgeries and me playing with puppies, we got to spend a ton of time with the big dogs! As in, taking the dogs for romantic walks on the beach. As much as I love animals, there are always some sacrifices, like being covered in mud constantly. Unfortunately, one particularly large labrador decided to rush the water without warning. I would have been slightly more keen if I had the time to remove my shoes. RIP Nikes.

But there was one particular little guy who caught my eye.  He was what they call a ‘pot-licker’ or a street dog. The humane society picked him up very thirsty, very frail, and very tiny. But, with lots of love, Saga helped him put on a little weight, and he absolutely loved people for it.   Every morning, we would walk in and greet the dogs, give pets and treats, the usually puppy love stuff. And I would always pick up the puppies because they need attention just like little babies.

So this little guy…

…literally the smallest one out of six, would always try to jump up to be picked up, but kept getting knocked down by the other dogs. One by one the pups would get picked up, held for a little, then squirm down. But when it was this little Pepito’s turn to be held, he would be so content in my arms. I could carry him for hours and he would just stare at me with those little brown eyes. So needless to say when the time for me to leave the island came about, he was coming with me. 

How I Brought A Puppy Home From Belize #travel #explore #tips #adventure

You might be thinking, “This cray bitch seriously brought a puppy from another country home! You can’t just toss it when it grows up!” etc. etc. etc. This ain’t my first rodeo, y’all. My first rescue puppy, Smokey Bear, just turned five in August. He was only six weeks old when I adopted him. Pepe was sixteen weeks old. Bringing home a pup from San Pedro wasn’t 100% spontaneous. Smokey is has been due for a little sibling for a few months. Dogs are pack animals, and the more often I travel, the more distressed Smokey becomes. I owed it to him, really… Plus my love and I already discussed it.

Flying an adopted pet from Belize to the U.S. is relatively easy.

  • Before anything, you must ensure a puppy is at least 4 months old
  • All vaccinations must be up to date
  • The last rabies shot must be 30 days prior to flying the pet home
  • Reserve spot for pet on flight home (some airlines won’t fly pets!)
  • Get a printed copy of certificate of health completed by a vet


How I Brought A Puppy Home From Belize #travel #explore #tips #adventure

So, he officially became Pepe/Pepito!

The lovely help at Saga Humane Society got him all washed up, and even gave him a little bandana. His cage said, “Yay! I’ve been adopted.”


Since I was staying at an Airbnb, I had to leave Pepe at Saga overnight until it was time to fly back. The night before departure, I SERIOUSLY couldn’t sleep! Would YOU be able to rest, knowing you were bringing back this little peanut?! The morning I was set to return to the U.S., Shell and I sped over to Saga to pick up little guy.

How I Brought a Puppy Home From Belize #travel #explore #Belize #adventure

Shell came with to make sure everything was sorted for flight number one from Ambergris to Belize City. No worries at all! He could even sit on my lap and peek his little head out.  But this was only the very beginning on the adventure. We had two more flights and a five hour layover, and I wasn’t sure how much longer he would sleep.

How I Brought a Puppy Home From Belize #travel #explore #Belize #adventure

American Airlines was such a delight from Belize City to Miami, and I lucked out and sat next to a mechanic, who encouraged me to have the puppy out the whole two hours of my first flight. We were stopped to have Pepe’s papers checked four times– not sure if it was because immigration is strict, or because the security wanted to check out the puppy. Pepe was SUCH a angel in the airport! Even for a five hour layover, he played it cool while I ate sushi and drank sake.  On our last flight home, I had a whole row to myself, so we both slept like babies. It was pepeperfect.

After almost 12 hours of travel, Pepe arrived at his new home! Pepe has been loving life in America, especially having a big brother. They play together a little too well…

How I Brought a Puppy Home From Belize #travel #explore #Belize #adventure

What’s the craziest souvenir you’ve ever brought home? Would you adopt a puppy abroad?

  • Dame Tripper

    I’ve never adopted a puppy abroad, but have so many friends who have. It’s so hard to walk away from their sweet faces, kudos to you for making that little guy’s life. And thanks for including tips on how to do it in case I get insprired!

    • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

      It’s SO hard to say no! Especially to all the little pitbull puppies, but it’s so hard renting a place in the USA with one… Hopefully the right one picks you one day.

  • Backpacking Detours

    I never knew people were allowed to take the dogs from the shelter out for a walk. I need to do that. How sweet you were able to adopt him, I didn’t realize it was so easy!

    • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

      They would absolutely love extra hands, if you ever visit! And I really couldn’t help myself, look at those eyes 🙂

  • What a cutie! I didn’t realize it was so easy to take a puppy home from abroad. I always assumed you had to quarantine them for awhile after arrival to ensure they were healthy. Quite the souvenir you picked up from Belize 🙂

    • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

      Nope! Totally have to quarantine going into the UK though… Almost made the mistake of moving there with my pup! He truly is a delight.

  • We lived in Mexico (Yucatan) for a year and we saw loads of puppies being set up to Canada and the US to rescue them from a harsh abandoned life, there are also many spay neuter clinics set up to ensure that there are not hundreds of litters of puppies doomed to a horrible life. Bravo for rescuing one.

    • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

      It’s so sad! Happy to hear about other furry friends finding their forever home 🙂

  • Omggg sooo cute! At first I thought you just stole him haha, then I realized you got him from the animal shelter. I know some countries are like super strict about taking animals. Anyway, so glad you got a puppy! That has to be the coolest souvenir. He will be so loved!!

    -Emily http://www.coatandcoffee.com

    • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

      I wish I was still that ballsy, but I assure you it was totally legal! He is absolutely adored… We lucked out on this one 😉

  • I love this story! What a lucky little pup he is! He is absolutely adorable, you can see in his eyes he is a total sweetheart.

    • Lauren @ atipsygypsylife.com

      Awe, thank you! It definitely was a happy ending 😉